The whole world is protesting 5G at the same time!
5G communications, which are causing global damage, have begun in Japan
Written by Yasuko Kato, “Shukan Kinyoubi” May 1, 2020. pp54-55.
Translation assistance by Tony Boys and Pat Ormsby
In late March, NTT-docomo, KDDI Corporation and Softbank Corporation started operating the fifth-generation mobile communication system (5G). At the same time, action to protest the introduction of 5G is taking place all over the world.
To develop the 5G base station network, KDDI plans to install about 54000 base stations nationwide by fiscal 2023. A base station was set up on the roof of an apartment building in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, causing health problems for residents living on the top floor. After installation, a 50 cm-long crack appeared in the wall, and the residents will investigate the extent and cause of the damage to the building.
Rakuten Mobile, a newcomer mobile phone operator, announced plans to install about 3400 4G base stations by the end of March, but was forced to cancel in Noda, Chiba Prefecture, due to opposition from local residents. Residents have launched a "Noda Citizens' Society for Protecting the Environment and Health" and are campaigning to enforce ordinances on base stations, including 5G. In Higashimatsuyama, Saitama Prefecture, Rakuten canceled the installation due to opposition from residents.
A law will be enacted by this summer to enable 5G to use the same frequency bands used by 4G.
5G networks are also spreading into outer space. Vodafone UK and Rakuten Mobile plans to offer 4G services for the time being, and 5G services in the future, using a satellite network in a low orbit. Communications satellites will make it possible to use mobile phones in areas where there are no mobile phone base stations.
SpaceX is launching the world's largest communications satellite network, the "Starlink program", with about 48,000 communications satellites.
However, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) is concerned about that the number of satellites will increasing rapidly in a short period of time. Because these satellites reflect sunlight and emit radio waves, they can have a negative impact on observations by large astronomical telescopes and radio observatories.
In addition, 5G's radiation could interfere with weather satellites operated jointly by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The satellites collect weather data using electromagnetic waves with a frequency of 23.8 GHz (gigahertz), while 5G uses 24 GHz, which is very close to that frequency. As a result, radio interference will occur and 77% of weather data will be lost. The accuracy of weather forecasts will be reduced by 30%, setting back the level of weather forecasts to those of the 1980s and delaying typhoon forecasts for up to two to three days.
The U.S. Navy, which operates around the world based on weather data from NOAA and NASA, is also opposed to 5G satellites.
260 protests in 35 countries
On January 25 this year, about 260 protests were held in 35 countries around the world to protest against 5G. (Photos).
In Amsterdam, Netherlands, the telecommunications company KPN was conducting 5G experiments. About 1000 citizens participated in the demonstration. This action was the largest to take place on this dare. Photo Credit: Sodis Vita
In Montreal, Canada, about 300 people rallied at the request of the citizens group "Stop, 5G Montreal". This action was widely reported in the local media. Photo Credit: Stop 5G Montreal
In the United States, a citizens' group, "5G wake-up call", submitted an appeal (Column) and a petition to the United Nations Mission in the United States.
About 700 people marched in Quarto, in the Italian province of Naples. In Italy, more than 100 municipalities have voted to suspend 5G installations, but Quarto has yet to adoptsuch a resolution.
In Switzerland, demonstrations were held in 16 municipalities. At the end of January, the Swiss Environment Agency ordered states to stop using 5G base stations – indefinitely- out of concern for people’s health.
In late February, the Geneva legislature passed a three-year moratorium on 4G +, which has higher transmission speeds than conventional 4G- and 5G. This was because research by an independent In the United States, a citizens' group, "5G wake-up call", submitted an appeal (Column) and a petition to the United Nations Mission in the United States.
About 700 people marched in Quarto, in the Italian province of Naples. In Italy, more than 100 municipalities have voted to suspend 5G installations, but Quarto has yet to adoptsuch a resolution.
In Switzerland, demonstrations were held in 16 municipalities. At the end of January, the Swiss Environment Agency ordered states to stop using 5G base stations – indefinitely- out of concern for people’s health.
In late February, the Geneva legislature passed a three-year moratorium on 4G +, which has higher transmission speeds than conventional 4G- and 5G. This was because research by an independent research institute has yet to be conducted, even though the effects on human health and animals and plants have been pointed out.
Discussions with ministries and agencies in Japan
In Japan, the patient group "Life Environment Network," which I host, submitted an appeal to the government. On January 24, a meeting was held in the House of Councilors' Hall, and about 30 hypersensitivity people and other citizens exchanged opinions with the government ministry representatives.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs, Communications argued that electromagnetic waves below the national standard (1000 μW/cm2 at 2 GHz) are not harmful to the human body, claming that the World Health Organization had issued a document denying the relationship between electromagnetic hypersensitivity and radiation exposure.
A meeting was held in the House of Councilors' Hall. Many patients with electromagnetic hypersensitivity participated despite feeling unwell.( Photo by author)
This document, however, was published 15 years ago. In recent years, medical associations in other countries have issued guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of electromagnetic hypersensitivity, recommending that people avoid exposure to electromagnetic waves.
