Labor groups protest reopening of rail lines near Fukushima — CounterPunch

” Labor activists have protested the reopening this month of a railway line in parts of northeast Japan where they believe radiation levels are still dangerous.

The Joban Line runs from Nippori Station in Tokyo to Iwanuma Station, just south of Sendai City. It is one of main connections between northeast Tokyo’s major station of Ueno up along the coast through Chiba, Ibaraki and Miyagi prefectures.

This region was severely damaged by the earthquake and tsunami on March 11th, 2011, while the subsequent Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster meant that large areas through which trains pass were contaminated by radiation.

The Joban Line was directly hit by the massive tsunami wave in 2011, sweeping train carriages away. Though parts of the line were quickly reopened that same year, two sections of the line—between Tatsuta and Odaka stations, and between Soma and Hamayoshida—remained closed, with passengers served by buses for some of the stations.

However, the operator, East Japan Railway Company (JR East), and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, have been keen to reopen the whole line as part of the northeast Japan reconstruction efforts. The Joban Line represents a valuable source of income from both passengers traveling between Sendai and Tokyo as well as freight.

Following decontamination measures, rail services resumed from Iwaki to Tatsuta in late 2014. However, north of Tatsuta lies the areas located within a 20km radius of the devastated Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which is widely considered a no-go zone.

In July this year, JR East resumed services on the 9.4-kilometer stretch between Odaka and Haranomachi stations as the evacuation order was lifted for the southern part of Minamisoma City, though few residents are willing to return to a community so close to the contaminated area. Media reports suggest only 10-20% are coming back to live in the area.

On December 10th, the previously closed 23.2-kilometer northern section of line between Soma and Hamayoshida reopened for rail services. It means passengers will now be served by a further six stations on the section, though three of these (Shinchi, Yamashita and Sakamoto stations) had to be relocated inland by up to 1.1 kilometers as an anti-tsunami measure. Along with the construction of elevated tracks, the total cost of the latest reopening is said to be 40 billion yen ($350 million).

By spring 2017, the line will be reopened between Namie and Odaka, and then later in the year between Tatsuta and Tomioka. The final section linking Tomioka and Namie, passing through somewhat infamous areas like Futaba, is set to reopen by the end of fiscal 2019 (end of March 2020).

Local tourist bodies are naturally delighted and are pulling out all the stops to attract people. At the newly reopened stations, passengers are able to buy commemorative tickets, take hiking trips, and even try on historical armor.

Lingering Doubts over Radiation

Official announcements say that radiation levels have fallen and clean-up efforts will remove any health risk. Last August, JR East began decontamination tests on parts of the railway between Yonomori and Futaba stations where the radioactivity remains high. It has reported that falling radiation levels can be confirmed at six inspection points along the line, making it confident that decontamination measures are working.

However, the legacy of the Fukushima disaster is a lingering distrust for government and corporate claims about radiation. Activists allege that authorities and JR East are putting profits and the appearance of safety over the genuine health of rail workers and passengers. Just as with the gradual lifting of restrictions on entering the areas around the Joban Line, reopening the railway is, they say, an attempt to encourage evacuated residents to return and tourists to visit even though health risks may remain.

This pressure to reconstruct the region quickly and maintain an impression of safety to Japan and the rest of the world comes from the very top, as demonstrated by the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s now notorious claim that the Fukushima disaster was “under control” in his speech in September 2013 during the final (and successful) Tokyo bid to win the 2020 Olympic Games. Abe also officiated at the opening of the rebuilt Shinchi Station on December 10th.

Protests Against Reopening

The rank and file rail unions Doro-Mito (National Railway Motive Power Union of Mito) and Doro-Chiba (National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba) have long protested the ambitions of JR East as part of their campaigns against the operator’s growing policies of rationalization and outsourcing.

On December 10th, around 50 activists from Doro-Mito and associated groups opposed the Joban Line reopening by demonstrating at the Sendai branch of JR East in the morning. A small number of train drivers from the union also went on strike that day. This was coordinated with other protests and actions in Fukushima City and Tokyo at JR sites. At an afternoon protest outside the JR East headquarters in Shinjuku, central Tokyo, around 150 unionists demonstrated.

