The aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear\u0026nbsp;crisis has been marked by an\u0026nbsp;outcry in Japan over radiation leaks, contaminated food and a government unable to put the public\u0026#39;s fears to rest.\r\nPerhaps the most worrying aspect of the meltdown that resulted from March\u0026#39;s earthquake\u0026ndash;triggered\u0026nbsp;disaster, activists and citizens have\u0026nbsp;said, is the uncertainty that has ensued.\r\nIn the months since the\u0026nbsp;catastrophe, the Japanese government, its nuclear watchdogs and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), have provided differing, confusing, and at times contradictory, information on critical health issues.\r\nFed up with indefinite data, a group of 50 volunteers decided to take matters,\u0026nbsp;and Geiger counters, into their own hands.\r\nIn April, an independent network of like-minded individuals in the Japan and United States banded together to form Safecast and began\u0026nbsp;an ongoing crusade to record and publish accurate radiation levels around Japan.\r\nThe group handed out mobile radiation detectors\u0026nbsp;and uploaded the readings to the internet to map out exposure levels.\u0026nbsp;\r\nSean Bonner, director of Safecast, told Al Jazeera that volunteers have so far logged more than 500,000 radiation data points across Japan.\r\n\r\nHe said the group is the only organisation he knows that is tracking radiation on a local level. The findings, Bonner added, have been shocking.\r\n\u0026quot;People keep asking how we are doing it,\u0026nbsp;when the government isn\u0026#39;t,\u0026quot; he said.\r\nLack of information\r\nDr Yuko Yanagisawa, a 51-year-old physician at Funabashi Futawa Hospital in Chiba Prefecture, feels the government\u0026#39;s response to health concerns has been grossly inadequate.\r\nIn the area where Yanagisawa lives and works, approximately 200 km from Fukushima, unhealthy radiation levels have been recorded.\r\nEven so, she said the only information the government has released was to raise the acceptable radiation exposure limit for children from one millisieverts (mSv) of radioactivity a\u0026nbsp;year to 20.\r\n\u0026quot;This has caused controversy, from the medical point of view,\u0026quot; Yanagisawa told Al Jazeera. \u0026quot;This is certainly an issue that involves both personal internal exposures as well as low-dose exposures.\u0026quot;\r\nFrom the start, the government\u0026rsquo;s track record on public health announcements has been poor.\r\nAs early radiation readings from the disaster site emerged, Japan\u0026#39;s then-Minister for Internal Affairs, Haraguchi Kazuhiro, alleged that monitoring station data was actually three decimal places greater than the numbers released to the public.\r\nIn late March, the Japanese Nuclear Safety Commission conducted a survey that found an estimated 45 per cent of children in the Fukushima region had experienced thyroid exposure to radiation.\r\nBut the commission has not carried out any surveys since.\r\nContaminated\u0026nbsp;food fears\r\nRecent disclosures from government agencies and TEPCO, the operator of the Fukushima plant, suggest that public information has hardly improved.\r\nEarlier this month, TEPCO said it detected 10,000 mSv of radioactivity at the heavily damaged plant.\r\nA dose this high would be fatal to humans, and was 250 per cent\u0026nbsp;more than the previous high levels at the plant in March soon after the disaster.\r\nAuthorities have also been vague about the extent of the radiation, and how the potential spread may be affecting vital food crops and livestock.\r\nJyunichi Tokuyama, a specialist with the Iwate Prefecture Agricultural and Fisheries Department, said he was shocked to find radioactive hot spots in his prefecture, more than 300km from the stricken Fukushima nuclear site.\r\n\u0026quot;The biggest cause of this contamination is the rice straw being fed to the cows, which was highly radioactive,\u0026quot; Tokuyama told Al Jazeera.\r\nOn August 1, Iwate became Japan\u0026#39;s forth prefecture to suspend all of its beef exports due to cesium contamination.\r\nNeighbouring governments have announced plans to test Japan\u0026#39;s agricultural exports for radioactive cesium after concerns over soil contamination.\r\n\u0026#39;Not getting the data\u0026#39;\r\nDespite the alarm inside Japan and abroad, specific information about radiation levels and its range are still mostly unavailable. This lack of information is what Safecast is trying to overcome.\r\n\u0026quot;We spoke with a woman in Japan on Saturday who said since March she\u0026#39;s been calling her local offices, and the federal government, just trying to get data, and she\u0026#39;s not been able to get a single reading close to her house,\u0026quot;\u0026nbsp;Bonner said.\r\n\u0026quot;Part of that is that the information is just not there, the government doesn\u0026#39;t have it. I don\u0026#39;t think they are necessarily withholding, but I think they are just not getting the data.\u0026quot;\r\nBonner said he was disturbed by the readings he took last weekend nearly 28km outside the Fukushima site.\r\nThe Japanese government maintains a mandatory evacuation zone around the plant that extends to 20km, the next 10km is the voluntary evacuation zone.\r\nPeople who live there are not given any financial compensation by the government if they choose to evacuate.\r\n\u0026quot;Sunday [August 7], we found ground contamination of 20,000 cpm,\u0026quot; said Bonner, referring to counts per minute, a method he believes is more accurate in analysing radiation than measuring mSv.\r\n\u0026quot;It was about 28km from the plant. There were police officers there standing around all day making sure\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u0026nbsp;\r\n\r\n\r\n\u0026nbsp;\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nnobody went into the mandatory evacuation zone, wearing no protective clothing.\r\n\u0026quot;They said they didn\u0026#39;t know what the readings were, they were just told to be there.\u0026quot;\r\nGlobal debate\r\nThe Japanese government does not consider non-government readings to be authentic, and has urged the public to only rely on government data on radiation.\r\nStill, Bonner said he will return to Japan with a team of volunteers each month. He said he plans to continue Safecast\u0026rsquo;s radiation mapping \u0026ldquo;indefinitely\u0026rdquo;.\r\n\u0026quot;Getting into this has showed us there is a lack of data everywhere,\u0026quot; Bonner said.\r\n\r\n\u0026quot;We\u0026rsquo;re going to start getting devices to people around the US and Europe. We\u0026rsquo;re going to set up fixed sensors and we\u0026rsquo;re making a device that we\u0026rsquo;ll sell to the public. We\u0026rsquo;re hoping to continue to get lots of data from lots of sources.\r\n\r\n\u0026quot;Bonner\u0026#39;s ambitions appear timely against the backdrop of a revitalised global debate on the dangers of nuclear energy, especially in Japan.\r\nPrime Minister Naoto Kan recently pledged to lower Japan\u0026#39;s reliance on nuclear power due to the consequences of the Fukushima crisis.\r\n\r\nHe and other officials have admitted to deep concerns about radiation-induced health risks.\r\n\u0026quot;Japan will reduce its level of reliance on nuclear power generation with the aim of becoming a society that is not dependent on nuclear power,\u0026quot; Kan said last week in Hiroshima in a speech to mark the 66th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of the city.