The Cabinet Office did not know that 5G satellites would cause interference with meteorological satellites. The Environment Ministry representative said "Radio waves are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, so we will not investigate this matter." The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry also said it had no plans to conduct research on electromagnetic hypersensitivity or workplace radiation.
A woman attending with electromagnetic hypersensitivity said, "I was been bedridden for 20 years in an apartment in Tokyo with various incurable diseases. I suffered from hypersensitivity to electromagnetic waves and chemicals, and fled into the mountains in a wheelchair. Because I was sensitive to fluorescent lights and radio waves, I couldn't go to the hospital, and even when I hurt my leg, I couldn't ride in an ambulance. The current situation precludes people like me from receiving medical care. How do we get to the hospital? How do we get medical treatment?".
The government should conduct a survey on electromagnetic hypersensitivity and take appropriate measures, suspending the introduction of 5G until its safety is concerned. If the system is introduced as it is, the damage will increase further.
International Appeal "Stop 5G on Earth and in Space"
5G uses more higher frequencies (3.7, 4.5, 28 GHz), but the higher the frequency, the shorter the range of the radio
waves. Therefore, base stations are placed every 100 meters on telephone poles, streetlights, etc., and people are exposed to radiation at short distances.
5G uses a new technology called “phased array”. By adjusting the angle of a small built-in antenna and the timing at which radio waves are emitted, radio waves can be transmitted simultaneously to multiple users, enabling ultrafast communications.
Communications satellites will also be deployed in space, but it has been pointed out that the satellite could affect the Schumann waves, which surround the earth and have important effects on the brain waves and the biological rhythms of humans and animals.
It is believed that 5G radiation increases oxidative stress at the cellular level, causes DNA damage, and increases spontaneous abortion, infertility, blindness, and skin cancer. More children may be born with autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), said Firstenberg.
*The document, released by American researcher Arthur Firstenberg, says 5G could have serious effects not only on humans but also on plants, animals and the global environment. The appeal was translated into 30 different language, including Japanese, receiving more than 200,000 signatures from doctors, medical professionals, veterinarians, scientists, engineers, architects, beekeepers and civic groups from more than 200 countries and regions.
Japanese Ministerial Meeting on 5G Appeal
As part of a coordinated effort worldwide around January 25, 2020 to protest the deployment of 5G, a hearing was held from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. on January 24 with Japanese ministry officials to deliver a list of its signatories to the International Appeal—Stop 5G on Land and in Space https://www.5gspaceappeal.org/the-appeal(5G Appeal), and hear their response to a list of citizens’ demands. The demands had been delivered to the ministry officials beforehand together with a copy of the International Appeal—Stop 5G on Land and in Space. The meeting was organized and moderated by the Life-Environmental Network https://www.ehs-mcs-jp.com/(LEN, headed by journalist Yasuko Kato), with cooperation of Gauss Network (headed by Tetsuya Kakehi).
In preparation for the meeting, LEN suggested all who wanted to attend to gather at 2:00 in the lobby of the First Members’ Office Building of the House of Representatives, across the street from the Japanese Diet Building to receive a briefing and ensure everyone and everything was ready. Upwards of 11 citizen participants and one or two press members were anticipated in a room with about three times that capacity. That turned out to be somewhat too small.
Standing Room Only
By 1:50 a good crowd had gathered in the lobby and outside the front door. Because all the organizers present (Ms. Kato and translators Tony Boys and Patricia Ormsby of LEN) and many of the more sensitive participants, who had taken great pains to travel into Tokyo and were affected by the ambient radiofrequency radiation (RFR) levels in the lobby, the decision was made then to head down to the venue, which they’d been assured had no Wi-Fi. There, in the basement, the RFR levels were 0.05 to 0.1 V/m, spiking in part of the room to 1 to 3 V/m, apparently due to equipment in the adjacent room. This provided no real relief for the sensitive. In all, 30 citizens attended in addition to the organizers, with a total of 12 with electrohypersensitivity (EHS) present.
At 2:30 the four ministry representatives entered promptly and took their seats. They were Deputy Director Makoto Kobayashi of the National Space Policy Secretariat, Cabinet Office: Nanao Ishibashi, M.D. of the Environmental Health Department, Environmental Health and Safety Division, Ministry of the Environment (MOE); Technical Official Kei Nagura of the Industrial Health Division, Industrial Safety and Health Department, Labour Standards Bureau, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW); and Deputy Director Nobuhiro Watanabe of the Electromagnetic Environment Division, Telecommunications Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (with the unfortunate acronym of “MIC” so we’ll call them “Somusho.”)
No! No! And Again No!
We are particularly grateful for the attendance by the MOE and MHLW representatives. They were reluctant to attend as they have no jurisdiction over the matter of RFR health effects, which was transferred from them a long time ago. Like the FCC in America, Somusho, primarily exists to promote the industry, lacks expertise in health, and employs engineers to certify safety. I suppose that’s a coincidence.