These are just the most recent examples of actions by this network of medium-sized yet feisty unions, which have waged several strikes and protests since JR East began reopening parts of the track following the 2011 disaster. Unionists have fought to block the reopening in order to protect the well-being of workers as well as the general public.

Other unions and labor groups have apparently remained silent on the Joban Line issue, as have the major anti-nuclear power protest organisations. The mainstream media has also given the Joban Line protests almost no coverage, though the reopening itself was extensively celebrated.

Doro-Mito and Doro-Chiba are the largest groups in a network of militant unions called Doro-Soren, affiliated with the Japan Revolutionary Communist League. Other smaller unions have been established in Tokyo, Fukushima, Niigata and elsewhere. While the overall numbers of unionized workers remain only in the hundreds, organizers hope to create a national union in the future.

The unions have held small strikes on the Joban Line issue alongside their regular strikes and protests against labor conditions, as well as participating in general rallies against the restarting of nuclear power plants in Japan. In this way, the issues of neoliberalism and nuclear power have become aligned in a new and invigorating way.

The Doro-Soren network is also associated with NAZEN, which was formed in August 2011 as a youth group to fight the nuclear industry. The various groups have taken part in annual protests at Fukushima on the anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami, regularly mobilizing over 1,000 demonstrators. … 

by William Andrews

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Behind the scenes: Waste disposal site a dilemma for Fukushima — The Yomiuri Shimbun

” On Dec. 4, the Fukushima prefectural government notified the national government that it would accept a proposal to dispose of the radioactive designated waste (see below) stored in the prefecture, where a catastrophic accident struck Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant due to the 2011 earthquake. The Fukushima prefectural government’s recent decision signifies a step forward in efforts to rehabilitate the nuclear disaster-hit prefecture. However, the latest move poses a dilemma: In some neighboring prefectures that are home to a large amount of such designated waste, there are persistent calls for their waste to be concentrated in Fukushima Prefecture.

The government’s proposal would entail the use of the Fukushima Eco-tech Clean Center, an existing private-sector disposal plant in the town of Tomioka, to bury a portion of the designated waste stored in the prefecture. The waste subject to this disposal will consist of garbage and other waste material whose radiation levels stand at 100,000 becquerels or less per kilogram.

Two years ago, the national government formally presented the proposal to the Fukushima prefectural government. This coincided with the national government’s move to unveil another plan aimed at building an interim storage facility in the prefecture. This facility would be used to store, for extended periods, garbage whose radioactive levels exceed 100,000 becquerels per kilogram as well as a massive amount of contaminated soil. There has been a constant increase in the amount of contaminated soil as a result of ongoing decontamination work. The interim storage facility is currently being built.

“These facilities are two halves of the same whole,” an Environment Ministry official said. “Both will be indispensable for stably storing a huge amount of radioactive waste.”

The two facilities can be described as “unwanted” by local residents. Still, both will serve to rehabilitate the areas affected by the 2011 nuclear disaster. The interim storage facility is indispensable for decontamination work, while the disposal plant is needed to expedite the return of evacuees to their hometowns.

One example is Naraha, a town that lies adjacent to Tomioka. A road that is used to carry supplies and other necessary materials to the Eco-tech Clean Center disposal plant in Tomioka passes through Naraha.

Therefore, residents and officials in Naraha were among those from whom the national government sought support for its designated waste burial project. At the same time, Naraha needed the facility due to the increase in the number of evacuees returning to the town. Their return means a growth in the amount of garbage from the demolition or repair of their houses.

In the wake of the nuclear disaster, an evacuation directive was issued to residents in most parts of Naraha, but it was lifted in September this year. Progress has since been made in rebuilding the evacuees’ homes so they could return to their hometown. The task of demolishing their houses has been assumed by the Environment Ministry.

According to the ministry, about 1,200 applications for house demolition had been submitted by late November, and approximately 490 houses have been demolished. The ministry hopes to complete housing demolition by the end of fiscal 2016.

The Eco-tech Clean Center plant will be used to dispose of such waste as burned ash from a temporary incinerator that will likely be put to work in November 2016.

“In some areas [of Naraha], there remain stacks of waste lumber at temporary storage sites near residential quarters,” a senior official of the Naraha town government said. “Failing to address this problem could make evacuees reluctant to return home. The disposal plant is highly significant for making progress in post-disaster reconstruction.”

