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Radiation still hitting flora, fauna in forests in Fukushima

Radiation levels in mountain forests in Fukushima Prefecture remain relatively high compared with residential areas that have undergone decontamination work. The photo was taken in Namie in the prefecture in December. (Keitaro Fukuchi)

March 11, 2022

SENDAI—On a chilly night in early February, Masatoshi Suzuki hauled a black plastic bag containing four macaque carcasses into his lab at Tohoku University.

The monkeys were killed as agricultural pests, but for researchers like Suzuki, the animals are invaluable specimens to determine the effects of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Nearly 11 years after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, questions remain over the extent of damage to animals and plants caused by the radioactive substances released in the accident.

Suzuki, who specializes in radiobiology, hopes his studies will provide clues on the possible impact of the radiation on humans.

He and his colleagues have studied 709 macaques in Fukushima Prefecture since 2012. Of all the wild species available for study in the contaminated areas, macaques are most similar to humans.

Masatoshi Suzuki, a researcher of radiobiology, at his lab at Tohoku University in Sendai on Feb. 8 (Keitaro Fukuchi)

The four dead macaques were given to Suzuki by farmers who destroyed the animals several hours earlier in Namie, a town that lies about 4 kilometers from the crippled nuclear plant. Parts of Namie are still off-limit due to high radiation levels.

Other primates used in the studies have come from off-limit areas in Minami-Soma, a city north of the nuclear plant, and elsewhere in the prefecture.

The researchers dissect the carcasses to determine if the livers, lungs, thyroid glands and muscle tissues were affected by radiation from the nuclear accident.

Deformations in plant lice and fir trees have been reported since the nuclear disaster started.

But Suzuki said he has seen no credible reports of such physical abnormalities in wild animals, including macaques, as well as domestic livestock.

However, damage might be occurring at the cellular level in the animals.

Background radiation levels in most of the mountain forests in Fukushima and neighboring prefectures are higher than those in residential areas, which have undergone decontamination procedures.

In the nature-filled areas that have not been decontaminated, macaques continue to be exposed to radioactive materials while feeding on polluted fruits and other food sources.

According to Suzuki’s studies, the muscles showed the highest concentration of radioactive cesium among all of the macaques’ organs.

The average radioactivity level in the thigh muscles was about 40,000 becquerels per macaque captured in Namie in fiscal 2013.

In fiscal 2018, the figure was down to about 20,000 becquerels per macaque.

The researchers found that macaques exposed to higher radiation doses had slightly fewer blood-producing cells in bone marrow compared with the animals with lower exposure readings. The nuclear accident may have compromised some macaques’ ability to make blood.

The researchers used the density of radioactive cesium in the macaques’ muscles and in soil at areas where they were captured to calculate the level of radiation doses the animals were exposed to both internally and externally.

Suzuki also said they detected chromosomal abnormalities resulting from radiation damage to genes.

He said radiation exposure can increase the stress level in one organ, but the same dose could have the opposite effect in a different organ. One possible reason for this is that the animal’s defense system was galvanized to curb stress levels following exposure.

Suzuki emphasized the need to continue monitoring macaques and other animals to determine the impact from prolonged radiation exposure.

“So far, we have discovered no significant health hazards in the individual macaques studied,” he said. “But they continue to display changes in their cells and organs, albeit minor ones. We do not know what these changes will translate into in the long run.”


A study by other scientists showed that radioactive cesium from the nuclear accident could be traveling through food chains in the environment.

“If we can track down the movement of radioactive cesium in the food chain, the findings would show us its cycling mechanism in the ecosystem,” said Sota Tanaka, a researcher of radioecology at Akita Prefectural University.

He believes that studying the cycling mechanism of cesium will help to predict its long-term movement and lead to improved use of resources in mountain forests and the rebuilding of agriculture in contaminated areas.

Joint research by Tanaka and Taro Adachi, professor of applied entomology at the Tokyo University of Agriculture, found that radioactivity levels have decreased year after year in rice-field grasshoppers in Iitate, a village west of the stricken nuclear plant that still has some off-limit areas.

In 2016, all of the grasshoppers monitored had radioactivity readings below 100 becquerels per kilogram.

But garden web spiders in Iitate showed a wide range of readings from one year to the next. Their radioactivity levels were actually higher in 2015 than in 2014.

In 2016, one spider had a reading of more than 300 becquerels per kilogram.

Radioactive cesium remains on the ground even after rainfalls.

