Dr.Teruo Higa’s
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#62: The Asahi Newspaper’s Misguided Reports About EM

When the Ocean Day holiday approaches, the Asahi Newspaper seems to be a newspaper company that has a tendency to bash EM. Last year, too, it published a conversation with an Environmental Studies professor at Yokkaichi University, one based not on tests but on conjecture, as well as the farfetched arguments of the Fukushima Environmental Bureau, which ignored tests conducted on site and claimed that since the BOD of Activated EM is high, the water quality will be adversely affected if it is poured into rivers. Both of these reports in the Asahi were treated as if they were reasonable arguments, and this sort of negative publicity cast doubt on the use of EM and EM Mudballs on Ocean Day.

I confirmed that the professor in the above report from last August had not personally investigated sites where EM had been used, and then I complained about this to the staff at the Asahi Newspaper. I told them they should participate in the “Clean Environment Circle Meeting in Yokkaichi City, Mie Prefecture,” and check out the situation. The Asahi replied that the writer of the article could not attend, but they would send responsible personnel from their staff. But after this, we heard nothing from them.

And this year on July 3, there appeared in both the print and digital editions of the newspaper an article entitled “Improving Water Quality: Classes in Aomori about EM Microbes Without Verifying its Results.” This article called EM “unscientific” and said “there are many reports denying its effect in cleaning water.” The comments of Prof. Makoto Kikuchi of Osaka University criticizing EM as unscientific were appended to the article.

As luck would have it, this article was the top news report on Yahoo! Japan. On the one hand I was impressed that EM’s name recognition had climbed this high, but on the other hand I was disgusted with this sort of annoying article. On July 11 in the Aomori regional edition of the newspaper there was another article bashing EM entitled “Three Towns Encourage their Citizens to Use EM Microbes Despite Questions about its Scientific Effectiveness.”

Ironically, two days after the July 3rd report saying that “there are many reports denying its effect in cleaning water,” on July 5th an article appeared in the Kumamoto Nichinichi Newspaper reporting on a volunteer group, the Seseragi (Brook)Association of Kawachi-machi, Nishi-ku, Kumamoto City, which had been awarded the Green Ribbon Award for its efforts using EM to clean up rivers, something they did so well that fireflies and ayu (sweetfish) returned to them. Because the award is given to people who have served society and beautified the environment over a long period of time, in the case of organizations the group must be active for about twenty years or more. The article discussed the reasons for the award and showed a photograph of the main members, and constitutes a clear response to the Asahi article of July 3. The Asahi report is by people who do not understand the character of EM and how to apply it, and was complied by those who cannot fully appreciate the results of using EM. There were a few other negative reports, but compared to the numerous reports of successes using EM, I can say they are within the margin of error.

In cases in Okayama Prefecture and Hiroshima Prefecture, people simply added EM to septic tanks and water cisterns. The basic method of applying EM to purify water involves adding more EM if you don't initially see results, and keeping on adding it to increase the concentration of EM until results are seen. That is why I have made public a method anyone can employ to use inexpensive materials--rice-rinsed water, rice bran, molasses, even waste matter--to increase EM, and with numerous volunteers helping out, we have never had a failure in applying EM in actual sites.

Over 50% of the elementary and middle schools in Okayama Prefecture use EM to clean their school swimming pools, and the Animal Husbandry Division of the Federation of Economic Organizations uses EM to clean drinking water for farm animals, which has been a longstanding problem, and has been proactively using EM. After reporting that EM is not effective, the mass media in Hiroshima Prefecture have, as in Fukushima Prefecture, refrained from such reporting. But since the actual results have been so marked, and EM activities in neighboring Okayama Prefecture have been so widespread, Chugoku Broadcasting and the Chugoku Newspaper, the regional media outlets, are now widely reporting about EM.

