The Chernobyl incident has been thoroughly studied by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, the World Health Organization, the Red Cross, the International Atomic Energy Agency, et al., with update reports every few years since. These bodies all conclude that there has been no significant increase in the mortality rate or the incidence of cancer, birth defects, abnormalities and other health effects in the population exposed to fallout from Chernobyl, with two possible exceptions: A number of treatable thyroid nodules among children was attributed to the reactor, but since the nodule incidence (cases per thousand) was actually comparable to several other low-iodine countries without any radioactivity release, that attribution is being reexamined. A 2005 review of the data by an informal group call the Chernobyl Forum, included a suggestion that, based on the LNT premise (that even a single gamma ray could cause a cancer), 4000 additional deaths might ultimately occur. Since there is no indication that these deaths are likely, and since “prediction” of deaths by adding up of thousands of small individual radiation doses has been repeatedly forbidden as scientifically unsound, the suggested 4000 deaths has not been widely accepted.См. также много подробных данных и ссылок в википедии.
2. Ритуал сэппуку обычно описывается так: самурай взрезает себе живот коротким мечом, а потом помощник, стоящий сзади, отрубает ему голову. Оказывается, последние примерно 200 лет сёгуната (с конца 17-го по конец 19-го веков) никакого взрезания обычно не было, и помощник (в случае сэппуку, предписанного в наказание - по сути дела палач) отрубал голову в то время, как рука самурая только тянулась к мечу. Кроме того, часто меч вообще заменяли веером ("fan seppuku" по-английски, "огибара" по-японски), которого самурай либо не касался, либо взмахивал им по направлению к своему животу символически.
В частности, знаменитые 47 ронинов были по большей части именно казнены таким образом, элемент самоубийства тут был чисто ритуальный. Сохранилось подробное описание 10 из этих казней, цитирую из книги The Taming of the Samurai: Honorific Individualism and the Making of Modern Japan:
The account of the Forty-seven Samurai again offers an enlightening case in point. After their revenge on Lord Kira, the avengers were taken into custody and placed under house arrest at four different daimyo houses. Their seppuku ceremonies were conducted in these four houses. The record of the house of Lord Mori, where ten of the avengers were held, provides a detailed account of the actual procedure. The appointed place for the seppuku ritual was a yard in front of the hall of Oshoin, a part of Mori's Edo office. The vassals of Lord Mori originally prepared ten sets of fans wrapped in white paper, but the shogunate officials advised them to supply real, short swords. The ten condemned men were provided with new white formal kimonos and new undergarments. Two tatami mats covered by a white cotton futon were placed in the yard as the seat for the death ritual. The yard was enclosed by white screens and hangings, and Lord Mori's vassals were stationed as guards. One by one, the accused men were led from the waiting area to the ceremonial place of execution. There were five kaishaku on this occasion who acted in turn as headsmen for the ten samurai.
The ritual was bloody, but it proceeded efficiently and quietly. After each decapitation, the body was carried away with the futon, and the two tatami mats were replaced with fresh ones. Ten coffins had already been prepared and placed behind the white curtain. A white paper screen was strategically placed between the official examiners from the shogunate and the death seat, in order to avoid the examiners' being spattered with the blood. This screen was also changed every time. The case of the Ako samurai took place at a relatively early stage in the institutional ritualization of seppuku. But at this point, the record shows that the use of a fan was already considered an acceptable and honorable alternative to the earlier custom.
There was no attempt on the part of any of the condemned men to display extraordinary courage or self-inflicted violence. In Lord Mori's record, only two men's seppuku received special annotations of commendation. One man who was thus singled out for praise had calmly thanked the kaishaku who was designated to behead him. He greeted the kaishaku with these words: "Since I am an old man, naturally I might not perform my duty well. I ask your special care." The shogunate official commended this man for having a good attitude. Another special note was attached to the example of one man who "actually cut" himself deeply. Lord Mori's own samurai were apparently impressed.
Кроме того, я думал, что термин "харакири" следует считать неверным прочтением на Западе японского слова, которое правильно читать "сэппуку". Оказывается, это не так, и правильнее считать "харакири" разговорным (не вульгарным!) вариантом, а "сэппуку" - формальным высокоштильным вариантом этого слова. Подробности в википедии.