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Japanese do not trust the government about Fukushima radiation

 83% of Fukushima residents and 73% countrywide felt ‘greatly’ or ‘somewhat’ worried about radioactive contamination. More importantly, 70% of people in the three disaster hit prefectures , and 71% people countrywide , felt that government was “hiding” information. 

This background of mistrust and deception, coming on top of enormous suffering, haunts the island nation, and especially the 350,000 people, who are living in camps unable to go back home to Fukushima.

Debris, radiation fear, mistrust still piling up  Times of India, , TNN | Mar 12, It is one year since the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake generated a tsunami that ripped apart the north-eastern sea-coast of Japan leaving over 20,000 people dead and the Fukushima nuclear power plant damaged. The triple disaster is estimated to have caused losses worth $235 billion according to World Bank.

Pictures circulated worldwide by visiting journalists show spectacular scenes of the massive clean up operation launched by the government of Japan. But the reality is numbingly grim. Goshi Honoso , Japan’s environment minister speaking at a routine press conference on February 21, urged local governments to help in cleaning up the debris left behind in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, the three areas which bore the brunt of the tsunami, reports Kyodo news agency.

Then, he revealed jaw dropping numbers: an estimated 22.53 million tonnes of debris was created by the tsunami . Of this, only 1.18 million tonnes, that is, about 5% has been disposed of.The rest of it is simply bulldozed and piled into giant heaps, some as high as 20 meters high. ….

Repeated polls over the past year show that there is a growing sense of mistrust towards the government’s handling of the nuclear disaster and it is casting a shadow over clean up efforts. People think that the debris may be contaminated. 

The minister reportedly urged that only 4 million tonnes needed to be accepted by other prefectures, as the rest would be disposed off in Fukushima itself. But such are the deep-seated fears of radioactive contamination that there are no takers. …

 According to a public opinion poll released by newspaper Mainichi Shimbun, 83% of Fukushima residents and 73% countrywide felt ‘greatly’ or ‘somewhat’ worried about radioactive contamination. More importantly, 70% of people in the three disaster hit prefectures , and 71% people countrywide , felt that government was “hiding” information.

Recently released documents of the top-level government meetings during March and December 2011 show confusion , lack of a chain of command , miscommunication and a tendency to play down dangers. Even the fact that meltdown of the nuclear core had taken place in the reactors at Fukushima was confirmed as late as May 2011.

Bitterness is rampant among survivors of the nuclear disaster and 150,000 directly affected evacuees from Fukushima prefecture because Tepco, owner of the stricken nuclear plant, has offered only $13,045 as ad hoc compensation . Japan has no cap on liability of the owner but Tepco has circulated a 60 page compensation claim form, with 150 pages of instructions to be filled up leaving survivors enraged , according to a Greenpeace report. Tepco has been roundly held responsible for failure of the nuclear plant and subsequent mishandling of the disaster. …. This background of mistrust and deception, coming on top of enormous suffering, haunts the island nation, and especially the 350,000 people, who are living in camps unable to go back home to Fukushima. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/12227381.cms

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March 12, 2012 - Posted by | Japan, psychology - mental health, social effects

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