Radiation on Okinawa

I’ve had a few emails and comments asking whether Okinawa is affected by the radiation leaks from the nuclear power plants in Fukushima.

Short Answer: NUCLEAR RADIATION LEAKS DO NOT AFFECT THOSE LIVING IN OKINAWA. PLEASE DO NOT WORRY.

Longer Answer: The “Fukushima Fifty”, Japanese engineers who are at the plant trying to control the nuclear reactors, are I imagine in very real danger. People within 13 miles of the plant have been told to leave the area. People between 13 and 19 miles have been told to stay indoors. People in cities not far from the plant may receive higher than background amounts of radiation, but nothing that is considered dangerous. Okinawa is over 1000 miles from the radiation leak and well out of harms way even in a worse case scenario.

Distance from Okinawa to Sendai

About travel67

Travel writer and photographer living in Okinawa, Japan
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54 Responses to Radiation on Okinawa

  1. Janne says:

    And just to make it even more clear: People in Sendai are safe, as are people in Tokyo, pretty much no matter what happens with the reactors at Fukushima I. Here’s a map showing the precise location: Fukushima I.

  2. river1023 says:

    How are the 2/24 Marines doing on camp schwab?????

  3. NONAME says:

    I FIND this very hard to believe. I believe there is a hush, hush on this whole thing so there isn’t a panic.

    • NONAME says:

      I TOTALLY agree with you! They lied and told the people not to worry days ago, and it’s way out of control! I AGREE also about them keeping it hush to not panic the public!

      My advise to anyone reading this and that has involvement in this mess is to ICE those plants, or use nitro!

      Come on now people are dying. Don’t you think they deserve the truth? Telling these good people also that staying indoors is going to keep them safe is as obserd~! Makes me ill!

      • Deanna McAlister Hosea says:

        No wonder you chose NONAME…it’s “advice” not “advise” and “absurd” not “obsurd”. Good grief.

        I know the death rate from radiation poisoning is alarming right now. No, wait. There haven’t been any deaths. People are dying because their trapped in all of the carnage from the earthquake and tsunami.

        So, what I would like to know is…when Three Mile Island happened…#1 were you born yet, #2 did you evacuate the United States and #3 if the answer to #2 is “no” then WHY NOT?!

      • Susan A. says:

        What is the probability of fresh food,meat, dairy and fish contamination in Okinawa from the by products of this radiation leak in mainland Japan? We are planning a trip to Naha in October as tourist-non military and are worried about possible food shortages or prices so high for food that it would make the trip cost be prohibitive. Does anyone have any a feel for what might happen with this issue?

      • travel67 says:

        Nothing to worry with regards to nuclear radiation in Okinawa. By the way, October is a fantastic time to visit Okinawa. It’s not as humid as in the summer months, but the ocean is still warm for snorkeling or diving.

    • NONAME says:

      I’m WITH YOU ON this one! Because, the troops who suppose to PCS out there next month, have ALL been halted. If it’s so safe why would the Military with hold those orders?

      • MilWifey says:

        The travel has been halted, not because of the radiation, but because the government is broke. Japan is very expensive to move to and from, both mil and non-mil. I bet it is only a matter of time before the halt all overseas PCS.

    • Francesca says:

      I totally agree with you, My daughter is a Marine in Camp Schwab, and they have her convinced everything is fine!!

      • Deanna McAlister Hosea says:

        Everything IS fine. We live on Camp Lester. Your daughter has nothing to worry about. If your concern is radiation there are no issues whatsoever. We are too far away. If your concern is regarding PCSes…there has been a “stop movement” ordered because Congress has not decided on the budget. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with the recent natural disasters on the mainland. People PSCing OCONUS to CONUS and CONUS to OCONUS…if they have orders they are PCSing. We are expected to leave in July. Because of the stop movement they are telling people not to expect order more than 30 days out…compared to the usual 6 months. They are trying to refrain from the CONUS to CONUS moves. If they can delay those PCSes it will reduce the cost.

  4. Sherri Simmons says:

    I’m worried about my daughter and her family in Okinawa….I hope they are safe in case there is a melt-down at the power plants on main-land Japan….My heart hurts for all of the people that have been affected by the earthquake and tsunami..The Japanese people are some of the nicest people ever. It is such a tragedy, and the Japanese people are having to endure so much, on top of everything, the very cold weather…

    • Bren says:

      I live in Oki and my husband is deployed and my son left days before the Tsunami. I have been in contact with several military personal in Oki and they said that they are safe from radiation. My parents and I are terrified for my son and I to go back, but I have no choice. Since I am in the States I have been hearing that anyone getting stationed to Okinawa, their orders are being cancelled and non essential personnal that are already on island, are getting relocated. why them only?, I dunno. The people of Japan are very nice and I pray that everyone affected by this tragedy recover some how and anyone that can help,please do. Please volunteer if u are close by,donate or even just pray.

