Gov't must do more to address people's radiation fear: U.N. rep

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  • 15

    kurisupisu

    Watching the politicians in the gikai debate the residents' concern I was incredulous when I witnessed a complete lack of sympathy.In fact there was amusement that residents should be questioning whether food or their environs were safe. We should all remember what the word 'goverment' actually means.

    In all nuclear incidents in Japan the people have always suffered....

  • 14

    Stephen Knight

    And we all know how seriously the Japanese government takes pronouncements from U.N. representatives...

  • 14

    soldave

    Expect Japan to respond, declaring that the international community does not understand Japan's customs and traditions, and that it is a purely domestic affair.

    They will then resolve internally that further lying is the key to make people feel at ease.

  • 12

    herefornow

    Anand Grover, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to health, told reporters the government needed to depend less on experts and give more information directly to people living with nuclear fears

    Seems like a completely logical recommendation. Which means it will get absolutely no consideration by the bureaucrats in Tokyo.

  • 6

    Rick Kisa

    Gov't must do more to address people's radiation fear: U.N. rep

    The only convincing way to stop nuclear fears is to do away with all of the nuclear plants and stop building new ones. The people spoke long ago that they don't want nuke electricity..The ball is in the government's court.

  • 3

    Disillusioned

    Gov't must do more to address people's radiation fear: U.N. rep

    Oh, the irony! It is the J_Gov that has caused the fear through their lies, deceit and inaction.

  • 1

    BertieWooster

    Why is it that the Japanese government shoves its collective head in the sand whenever there is a huge problem?

    It happened in Kobe. Total panic and disorganisation. Foreign rescue teams not allowed in for some bureaucratic reason.

    It's been happening for years in Okinawa where the Japanese government totally ignores the feelings of the people who are inconvenienced by the huge US bases, the violence and other problems that these bring.

    And it's still happening in Fukushima, where thousands are still homeless and little has been done to rebuild the areas damaged in 3/11.

    A further example of this is the crass statement by Abe that he proposes a 200 trillion yen public works project that will bankrupt the country and still ignore the Tohoku problem.

    It's not a problem of how to persuade people that there is no danger in radiation. There is. As the hundreds of people who've been sickened by it will verify. The problem is how to create cheap renewable energy WITHOUT nuclear power.

  • 2

    Dennis Bauer

    HAL5000 (Japanese government) everything is alright Dave

  • 12

    zichi

    Recent surveys show that thousands of people who once lived inside the no-go zone, like in Okuma Town near the atomic plant, are now accepting that they'll never go home, nor do the majority even want to return. The majority of the nuclear refugee's have not received internal radiation examinations and testing nor have they been offered.

    About 100,000 children have had their tyroids tested but many of the parents complained about the hospitals refusing to release the scans and data.

    Like in Tohoku, tens of thousands are still living in temporary accommodation or shacked up with relatives. The stress levels for all these people is high because their future is unclear.

    The decontamination work which is costing billions has very slow. Most of the nuclear refugee's are still waiting for compensation payments, 21 months after the nuclear disaster.

    Some families have had to move several times with the children going to new schools every time which will affect their education standards.

    The atomic plant continues to release radiation into the environment, atmosphere and ocean but at what levels I don't know.

    Part of this report, also covers the nuclear gypsies who are working at the site of the nuclear disaster. Their lack of health checks and health care. Their working conditions and the fact that they are the ones working in the areas with high levels of radiation.

    With a general election about to happen many of these issues seem to be on the back burner. No word from any party about dealing with the nuclear disaster or the slow pace of the Tohoku reconstruction.

    Hundreds of thousands are fast becoming forgotten people.

  • 2

    Rhino

    Well, considering that any government elected in any country is the responsibility of the voters/citizens of that country, I guess Japan has been in the process of committing collective suicide for the past 30 - 40 years.

  • -10

    basroil

    He said the “inconsistency” between that limit and the 5-millisievert dose allowed around Chernobyl before mandatory resettlement after its nuclear catastrophe “created confusion among a significant number of the local population, who increasingly doubt government data and policy.”

    No such thing. If that were the case, half of Ukrane would have been gone. The relocation was on the assumption of a 350mSv lifetime limit, which AVERAGES to 5mSv, but in reality it's much higher. Assuming CS134 and CS-137 are in equal starting amounts and the major components of radiation (good assumption in both Chernobyl and Fukushima), the amount comes out to about 18mSv of detectible radiation after 6 months. That's more than three times what this article claims.

    The limits are generally 100mSv first year and 20mSv per year after that for the 1Sv lifetime limit model that has less than one per million increase in death. That's the model that almost all countries use as it's been proven to be quite effective at reducing deaths to as small as humanly possible. Japan's 20mSv limit is actually more stringent in the short term, but unless it's reduced to 10 in 30 years time, it could actually end up being less stringent. Knowing the government, they will completely forget about it and then someone's going to do the math and wonder why it wasn't done ahead of time.

