KMT vows to challenge Japan food imports with referendum

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Taipei, April 6 (CNA) Opposition Kuomintang (KMT) Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said on Thursday he will officially submit a proposal for the holding of a national referendum on food safety if the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration lifts a ban on the import of food products from radiation-affected prefectures in Japan.

The proposal has obtained more than 120,000 signatures, Hau said.

In addition, if the DPP government opens Taiwan’s market to ractopamine-containing pork from the United States, the KMT will mobilize the public to protest at customs offices, he said.

Under the Referendum Act, the authorization of a referendum requires that no less than 0.5 percent of the total electorate at the last presidential election sign a petition.

Because there were 18.78 million eligible voters at the last election on Jan. 16, 2016, Hau’s proposal needs to be supported by at least 93,900 signatures and then approved by the Referendum Review Committee.

Taiwan has banned imports of food products from five prefectures in Japan – Fukushima, Gunma, Chiba, Ibaraki and Tochigi – that were contaminated by radiation following the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011, a catastrophe triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami.

Taiwan’s government is now considering lifting the ban on food from all the prefectures except Fukushima, but has run into virulent public opposition.
http://focustaiwan.tw/news/aipl/201704060017.aspx#.WOhNDdKzEuk.facebook

Remembering 6th Anniversary of Fukushima March.11.2017

Fukushima is never going away.
Sheila Parks
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Kimberly Roberson, speaking as a parent and an activist/organizer does not mince her words. They are heart, mind and soul piercing. She is in our faces about the horrific dangers of nuclear power – especially for our babies and children. Her purpose is to inform and rouse to action all those not already involved and aware. “Startling clear to me: radioactive fallout from nuclear power and food do not mix, and children are especially at risk”.But as parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and caregivers we have a responsibility to our children. And remember, radiation from nuclear fallout is transgenerational, meaning that it has been proven to damage DNA for generations to come. The bigger picture after all is really about food safety and human health.

I marked every page in the book as I was reading. I am focusing on food in this review because that is a major issue for both Roberson and me. What are we doing to our babies and children when we give them milk? Alarmed, I read from Roberson that “strontium 90 has been detected in the U.S. milk supply, as well as other radioisotopes linked directly to Fukushima”.Radioactive strontium is attracted to the body, much like calcium, only rather than nourishing bones it causes cancer. Children’s cells divide and multiply at an accelerated pace which makes the youngest especially vulnerable to radiation.”

Roberson tells us, “The late Dr. Rosalie Bertell, PhD and Gray Nun of the Sacred Heart was an accomplished scientist who warned in No Immediate Danger; Prognosis for a Radioactive Earth not only of the damage to the person coming in contact with radioactive fallout in their food and water, but also to their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren suffering mutations in their DNA as well.”

Roberson continues, again alarmingly, “Probably the one question that perplexed so many of the people I was working with was how could the biggest industrial and nuclear accident in world history be allowed to continue to affect our food supply unchecked .” [emphasis mine]. That continues to this day.

Roberson puts it this way, “One thing I’ve realized in the past two years is to always consider the source”The list goes on and on. Grass fed beef, free range poultry, miso [see the paper I wrote about miso “Fukushima, Miso Soup and Me” ], nori, strawberries”pesky questions, but we all need to be asking them.” Begin today, now, all the time, to ask this question about everything you eat and drink. This is urgent: what is the country of origin?

From my experience working on the many issues about food and drink safety since Fukushima, here are some questions we must understand and work to change since Fukushima: What food and drink does the USA import from Japan? How was and is our food here in the USA contaminated from Fukushima? Who tests the food in each country, including the USA? How do they test it? Is how the food is tested adequate? Who decides? How honest are our labelling laws? [Not honest at all; but that requires a whole other paper.] Thank goodness the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been defeated by the actions of we the people and as immoral and misleading as our food labeling laws are here in the USA, at least it willl still be mandatory to put counrty of origin on our food. What Trump will do, who is now talking about “binary arrangements” instead of the TTP, remains to be seen.