In the wake of the nuclear accident, the government has worked to address waste disposal-related issues, based on the principle that radioactive waste generated in each disaster-hit prefecture should be stored and disposed of within that area. This rule was laid down under the Democratic Party of Japan-led government in November 2011, followed by a Cabinet decision finalizing the principle.

Later, the national government said it would seek to build a new disposal facility in each of five prefectures where a large amount of designated waste matter is stored — Tochigi, Chiba, Ibaraki, Miyagi and Gunma. These prefectures follow Fukushima in the amount of such stored waste. The government also drew up a plan to use existing disposal facilities in Tokyo and five other prefectures to bury the designated waste stored there.

However, little progress has been made in disposal plant construction projects in the five prefectures. To the contrary, even stronger objections were raised to the projects in these areas after the Fukushima prefectural government announced the decision to accept the national government’s proposal.

Attempt to focus burden

Kazuhisa Mikata, mayor of Shioya, Tochigi Prefecture, declared at the Environment Ministry on Dec. 7 that his town would not host a facility to dispose of radioactive waste from the prefecture, which was produced as a result of the 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

“I can’t understand it,” replied Shinji Inoue, state minister of the environment. As Inoue was about to leave the room in disgust, Mikata stopped him and said, “Our land was not supposed to be a candidate site from the very beginning.”

Since November last year, Mikata’s opinion that radioactive waste should be collected and disposed of exclusively in areas where it has become difficult for people to live for generations has been posted on the town’s web site. This has been taken to mean that all the radioactive waste should be disposed of in Fukushima Prefecture.

Not many heads of local governments have expressed this view publicly. However, Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai said at a press conference on Dec. 7, “It would be desirable if all the nuclear waste in the five [affected] prefectures was completely removed from them.”

In Miyagi Prefecture, the city of Kurihara and the towns of Taiwa and Kami were designated as candidate sites for a radioactive waste disposal facility. But the three municipal governments notified the central government on Dec. 13 that they would not become candidate sites to hold the facility.

Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori is wary of such opinions. When he told the central government of his intention to permit the establishment of a disposal facility in the prefecture, Uchibori said, “I would like to confirm here again that radioactive waste in each prefecture should be disposed of locally by the central government.”

Environment Minister Tamayo Marukawa replied, “We’ll uphold a plan to dispose of radioactive waste in each prefecture.”

However, there remain concerns that voices demanding disposal of radioactive waste outside the five prefectures of Tochigi, Chiba, Ibaraki, Miyagi and Gunma could lead to the opinion in the future that all the radioactive waste should be gathered together in Fukushima Prefecture.

Radioactive substances lose radiation gradually as time passes. Indeed, because of the passage of time, some radioactive waste has failed to meet the levels of radioactivity required to be classified as designated waste, which must contain over 8,000 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive substances.

Based on such lower levels of radioactivity and the progress in the disposal of designated waste in Fukushima Prefecture, the central government will continue to try to persuade the five prefectures to accept the establishment of facilities to dispose of radioactive waste in their communities.

“How will the other prefectures react if they are requested to cooperate because Fukushima Prefecture, which suffered most from the nuclear accident, has accepted the establishment of a disposal facility in it?” asked a senior official of the Environment Ministry.

Will they keep refusing the construction of facilities that might cause problems? Next spring marks the fifth anniversary of the nuclear accident. Not much time is left to answer that question.

Designated waste

This government-set designation is applied to waste matter whose radioactive level exceeds 8,000 becquerels per kilogram. Designated waste includes such things as sewer sludge and ash from burned trees and plants. According to the Environment Ministry, a total of about 166,300 tons of designated waste was stored in Tokyo and 11 prefectures, including Fukushima, as of the end of September. The waste in question has been kept in storehouses at sewage disposal facilities. ”

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How Fukushima produce is making its way into international stores — Natural Society

” It is being reported that tainted food from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Gumma, and Chiba is making its way into local supermarkets in Taiwan due to the irresponsibility of mislabeling. What’s more, these food products were banned in Taiwan since March of 2011.

The first question is: Why are food products from the concerned Japanese prefectures surrounding Fukushima mislabeled?