Plants rarely absorb cesium through their roots, but can become contaminated by falling cesium particles. And the researchers believe the cesium levels in grasshoppers have dropped steadily because they feed on the leaves of living plants.

As for the spiders, they are eating bugs that have high cesium levels because they feed on contaminated dead leaves mixed with contaminated soil, according to Tanaka.

That may be why the eight-legged predators are showing higher radioactivity readings than the grasshoppers, he said.

Their study also found that earthworms had radioactivity levels higher than those for the grasshoppers and spiders, likely because they are eating contaminated soil and withered leaves.

March 14, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

(11 Years after the Great East Japan Earthquake) Forest untouched by decontamination, creatures exposed to radiation continue to be affected at the cellular level

Tohoku University lecturer Masatoshi Suzuki arranges samples of Japanese macaques in Sendai City on February 8.

March 8, 2022
 Eleven years have passed since the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

While decontamination has progressed mainly in residential areas and other areas where people live, vast areas of forests remain largely untouched.

A wild Japanese monkey in a mountain forest in Fukushima Prefecture, Iitate Village, Fukushima Prefecture, in December 2021.

What effect do radioactive materials remaining in the forests have on living creatures and how do they move through the food chain? Researchers are continuing their investigations. (Keitaro Fukuchi)

Image of radioactive cesium transfer through the food chain

March 11, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

River fishing limits remain 11 years after nuclear disaster

Researchers catch fish in the Otagawa river in Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Dec. 14, 2021, to survey the concentration of radioactive materials. (Keitaro Fukuchi)

March 7, 2022

FUKUSHIMA–A sign along the Manogawa river that runs through Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, is faded, but the message is clear–and perhaps unnecessary.

“Regulations have yet to be lifted,” it says. “Please do not conduct fishing activities.”

The sign is located on a riverbank about 30 kilometers north of the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant run by Tokyo Electric Power Co.

The area used to be crowded with people trying to catch “ayu” (sweetfish). But anglers from near and far stopped visiting the area long ago, and now, hardly anyone is around to see the sign.

After the 2011 nuclear disaster, a local association of fisheries cooperative set up the “no fishing” signs at about 50 locations along the river.

Calls to suspend shipments of river fish and to refrain from fishing have continued since the nuclear disaster started 11 years ago, even for rivers outside the Tohoku region.

In the Manogawa river, ayu, “ugui” (Japanese dace) and “yamame” (masu trout) were found with concentrations of radioactive substances that exceeded the national safety standard.

“There are people who say, ‘I don’t think I can go fishing again in my lifetime,” said Yukiharu Mori, 60, who owns a fishing goods store in Minami-Soma.

His shop’s sales have plummeted, and many other fishing goods shops in the city’s area have gone out of business, he said.


The nuclear disaster led to restrictions on shipments of seafood products in five prefectures, stretching from Aomori to Ibaraki.

These restrictions have been lifted in stages because radioactive substances more easily diffuse in the sea, and fish species have been confirmed safe to eat.

Currently, the shipment restrictions apply only to “kurosoi” (black rockfish) caught off Fukushima Prefecture.

But all restrictions remain for catches from 25 rivers and lakes in five prefectures–Fukushima, Miyagi, Ibaraki, Gunma and Chiba.

In some areas along the Agatsumagawa river in western Gunma Prefecture, shipments of “iwana” (char) and yamame are still restricted.

According to Gunma prefectural officials, radiation doses were relatively high in certain areas around the Agatsumagawa river immediately after the nuclear disaster due to the wind direction and geographical features. That has led in part to the prolonged restrictions.

In a 2020 prefectural survey, the radioactivity concentration level in iwana was 140 becquerels per kilogram. In a 2019 survey, the level for yamame was 120 becquerels per kilogram.

The national standard for both fish is 100 becquerels per kilogram.

“Even when the figure goes down and we think it is safe, we find fish with high figures every few years,” a Gunma prefectural official said. “That makes it difficult for us to take a step toward lifting the restrictions.”

Toshihiro Wada, an associate professor of fish biology at Fukushima University, said river fish “have continued to consume radioactive materials from food” provided through forests that have yet to be decontaminated.

The central government has conducted decontamination work mainly in residential areas of Fukushima Prefecture and surrounding prefectures.

But such work has not been done in most parts of large forested areas. Insects and other critters ingest still-contaminated tree leaves or algae at river bottoms. The river fish then consume the creatures, which has kept radioactive concentrations high in the fish.