The report from Mie Prefecture did not include the most critical biological research. I myself have witnessed this experiment, and have seen a clear reduction in sludge, an increase in types of seaweed, and an increase in biodiversity and abundance, but the report does not touch on these at all, and this has become an issue taken up by the prefectural assembly.

In Mie Prefecture four golf courses are been operating entirely with EM, and some spots downstream from the courses have become well known for their fireflies. Asechi River in Yokkaichi City, previously muddy and foul smelling, now runs clear, many ayu fish have returned, and EM is being actively used in Yokkaichi City not only to clean the environment but in farming as well.

Yokkaichi City is not the only place in Mie Prefecture using EM. EM is being used in all the cities, towns, and villages, a revival of seaweed beds in the sea has begun, and the prefecture is in the forefront of prefectures using EM. The Asahi reporter did not check the facts about the present day use of EM, used an outmoded method of applying EM, and wrote a false article using stale news about EM not being effective to claim that “there are many negative reports.”

Use of EM in Aomori Prefecture is as active as in Mie Prefecture. There, the Towada Fishermens’ Cooperative’s cleanup of Towada Lake and the restoration of sockeye salmon in the lake have seen good results for fifteen years and have been a model for the nation. The Towada Meat Center has also been using EM for over fifteen years to deal with water polluted by dismembered carcasses and foul odors, and they have had great success in cleaning up Oirase River. EM has also successfully cleaned up the Kabashima swimming beach in Hachinohe City, which had been closed because E.coli bacteria exceeded safe levels. Aomori Prefecture is known as an animal husbandry prefecture, and in the Shimokita Peninsula and the Kamikita area many livestock farmers use EM, and there have been dramatic results in dealing with pollution caused by animal husbandry. There have also been many examples in Aomori of rivers being cleaned with EM without any problems. Anyone who increases the concentration of EM will see good results, but without even investigating this method, the newspapers has bashed EM, entitling an article, “Improving Water Quality: Classes in Aomori about EM Microbes Without Verifying its Results,” and calling EM “unscientific.”

In the newspaper on July 11, in the agriculture section of the paper, they again bashed EM, publishing remarks made by Prof. Mitsuo Chino, former chair of the Japanese Society of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, which in 1996 received five million yen from the MOA Group, which did all it could to bash EM. In Aomori Prefecture the EM Sogo Network Hirosaki has cultivated around 100 ha of apples and sells them in Tokyo and Osaka where they are one of the top brands. The fruit-sorting center is named EM Apple Messe. This EM Apple Messe was completed using a subsidy of several hundreds of millions of yen from the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.  Tests done on apples from Itayanagi Town independently verified the achievements of the EM Sogo Network Hirosaki, and these were not tests done on some unknown new material.  Therefore, the comments of Prof. Goto of Tokyo Agriculture University are wrong.

Based on these results, while it is only natural that Itayanagi Town confidently promote the use of EM, the newspaper accepted the extremely out of date judgment of the Japanese Society of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, which lacks common sense, as some divine message, and quoted the terribly outdated 1999 report by Prof. Goto of Tokyo Agriculture University.

Just as with cleaning water, in agriculture, too, the basic principle is that once EM in the soil reaches a certain concentration, anyone can have good results, and that you should use it until you see results. Prof. Goto’s experiments and experimental stations that cannot confirm the results of using EM have not followed this principal, and they have ignored the major premise of EM application, namely that EM is a living organism, and results will be seen once it increases. My comment is that they got the results they did because they did not use EM until it was effective.

The issue here is whether it is really necessary to have scientific, academic verification by a public institution regarding the effectiveness of EM. The Japanese Society of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition collected academic articles on the effectiveness of EM and decided that academically they are insufficient. This was in 1996. In 2012 there are some 3,000 academic articles and reports on EM, with numerous academic treatises of the type that academic societies attach importance to, and there are many people who have received M.A and Ph.D. degrees with research on EM. The record of actual achievements has completely changed. If anti-EM people investigate these articles themselves and still maintain that EM is unscientific and hasn't been tested, I would be happy to debate them publically at any time. In December in Aomori we plan to hold a symposium and forum. Once the dates are set I will send an invitation to the head office of the Asahi newspaper in Aomori and I hope that many anti-EM people will attend.