The second question is: Why is Japan attempting to foist its unsafe and inferior radioactive foods on Taiwan?

Instead of humbly acquiescing to Taiwan’s wishes, Japan takes an aggressive approach even threatening WTO arbitration.

Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration said the latest enforcement was in line with radiation safety management practices that other countries have put in place on Japanese food imports following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

It said it “is necessary to protect the safety of food consumption” for Taiwanese.

But Japan is protesting the move, with the government warning that it may escalate the matter to the World Trade Organization, potentially deepening the conflict between Taipei and Tokyo.

Rather than own the problem which successive Japanese governments are fully responsible for, they appear to be taking advantage of their neighbors. No one ever forced Japan to locate their entire nuclear power generation industry on the shoreline.

Even after 4 plus years beyond the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan has still failed to satisfactorily address the fallout from the meltdown(s) that occurred after the March 11, 2011 earthquake-generated tsunami.

Even more inexplicably, the Japanese government has voted to continue the operation of their nuclear power plants in spite of their vulnerability to both frequent earthquakes and potential tsunamis. Being located in one of the most seismically active earthquake zones in the Ring of Fire, such an ill-advised decision can only set up another nuclear catastrophe. Which begs the question:

“Does anyone in their right mind believe that nuclear power plants can ever be designed, engineered or constructed to withstand 9.0 earthquakes followed by 15 meter high tsunamis?

The obvious answer is as follows:

“Japan should never have sited 55 nuclear reactors (plus 12 others) on its coastlines.”
Therefore, why are countries like Taiwan paying a serious price for Japan’s extraordinarily bad judgment and serious mistakes? They have known for centuries that they reside on one of the most earthquake-prone pieces of real estate in the entire world. To continue with the same nuclear energy model despite the obvious lessons of Fukushima seems to defy common sense.

Conclusion

Japan made some extremely fateful decisions post World War II concerning the ways it would satisfy the nation’s energy needs. In light of their direct experience with atomic energy during WWII, it would seem that they would have opted for non-nuclear energy alternatives. Instead, they went full bore constructing nuclear power plants as quickly as they could convince the prefectures with the targeted coastlines.

Here they are now still dealing with the Fukushima meltdown(s) — a set of intractable nuclear challenges which may have no practical solutions. That means that those prefectures surrounding Fukushima may always have an environment suffering from a proliferation of radionuclides. What exactly are radionuclides?

A radionuclide or radioactive nuclide is a nuclide that is radioactive. Also referred to as a radioisotope or radioactive isotope, it is an isotope with an unstable nucleus, characterized by excess energy available to be imparted either to a newly created radiation particle within the nucleus or via internal conversion. During this process, the radionuclide is said to undergo radioactive decay, resulting in the emission of gamma ray(s) and/or subatomic particles such as alpha or beta particles.[1] These emissions constitute ionizing radiation. (Source: Wikipedia — Radionuclide) Radionuclides, and especially the ionizing radiation which they emit, are certainly not something that anyone would want in their back yard, much less in their food. Nevertheless, Japan feels it can maintain the same policies that got them into this calamitous predicament. Hopefully, Taiwan will not relent to demands so unreasonable they strain credulity. After all, Japan needs to learn some critical lessons for their own benefit as well as for their trading partners. ”

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Radioactive plumes spread cesium a week after Fukushima disaster — Mainichi

” A second wave of radioactive material from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster spread over the Tohoku and Kanto regions around one week after the outbreak of the disaster, analysis of radiation readings has found.

It was already known that clouds of radioactive material, known as “radioactive plumes,” had spread on March 15 and 16, 2011, but new analysis by the secretariat of the Nuclear Regulation Authority and the Ministry of the Environment shows similar radiation readings for March 20 and 21 as well.

Until now, radiation levels after the disaster have been estimated by comparing observed readings, such as those from aircraft, with computer simulations obtained from the System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI). For the most recent analysis, the Ministry of the Environment used data from constant monitoring devices used to measure vehicle exhaust fumes and other such air pollution. The ministry sought help from institutions including Tokyo Metropolitan University and the Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute at the University of Tokyo. It collected filter paper that catches airborne particles from around 90 monitoring stations in nine prefectures. Researchers analyzed radiation levels from March 12 to March 23, 2011.