    BertieWoosterNov. 27, 2012 - 09:35AM JST

    It's not a problem of how to persuade people that there is no danger in radiation. There is. As the hundreds of people who've been sickened by it will verify.

    According to international independent reports on the issue, there are expected to be an excess of 800 cancer cases above normal, representing far less than a 1% increase. There have yet to be any cancer cases above normal, and even those cases to be discovered years from now will not be attributable to cancer, only an overall increase can.

  • 6

    zichi

    Grover said that there is too much optimism about the lack of permanent and long-term risks of radiation on the victims, rather than an emphasis on regular health checks to ensure the future of the people. Many nuclear plant workers have no access to permanent and regular health checks, and they’re the ones who are most at risk. He also relayed the residents’ complaints that they don’t have access to the results of their health-check results. One of the biggest criticisms about the Japanese government in the aftermath of this disaster is that there seems to be a lot of cover-ups and delays in disclosing key radiation information that are crucial for residents and workers.

  • 2

    edojin

    Don't worry ... when the Liberal Democratic Party regains power in the forthcoming elections they will ease all fears by sweeping everything under the rug. After all, they are the ones who set up TEPCO and the nuclear power plant system throughout Japan. Under Minshuto's rule, too many facts for the LDP's comfort were laid out on the table for everyone to see. The LDP will make sure that this is taken care of ... and once again we will be kept in the dark as to what happened in the past, what is happening now and what might happen in the future.

    Wonder how much the LDP will tell the U.N. representatives about what is happening? I could go on with this ... but guess you get the hang of it ...

  • 6

    Farmboy

    I think the title is misleading, and he talked not about fears but about risks.

    An AP article begins a little more strongly: "A United Nations rights investigator said Nov. 26 that Japan hasn't done enough to protect the health of residents and workers affected by the Fukushima nuclear accident."

  • -2

    Nelson Surjon

    should do more to address fears over radiation ?

    inconsistency between that limit and the 5-millisievert dose allowed around Chernobyl before mandatory resettlement after its nuclear catastrophe created confusion among a significant number of the local population ?

    nuclear fears ?

    Is this article or Grover's comments implying that people of Fukushima are delusional ? Irrational fears ? People are stupid for not believing in mad scientist Yamashita ? One day, people will have to say "I'm sorry' to these innocent people. I am happy I won't have to be one of them. Long live Fukushima! Long live Japan! May justice be rendered and save the children of Japan to radiation exposure.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4Lgqs5-xWs&feature=g-upl

  • -1

    Nelson Surjon

    and I agree with Farmboy : I have read Grover's comments in other articles ... His comments are totally misinterpreted in your article. Please, stick to what he really said. Thank you.

    Some highlights and recommendations for what is needed:

    -government did not evacuate properly or communicate radiation doses and implications to the public.

    -government neglected hotspots and used 20msv/year limit implying this was safe which is not.

    -radiation monitoring stations did not adequately reflect exposure data. Therefore all validated data, alot being collected by private individuals, should be made public.

    -potassium iodine was not handled properly.

    -provide holistic and comprehensive treatment for ALL radiation effected zones and include wider health consequences than the current health survey.

    -err on side of caution and monitor health outcomes for an extensive period of time.

    -allow individuals access to their health data and that of their children.

    -initiate long-term monitoring of sub-contract workers at the ruined plants.

    -evacuation centers did not provide adequate facilities for women with children and the disabled and elderly. Separation of families due to inadequate evacuation procedures has caused unnecessary anguish.

    -government needs to strengthened food contamination monitoring.

    -adopt an action plan with clear timeline to reduce contamination to 1msv per year.

    -restore subsidies to all evacuees so they can make proper decisions about whether to return or leave.

    -government ensure that TEPCO is held financially accountable and that taxpayers are not.

    -ensure participation of effected people, particularly vulnerable groups during all parts of decision-making process, including health services and decontamination. This is not currently being done.

    -implement the “act on protection and support for children, and other victims of the Tepco disaster” which was enacted in June, 2012. This act provides a framework for those affected by the disaster and provides opportunity to enlist affected people in decision-making.

  • 2

    Viola Drewanz

    @ basroil: that's why we have 80% of the Belarus children who are ill right now - 25 years after Chernobyl... Because they didn't react properly. And I guess they took for granted your independent international reports. Which ones do you mean? The WHO reports? Let me reind you that the WHO since 1959 has an agreement with the IAEA, stating that "Whenever either organization proposes to initiate a programme or activity on a subject in which the other organization has or may have a substantial interest, the first party shall consult the other with a view to adjusting the matter by mutual agreement.". And yes - I know that Belarus is not Ukraine - but I don't have the data for Ukraine, only for Belarus. And it's solid...