      • Deanna McAlister Hosea says:

        There is no issue with radiation here. The hospital and surrounding commands are prepared to receive 7,500 evacuees from the mainland. That has not been necessary at this point. If it were dangerous they would not be evacuating TO Okinawa.

        To put into perspective…

        Three Mile Island…they didn’t evacuate the east coast all the way over past Texas. They only evacuated the immediate area. Fukushima Daiichi is the same level as 3MI. Okinawa is in NO danger. So, no need to worry! :) Hope this helps. BTW…we’ve lived here almost three years a little less than half a mile from the East China Sea.

        I have two emails, one from the CO of the hospital and one from the SECNAV. If you would like them I can email them to you or you can facebook me. I’ve posted them there. You can look me up under Deanna McAlister Hosea. It’s hard to explain the stop movement and non-essential personnel. But, they’re not moving non-essential personnel off of the island. It is totally safe to come back; however, I’m sure they’ll re-route you from the mainland somehow.

  5. Deanna McAlister Hosea RN says:

    Cell phones could be used within hours after the earthquake and tsunami. Everyone on Okinawa is fine. We are in NO DANGER from radiation at this time. We are OVER 1,000 miles away from the epicenter. The evacuation zone is 30 km (or not quite 20 miles) from Daiichi. Being over 1,000 miles away…we are fine. We were evacuated from housing due to the tsunami warning on Friday night. I live on Camp Lester by the hospital less than 1/2 mile from the beach on the East China Sea side.

  6. Josh says:

    Why not drop liquid nitrogen on the nuclear plant to seal it??
    I live in Okinawa and concerned that the reactors may meltdown. Please Please answer this email..thanks

    • travel67 says:

      Hi Josh,
      Although not as cold, sea water is more readily available than liquid nitrogen. I guess that is why they are using it to try and cool the reactor.
      If you are living in Okinawa then you should be out of harms way even in the even of a meltdown of all the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi . From what I have read, this is a very different situation to what occurred at Chernobyl back in 1986.

      • NONAME says:

        This whole sea water thing is a joke. It’s like spitting on a 10 foot man come on now people!

  7. yumemakura says:

    I am a little perplexed about the attitudes of Americans and others who are showing a big concern about radiation hazards at Fukushima nuclear plants. I thought they felt Japanese who cry loud about nuclear disasters at Hiroshima and Nagasaki overly anxious. Now Americans are overly anxious about the hazard.

    • travel67 says:

      Hi Yumemakura,

      Thank you for the comment Yumemakura. I think the problem is more to do with the availability of accurate information along with generalizations and hyperbole by some of the media. If a person outside of the country hears on the news that a 10 meter tsunami has devastated Japan, or that several nuclear reactors in Japan may go into meltdown, they will of course be worried. If you combine this with knowledge that your children or grandchildren are stationed somewhere in Japan, but not sure of the exact location or its proximity to the disaster you will of course be extremely anxious.

      Perhaps people worry about radiation hazards more because they are unknown variables, you can’t see or feel the threat like you can with hunger, the cold, or homelessness. You don’t know when it’s affecting you, or by how much, or what the long term effects might be. As for Hiroshima and Nagasaki, people around the world see this as a terrible tragedy, and Japan is not alone in hoping that the world will one day be free of nuclear weapons.

      • Deanna McAlister Hosea says:

        travel67 I think that’s an excellent answer. I am an only child over here with an only grandchild. My parents are still anxious. I received an email from our CO and MCB Commanding General that Okinawa is perfectly safe as of right now.

        Military personnel in Yokosuka are being given the OPTION of leaving. And, if they are in Yokosuka I don’t know why Yokota and Atsugi would not also be given the same option if they haven’t already. I haven’t heard.

  8. NONAME says:

    People need to WAKE up and see what’s happenng and STOP telling each other out there that their going to be fine. H E L L O your about to hit 6 the atomic bomb goes off at 7 people! Get OUT OF THERE! Don’t be so nieve.

    • Deanna McAlister Hosea says:

      They’re at level 5…where Three Mile Island was in 1979. I’m sure you know the evacuation radius during that time, right?

    • Deanna McAlister Hosea says:

      And, seriously…it’s “naive”.

      Did they evacuate Russia during Chernobyl in 1986? I can’t remember.