In the US, the Telecommunications Act of 1996, has forbidden local communities to consider “environmental concerns” in decisions on siting of telecommunications facilities meeting FCC standards, and this is interpreted to mean “health concerns.” Japan has no such blatantly unconstitutional legislation, but there are laws promoting infrastructure development, such as the smart meter rollout, aiming for 100% compliance. People here aware of health impacts have been helpless to stop the rollout of smart meters, that can render homes uninhabitable for some. “Just keep saying no,” said one lady with EHS at the meeting, but we know of one case in which the homeowner’s electricity was cut off, and there has been no redress in over a year. Meanwhile, Somusho has stonewalled complaints, ignored evidence of health damage, gaslighted anyone aware of such evidence, and continued its task of promoting industrial development in every possible way.
LEN presented each of the four representatives with a CD containing the list of more than 191,000 signatories to the 5G Appeal, and the meeting started off with Somusho reading the official responses to LEN’s demands, which were the same as those presented by the 5G Appeal. In brief:
(a) Halt deployment of 5G on land and in space.
(b) Follow the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and Council of Europe Resolution 1815 by informing citizens of the need to protect themselves and how to do it.
(c) Favor and implement wired technology over wireless.
(d) Prohibit the wireless industries from lobbying officials to expand RFR use.
(e) Appoint truly impartial EMF and health scientists to establish new international safety standards that protect not only against thermal effects but against all health and environmental effects.
(f) Appoint an international group of scientists without industry influence to develop a comprehensive regulatory framework for safe uses of outer space.
The responses have been translated elsewhere, but in short, all of the ministries and Cabinet Office categorically rejected each demand, saying RFR health effects had been studied for 60 years, but no evidence of any effects beyond heating had been found. This was a surprise to no one. It was disappointing, but the expected starting point of a dialog aimed at addressing ongoing injustices and future concerns.
I Can Feel the Effects of Your Phones
As Somushu began reading, a lady in the front interrupted him, saying the representatives probably had cell phones, and would they turn them off since many in the room were sensitive to them. They did,[TB1] going through through the 10-second ritual that seems to be required for shutting off a smartphone. The lady remarked that she could feel the effects of the phones that far away (four meters).
As Somusho continued reading the responses, the audience murmured in dismay, but they all listened politely to the end. The subsequent discussion was kicked off by LEN, who brought up the IARC’s classification of RFR as a Class 2B “possible carcinogen,” and a study in Japan that had found a 6% incidence of EHS among the population.
Somusho replied that the 2B classification indicated not enough evidence to draw any real conclusions and that cause and effect had not been established for EHS. They brought out a Japanese translation of WHO’s fact sheet No. 296, which recognized symptoms but claimed there was no scientific basis for them.
LEN noted the fact sheet was from 15 years before and pointed out that objective guidelines for diagnosing EHS had been published in 2016 by EUROPAEM, noting that other countries have lower RFR exposure limits than Japan. LEN mentioned Ms. Kato’s own study undertaken with Dr. Olle Johanssen of the Karolinska Institute on challenges faced by the EHS in Japan and a study she had undertaken on the plight of EHS children in Japanese schools adopting wireless technology in classes. They also mentioned Arthur Firstenberg’s concerns about effects of 5G satellites on the global environment and NASA’s concern that weather forecasting could be set back to 1985 levels due to 5G transmissions—all the while Japan is being hit by more and more severe storms each year, such as Typhoon Hagibis which had devastated much of Japan in October 2019.
Sounding more and more nervous, Somusho responded that the higher frequencies of 5G would be safer than what is in current use because they would only heat the skin. They reasserted that “no scientific evidence exists for non-thermal effects, but that Somusho would continue its research into effects.
No Plans to Study, No Testing on the Environment
There were brief responses from the other representatives regarding how their own ministry or office was handling the matter. MHLW said they were responsible for regulating RFR levels in workplace environments, but had no plan to study the EHS problem.
MOE said they were gathering data on effects.
The Cabinet Office reiterated its response to demand (f), which was that they were making efforts for the safe development of space.
LEN asked if phased array radiation, which was being newly adopted for 5G, had been tested and found safe. Somusho replied that 5G’s safety was guaranteed. They admitted more research was needed into EHS.
LEN then asked, “Why has there been no research on EHS when giving tablets to schoolchildren for classes, when as all can see here, the EHS are suffering and can even detect a smartphone?” MHLW replied that they were holding monthly meetings to discuss what matters to focus on, but that no research had been brought to their attention regarding this issue.
LEN asked when Somusho would study EHS, and he replied that they were continuing to study it, to which LEN asked if calcium ion intake by cells via voltage-gated calcium channels was being studied, noting that it was a well-documented effect of RFR exposure.
Somusho said that they were also studying cellular effects but had not found any evidence they considered reliable. Regarding 5G, he said no testing of millimeter waves on the environment was being done, but that studies on animals had shown no thermal effects. In response, LEN cited a long list of studies that had identified numerous other effects, with infertility as an example, on many different organisms.