Be wary also, Roberson warns us, of “fish oil, carrageenan, and sea salt [which] all come from ocean waters.” I say, please read all labels. Use pink salt from the Himalayas, not sea salt. This pink salt from the Himalayas sometimes is called sea salt – but from oceans millions of years ago. I eat nothing from the ocean. There is really only one ocean. Look at any map. You might want to read a paper I have written called “The Pacific Ocean Does Not Belong to Japan: It Belongs to All of Us.”

Also pay attention to iodine and where it comes from, continues Roberson. Iodine often comes from kelp “but where is the kelp sourced? Much of the kelp spanning the California coastline has shown significantly increased levels of Iodine-131 since Fukushima began. Not exactly the kind of iodine I want in children’s gummy vitamins.”

While we are here talking about food and drink, note also that most non-mercury fillings that your dentist puts in your mouth come from Japan!!! As does most bonding material at your dentist’s office. Instead, there is a company in Germany – Grandio – where dentists, not you, can get non-mercury fillings. Please ask your dentist to do so for you.

Since Fukushima, I myself do not knowingly eat or drink any food or beverages that come from Japan. My first question about anything that goes into my mouth always is – what is the country or countries of origin? I am an organic vegan now, since Fukushima, and before that was an organic vegetarian for 40 years. For those who eat organic, Roberson notes, “And trust me, radioactive fallout does not distinguish if it lands on conventional or organic items. You may be asking why is radioactive fallout alllowed in organic food but irradiation is not? The answer is because the regulations are not yet in place to test from nuclear accidents and nuclear power production. That clearly needs to change.” She wrote Silence Deafening; Fukushima Fallout, A Mother’s Response in 2013. It is now 2016. Nothing has changedI love this from Roberson, “Perhaps Dr. Seuss said it best in The Lorax, ‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

On my birthday two years ago, before I read Roberson’s book, I went to the Dr. Zeuss museum in Springfield, MA and read that quote there for the first time and bought myself a Lorax then. Consider buying a Lorax for a constant reminder and keep her with you = in mind, heart, body, soul. You can buy a Lorax through The Manhattan Toy Store.

A final truth telling from prophet Roberson, “Another lesson learned. Much of what happens to protect our food and water or anything else for that matter starts with us.”

LEASE SIGN FFAN’S [FUKUSHIMA FALLOUT AWARENESS NETWORK] URGENT PETITIONNo Olympics or Paralympics in Radioactive Fukushima “Children are our most beloved and cherished gift and they are also the most vulnerable to the generational damage of man-made radiation in air, food, soil and water. Around the world children who are currently adolescent and possibly younger are in training to compete at the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Japan. Their parents most likely have no idea that some of the venues are near the most devastating and ongoing nuclear and industrial disaster in world history, Fukushima Daiichi.

Sheila Parks, Ed.D., is a former college professor. She had a spiritual awakening many years ago and left her career to do peace and justice work full time. She is the founder of the grassroots group On Behalf of Planet Earth (found on FB).

http://portside.org/2017-03-27/remembering-6th-anniversary-fukushima-march112017

A Campaign to Tackle “Misinformation” about Radioactive Contamination

Masahiro Imamura, Minister for Reconstruction, wants to launch a large-scale campaign, to correct the incorrect information about radioactive contamination of agricultural, forestry and fisheries products from Fukushima Prefecture; as an effort to tackle the issue of “misinformation about radioactive contamination” crippling Fukushima foods. That means more propaganda to come, more lies to hide the real risks of radiation to the people’s health. As if propaganda, to brainwash the people with a large-scale campaign would be the solution to make radiation disappear.