A team of researchers from Fukushima University, the Fukushima prefectural government and the National Institute for Environmental Studies has surveyed areas along the Otagawa river that stretches from Namie to Minami-Soma in Fukushima Prefecture since 2018.

The study includes checking radioactivity levels in the river fish and insects.

The upper part of the Otagawa river is located in a “difficult-to-return” zone because of still-high radiation levels.

In an on-site survey in December, the researchers found the radiation dose rate in the air of an upstream forested area within the difficult-to-return zone was 2 to 3 microsieverts per hour. That level was 20 to 30 times higher than the dose rate in the city of Fukushima.

The researchers also found up to 9,000 becquerels of radioactive materials per kilogram in yamame caught in the upper portion of the river in 2018, and up to 12,000 becquerels per kilogram in iwana.

The radioactivity concentrations in tree leaves and river algae were several thousand to tens of thousands of becquerels. Crickets, bees and other land and aquatic creatures found in the yamame’s stomachs are believed to have eaten the contaminated leaves and algae.

Insects in the area contained radioactivity levels of several hundred to several thousand becquerels, the researchers said.

Yumiko Ishii, a team member and a chief researcher at the NIES, said that larger yamame had radioactivity concentration levels that were higher than those in the food that the fish ate.

“Unless you do something about the radioactive materials in forests, the radioactivity concentration levels in fish will not go down,” she said. “But decontaminating forests is not realistic, either.”

(This article was written by Keitaro Fukuchi and Nobuyuki Takiguchi.)

March 11, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

The Fukushima taboo

“Coming out” on thyroid cancer from Fukushima is an act of bravery in today’s Japan

By Linda Pentz Gunter

In the midst of the arcane fight over whether to include nuclear power in the European Union’s green “Taxonomy”, five former prime ministers of Japan made an unprecedented statement. They roundly condemned any inclusion of nuclear power as a green or sustainable energy, even as a so-called bridging fuel.

The current Japanese government glossed over the climate arguments in the former prime ministers’ argument, quickly seizing upon one tiny phrase concerning conditions in Japan post-Fukushima that read: “many children are suffering from thyroid cancer”.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party even went so far as to approve a resolution condemning the five former prime ministers, one of whom, Junichiro Koizumi, is from that party. The resolution alleges that their statement was not “scientific” and that they were reigniting prejudice and encouraging people to view people from Fukushima as pariahs. 

The party’s Policy Research Board said it would submit its resolution to current prime minister, Fumio Kishida.

On the same day — January 27, 2022 — as the former prime minister’s letter was submitted to the EU, six young people who were children at time of the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, filed a lawsuit in the Tokyo District Court against TEPCO, the owner and operator of the nuclear plant. 

The six, ages 17 to 27, hold the company responsible for the thyroid cancers each of them developed after being exposed to the radiation released by the nuclear disaster.

In filing suit and thus making the issue public, the six were immediately on the receiving end of an unprecedented level of abuse for speaking out. In this video of their testimony, they were obliged to keep their physical appearances concealed for fear of further reprisals.

Voice of 6 plaintiffs who “spent 10 years without telling anyone” – Childhood thyroid cancer patients file lawsuit against TEPCO.

“Coming out” on thyroid cancer — or indeed about any negative health impacts resulting from the Fukushima nuclear disaster — remains largely taboo in Japan.  Studies that conclude the medical impacts are significant or even substantial, are met with equal hostility, stoniness or just plain silence.

When epidemiologist, Toshihide Tsuda and colleagues, published a paper in 2016 — Thyroid Cancer Detection by Ultrasound Among Residents Ages 18 Years and Younger in Fukushima, Japan: 2011 to 2014 — it was reportedly largely ignored rather than challenged.

The study concluded: “An excess of thyroid cancer has been detected by ultrasound among children and adolescents in Fukushima Prefecture within 4 years of the release, and is unlikely to be explained by a screening surge.”

This contradicted the prevailing and enduring view among the establishment that there are now more thyroid cancers found among children after Fukushima simply because there is more testing. 

The “more testing” myth served as a convenient pretext to reduce testing for thyroid cancers in schools — on the basis such testing would upset children too much, hardly “scientific”.

The very public lawsuit may transform all this, as the testimonies leave an indelible picture of the toll taken on children and families by the Fukushima nuclear disaster.  

In a two-part series, investigative journalist, Natsuko Katayama, reported on the case for the Tokyo Shimbun on January 19 and January 27 this year.