Next, Gauss Network http://www.gsn.jp/, an NGO studying EMF issues, asked if any research was being carried out beyond one or two years’ duration which could identify longer-term effects. He noted the Precautionary Principle ought to be applied.
Somusho responded, “If solid evidence comes up, we will look into it.”
Gauss Network: “Why not confirm safety before deploying?”
Somusho mumbled a rehash of its talking points. (When caught by the enemy, name rank and serial number.) Several in the audience erupted, “That’s not an answer!”
Do You Have to Do Everything the Same as the US?
LEN then asked, “How will you handle a pandemic of EHS? The Austria Medical Association and EUROPAEM are developing diagnostic criteria for EHS. They are recognizing it.” LEN added, “Is there a reason you have to do everything the same as the US?”
The Somusho representative, visibly sweating, said the organizations Somusho was relying on for evidence (such as the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, ICNIRP https://www.icnirp.org/) were independent. The audience erupted, “No, they’re not!”
A gentleman sitting in the back stood up and introduced himself. After receiving a pacemaker, he said, he had become EHS. “The government tells me it is safe to hold a cellphone as close as 15 cm away. What a joke! I begin feeling effects from one meter away.” He pointed out the need for a safe venue for the EHS. The Wi-Fi on the Shinkansen he had had to ride for 50 minutes from Utsunomiya had been miserable for him. He said that previously doctors had been calling EHS a mental disease, but had recently taken to calling it “tenkan.” (epilepsy). He had served for 20 years as a member of the Utsunomiya City Assembly, but had had to resign last March. On four occasions he had been taken by ambulance to the hospital because of others’ use of cellphones in the assembly hall.
Somusho attempted to reassure the attendees with EHS that Switzerland was monitoring the effects of 5G. They said, “We are also looking into it and will proceed when we get evidence.”
LEN asked how Somusho was gathering information, because there was abundant information available. “Which researchers do you listen to?” she asked.
Somusho replied that there were Japanese researchers. Someone asked “Any doctors among them?” They said, “No doctors involved.”
LEN pointed out that the Cabinet Office had recognized a group that represented the EHS and MCS due to their disabilities, and that even the US was starting to address the problem, “Why not Somusho?”
“If we can confirm anything…” They reasserted the view that 5G’s effects would only be skin-deep.
LEN: “Who determines what constitutes evidence?”
A lady toward the back spoke up, asking “Even if my doctor recognizes the effects on my health, the government won’t? I brought my certificate from my doctor with me saying that I have EHS, but would it mean anything to you?”
Even a Leper Colony Would be an Improvement
Several people gave heart-rending testimonies of their own experiences with EHS. Many in the audience applauded each person who spoke up. One person noted that with the way Somusho was operating human rights could not be guaranteed. One said, “We think you (Somusho) are concealing information.”
One lady described how one day when she was riding on a crowded commuter train, it stopped due to an accident on the line (a nearly daily occurrence in Tokyo). “Everyone’s phones came out all around me. I had chest pain and couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t move. The doors were shut. I couldn’t escape from there. Today, I had to take the train in to be here, and I was terrified the whole time that this could happen again.”
“With 5G we will have no place to escape,” said another. Others described how they could not use hospitals or ambulances because of the high EMF levels.
“EHS is not a mental disorder,” said one. “We are citizens, we have done nothing wrong, and yet we are being forced to suffer like this! Even something like a leper colony for us would be better than this! We could at least recover.”
LEN pointed out that there is an ICD code now for EHS, demonstrating official recognition as an illness, and that therefore it was now wrong to say that no such illness existed. Mr. Boys of LEN had printed out all 90 pages of Dr. Martin Pall’s 5G: Great risk for EU, U.S. and International Health! Compelling Evidence for Eight Distinct Types of Great Harm Caused by Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Exposures and the Mechanism that Causes Them https://peaceinspace.blogs.com/files/5g-emf-hazards--dr-martin-l.-pall--eu-emf2018-6-11us3.pdf, which describes the effects of calcium uptake via the voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) that are activated by exposure to EMFs. Because Somusho had said they were getting most or all of their information from the US, LEN pointed out that only a small percentage of the papers on RFR were from the US or UK, and that while other papers are available in English, most originate from elsewhere, especially Russia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. LEN suggested the representatives look into this, and Japan’s government deepen their research in that direction. (They seemed happy to hear a concrete suggestion on what their ministries and office could do.) Mr. Boys offered to give them his copy. None of the representatives took up his offer, but the Japanese can be hesitant when there are not enough to go around. LEN explained how to find it on the Internet.
Tip of the Iceberg
News of the ministerial meeting made it into major daily newspaper, Tokyo Shimbun[TB2] and its Nagoya parent paper Chunichi Shimbun, the next day, in an article presenting the crux of the citizens’ argument, which was that real concerns exist over the safety of wireless telecommunications, especially 5G, and reporting the government’s responses and arguments. It made no mention at all of the EHS, whose accounts of hardship had dominated the latter half of the meeting. However, it did say specifically that ICNIRP’s independence is being questioned by concerned citizens. This is a huge step forward. The Japanese media have never mentioned this issue before as far as we know, and most of Japan’s citizens assume the technology’s safety has been guaranteed.
