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Japan radiation readings getting a brighter spotlight

For months, citizen scientists in Japan have been trying to shine a brighter public spotlight on radiation readings from the region surrounding the Fukushima nuclear disaster site, in part because there was so little information coming from the Japanese government in the days following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that touched off the crisis.

Now Yahoo Japan is adding to that spotlight by offering a map-centric database of readings via

Kyodo News Service quotes an official from Yahoo Japan as saying that the beta service displays data gathered at 11 locales, including Tokyo, Nihonmatsu in Fukushima Prefecture, Sendai and the city of Chiba. More observation points will be added in the future, the official is quoted as saying.

These readings, updated every five minutes, are in addition to the less frequent radiation measurements reported by the Japanese government.

Sean Bonner, a Los Angeles-based organizer for the non-governmental Safecast radiation-monitoring project, said his group is making a significant contribution to Yahoo Japan's service — even though it wasn't acknowledged in the Kyodo report.

"It says the data was collected by Keio University, but in fact it's the data that we (Safecast) collected and Keio is helping with," Bonner told me in an email. "It's the same data that we are displaying on our site, and was collected with the devices we designed and installed."

More about radiation in Japan:

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