The analysis showed that at one monitoring station in the city of Fukushima on the night of March 15, the combined activity of cesium-137 and cesium-134 went as high as 45.5 becquerels per cubic meter of air.

Radioactive plumes are believed to have continuously spewed from the plant between March 16 and March 19 as well, but the analysis suggests that due to eastern-blowing winds, they spread out over the Pacific Ocean and did not elevate atmospheric radiation levels over Japan. However, the wind direction later changed, and at 3 p.m. on March 20, the Fukushima city monitoring station registered a reading of 104.1 becquerels per cubic meter of air. Readings around this level continued until the next morning.

It is widely known that a radioactive plume spread around March 15, causing a sharp climb in radiation levels to around 20 microsieverts per hour after rain caused radioactive material to fall on homes and on the ground. Rain did not fall on March 20 and 21, so the already-high radiation levels near homes and on the ground did not climb noticeably. This is thought to be the reason why the second radioactive plume was not noticed until now.

In the Kanto region, two belts of high-concentration radiation were registered — one on March 15 and one on March 21. In particular, on the morning of March 21 there was a spike in radioactive cesium concentrations in southern Ibaraki Prefecture and northeastern Chiba Prefecture. Afterwards, the plumes appear to have moved southwest to the northeastern coast of Tokyo Bay. Rain is thought to have brought the radioactive material down to the area and created radioactive “hot spots” that were recorded in various areas.

Yuichi Moriguchi, an environmental systems professor at the University of Tokyo who is knowledgeable about environmental pollution from the Fukushima disaster, commented, “This is important data that shows when and where high concentrations of cesium in the atmosphere spread. This information will help in accurately determining residents’ radiation exposure at the early stages of the nuclear crisis.” ”

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Critical Analysis of the UNSCEAR Report, “Levels and effects of radiation exposure due to the nuclear accident…” — IPPNW

Here is an excellent analysis of the UNSCEAR Report, “Levels and effects of radiation exposure due to the nuclear accident after the 2011 Great East-Japan Earthquake and tsunami.” This analysis was organized by the German Affiliate of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) and includes a number international physician groups for social and environmental responsibility and prevention of nuclear war. Quoted below is the conclusion for those of you who want the big picture. I strongly urge you to read the full document in pdf form: Critical Analysis of Unscear2014 (1)

” IV. Conclusion

The Fukushima nuclear disaster is far from over. Despite the declaration of “cold shutdown” by the Japanese government in December of 2011, the crippled reactors have not yet achieved a stable status and even UNSCEAR admits that emissions of radioisotopes are continuing unabated. 188 TEPCO is struggling with an enormous amount of contaminated water, which continues to leak into the surrounding soil and sea. Large quantities of contaminated cooling water are accumulating at the site. Failures in the makeshift cooling systems are occurring repeatedly. The discharge of radioactive waste will most likely continue for a long time.

Both the damaged nuclear reactors and the spent fuel ponds contain vast amounts of radioactivity and are highly vulnerable to further earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons and human error. Catastrophic releases of radioactivity could occur at any time and eliminating this risk will take many decades. Moreover, many of Japan’s other nuclear power stations are just as sensitive to seismic catastrophes as the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.

Attempts to make reliable forecasts for the next decades seem futile against the backdrop of so much uncertainty. While much of the UNSCEAR report represents useful and important groundwork for future assessments, it does not in any way justify the type of ‘all-clear’ that UNSCEAR is proposing.

It is impossible at this point to come up with an exact prognosis of the effects that the Fukushima nuclear disaster will have on the population in Japan. However, based on the arguments presented in this paper, it has to be stated that the UNSCEAR report represents a systematic underestimation and conjures up an illusion of scientific certainty that obscures the true impact of the nuclear catastrophe on health and the environment.

In its report, UNSCEAR calculates the collective effective doses and absorbed thyroid doses for the Japanese population. However, the admitted uncertainties regarding exposure doses, questionable data selection, faulty assumptions and the fact that ongoing radioactive emissions were not considered undermine the validity of these calculations. The resulting dose estimates are most likely underestimated and do not reflect the true extent of radiation received by the affected population.