To prevent this meeting from being shoved down the memory hole, it will be necessary to plan subsequent actions. Given research showing a 6% incidence of EHS in Japan and the difficulties faced by the EHS attending this meeting in the middle of Tokyo, the next thing that needs to be considered is meeting places that are reasonably close to major population centers and have low enough EMF levels for the sensitive to function at their best. One may be available to Kansai residents in western Japan, with an isolated hamlet in Nara Prefecture offering a haven for the afflicted. It should be possible to come up with something similar near Tokyo.
Going into this meeting, Tony Boys had wanted to discuss concerns about possible effects on the Schumann resonances that could affect all living things, and the author had wanted to minimize discussion of EHS but focus on concerns relevant to society at large. Reports indicate a global fertility crisis centering around Asia that Dr. Martin Pall says will only intensify as 5G is rolled out. This crisis is particularly keenly felt by the authorities in Japan, so it would be a good starting point to get their attention if only we could first get them past their stubborn denial.
However, given that the meeting was overwhelmingly attended by people who really suffered to get their voices heard, in light of the crisis they described and occasional off-the-record comments by local officials we hear indicating that this is really just the tip of the iceberg, and given that the national officials we encountered probably couldn’t tell a Schumann resonance if it ran over them while texting, it would make sense to focus on EHS in Japan for the time. The Japanese are intelligent and well read. They can connect the dots from there.
Furthermore, this isn’t America. Japan has a distinctly different culture, one that values patience, forbearance and suffering. The author and her colleagues thus wish to thank each of the representatives, especially Mr. Watanabe of Somusho, for taking their time to hear our views, for listening politely, and most kindly, staying well past the meeting’s scheduled ending time, allowing many more citizens time to voice their concerns. (Not to mention their valiant defense of the indefensible). We came away with a positive impression of them as people.
We had hoped also to meet with political party representatives, but the Diet was in session, and the EHS were exhausted and needed to return to a safer environment.
Not Just the EHS
The author also wishes to thank her husband, who spared her a four-hour walk until evening rush hour could settle down enough to make train travel feasible, by sitting in their car parked a short distance from the Diet Building. The RFR levels were so high there, the author had to wear her veil to prevent arrhythmia. Afterwards, her husband suffered from anxiety and sky-high blood sugar. Most people being hurt by this have no symptoms that help them identify it readily, and are arguably damaged even more seriously than the “sensitive,” who take action to shield or escape.
Concerns about Strong Electromagnetic Radiation and Health Impacts
5G Cellphone Service Starting This Spring under Government Auspices
Tokyo Shimbun, Saturday, January 25, 2020, Special Report, p. 24
Citizens groups petitioned the government on January 24 to halt the deployment this spring of the new cellphone communication service Fifth Generation Mobile Telecommunications System (5G). They complained that “the safety of the electromagnetic radiation used by 5G has not been sufficiently verified,” but as the Prime Minister cheerleads the promotion of 5G, the government shows no inclination to listen to them.
Filing the petition were about 30 members of the citizen’s organization Life-Environmental Network (LEN, Sapporo). They held a meeting with personnel of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication (Somusho), Cabinet Office and other ministries at the Members’ Office Building of the House of Councillors in Nagata-cho, Tokyo.
The problem as they saw it was the high-frequency electromagnetic radiation to be used for the first time in 5G. While it enables high-speed transmission of large volumes of data, LEN members cited overseas research that raised concerns about its health effects, claiming that with its high energy, increases in skin cancer and loss of vision have been indicated along with ecological damage, and calling for 5G to be halted, health effects to be acknowledged and standards to be set that protect the environment and health.
Journalist Yasuko Kato, who heads the organization expressed doubts, asking the Somusho and other representatives, “Will you try to try to deploy 5G even though its safety remains uncertain?” The filing of this petition was part of a coordinated movement including organizations in various countries. They said an American researcher had published an appeal in 2018 seeking to halt 5G, which had gathered 19,000 signatories, so a movement was organized to appeal to the governments in about 30 countries on or around the 25thof this month.
Somusho and other representatives (at center in back) responding to the petition. –In Nagato-cho, Tokyo
Japan’s government has emphasized the benefits of introducing 5G contrarily to these concerns. Somusho’s data show that first generation (1G) of cellphone service began in Japan in the 1980s, and the maximum speed of transmissions of the current fourth generation (4G) service is 100,000 times faster than at the outset, but 5G will be “100 times faster than current services, allowing a two-hour movie to be downloaded in three seconds.”
Appealing for 5G, they noted that the delay in transmission times when sending or receiving data would be reduced to one-thousandth of a second with 5G, resulting in almost no time lag even when exchanging video data, enabling robots to be used in remote applications such as surgery, disaster response and civil engineering.