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 Reconstruction chief Masahiro Imamura

Reconstruction chief praises efforts in Tohoku, flags information campaign on radiation risks

Minister for reconstruction Masahiro Imamura has praised efforts to rebuild the devastated Tohoku region but says a large-scale information campaign is needed to share accurate information about radiation six years after the March 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Imamura outlined the plan in a recent interview in response to what he said was incorrect information about radioactive contamination of agricultural, forestry and fisheries products from Fukushima Prefecture.

It also comes as a growing number of children who evacuated from the prefecture fall victim to bullying.

Massive amounts of radioactive substances were emitted from the plant soon after it was knocked out by massive tsunami from the 9.0-magnitude March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake, which hit hardest in Fukushima and the nearby prefectures of Miyagi and Iwate.

Asked about the degree of progress in reconstructing areas hit by the disaster, Imamura said, “Acquisition of land and other procedures needed for the restoration of damaged infrastructure initially took time, but the pace of construction work was very rapid once it was launched.”

From now, we should focus on the rebuilding of Fukushima,” he said, noting that medium- to long-term measures should be promoted, including decommissioning the Fukushima No. 1 plant and decontaminating areas polluted with radioactive fallout.

We want to encourage evacuees to return to their hometowns in Fukushima by presenting future visions for the communities through improving the living environment and accelerating the revival of local industries,” Imamura added.

On how to tackle the incidences of bullying targeting evacuated Fukushima children, Imamura said, “We’ll strengthen information-sharing about radiation. All government agencies should jointly work to compile and launch a campaign for that purpose, while obtaining cooperation from private companies.

This is an issue for not only children, but adults,” he said. “We’ll prepare documents and other materials that are easy to understand in order to eliminate prejudice against evacuated people.”

Imamura said the campaign would also be an effort to tackle the issue of “misinformation about radioactive contamination crippling Fukushima foods.”

I’ll seek cooperation from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as well,” he said.

Imamura said he believed the Reconstruction Agency’s efforts to date to rebuild areas affected by the March 2011 disaster have been praised to a certain degree. Still, he pointed to the importance of re-examining whether information on what affected areas need has been properly conveyed to the Reconstruction Agency and other government bodies.

Imamura said Japan’s aging population and low birthrate were also contributing to shrinking communities across the nation — something he described as a structural problem.

It’s important to build a system that generates profits through stepped-up use of information technology and the modernization of factory equipment, even if human resources are limited,” he said.

We need to check again whether communities will be able to smoothly help one another in times of disaster, although lessons from the March 2011 disaster were effectively utilized in a series of powerful earthquakes that mainly hit Kumamoto Prefecture in April last year, and the October 2016 strong quake in Tottori Prefecture,” Imamura added.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/03/21/national/reconstruction-chief-praises-efforts-tohoku-flags-information-campaign-radiation-risks/#.WNJEq6KmnIV

South Korea Expanded Japanese Fish Ban Over Fukushima Contamination

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South Korea, on Friday, expanded its ban on Japanese fisheries products over concerns of contamination from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP). The government in Seoul accuses Japan of not providing enough information on the crisis.

Consumption of fish products in South Korea has dropped sharply in recent weeks as concerns grow that workers at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi NPP struggle to contain leaks.

Fukushima Daiichi operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) admitted that “up to 300 tons of mildly contaminated groundwater is making its way into the Pacific Ocean every day”; a situation that has been going on for years. Moreover, TEPCO recently admitted that “highly toxic water made its way into the Pacific Ocean”.

South Korea previously imposed an import ban on dozens of Japanese fisheries products produced in Fukushima and sever other prefectures following the meltdown of three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi NPP following a massive earthquake and a subsequent tsunami in 2011.

The government in Seoul has now widened the ban to all fisheries products from Fukushima prefecture as well as the prefectures of  Ibaraki, Gunma, Miyagi, Iwate, Tochigi, Chiba and Aomori. South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries issued a statement stressing that:

The measure comes as our people’s concerns are growing over the fact that hundreds of tons of radiation-contaminated water leak every day from the site of Japan’s nuclear accident in Fukushima. … The government has concluded that the information provided by Japan so far has failed to make it clear how the incident will develop in the future. … Under the new measure, all fisheries products from this region will be banned regardless of whether they are contaminated or not.”

