Monday, June 22, 2015

LDP Pushes Evacuees to Return to Fukushima





In 2013, two years after the disaster, Japan’s permanent radiation-exclusion zones were unveiled in the Japanese media. The Japanese government identified areas measuring between 20 and 50 millisieverts a year as suitable for restricted living (visitation but not yet permanent inhabitations). Areas measuring fewer than 20 millisieverts a year of annual exposure were designated as habitable zones and preparations were made for lifting evacuation orders in these areas (“About 60 Percent,” 2013). 

In effect, Japan increased its national exposure level from one, to up to 20 millisieverts a year, while allowing partial habitation in areas with up to 50 millisieverts. In comparison, the Soviets set the Chernobyl exclusion zone at five millisieverts a year (“Japan Groups Alarmed,” 2011). This elevated level applied for children as well as adults. 

In November 2013, Japan announced it was changing its method of atmospheric monitoring to an individualized badge system. According to a November 9, 2013 report from The Asahi Shimbun, the badges underestimated exposure levels by seven times when compared to the atmospheric monitoring technique that had previously been deployed by aircraft (“Lower Radiation Readings,” 2013). This change essentially increases permissible exposure levels. 

Children are likely at greatest risk because they are biologically more vulnerable to radiation exposure because their cells are dividing faster. July 6, 2011 the Japanese press Kyodo reported that in a March 2011 survey of 1,080 children aged 0 to 15 in Iwaki, Kawamata, and Iitate 45 percent of kids in Fukushima survey had thyroid exposure to radiation (“45% of Kids” 2011). A separate study measuring thyroid exposure to Iodine-131 conducted between April 12, 2011 and April 16, 2011 and published in Research Reports found “extensive measurements of the exposure to I-131 revealing I-131 activity in the thyroid of 46 out of the 62 residents and evacuees measured” (Tokonammi, Hosoda, Akiba, Sorimachi, Kashiwakura, & Balonov, 2012). In August of 2011, NHK reported that Japan’s nuclear commission had erased children’s exposure data derived from a test of 1,000 children aged 15 or younger who had been screened for radiation affecting their thyroid (“Nuclear Commission” 2011). The report stated that one four year old child had a thyroid exposure of 35 millisieverts, but that the amount was “not considered a health threat.” This exposure level accounts only for Iodine-131 and does not incorporate the child’s total exposure to other radionuclides.  

By February of 2014, there were 75 confirmed or suspected thyroid cancer cases among thyroid nodules in children typically ranges from 0.2-5.0 percent (Gerber & Meyers, 2013), while in Fukushima, 42 percent of 133,000 children were found to have thyroid nodules and cysts (Haworth, 2013).

The LDP is now taking active steps to push evacuated populations back into contaminated areas:

Fukushima Pref. looking to end free rent for voluntary disaster evacuees in 2017
June 16, 2015
http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20150616p2a00m0na015000c.html

[Excerpted] The Fukushima Prefectural Government, aiming to encourage residents to return to areas they evacuated after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, announced on June 15 its intention to end free rent for voluntary evacuees in March 2017, while continuing to provide limited support for a time.

... Many voluntary evacuees are living in private apartments, and their rent is free. Just like with forced evacuees from areas with evacuation orders placed on them, voluntary evacuees have had their free rent extended on a yearly basis, in accordance with the Disaster Relief Act.

At a press conference on June 15, Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori said, "The construction of publically-managed recovery homes (for evacuees) has made progress, and it will be difficult to maintain the emergency aid being offered under the Disaster Relief Act."

As replacements for free rent, some measures the prefecture plans to offer evacuees include: financial assistance starting this fiscal year for moving into Fukushima Prefecture; financial rent assistance for low-income evacuees starting in fiscal 2017 and lasting a few years; and preparation of publically-managed homes both in and out of the prefecture for evacuees to move into. The prefecture will seek financial assistance from the national government in order to provide these services.

Majia here: So, the Japanese government plans on discontinuing rent subsidies for people who evacuated from areas now measuring 20 millisieverts a year or less, a full 20 X the pre-Fukushima radiation exposure in Japan.

Lack of economic activity, hot spots, ongoing contamination, ongoing risks from plant, and internal contamination are apparently irrelevant to the Japanese government (and US as well), which prioritizes the semblance of normality and the perpetuation of nuclear power above considerations for the long-term health and welfare of its population.

This is dispossession by an economically advanced, so-called "democratic" government.

3 comments:

  1. From which we are forced to conclude that like most governments the Japanese has decided to sacrifice persons to the "greater good" for those few that do count.
    That there is something rather Stalinesque about this seems evident. All Stalin did was emphasize something about governments as well as large corporations that had always been the case. They really do not care! since they are machines whose parts just happen to be people rather than gears and pulleys and the like. These humanoid machines are sometimes armies that casually kill thousands or millions without a thought or care. "We had to destroy it in order to save it." Machine logic.
    If we are not careful we will find ourselves condemning civilizations which make all this possible. Small tribal or kinship groups operated according to a quite different logic, but did not have I phones and automobiles and the wonders of modern medicine? It was gamble from the beginning. We can not go back but soon there will be no one to go forward,

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    1. Very thoughtful comment

      Yes, in the end there seems no clear way of going forward

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  2. Mainstream media has been extremely lax in reporting what may be the real problem in the Pacific. Toxic algae does not get toxic all by itself. I am quite certain that the radiation spewing from Fukushima has a lot to do with the aberrations in the pacific plant and animal life. People on the west coast need to find ways to protect themselves. I found an interesting book - Radiation Protective Foods (2014 post Fukushima edition) author: Sara Shannon, which I found on nuclearreader.info and a friend said she got hers from Amazon. At least someone is looking out for us.

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