They also extolled 5G for being “able to connect all of the devices around us in a network” with the feature of enabling simultaneous connection of many transmitting devices in a limited space.
With the rollout up ahead this spring, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appealed for 5G in a speech on administrative policy on January 20th, saying that telecommunications constitutes the basic infrastructure of the 4thindustrial revolution and that that while looking to 5G and its successors, he would push for innovations. He also said that the main thrust of the party tax system reform would be comprise support for the provision of 5G base stations.
Somusho: ‘No Problems’ / Citizens’ Group: ‘Nothing But Promoting Industry’
Regarding health effects, however, Somusho takes the stance that there are basically no problems.
Deputy Director Nobuhiro Watanabe of Somusho’s Electromagnetic Environment Division, who received the petition replied that the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) had established guidelines on exposures to electromagnetic fields (EMFs), limiting them so as to avoid negative effects from EMFs emitted by transmission towers and cellular phones, saying “There are no negative effects on the human body.”
In response to this, the aforementioned Ms. Kato expressed skepticism, saying, “Somusho is in charge of both promoting and regulating 5G. Can you regulate it properly? In the past, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry was put in charge of both promoting and regulating nuclear energy. This is a similar set up.”
“Relying on an international organization for setting standards is similar,” she said. “It was the ICRP (International Commission on Radiological Protection), who favor promoting industry, that Japan was depending on for its nuclear energy administration. Can’t you see that ICNIRP is completely faithful to industry wishes? After all, it does nothing but promote the industry. We are left in a situation where safety is ignored.”
Translation by Pat Ormsby
Responses of the Government of Japan to the Appeal
Yasuko Kato. News Letter of Life-Environmental Network, No.64. Feb 15, 2020.
Translated by Par Ormsby
January 25, 2020 was a global day of action to call for a halt to 5G as called for by Arthur Firstenberg’s International Appeal: Stop 5G on Earth and in Space (the Appeal). In Japan, about 30 citizens, including several with electrohypersensitivity (EHS) gathered at the Members’ Office Building of the House of Councillors in central Tokyo on the afternoon of Friday, January 24 to exchange views with representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affiars and Communications (Somusho), Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), Ministry of the Environment (MoE) and Cabinet Office.
We had arranged for a room with no wireless LAN and asked the participants to switch off their mobile phones or put them in airplane mode and to refrain from using scented products. When the government representatives entered the room, however, some of the people attending complained of feeling unwell. A lady with EHS seated at the front spoke up, saying “You have your mobile phones switched on, right? I would like you to turn them off.” I had a simple EMF meter which indicated a power density of 0.015 μW/cm2before they turned off their phones, dropping by an order of magnitude afterwards.
We had provided the ministries and Cabinet Office with copies of the Appeal beforehand, requesting responses to the six demands (a) to (f). They had prepared their responses, and we asked the Somusho representative to read them aloud for everyone.
Demand (a) called for a halt to the deployment of 5G on Earth and in space to protect humanity and the Earth’s environment. The government’s response was that electromagnetic radiation (EMR) protection guidelines had been established so as to prevent “thermal effects,” resulting from tissue heating due to EMR exposure. They said, “We do not recognize negative effects on the human body from EMR at or below the standard levels. Therefore we perceive no negative effects of EMR on the human body in normal everyday life.”
Demand (b) called for educating the public on risks to health from EMR and providing reasons and ways to protect themselves from communication devices and facilities. The government’s response was the same as for (a), explaining that there would be no harm in everyday life, and that they were educating the public at explanatory meetings that it was safe for the human body.
Demand (c) called for giving priority to wired communications devices over wireless ones. The government’s responses were, “Wireless communications are not merely infrastructure for mobile phones and such, but play an important role as infrastructure guarding citizens’ lives such as fire and disaster prevention, and police, aviation and marine radio,” and “Trying to promote the utilization of the characteristics and technology of both wired and wireless communications, based on the varied needs for communication will contribute to further convenience in citizens’ lives in the future and socioeconomic development.”
Demand (d) called for prohibition of industry lobbying organizations from influencing government officials. The response was “We are making efforts while ensuring sufficient transparency and fairness.”
Demand (e) called for establishing an impartial international group of scientists to set new international standards that protect the environment and health. The government replied that ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) had established international guidelines and was updating them, and that it officially recognized ICNIRP as an NGO cooperating with the World Health Organization consisting of a group of scientific experts independent of industry. Furthermore, they said that Somusho had studied non-thermal effects but had not obtained any results that would indicated the possibility of such.
Demand (f) addressed the deteriorating environment of space, demanding that any technology deployed in space be sustainable. In response, the government said, “We consider it important to ensure an environment that can be used safely and securely in space through measures such as those against debris in orbit. We will continue to promote the sustainable development and use of space.”
Exchange of Views between Citizens and the Government at the Ministerial Meeting
After the government’s responses had been read, a discussion followed.