She wrote that among the plaintiffs, “Two of them had a lobe of the thyroid removed, and the other four had to have the whole thyroid removed because of recurrence (in the case of one of them, metastasis had spread to the lungs). All of them had to stop their studies or their professional activity in order to undergo these surgical procedures and medical treatments. They live in fear and anxiety of a recurrence, and their daily lives have been curtailed due to fatigue and weakness caused by the disease.”

One of the plaintiffs said they had all kept silent about their thyroid cancers for 10 years, not daring to go public because of the inevitable backlash of discrimination. 

Toshihide Tsuda: “Pediatric Thyroid Cancer after the Fukushima Accident”

Many of those suffering illnesses related to the Fukushima nuclear disaster find themselves the new “Hibakusha”, the name originally given to those ostracized and rejected by Japanese society because of their exposure to radiation from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings.

Choking with emotion, one of the plaintiffs described in the press conference how she and the others had to give up their work and educational hopes and dreams due to the constrictions of illness and the necessary treatments. “Four of the six plaintiffs have had a recurrence or mestatasis of their disease,” she said. 

Thyroid cancers among those exposed to Fukushima radiation as children have increased 20 times the expected rate, with about 80% metastasizing, meaning surgery was medically indicated and screening necessary.

“I am very worried about the future and cannot think about marriage or other plans,” said one of the young women, also a plaintiff in the trial, whose voice could be heard at the press conference, and whose cancer had returned and spread. All of them have faced considerable financial hardships due to the expense of their treatment and the loss of work.

The plaintiffs expressed the hope that the trial would help other children suffering from thyroid cancer, believed to number at least 300. But, with the suppression of testing and reporting, and the taboo surrounding any admission of thyroid cancer, the numbers could well be a lot higher.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers argue that Tepco will need to prove that there is no causal relationship between their clients’ thyroid cancer and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. It seeks compensation for the victims.

“I try to believe that all will be well,” said one of the plaintiffs, a 26-year old woman who was 17 at the time her thyroid cancer was diagnosed, “even as I ask myself, ‘why me’?”

The 3.11 Children’s Thyroid Cancer Network was launched to support this lawsuit.

Headline image shows 2013 IAEA team member overseeing TEPCO moving nuclear fuel assemblies from Reactor Unit 4 to the Common Spent Fuel Pool. (Photo: IAEA)

March 7, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Thyroid-Cancer Victims Take TEPCO to Court

March 2, 2022

PRESS CONFERENCE: Fukushima Thyroid-Cancer Victims Take TEPCO to Court

Kenichi Ido, Attorney, Lead Counsel for the 3.11 Children’s Thyroid Cancer Lawsuit

Hiroyuki Kawai, Attorney, Co-counsel for the 3.11 Children’s Thyroid Cancer Lawsuit

March 3, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

DPP uses Taiwan people’s health as bargaining chip

Taiwan’s Fukushima food ban lifting viewed from mainland China

Photo taken on July 21, 2019 from Xiangshan Mountain shows the Taipei 101 skyscraper in Taipei, China’s Taiwan.

February 25, 2022

The Taiwan authorities formally lifted the ban on food imports from Japan’s Fukushima and four other prefectures on Monday. The ban was imposed after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

The island authorities’ move is similar to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s decision in 2021 to lift the restrictions on the import of pork with ractopamine, a feed additive harmful to human health, from the United States. In fact, it is also to please the US that the DPP is opening up the island’s market to food products from Fukushima ignoring the high risk of nuclear contamination.

By ignoring the health concerns about the food products from Fukushima, the DPP is putting Taiwan residents’ health and lives in danger.

After a devastating earthquake-triggered tsunami caused a meltdown of three of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant’s six nuclear reactors on March 11, 2011, governments around the world imposed restrictions on food imports from five Japanese prefectures-Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba. The Taiwan authorities imposed the ban in late March that year.

Yet since taking power in 2016, the DPP has been trying to lift the ban in exchange for Japan’s support for its “Taiwan independence” agenda. In fact, the DPP has lifted the ban despite a 2018 referendum in which people voted overwhelmingly to continue the ban.

Ironically, the DPP won many Taiwan residents’ support because of its anti-nuclear stance. “Use love to generate electricity” was a slogan the DPP used at the time to lure people to its side. But since coming to power six years ago, the DPP in its bid to split the island from the motherland has reneged on its anti-nuclear promise.

The lifting of the ban on Fukushima food products in a desperate attempt to boost ties with Japan to counter the Chinese mainland is an apt example of the DPP’s subterfuge.

