Saturday, April 23, 2011

save the children in Fukushima (it's official)

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology Japan (MEXT) on April 19 noticed the educators in Fukushima Prefecture a set of new guidelines which allow school facilities including playgrounds to be used as usual as long as radiation levels in the air are limited to less than 20 millisieverts per year, or 3.8 microsieverts per hour, and that is stirring public anger. The environmentalists such as Greenpeace Japan, FoE Japan, Green Action, the Citizen's Nuclear Information Center, Mihama no kai, Fukuro no kai, and the parents condemn the government and demand it to retreat from such an inhumane decision, and also call everyone to send a message of protest to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Education Minister Yoshiaki Takagi.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan:

Japanese Education Minister Yoshiaki Takagi:

Even the Japan's labor standards forbid minors under the age of 18 to work in an area one may be exposed to 0.6 microsieverts per hour. The guidelines force the children to be exposed to 6 times as high as such a level of radiation. Under the Japanese laws, a case, for example, a nuclear power plant worker is exposed to 20 millisieverts of radiation per year and later gets leukemia is regarded as an industrial injury and eligible for workers' compensation. Moreover, a German nuclear plant worker is allowed to be exposed to less than 20 millisieverts per year. In an article appearing in Die Spiegel, April 21, Edmund Lengfelder of Otto Hug Strahlerinstitut says that the government's decision obviously will cause an increase in cancer rates, and by the guidelines the government can avert legal responsibility for that, but not ethical one.

75 percent of school in Fukushima Prefecture are exposed to more than 0.6 microsieverts per hour and the 20 percent more than 2.3 microsieverts per hour, according to the civil servants of Fukushima Prefecture. Moreover, the guidelines consider only external exposure, but not internal (via ingestion and inhalation) one.

The groups mentioned above on April 21 had a session with the officials and asked for explanation how the guidelines were made, but the officials did not gave any clear answer. So the groups demand the authorities to disclose the names of persons in charge of the decision.

If you can read Japanese, see: the CNIC's news.

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