The mystery of Dr Yamashita in the Light of Operation Peppermint

“Insisting that it was important to avoid frightening Fukushima residents over radiation exposure, Dr Yamashita gave speeches saying, “there is no data that shows that the risk of cancer increases with exposure of less than 100 mSv per year”, “radiation doesn’t affect people who smile”, and “this is a state of emergency…as responsible citizens we should rest assured in following the government’s line.” These comments had the unintended effect of greatly increasing distrust and unease.

Dr Yamashita’s comments are consistent with the position of the Japanese government, which had previously forced the “duty of endurance” onto its citizens in a state of emergency during the Asia-Pacific War. In 1980 at the Conference on Basic Problems Regarding Measures for A-bomb Victims following demands from hibakusha groups for compensation, the then Ministry of Welfare determined that, “In war, a state of emergency into which the nation enters over its very fate, it is the duty of the citizen to sacrifice life, person and property; this means that all citizens must endure war time sacrifices equally.”15 The Japanese government has merely replaced “war damage” with “radiation exposure” as the duty of endurance this time.” (Source: The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 23, No. 1. June 10, 2013. “Scientists and Research on the Effects of Radiation Exposure: From Hiroshima to Fukushima” Sawada Shoji, Translated by Jason Buckley)

Operation Peppermint.

” World War II – 1940’s

There were two key factors leading up to WW II that required the development of ruggedized portable radiation instruments. The first was the concern that the Germans would lace the beaches of Normandy with radioactive materials to deter U.S. and Allied landing teams and was code named Operation Peppermint. The second was intelligence that Germans would mark their anti-tank mines with radioactive materials so they could easily identify where they were buried and was code named Project Mamie.

In 1942, the U.S. was concerned that the Germans were making progress on either an atomic bomb or production of radioactive materials. The U.S. initiated a program of high priority in late 1942 to develop portable radiation instruments for field use. The two primary contributors were the Metallurgical Lab (Met Lab) in Chicago and the Victoreen Instrument Company. By 1943, several instruments were developed for field use and evaluation. Victoreen provided 48 instruments. The instrument ranges were 0-10 R/day (24 units) and 0-200 R/h (24 units). The units were positioned at several locations around the U.S. with instructions for use. The remaining instruments were left at the Met Lab for use by scientists in the event of a radioactive attack. The scientists would assist in measurements and interpretation of the data. The programs primary concern, however, was in the event of an atomic bomb attack on a U.S. city. One indication of a large scale attack would be the blackening of x-ray films. Operation Peppermint was the U.S. military response to the potential of radioactive materials being used against US forces invading Europe at Normandy beaches. The thought was that the beaches would be laced with radioactive materials to deter or slow the beach invasion. Fortunately radioactive materials were not used during the invasion.

The U.S. decided to brief the British of the possible use of radioactive materials by the Germans and instructed on how to identify it. They were also given a few radiation detection instruments. European Commands were instructed to report any fogging of x-ray film. The small team trained with the instruments would respond and investigate any unusual fogging incidents.

General Groves decided to info the General Eisenhower, Commanding General, Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force of the possible use of radioactive materials by the Germans during the invasion. Major Peterson was dispatched to the United Kingdom to brief General Eisenhower. He was briefing in Apr 1944. In order to prepare U.S. troops, a plan code named Peppermint was developed. Three aspects were included:

1. Centralization of all detection equipment.

2. Establishment of a method for the initial detection.

3. Effective channels for reporting to Headquarters.

Participating Commands were instructed to report unusual film fogging, certain clinical symptoms and medical cases. The British soon followed suit. The British agreed to employ the Cavendish Laboratories at Cambridge University to assist in identifying the type of radioactive material.

The equipment deployed to Britain included 1500 film packets, 11 survey meters, and 1 Geiger counter. Additional equipment consisting of 1500 film packets, 25 survey meters and 5 Geiger counter were kept in reserve in the U.S. Commercial companies were also completing the development of an additional 200 survey meters and 25 Geiger counters.