The Ministry also urged the government in Tokyo to immediately provide full and accurate information on leaks of contaminated water. A growing number of radiation and environmental health experts stress that the claim that dilution of the radioactive water in the “vast Pacific Ocean” would make it safe to ingest fish caught off shore is right-out wrong and misleading because:

  • The bio accumulation of radioactive nuclei in fish;

  • The ingestion of one single isotope may, depending on what isotope it is and where it is lodged in the human body, cause various forms of cancer.

  • Eating fish from a batch that passed a “Geiger counter” test is in other words still like “participating in a fishy cancer lottery”.

However, in Tokyo on Friday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga challenged South Korea over the ban and claimed:

We are carrying out strict safe management on foods, including fishery products, based on international standards. We would like the South Korean government to respond, based on scientific evidence.”

What Suga conveniently omitted was that Japan, following the nuclear disaster in 2011, changed its regulations – apparently because Japanese experts suddenly realized that the human body (and the Japanese economy) can “safely tolerate much higher doses” than thought before the disaster. Moreover, the contamination in Japan is according to many independent observers so bad that one would have to probe each single food item separately to be “relatively safe”.

Earlier this week Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe acknowledged global concerns over the “haphazard” management of the crisis by TEPCO and said his administration will step in with public money to get the job done. Abe didn’t specify how this “public money” should be spent, how much will be made available, how Japan wants to end the “haphazard approach” to the crisis, and maybe most importantly, who the recipient of this money would be.

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In November 2015 former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland, Mitshei Murata called on the President of the International Olympic Committee to move the 2020 Olympics from Tokyo or to cancel the games over together.

In May 2016 private activists in Japan accused Tokyo of “cooking data”. Radiation readings conducted by private activists, 40 km from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility are about eight to ten times higher than those published by authorities, said Yoichi Tao who majored in physics.

Research by Toshihide Tsuda, professor of environmental epidemiology at Okayama University, showing that the rate of children suffering from thyroid cancer in Fukushima Prefecture was as much as 20 to 50 times higher than the national average as of 2014 is being dismissed as based on “over diagnosing”.

Moreover, Japan has introduced strict legislation that can be used to put anyone who publishes not officially approved data about Fukushima or anyone who “leaks” information rather than radiation behind bars for up to ten years. This includes investigative journalists.

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In 2014 independent journalists like Mako Oshidori received a thinly-veiled threat from TEPCO when she reported about the death of Fukushima cleanup workers, and who stressed she was “intimidated by police“. Mako courageously reported that she discovered a TEPCO memo, in which the Fukushima Daiichi operator TEPCO instructs officials to “cut Mako-chan’s (questions) short, appropriately”. Mako Oshidori was enrolled in the School of Life Sciences at Tottori University Faculty of Medicine for three years.

Mako revealed that TEPCO and the government cover-up the death of Fukushima workers and that government agents began following her around after she began investigating the cover-up. Mako said:

I heard about it from researchers who were my friends as well as some government officials. I will show you a photo I secretly took of the agent, so you know what kind of surveillance I mean. When I would talk to someone, a surveillance agent from the central government’s public police force would come very close, trying to eavesdrop on the conversation….

I would like to talk about my interview of a nurse who used to work at (the) Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (NPP) after the accident. .. He was a nurse at Fukushima Daiichi NPP in 2012. He quit his job with TEPCO in 2013, and that’s when I interviewed him. …

As of now of now, there are multiple NPP workers who have died, but only the ones who died on the job are reported publicly. Some of them have died suddenly while off work, for instance, during the weekend or in their sleep, but none of their deaths are reported. …

Not only that, they are not included in the worker death count. For example, there are some workers who quit the job after a lot of radiation exposure, such as 50, 60 to 70 mili Sieverts, and end up dying a month later, but none of these deaths are either reported, or included in the death toll. This is the reality of the NPP workers”.