  9. kaitlyn says:

    I agree that the information is tainted. As far as the poster who made claims about the Americans down playing the nuclear bomb after effects of hiroshima and nagasaki, I agree with you, twenty or thirty years ago. The Americans today that are 50 years old and younger are not that naive. We have been taught that the devastating effects of the bombs we dropped were devastating. We ALL, both sides could sit in judgement of what our forefathers have done in the past. ie, Pearl Harbor. But, that is not productive. Don’t you think? I would think that it is in Americas best interest to get families out of harms way as fast as they can. Do you think they want the nightmare of radiation sickness care for that amount of people? It would surpass the cost of an emergency evacuation by millions of dollars over a period of years. The families could class action against government for not acting responsibly on their behalf. (although military members can not take legal action the dependents most certainly can and will) folks trust me, they are not going to keep you there. Watch your base commanding staff. If their families start heading out, I suggest you run do not walk to the nearest point of embarkation and flee. Just my humble opinion. I worry about supplies ie, food and goods on Okinawa if all of the evacuees are located there. Rumor has it that the shelves are already bare. How true that is, only they would know. Get everything in order to make your evac smooth. Pack a go bag now! Don’t wait. Prepare for the worst and be ready to move when word goes out. Our family and extended family former military ourselves have already started collecting funds from all in the event we need to assist our family stationed there to get out. It is important to keep this communication up. This is the only way you will get varying reports. If you find that you have gone into a “river city” type of condition, then get out. Remember that people (human nature) will embellish all of these reports before passing them on. All of you here should be proactive and go with your gut feelings. Keep your eyes open and watch the base activity, you know what I am talking about. If things seem strange then you react.

  10. Deanna McAlister Hosea says:

    There are no bare shelves on Kadena or Foster. That is definitely a rumor.

    There are people that are voluntarily evacuating from the mainland. Some of them are evacuating TO Okinawa. So, they’re not going to evacuate people to a place they think needs to be evacuated itself.

    It’s business as usual here. My gut feeling is there is absolutely nothing wrong. I’m not saying that can’t change. But, right now…everything is fine.

  11. travel67 says:

    My friend Damon Coulter who is currently photographing the devastation from the tsunami just put up a post titled Focus (another good title would have been perspective).

    Please read

    http://sungypsy.wordpress.com/2011/03/19/focus/

  12. Pingback: Is it safe to travel to okinawa? (after Mar 11 Sendai Tsunami & earth quake) | Hello Okinawa!

  13. Chris Skubal says:

    Wondering how quick could the radiation get to Okinawa? I have grandchildren there and one of them with special needs. Their father my son is state side. I worry about getting them stateside.

  14. Chris Skubal says:

    Please notify me of follow up comment via email. Son state side. Grandchildren in Okinawa one is special needs. How quick could the radiation get to Okinawa?

    • Deanna McAlister Hosea says:

      There are no radiation issues on Okinawa whatsoever. Nothing is happening. They are evacuating people TO Okinawa if they need to be evacuated.

    • Deanna McAlister Hosea says:

      There is no issue with radiation here. The hospital and surrounding commands are prepared to receive 7,500 evacuees from the mainland. That has not been necessary at this point. If it were dangerous they would not be evacuating TO Okinawa.

      To put into perspective…

      Three Mile Island…they didn’t evacuate the east coast all the way over past Texas. They only evacuated the immediate area. Fukushima Daiichi is the same level as 3MI. Okinawa is in NO danger. So, no need to worry! :) Hope this helps. BTW…we’ve lived here almost three years a little less than half a mile from the East China Sea.

  15. Chris Skubal says:

    Thanks to all for the feed back.

  16. Sandy says:

    I just wanted to mention that Monday and Tuesday of this week Camp Foster Commissary was closed for inventory. Last week they let their shelves get slightly bare for inventory purposes. This could have caused a rumor to start. We have plenty of safe food here on Okinawa. I have a report stating that we have zero extra radiation in our air or water. Due to the direction of the wind, we are slightly safer than California.

    • kaitlyn says:

      Sandy thank you dear for that information. the person who told me via email is pretty reliable. So I was perplexed when there was a post that said the contrary. However, what you said make perfect sense. I feel better now that all of our families will have adequate supplies.

  17. Kevin Wong says:

    I am planning to travel to Okinawa to visit my girlfriend come April, and one of my biggest problems right now is trying to convince my parents that Okinawa is safe from the radiation coming from Fukushima Daiichi plant. Can some nice person please confirm on these suspicions?

    Also, there’s been talks about tap water filled with radiation, and certain types of food in Japan that should not be eaten due to the radiation; is Okinawa affected by this as well? From my logic, there seems to be no problems in Okinawa in terms of the contaminated water since by the time it reaches the island the contaminated water should be dilluted by sea water.

    I know I may have answered my questions, but I need other people’s point of view so I can convince my dad that the news may say “Japan” but that doesn’t include “Okinawa”.
    Thank you

    • travel67 says:

      HI Kevin,
      Send your dad a link to this blog! Everything is fine on Okinawa.

