By Kyoko Hasegawa
The Japanese government should do more to address fears over radiation in the area around Fukushima, a U.N. health expert said Monday, urging it to consult those affected by nuclear pollution.
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.
The government’s initial threshold for evacuation of 20 millisieverts per year “conveyed the message that effective radiation doses up to” that level were safe.
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.”
Asked about how to clear up the confusion and reassure people, he urged the government not to rely too much on specialists. “I personally think experts know only part of the situation. Communities must be involved,” he said.
“As for internal radiation exposure… there is a view among scientists legitimately that there is no danger from exposure between zero and 100 millisieverts, but that is controversial,” he said. “The government has to err on the side of caution and be inclusive.”