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TEPCO memo, advising to “cut short” Mako Oshidori’s questions, e.t.c

However, the new legislation that “empowered” the government to impose ten year prison sentences for “unauthorized” journalism and dissemination of unauthorized information about the Fukushima Daiichi NPP and related issues for reasons of “national security” has since then largely silenced Mako, and many other journalists, experts in health, environmental health, environmental studies, radiation studies …

Is Seoul “over reacting” and is Tokyo’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga right when he claims: “We are carrying out strict safe management on foods, including fishery products, based on international standards. We would like the South Korean government to respond, based on scientific evidence”? What evidence, sampled by whom, analyzed on the basis of ???  . …

https://nsnbc.me/2017/03/18/south-korea-expanded-japanese-fish-ban-over-fukushima-contamination/

Japan urged by China to deal with Fukushima-affected food

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Officers from the Beijing Food and Drug Administration check imported food at a supermarket on Thursday.

Report finds many e-commerce sites selling potentially unsafe products

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has urged the Japanese government to take more effective measures to handle the environmental aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and disclose information to ensure marine environmental safety and the safety of people in other countries.

Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made the comment on Thursday following exposure by China’s State television station that food products from areas affected by the nuclear disaster in Japan are being sold in China.

China’s top food regulator promised on Thursday to punish such irregularities involving food safety exposed in China Central Television’s annual World Consumer Rights Day program on Wednesday.

“We have demanded local food and drug supervision authorities investigate the irregularities and transfer criminal suspects to public security authorities,” the China Food and Drug Administration said.

Food and drug authorities must strengthen supervision over food safety and severely punish culprits, it said.

Food from areas affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster have been sold on many e-commerce platforms in China and in some brick-and-mortar shops, including dairy, cereal, rice and wine, CCTV reported.

Although some of the products had labeling in Japanese that specified manufacturing locations such as Tokyo and Tochigi, they were covered by Chinese labels that only stated the manufacturing location as Japan, the report said.

China has banned the importation of food and animal feed from Tokyo and 11 prefectures, including Fukushima, Niigata-ken and Tochigi, since April 2011 to guard against risks, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

Major supermarkets and e-commerce platforms in Beijing started to inspect imported food products following the CCTV report and found no product from any of the 12 areas, Ji Ye, an official at Beijing Food and Drug Administration, said.

The administration is also conducting inspections of food enterprises in Beijing, including MUJI and 7-Eleven, and will recall any product that is imported from the affected areas, he said.

More than 13,000 online shops in China were suspected of selling food from these banned areas, according to the Shenzhen Market and Quality Supervision Commission, CCTV reported.

Law enforcement officers from the commission found nearly 20,000 packages of “Calbee” brand oatmeal, which is from Tochigi, at a company in Shenzhen, the report said.

Some supermarkets, including Japanese brand MUJI, are also suspected of violations, CCTV said.

MUJI said on Thursday that the two kinds of products, a cereal beverage and a muffin, are made in Fukui-ken and Osaka, which are not on the list of imports banned by China’s quality supervision authorities.

http://www.ecns.cn/2017/03-17/249602.shtml

http://www.pressreader.com/china/china-daily/20170317/281694024591810

Fukushima, Japan Ban On Fish Exports Over? After Nuclear Radiation Disaster, Countries Could Lift Embargo

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After years of banning Japan’s fish and agriculture, many countries might be willing to give the nation a second chance and import its goods. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011 and the resulting radiation in the region caused 54 countries and regions to implement restrictions on certain Japanese goods.

That number has shrunken to 33, with more nations likely to follow suit and lift the ban, the Japan Times reported Wednesday.