By utilizing more neutral sets of data, acknowledging inherent uncertainties in dose estimates, citing the full range of possible exposure rates rather than the best-case scenarios, and by incorporating the latest information about ongoing radioactive emissions, UNSCEAR could have presented a more realistic picture of what effects people can expect from the radioactive fallout in the coming decades, including thyroid cancer, leukemia, solid tumors, non-cancer diseases and genetic defects, all of which have been found in the population affected by the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe.

Even with more realistic data, however, the number of cancer cases induced by Fukushima radioactive fallout may still be considered insignificant to the members of UNSCEAR, especially given the relatively high baseline incidence of cancer in Japan. From a physician’s perspective however, every preventable case of cancer is one too many and the tragic consequences that cancer has on a person’s physical and mental health, as well as the situation of the entire family have to be considered.

To reduce the horrible effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster on tens of thousands of families to a statistical problem and to dismiss these individual stories of suffering by stating that “radiation exposure following the nuclear accident at Fukushima-Daiichi […] is unlikely to be able to attribute any health effects in the future among the general public and the vast majority of workers”189 is inappropriate for a committee of the United Nations, an organization that prides itself on the Declaration of Universal Human Rights.

Through the combination of a man-made nuclear disaster, corrupt operators, regulatory institutions and politicians, inadequate emergency measures, and finally through the systematic underestimation of radiation doses and expected health effects, the people of Fukushima are being deprived of their right to a standard of living adequate for their health and well-being.

As physicians, primarily concerned with the health of the people affected by the nuclear disaster, we urge the United Nations General Assembly and the government of Japan to realize that the affected population needs protection from further radiation exposure. In our opinion, the following issues need to be addressed:

»» All available expertise should be used for the tremendous tasks of minimizing ongoing radioactive emissions from the damaged reactors and spent fuel pools and preventing larger emissions in the future.

»» According to UNSCEAR, more than 24,000 workers have worked on the premises of the crippled reactors since the start of the disaster. Tens of thousands more will be required over many decades. In addition to the provision of adequate radiation protection, monitoring and health care for these workers, a national lifetime radiation exposure register for all workers in the nuclear industry is required in Japan. This must include subcontractors as well as utility employees. Individual workers should have ready access to their results.

»» The issue of functioning registries is also important for the civilian population. Currently, the absence of both effective cancer registries in most prefectures in Japan and comprehensive registers of exposed persons with dose estimates that can be used to assess long term health outcomes means that potential impacts will go undetected. Such registries should be created so that future health effects of the radioactive contamination can be properly assessed.

»» It is unacceptable that people are currently being encouraged to return to some areas where they can be expected to receive up to 20 mSv in additional annual radiation exposure. We see no adequate alternative to minimize such unacceptable exposures other than more relocations than have currently occurred. Logistic and financial support for families living in the radioactively affected municipalities who want to move to less contaminated regions should be offered to reduce the risk of future health effects. Evacuees should not be pressured or bribed into returning to contaminated regions.

»» Decontamination on the scale that would be required to sufficiently and sustainably reduce radiation exposures has not proven feasible. Also, radioactive contamination knows no boundaries, and fallout has not been confined to Fukushima Prefecture alone. Parts of Tochigi, Miyagi, Ibaraki, Gunma, Saitama and Chiba have also been contaminated. At present, government programs responding to the nuclear disaster are largely limited
to Fukushima Prefecture. A national approach based on contamination levels, not prefectural boundaries is needed.

»» We ask the United Nations General Assembly and the Japanese Government to study the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Mr. Anand Grover, and heed his constructive suggestions.190 The precautionary principle should be employed in radiation protection policies.

The people of Fukushima are not being helped by false claims and premature reassurances that no health effects are to be expected. They need proper information, health monitoring, support and most of all, they need acknowledgment of their right to a standard of living adequate for their health and well being. This should be the guiding principle in evaluating the health effects of the nuclear catastrophe:

“The number of children and grandchildren with cancer in their bones, with leukemia in their blood, or with poison in their lungs might seem statistically small to some, in comparison with natural health hazards. But this is not a natural health hazard – and it is not a statistical issue. The loss of even one human life, or the malformation of even one baby – who may be born long after we are gone – should be of concern to us all. Our children and grandchildren are not merely statistics toward which we can be indifferent.” John F. Kennedy, July 26th, 1963 “