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Saturday, 12 July 2014

Women of Fukushima's appeal


At the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan July 3, 2014
 
We, Fukushima Women against Nukes (Women of Fukushima Demand End to Nuclear Power), submitted the following 4 demands to the Ministry of Environment, which has critical responsibilities for decontamination and monitoring of radioactive materials, removal of earthquake debris and tainted soil as well as health care program for victims of the nuclear accidents.
 
1. Make plans to reduce radioactive exposure and carry them out immediately, getting out of too much dependence on decontamination.
2. Based on the principle of the Act for relief and support of the nuclear power plant disaster victims, especially the affected children, make drastic changes to the policies of the Ministry of Environment in dealing with the affected areas, victims, and radioactive contamination.
3. Listen to voices of victims and reflect them to the policies from now on.
4. Environment Minister, Nobuteru Ishihara, shall resign.
 
The demands are to protest against the skull session with the experts about decontamination held in Fukushima on June 15th, as well as the remark of Environment Minister Ishihara “What matters in the end is the money” on the following day.
 
The skull session had been closed-door in the original plan, rejecting the participation of public audience. Several experts and hosts are associated with organizations which promote nuclear power, so that the selection of members wasn’t well balanced at all. There were also practices which are totally lack of transparency and fairness, such as;
- Acts to obscure affiliations of experts and hosts neatly
- Absence of residents' participation or representation
- Substantive downgrade of decontamination target by shifting to measured results of personal dosimeter which measures only a part of external exposure
 
We strongly protest all of those practices.
Yet this is not only about the Ministry of Environment, but it’s spread over various governmental agencies including the Reconstruction Agency, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Their common premises are:
 
- No harm would be affected by this level of radioactive contamination
- No health issues due to the nuclear power plant accident have been identified yet
- Continuous living in the affected area is desirable both for victims and economy of the country
 
To derive policies aligned with those premises, they practiced actions such as;
- Sabotage of important investigations
- Denial of the existence of the subjective symptoms of poor health by individuals
- Underestimation and disregard of initial contamination and internal exposure - Disregard of the reports about the health effects of the Chernobyl accident from the local doctors
- Unfair procedures to prevent submits of objections or counterarguments from citizens
- Diffusion of the radioactive materials by policies with priority on economy and vested interests (The policies in place are getting into completely opposite direction where it should go to minimize damages of the nuclear accidents; rubble processing in the wide area , constructions of incineration facility for radioactive debris.)
 
The lack of sincerity on the part of the government has brought unnecessary contamination to citizens. They haven’t carried out their missions to prevent expansion of the damage.
 
In Fukushima Prefecture, among the youth and children under 18-year-old at the time of the disaster, the number of patient of thyroid cancer has been increasing. According to the announcement made on June 10th, 89 children have or are suspected to have thyroid cancer. And many out of 50 who already underwent an operation has been suffered more severe cases such as lymph node metastasis, lung transition, and hoarseness. We are anxiously waiting for the publication of reports with more detailed and accurate information. There are also concerns of an immunity system, respiratory system, circulatory organ system, alimentary system, nerve system, psychiatric disorders and others. Yet faithful investigations haven’t been conducted, the government has acted to suppress the voices of concern.
 
However, we are aware of the data about children who live in the post-Chernobyl nuclear-disaster Ukraine and Belarus. The number of diseases and immunity deficiencies has been increased throughout 28 years and even now. Because operations of decontamination haven’t achieved satisfactory results, the Government shouldn’t downgrade the target and left children, who are susceptive to radioactivity, in the affected area. We believe it’s unforgivable, and it’s sure from a viewpoint of preventive medicine. The Government shouldn’t confine the children in the areas of high air dose, but they should implement comprehensive measures to reduce radiation exposure, and to prevent health hazard. And it shouldn’t rely solely on decontamination work. For families who want to evacuate a contaminated area, they should be offered practical plans to meet their needs based on their right to evacuate. For families who decided to stay on, a program should be developed to provide periodical recreation and regular medical check-up.
 
Moreover, the support for evacuees, including the voluntary evacuees, runs very short. And serious issues have come out, such as suicides and solitary deaths in evacuation home, child-abuse, unwanted returning to the original residence, and family breakup. It’s an urgent need to investigate the situation, and to provide practical supports to them.
 
Minister Ishihara said “Ultimately what matter is the money.” in his answer to the question from a press after he briefed Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga, about the meeting with local residents on an interim storage facility.
  What we desire as victims of this nuclear disaster is not the money, but the hometown and the life before March 11, 2011. And we do understand it’s extremely difficult. From the depth of sadness and agony, what we are asking from the Government are;
- Policies based on their determination to do the best to secure health of people and to preserve the environment
- Minimization of the damage of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster, which has not yet ended
- Maximum preparation for potential following crisis by a big aftershock
- Prevention of recurrence of nuclear disaster elsewhere
 
However, what they’ve done is to make damage invisible with utmost effort, instead of preventing it. They’ve been accelerating diffusion of radioactive materials, and hiding initial radiation exposure and internal exposure. On top of those, the Government adheres the capability of nuclear weapons through restarting nuclear power plants on the Japanese Islands which have entered into the period of great crust change, continuation of nuclear-fuel-cycle planning, and export of nuclear power plants to overseas such as Turkey which is another seismic country in the region. Those activities trample on the sentiment of the victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and we must say that it is the policy which has no respect for the lives of the people in the world.


Two days ago, the Abe Cabinet pushed through the Cabinet decision to approve the exercise of the right-of-collective-self-defense which rocks the foundation of constitutionalism and pacifism of the Constitution of Japan. We believe that such militarization of the country, nuclear power plant promotion, and forced toleration of radiation exposure are the Trinity, and we strongly oppose to them all.
 
To the People of the World,
We would like you to be aware of this serious reality in Japan, and to pay attention to it. We need your help to our activities toward the minimum damage of nuclear power disaster.
 
July 3, 2014 Fukushima Women against Nukes
(Women of Fukushima Demand End to Nuclear Power)
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