We are looking forward to the lifting of the South Korean import ban,” Masao Atsumi, a sea-squirt farmer in Miyagi prefecture, told the Japan Times.

South Korea, which received about 70 percent of Japan’s sea squirt exports, imposed a ban on fish imports from eight prefectures in Japan in 2013.

The European Union began easing its own restrictions on Japanese imports in 2016. China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore and Russia all continued to ban products from certain regions.

Lifting such restrictions could be a sign that Japan, still heavily burdened by the disaster six years later, was on the road to recovery. The nuclear meltdown left a zone of more than 300 miles surrounding the plant uninhabitable, causing the evacuation of 160,000 residents. Many of those residents were set to begin returning in the coming days.

Despite progress, serious problems have continued to pervade the region. Due to melted fuel debris, radiation in the nuclear plant recently reached the highest levels ever recorded inside, with experts calling it “unimaginable.” Radiation reached such elevated levels that the robots tasked with cleaning the reactor could not survive. Tokyo Electric Power Company, the group responsible for the cleanup, was still struggling to complete the $188 billion recovery process to decommission the plant, a project estimated to take decades.

The barren region left behind by the disaster also has a wild boar problem. Hundreds of the animals began invading towns surrounding the defunct plant after residents fled, scavenging for food and virtually taking over.

http://www.ibtimes.com/fukushima-japan-ban-fish-exports-over-after-nuclear-radiation-disaster-countries-2508805

2020 Olympic food suppliers lack necessary food safety certification

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As the organizers of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics work on ensuring that food provided during the tournament will be safe, the games face a huge shortage of domestic food producers with the necessary food safety certification.

The certification in question is known as “Good agricultural practice,” or GAP for short. Ever since the London Olympics and Paralympics in 2012, the provision of GAP-certified food and drink to venues such as the Olympic Village has become increasingly important.

However, the number of producers in Japan who hold GAP certification is extremely low — partly due to high costs and a lack of knowledge about GAP among consumers. It is thought that less than 1 percent of food producers in Japan hold either the Global GAP or Japanese GAP certification.

This is an issue for producers because the organizing committee for the Tokyo 2020 Games is on the verge of finalizing criteria for food safety during the tournament — with much of the criteria expected to revolve around GAP certification.

In response to the current shortage of GAP-certified producers in Japan, an official close to the government commented, “If we keep going at this pace, there is a real danger than there won’t be enough domestically produced food available during the Games.” This would be a great shame because the country has a multitude of wonderful food and drink on offer, such as “wagyu” (Japanese beef) and Japanese tea.

Furthermore, it is expected that about 15 million meals will need to be provided during the 2020 Olympics, so naturally, it will be an excellent opportunity to showcase Japanese food to the rest of the world.

There is a modified version of GAP in Japan — based on Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan (MAFF) guidelines — but just five of Japan’s 47 prefectures, including Shimane and Tokushima, follow it.

A British version of GAP known as “Red Tractor” was introduced prior to the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics. In total, 80 percent of food producers who supplied the tournament in London picked up the Red Tractor certification by 2010. Such a system may well provide inspiration for Japanese farmers.

GAP is an important certification because it helps stop the mixing in of any improper substances during the food production process. For example, under GAP regulations, pesticides must be stored safely in a locked room. Also, any fluorescent lighting close to agricultural produce should be covered accordingly.

However, although GAP certification is undeniably well-intended, farmers wanting to apply must pay an annual registration fee in the region of several thousand yen per year, and depending on the size of the farm, there is a screening fee in the region of 100,000 to 400,000 yen per year. In addition, awareness about GAP is low among distributors and consumers, and the fact that GAP certification would not be accepted as a reason for raising food prices means that there are several hurdles for producers.

The government does plan to provide some financial support in this area, but for the time being, awareness across Japan about GAP certification remains a pressing issue.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170305/p2a/00m/0na/001000c