    Let me remind you as well that cancer is not the only disease, resultung from elevated radiation. There's a whole cocktail: heart deseases, diabetes, genetic mutations, eye deseases... the list is long.

    Don't make the same mistakes again, Japan - please! Don't downplay the dangers of radiation, don't force the future of your country to stay in radiated areas....

  • -2

    basroil

    Viola DrewanzNov. 28, 2012 - 11:11AM JST

    that's why we have 80% of the Belarus children who are ill right now - 25 years after Chernobyl...

    They aren't, that's a flat out lie by fear mongering groups. The actual medical data suggests that the children are actually healthier than many of their counterparts, partly thanks to more overprotective parents catching unrelated but potentially dangerous illness. You can check the statistics if you want, but you'll see that mortality rates have dropped and so has under-reporting.

    Nelson SurjonNov. 28, 2012 - 06:54AM JST

    Some highlights and recommendations for what is needed:

    -government did not evacuate properly or communicate radiation doses and implications to the public.

    This was an issue, but the information what available for people that needed to know. Evacuations were far too rushed, as there was no immediate health issues from not evacuating, compared to those from evacuating. The use of circles rather than fallout maps was also a big issue that the government must reform, but also implement the same for other industries including solvents (chlorine tank bursts), plastic making (whole range of gasses), and many others that can have similar effects.

    -government neglected hotspots and used 20msv/year limit implying this was safe which is not.

    20mSv/year for first two years is considered safe to within a millionth of an excess death. That is of course assuming linear no-threshold model that has been known to overestimate the effects for low doses (in other words, it's possibly safer than the models suggest). 20mSv/year is about the same as quickly walking past the entrance of buildings in Tokyo.

    Hotspots, as their name implies, are above average (for the area) concentrations of something, in this case radiation. The usually (in air release case) form after a situation, by normal ecological or human movements. When evacuating, hotspots are of little concern as their areas of effect are small, and simply restricting access can make risks negligible. Most of the hotspots found since the accident have been in areas where water flows out, such as gutters and drains, since caesium is water soluble.

    -radiation monitoring stations did not adequately reflect exposure data. Therefore all validated data, alot being collected by private individuals, should be made public.

    Visit safecast.org . That data is publicly available.

    You are attempting to reference the greenpeace "article" (anti-nuclear propaganda piece) which actually ended up validating the government data. The error, 10%, is actually incredibly small, a margin of a few cm at a meter distance, or simply having a dirty sensor. The stations are working quite well, and they are there only for information, not government decisions.

    -potassium iodine was not handled properly.

    There was no potassium iodide involved at any place in Japan. The exposure to radio-iodine was so low that the pills would actually increase the chances of illness.

    Japan does need a proper guide to the timing and use of potassium iodide, but it should include avoiding unnecessary use to properly protect people.

    -allow individuals access to their health data and that of their children.

    This, I believe, is already in the laws. Whether or not people actually press their doctors to uphold it is a different story.

    -initiate long-term monitoring of sub-contract workers at the ruined plants.

    Why stop there? All factory and powerplant workers in the country should have annual checkups. No reason to keep it limited to a few folk that likely will get more illnesses from other jobs they take.

    -evacuation centers did not provide adequate facilities for women with children and the disabled and elderly. Separation of families due to inadequate evacuation procedures has caused unnecessary anguish.

    This is not limited to nuclear events. Earthquakes, floods, landslides, etc will also need this.

    -adopt an action plan with clear timeline to reduce contamination to 1msv per year.

    Considering the worldwide background radiation average is over 2mSv/year, you mean 1mSv/yr above average. There is no way to reduce contamination to that level except for allowing mother nature to keep it's course (100 years for areas with 20mSv/year above average assuming just radiological decay, 50 years if you include environmental halflife of caesium). You can make the effective contamination decrease (in populated areas) faster through washing, topsoil replacement, caesium trapping, and other methods, but it'll simply concentrate (which you can then make a no-go zone and wait).

    -government ensure that TEPCO is held financially accountable and that taxpayers are not.

    You will pay for it either way. Either higher electricity rates (and higher costs for everything else), or a better use of taxpayer money than repairing dying villages that wouldn't have lasted long anyway.

    -ensure participation of effected people, particularly vulnerable groups during all parts of decision-making process, including health services and decontamination. This is not currently being done.

    When those people have the technical knowledge needed to actually make intelligent choices, then they should be allowed to decide. People simply don't understand the things needed to make the decision, and mob choices are always poor ones and can cause bigger issues than they solved (if they solved anything).

    This is exactly why the article states the government needs to address the fears, because the other option is simply being controlled by that fear until the next "scary" thing comes along.

  • 2

    zichi

    About 27,000 people have worked at the Fukushima atomic plant since 3/11 but only about 199 will be able to get life time free cancer scans.

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