People who criticize EM emphasize that it “hasn’t been scientifically verified,” however the microorganisms that make up EM are very distinct and are found everywhere. In countries where EM has spread, its safety has been confirmed; in the US and Germany it has been approved for human consumption, and naturally there’s been not a single problem as there has been in Japan.

Microorganisms that need scientific verification are only “completely unknown microorganisms,” and “genetically modified microorganisms,” and this is legally required. EM is neither of these, there is no need whatsoever for scientific verification, and other experimental research organizations do not have the authority to do experiments on their own and judge the results without the consent of the EM Research Organization.
 
If an organization were to conduct these kinds of experiments, an agreement between both parties is required, but in the past we’ve never once had to go through these steps. All of the types of EM are made up of well-known microorgansism that anyone can cultivate. The responsibility lies with the companies, believing in the effectiveness of EM, that manufacturer and sell EM, and is based on the Product Liability Act. If users purchase and use EM but are not satisfied with the result, they can ask the manufacturer to accept responsibility, and then each manufacturer can deal with it responsibly, and there’s no room at all for it to become a social issue that the government has to get involved in.
 
One could understand the media’s reaction if EM polluted the environment and huge amounts of fish died, large amounts of crops died, and many people’s health was ruined, but with a common product that has caused no problems in society at all, an academic society has no right to judge it. This is the height of ignorance, and shows a lack of common sense. The Japanese Society of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition is the very academic society that has, in the past, actively done these kind of socially ignorant and absurd things. Their false pretext is that EM is “has not been verified scientifically.” The Asahi newspaper reporter also viewed this baseless accusation as holy writ, and bashed EM using ancient reports. There are over 1,400 EM volunteer groups, with over 500,000 people overcoming all sorts of environmental issues that the government cannot solve; not only this, they are also helping with Nature Farming, sanitation measures, and all kinds of disaster relief, and are greatly contributing to revitalizing communities. The Asahi newspaper used to publish many articles praising EM, but if they are going to make a complete reversal and continue to attack EM, I can only conclude that they are opposed to the basic duty and mission of a newspaper, which is to defend social justice, and I am willing to take very strong countermeasures.
                                                                                               

On Ocean Day this year, volunteers threw EM Mudballs into the Hori River in Nagoya City.


EM is used to clean swimming pools in many schools.


Beach club members wade into the shallows to throw in EM Mudballs that they have put in a boat.
 

[Caption below the article]: This is from an article in the July 5th morning edition of the Kumamoto Nichinichi Newspaper entitled “105th Green Ribbon Award presented to seven organizations and three individuals.”
================================
Cleaning Rivers: Fireflies and Ayu Fish Return.
Seseragi Group, Kumamoto City.
The Seseragi Group from Kawachi-machi, Nishi-ku, Kumamoto City, has been working to clean rivers for twenty years.
Six members, under chairwoman Keiko Nakagawa (70), make Activated EM on their own and distribute it to each household.
In their district a sewage system was not available, and waterways had a foul odor. Their activities have been fruitful, the foul odor has disappeared, and fireflies and ayu fish have returned to the rivers. They are continuing to watch over and protect the rich natural environment.
In recent years they have been spending much time in environmental education in elementary and middle schools, and have taught students how to make EM Mudballs (made with EM, rice bran and other material), and how to release firefly larvae. They also help in cleaning school swimming pools.
Shin Takami (Kumamoto Nichinichi Newspaper)
[Caption on photo in the article]: Members of the Seseragi Group from Kawachi-machi, Nishi-ku, Kumamoto City, who are involved with cleaning rivers and other activities.
 
 
 
 
 
Courtesy of Ecopure

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