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