Kato: The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recognizes radiofrequency radiation (RFR) as a Class 2B possible carcinogen. How do you perceive this? Have you studied long-term exposure to millimeter waves? You say you are protecting citizens’ health, but at this meeting there are at least ten people with EHS. The rate of EHS in Japan is slightly under 6 percent, in Taiwan it is about 13 percent and in North America, about 10 percent. When promoting development of technology, you should be ensuring its safety at the same time, but do you have any intention of surveying people who claim to be suffering from EHS?
Somusho: Class 2B is a classification indicating insufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in animals. Regarding research on long-term exposures, epidemiological studies are underway, but so far no causal relationship has been identified. As for EHS, WHO Fact Sheet No. 296 says no scientific evidence exists showing a connection between electrohypersensitivity and exposure to electromagnetic radiation. We are continuing to perform research on the effects of EMR on the human body, but have not found anything indicating a causal relationship scientifically. Moreover, the power output of mobile telephones has been decreasing as the technology advances. Based on research results, we think there are no problems with safety.
Kato: Fact Sheet No. 296 was released 15 years ago, and after that, research has advanced. The fact sheet only says that as of 2005, no causal relationship had been demonstrated. Since then, studies have shown that it is possible to distinguish EHS by reduced cerebral blood flow using fMRI to measure it. The Austrian Medical Association released a medical questionnaire in 2013 to distinguish whether symptoms were due to EMR or not. The European Academy for Environmental Medicine released guidelines for diagnosing and treating EHS in 2016. Relying solely on WHO’s factsheet no longer reflects reality. Wouldn’t it be better to update your assessment using more of the latest research?
Also, the power output of mobile phones may be decreasing, but there has been a shift toward higher frequencies, which entail greater risks to human health. EMR protection guidelines allow for up to 1000 μW/cm2at 2 GHz, but the normal range recommended by the Austrian Medical Association is 0.0001 μW/cm2, 10 million times lower. Currently, we are being exposed to much higher levels of EMR, with data showing 8 μW/cm2as measured on the grounds of Stockholm Station in Sweden. Russia possesses the greatest amount of information on EMR and has set a strict standard of 10 μW/cm2from long ago. The Council of Europe says the limit should be set at 0.1 μW/cm2in the future. How do you perceive the state of the latest research or trends overseas?
Addressing the MHLW, I conducted a survey that found about half of the people who had become EHS had been forced to quit their jobs and experienced difficulties in their daily lives. There are also children who have become unable to study when their schools introduced wireless LAN. Are you considering any measures to protect such children?
Addressing the Cabinet Office, this Appeal points out effects on the ozone layer and other issues, and since the time it was written, concerns have emerged regarding radiofrequency interference of weather satellites. There are satellites being managed cooperatively by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the US that use a frequency of 23.8 GHz to obtain data. However, 5G satellites will be using 24 GHz for communications, which will result in radiofrequency interference, resulting in losses of large amounts of data and reductions in accuracies of forecasts by about 30 percent. The US Navy, which uses those data, opposes these 5G satellites. It has been pointed out that weather observation data will be set back to the 1980s’ level, delaying typhoon forecasts by two to three days. Due to climate change, typhoons are becoming larger these days and reaching regions that they never did in the past, resulting in great damage. I think radiofrequency interference of weather satellites should be avoided, but what do you think?
Somusho: It’s true that the frequencies being used are higher than before. This is because lower frequency bands have been used in many technologies, but as technology advances, it has become possible to use higher frequency bands as well. 5G will use a high frequency band, so in 2017 to 18, we studied the safety of EMR in the 6 GHz and higher frequency bands that were expected to be used in 5G. We considered international trends and guidelines for ensuring safety and methods of evaluating compliance, and on the basis of these, revised the ministerial ordinance last May.
EMR at lower frequencies can cause internal heating, but as the frequency increases it has more difficulty penetrating deeply. It is reflected off the surface of the body or warms only the surface, so new guidelines and standards were established to avoid heating of the body’s surface.
As to updating with the latest research, we are aware of no research results indicating electrohypersensitivity (EHS) at this time. ICNIRP includes researchers in many fields and its standards have been adopted by almost all countries.
Cabinet Office: We have insufficient awareness of what kind of effect radiofrequency interference will have on weather satellites. We have learned a lot through this.
Kato: Do you have any plans to investigate the actual situation of the EHS? Has the safety of the millimeter waves and phased arrays used by 5G been established? I want you to tell us, are you trying to introduce technology to the market for which the safety of long-term exposure has not been verified?
Somusho: We will continue to research the effects of EMR on the body and on health, striving to understand them. Regarding 5G, it has been shown scientifically to cause only heating.
MHLW: We have no plans at this time to study EHS.
Kato: Why won’t you study it? Just now you saw someone who could tell whether you had your mobile phones on or off. You should look into why she could tell this, and verify what kinds of symptoms are occurring when Wi-Fi is introduced into workplaces and schools and whether these have any connection to EMR. In determining whether tablets and PCs should be introduced to schools in the future, you need to investigate the actual situation.
