30 March 2011

Dissatisfied Groups Call on Japanese Government to Enlarge the Evacuation Zone Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tokyo - (PanOrient News) Representatives of Japanese civil society groups expressed dissatisfaction with the responses they received from the government to their inquiries about the government's standards for protecting public health from the effects of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster.

At a meeting held today with officials of Health Ministry, the representatives called on the Japanese government to expand the evacuation zone and to generally make more efforts to monitor and protect public health.

The Japanese government issued an evacuation order to residents of areas within a 20-kilometer radius of Tokyo Electric Power's Fukushima No.1 plant damaged by the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

With no end in sight for the radiation concerns, the government on Friday encouraged people living within 20 to 30 kilometers of the troubled plant to leave voluntarily, citing concerns over access to daily necessities, while maintaining its directive for them to remain indoors and for residents within 20 km of the plant to evacuate.

But the government stopped short of declaring an evacuation advisory to avoid fanning fears about the increasing danger of radiation leaks, despite criticism from concerned municipalities and local residents of the central government's ''slow response'' over the evacuation instruction.

Meanwhile, Tokyo Electric Power Co. Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata on Wednesday warned residents of areas near its troubled nuclear power station in northeastern Japan not to expect an ongoing evacuation order to be lifted within weeks.

Katsumata told a press conference that the No. 1 to 4 rectors of the nuclear power station in Fukushima Prefecture are in stable condition but that it is difficult to end residents' evacuation within weeks.

Following the March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami, around 180,000 people in quake-hit areas are still staying at some 2,000 evacuation centers in 17 prefectures.

After the meeting, held at the initiative of 168 NGOs, the Representatives of Japanese civil society groups submitted the following petition:

Radiological Impact of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster
Petition following negotiations with Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare

The Honorable KAN Naoto, Prime Minister of Japan
The Honorable HOSOKAWA Ritsuo, Minister of Health, Labour, and Welfare

We respectfully submit the following demands, which summarize the queries we made to the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare during negotiations on March 28, 2011.

1. The Ministry’s call for the “active voluntary evacuation” of residents living within a 20 km to 30 km radius of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Stations is
irresponsible. Immediately issue a directive to evacuate and enlarge the evacuation zone commensurate with radiation doses.

2. Calculate and publicize regularly the total cumulative radiation dose local residents receive collectively from the following sources: (1) external radiation exposure, (2) internal radiation exposure via the inhalation or absorption of atmospheric iodine and other radionuclides, and (3) internal exposure via the consumption of contaminated food, water, and other liquids. This measure is vital in order to determine the delayed effects of radiation from the Fukushima accident on the health and longevity of local residents.

3. Repeal the upward revision of the maximum permissible radiation dose (250 milliSieverts) for emergency-response workers at the Fukushima plant 2.

4. Expand the scope of radiation monitoring and publicize the results. In particular, (1) Measure and publicize the extent of soil contamination in each area affected
by the accident, expressing the results in becquerels per m2.(2) Measure and publicize the internal radiation doses affecting the thyroid gland and specify the measurement conditions.

5. Undertake immediately a comprehensive survey of the radiation exposure and current state of health of local residents and provide for their long-term health care.

6. Do not relax the provisional standards governing the maximum permissible levels of radionuclides in food. Even the current provisional standards impose unacceptably high levels of radiation exposure upon residents.

7. Provide compensation for damages to farm and dairy producers and to people who are forced to relocate.

8. Generally, take all measures necessary to ensure that members of the public do not receive radiation doses greater than 1 milliSievert per annum.

Participants of the March 28, 2011 meeting with the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare March 28, 2011

Photo: NGO representatives quiz two MAPW officials at a meeting held in the Diet Offices on March 28.
Courtesy of Citizens' Nuclear Information Center, and Mihama no Kai.

PanOrient News


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