      • Deanna McAlister Hosea says:

        Mainland Japan has nothing to do with us. We are over 1,000 miles away. You can also tell your dad that they’ve evacuated 29 pregnant women along with their families and relocated them to Okinawa so they can receive their care here. They wouldn’t do that if it wasn’t safe here.

        Tap water issue is also mainland. The only problem you’ll have is getting here. They’re not flying through the mainland to and from Okinawa yet.

      • Kevin Wong says:

        Thank you very much for all these information Chris and Deanna. It’s been a great help and a pleasure to meet you fine people. Hopefully I could meet you guys some day.

  18. travel67 says:

    Here’s another useful link for those worried about radiation.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-12860842

    Chris

  19. NONAME says:

    If it’s so safe there then explain to me and others who were given orders to PCS there next month, and all orders have been put on hold?

  20. NONAME says:

    The reason I’m saying that is because of what I wrote above, how ALL pcs orders have been put on hold!!! We know of 4 friends, Military affiliated have had to postpne things now because of the hold on pcs orders to Japan in general. I say someone is lying, and that’s sad that so many innocent people are being led to believe their going to be okay and not worry about this what so ever. If there were nothing WRONG AT ALL they would continue with the orders given to PCS and life would move along, but this is not the issue at hand right now. I wonder why that would be, what do you think?

    • Deanna McAlister Hosea says:

      There’s a “stop movement” mainly because Congress hasn’t done their job and decided on the budget. It’s too expensive to move people around. Definitely now, given what’s happened, it’s cost-prohibitive to continue PCSes. What I’ve heard is the “stop movement” only applies to the mainland. Okinawa is in NO danger whatsoever. I do have a copy of an email from the CO of the hospital posted…

      Team,

      I know that most of you are tuned in to CNN and know the status of Operation

      TOMADACHI in mainland Japan. I also know there is a lot of speculation and rumors.

      Most of the operations that are being discussed center around 100 nautical miles(NM) from the nuclear site. We are over 1100 miles away from the affected area.

      Let me provide you an update on USNH Okinawa operations.

      FOR OUR STAFF:

      – First, be patient. As we get information, we will pass it along.

      – Second, we are functioning under normal operations.

      – Over the weekend, we provided some support to III MEF as they began their planning efforts in support of the Government of Japan. We provided some supplies and pharmaceuticals.

      – Early this week, we began communications with United States Forces Japan (USFJ), and have offered assistance. USFJ is located at Yokota Air Base about an hour and a half from Tokyo. If anything, we have a supporting role. We were also asked if we could provide some mental health support, two psychologists and two technicians, for Misawa Air Base. However, we have not received any official tasker for this support.

      – We have also received a “prepare order” for a preventive medicine tech and a radiation health tech to support 7th Fleet. Great opportunity! No word yet on the deployment order.

      – Today, we participated in our first teleconference with PACOM, USFJ, 7th Fleet, etc. The focus, again, is on the 100 NM area around the nuclear facility. There is a lot of planning and discussion being done at higher levels and lots of scenarios being considered. As they develop, we will pass the word.

      FOR OUR WARRIORS AND FAMILIES:

      – There have been rumors of needing emergency passports. We are not processing emergency passports. Normal operations. Emergency requests should go through the Consulate.

      – There are concerns being expressed from staff and families about radiation safety. Remember, we are over 1100 miles away from the nuclear power plant. Our public health officials are monitoring the situation and there is absolutely no increased health risk to people living and working in Okinawa.

      – Patient’s wanting Potassium Iodine. There is no need to prescribe. We are not in the affected area.

      – Remember, when the news media is talking about Japan they are referring to mainland, not Okinawa.

      We will continue to stay in touch with PACOM and the base emergency operations center. As we get information we will pass it along. We have set up a bulletin board to post information and answer some of the rumors.

      I hope this lengthy post will further clear up what’s going on here on Okinawa, which is…as we said…nothing. The people on the mainland are the ones we need to worry about.

      We (at the hospital) have provided room and board for 25 pregnant women and their families. If Okinawa were in danger they would not be sending them here.

  21. John Davis says:

    What worries me is if there is an earthquake in Okinawa and the nuclear fuel and armaments stored on US bases here goes up.

  22. Tashema says:

    Thank you all so much, this site has really put me at ease. My husband and I have orders to Okinawa. I was very happy to go over there until the disaster on mainland took place, however reading this blog has put me at ease a little more.

    Does anyone know anything about III MEF. Do they deploy all the time?

  23. Marine wife says:

    My daughters and I were suppose to leave to Okinawa sometime in May. To catch up with hubby. Got approved with orders. Haven’t gotten the ok since the tsunami. Does any one know how long the halted it will be for or each situation is different. Tmo is suppose to come on may 3rd and I’m going crazy trying to figure out what’s going to happen. Hubby is doing balikatan so have no communication with him either.

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