Dry runs were conducted prior to the Normandy invasion to test the equipment and provide field experience for the deploying personnel. Bombed areas along the coast of England were surveyed for radioactive materials but none found. ” Source:


TO: Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments
FROM: Advisory Committee Staff
DATE: June 28, 1994
RE: Historical Background on Radiological Warfare and Human Experiments

Military research in the area of Radiological Warfare was one possible motive behind human radiation experiments. Many, if not most of the human experiments being studied by the staff had more than one purpose, as so-called dual-use experiments. It is possible,
though not yet proven, that some of the human experiments were primarily inspired by military interest in RW. It is certain that the majority of the intentional releases described in the November 1993 GAO report were directly related to RW research. The purpose of this memorandum is to provide some brief historical background on RW
and its possible relation to human radiation experiments.

Interest in RW began with the Manhattan Project also known as “Manhattan Engineer District” or “MED” in 1942. That year, when the National Academy of Sciences assessed the potential military value of atomic energy, RW was ranked first in importance, above the less-certain prospect of a fission bomb. When the Medical Division
of the MED was established in spring 1943, research on the offensive and defensive uses of radiological agents was included in its charter. One early result of this interest was the so-called Compton Report of summer 1943, “Radiation as a War Weapon,” a version of which was included in the previous Briefing Book. The idea at that time was to spread fission products from a nuclear reactor upon the
ground as a crude “area denial” weapon. Another idea, entertained briefly in 1943 by Robert Oppenheimer and Berkeley physicians Joseph Hamilton and Robert Stone, two of those subsequently involved in the plutonium injection story, was to put a radiological agent like
strontium in the enemy’s food and water supply. (See Hamilton’s report to Groves of May 1943, “Review of Possible Applications of Fission Products in Offensive Warfare.” )

By early 1944, when it was believed likely that the atomic
bomb would work, Army interest in RW shifted to a defensive program, code named “Operation Peppermint, ” which centered upon the possible threat of German use of RW agents against the Allied invasion of Europe. After June 1944, when it became clear that the German atomic program posed no threat, interest in RW began to decline.

However, interest revived in summer 1946, when results of the “Baker” test at Bikini, a 20-kiloton atomic bomb set off underwater as part of “Operation Crossroads,” alarmed and excited those interested in RW, as related in a recent book by Jonathan Weisgal. Unexpectedly, “Baker” proved to be a radiological nightmare: the contamination problem was much worse than the Navy had anticipated, both for ships and for people. Shortly after “Baker,” the Joint
Chiefs completed a secret study pointing out the offensive potential of an atomic bomb set off underwater in a port city. The study emphasized that, in addition to the highly-radioactive “base surge” from the weapon, the radioactive mist from the explosion would travel far inland and kill many people. Accordingly, after “Baker,” RW experienced a renaissance; the interest this time, however, was in
radioactive aerosols. Joseph Hamilton’s December 1946 report on RW, which urged Nichols to establish a civilian advisory board on RW “of men trained in the medical and biological sciences,” is attached as Document #1. end quote

Source: Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments to the President of the United States,

The historic record shows that reactor effluent was considered a AAA priority asset early in the Manhattan Project. If the atomic bomb had not worked, the USA had plans to use bombs and artillery shell packed with reactor effluent and explosive against the enemy. Hamilton suggested radio strontium for this purpose.

Plans were made to protect US troops and civilians against a Nazi attack of a similar nature.

The Normandy landings were considered vulnerable to Nazi radiological attack and rational steps were taken to detect and counteract any such use of radioactive poisons by the Nazis.

In both the above cases, the substances considered most dangerous were those produced in quantity by nuclear reactors.

Even though the Nazi radiological threat did not eventuate, the Allies took rational steps to counter the threat to produce such weapons themselves.

At no stage were allied troops or civilians told that the best defense against such a threat as nuclear reactor effluent spread over an area was to smile and be happy.

I wonder where Dr Yamashita gets his information from.

Someone just told me that “Yama” in English means Bull.

%d bloggers like this: