One of the big headlines of past week was that "the tap water in Tokyo is not safe for children".
Well, not for Japanese children, that is. In one of the water plants in Tokyo, the radioactivity was 210 Bq/l. Is this a lot? In Japan, it is, so much that there is a national scare, because the limit of 200 Bq/l is exceeded.
But in Finland the safe limit for municipal water plants is 300 Bq/l, and for private water sources it is 1000 Bq/l. In reality, drilled wells in souther Finland typically exceed this by many times, with the natural radiation of groundwater radon in Western Uusimaa region being on the average between 1000 and 10 000 Bq/l. This is because of the radioactivity in the Finnish rock ground.
So, once again, you might be scared in Japan but running away to be somewhere else is not necessarily a whole lot safer, because that Evil Radiation is everywhere, so easily measurable.
Now, there really could be some serious problems with radiation in Japan. But how do we know? Because our major newspapers are like boys who cry wolf, they're not very believable. I suppose something worse than this tapwater scare will come out, but it's still going to be dwarfed by the natural disaster of earthquake and tsunami, as well as the collapse of the hydroelectric dam in the neighbourhood - of which we're not hearing anything, because no one is interested, because it is not nuclear.
On the other side of the Sea of Japan there is some more serious trouble.