MHLW: We have various research themes regarding workers’ health, but no research currently on the health effects of EMR from devices like mobile phones.
Kato: Ecological effects have also been indicated. Is the Ministry of the Environment researching these on its own or verifying safety?
MoE: Mobile phone base stations and EMR are under Somusho’s jurisdiction, so we are not gathering information on the effects of EMR in the general environment.
Participant: For five terms spanning 20 years, I was an Utsunomiya City Council member. About 13 years ago, after receiving a pacemaker, I developed EHS. During the sessions, other people had mobile phones, and this caused me to lose consciousness four times and be taken away in an ambulance. After a single trip to Tokyo Station, I have to sleep three or four days to recover. Wi-Fi has been introduced on the shinkansen recently, so it is miserable for me. It is said that the secretary of one National Diet member suffers from EHS. I want the national government to study this.
Kato: Somusho directs the telecommunications companies while regulating them, so shouldn’t it have different departments for regulating and promoting them, as is done for nuclear energy?
Somusho: Based on the Wireless Telegraphy Act, the Somusho EMR division’s scope of duties is considered to be overseeing licensing and promoting and regulating businesses.
Kato: Previously the Cabinet Office has given me their opinion recognizing both EHS and MCS as disabilities under the Act to Eliminate Discrimination Against the Disabled. They are also recognized as disabilities in the US, and guidelines have been established for buildings that allow people with sensitivities to use them. It seems that Somusho does not want to recognize the existence of EHS, but why do you not follow America’s example?
Somusho: We are regulating EMR on the basis of research and other evidence, and guaranteeing the safety.
Kato: The safety is not guaranteed, and that is why we have this situation now. You say that EMR is reflected off the skin, but humans have electrical conductive properties.
Somusho: Not all of it is reflected. Some is absorbed.
Kato: In Denmark, it was found that when expectant mothers used mobile phones during pregnancy, it increased the risk of developmental disorders in their children. The Italian Supreme Court recognized a suit brought by a worker who had developed a brain tumor as a result of workplace exposure. Why are abnormalities occurring deep within the body?
Somusho: We were discussing 5G EMR, so the point was surface warming would occur, but in lower frequency bands, the EMR would penetrate deeply, raising the temperature inside the body.
Kato: Okay, does that mean that current mobile phones are dangerous?
Somusho: We have established regulations that establish standard values to avoid danger.
Kato: Is it not possible to sell mobile phones in Japan or abroad that do not meet the standards?
Somusho: Of course not!
Kato: Even so, brain tumors and fetal abnormalities are occurring.
Somusho (taken aback): According to research Somusho has conducted and international research, no basis is recognized for such effects.
Kato: What would it take to have you recognize EMR as the cause? Would seeing a diagnosis convince you? Or seeing symptoms in those situations?
Somusho: We are incapable of judging diseases, so we ask doctors’ opinions and judge on that basis.
Participant: I have EHS, I feel terrible pain in my eyes, and my mouth goes dry. What is your view regarding the danger to a person like me being constantly bathed in EMR from a base station erected nearby?
Somusho: Effects of EMR on the eyes have been studied, and it is thought that cataracts may be a thermal effect. Because the eyelids are present, EMR does not reach inside the body
Participant: I was riding the Keihin Kyuko commuter train when the signal mechanism malfunctioned and the train stopped. All at once many passengers around me started using their mobile phones, and I experienced respiratory distress and had trouble breathing. After that I developed panic disorder and became unable to ride the train. I made the effort to come out here today worried about what I would do if I had trouble breathing again today. When 5G service starts, there will be no place to escape it.
Participant: For the past 20 years I have lived with fibromyalgia, with pains in bones throughout my body and pain so severe I could pass out from it, causing me to be bed-ridden in my Tokyo apartment. At the outset, I didn’t realize there was a mobile phone base station nearby. I developed EHS and multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS). My legs are weak, so I fled in my wheelchair to the mountains, like a fly-by-night. I rented a place among resort condos, 90% of which are uninhabited. I switched off the circuit breaker and live in the dark without air conditioning or refrigeration. I have MCS too, so there are fewer and fewer things I can wear or eat, but I have somehow survived thus far. The fluorescent lighting here is painful for me and it has taken me a year and a half to work up to being able to ride the train. When 5G starts up, I don’t know where I can go. I am dealing with a number of intractable diseases, but I cannot enter a hospital so I am arranging for my primary care doctor to visit me outside the hospital. Other doctors refuse to understand my needs, so even if I hurt my feet, I cannot take an ambulance. I think people like me are being denied our right to receive medical care. While I deal with so many ailments, I will not be able to ride the shinkansen because of the Wi-Fi. Please tell me how I can get to a hospital, how can I receive treatment?
Somusho: I am aware of the disease by the name of EHS, but there are still points that are not clear about how these effects are caused, so we propose to continue studying it.
Kato: We ask you to take this problem seriously and face up to the harm being done. Thank you for your time today.