For the same reason, the DPP accepted US conditions and resumed the import of US pork, ignoring the health hazards it poses to Taiwan residents.

The DPP believes compromising food safety to get security guarantee from the US and Japan is very cost-effective. That’s why it used every possible trick to brainwash Taiwan residents and convince them that food products from those five Japanese prefectures are not “food with radioactivity” but “food with blessing”.

Also, the DPP has been claiming that the lifting of the ban will boost Taiwan’s chances of joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. In fact, Chen Chi-chung, the official in charge of the island’s agriculture, said that with the withdrawal of the ban, the island’s imports from Japan will increase by a maximum of $70 million a year while Japan’s import of Taiwan’s pineapples-18,000 tons last year and 30,000 tons this year-alone will exceed that amount.

It seems the DPP considers eating nuclear-contaminated food in exchange for exporting pineapples a good deal. The DPP’s arbitrary and anti-people decision is the result of its obscurantist and narrow policies.

Many Taiwan residents still believe in the DPP’s propaganda to the extent of blindly following its diktats even though those diktats are against their well-being and interests. Those people who voted the DPP to power for the second time only to end up eating pork with ractopamine from the US and radiation-exposed food from Fukushima are swallowing their own bitter fruits.

The DPP’s rule is nothing but a reign of terror. A party which uses the health and lives of the people as a bargaining chip in exchange for the support of anti-China forces will become more brazen in its quest to fulfill its narrow benefits. So Taiwan residents who voted for the DPP have to suffer the consequences of their choice.

The author is deputy director of the Institute of Taiwan Studies, Beijing Union University.

February 28, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Taiwan partially lifts import bans on Japanese foods

Political expediancy, lies and cover up, propaganda!

Feb. 21, 2022

Taiwan says it has partially lifted import bans on Japanese foods on Monday that have been in force since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant accident.

Taiwan had stopped importing all food items from Fukushima and the nearby prefectures of Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba. The ban excluded alcoholic drinks.

Officials announced earlier this month that they would lift the ban, except for wild bird and animal meat as well as mushrooms from those prefectures.

They said the move was based on global standards and ‘scientific proof’and noted that most countries have eased restrictions.

Taiwanese authorities say they sought feedback from the public about the decision and ‘received only a few objections’.

Food from the five prefectures must still be accompanied by test results for radioactive materials, and all items will be subject to inspections in Taiwan.

All prefectures must also still provide proof of origin.

Officials in Japan say the safety of the food has been scientifically proven and they will continue asking Taiwan to lift all the regulations.

February 23, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | 1 Comment

Taiwan officially scraps ban on food from 5 Japanese prefectures

Political expediancy sacrificing people’s health…

Decision to lift ban announced earlier this month as government eyes CPTPP entry

People shop for Japanese seafood in Taiwan


TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The ban on food from parts of Japan affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster was formally lifted on Monday (Feb. 21).

The Taiwan Food and Drug Administration promulgated the removal of the ban on Feb. 21 after reviewing public feedback. Three dozen comments were submitted, including 17 in favor of ending the ban and four against, as well as 15 inquiries and suggestions.

The goods in question are from five Japanese prefectures: Fukushima, Gunma, Chiba, Ibaraki, and Tochigi. With the scrapping of the ban, which has been in place for a decade, goods from these areas will be subject to risk controls when imported.

Food products that are prohibited from circulating within Japan, such as wildlife meat and mushrooms from those five prefectures, will not be allowed to enter Taiwan. Radiation safety and product origin certificates are required for items deemed to be high-risk, such as tea and aquatic products.

Despite the government’s pledge to implement rigorous border inspections, some believe more needs to be done to ensure food safety. Earlier this month, the New Power Party aired concern about possible traces of strontium-90 in the Japanese imports, as the isotope is not on the radiation watch list, and exposure to it may increase the risk of bone cancer.

February 23, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

I just wanted to live a normal life – Akiko Morimatsu

February 15, 2022

It will soon be 11 years since the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
It is estimated that 27,000 people have evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture and 39,000 people have evacuated to 915 cities, towns, and villages in 47 prefectures across Japan (all figures as of January 12, 2022, compiled by the Reconstruction Agency). (As of January 12, 2022, according to the Reconstruction Agency.) However, the exact number of evacuees is still unknown due to discrepancies between the totals of Fukushima Prefecture and those of municipalities, as well as cases where the government has mistakenly deleted evacuee registrations.

The accident is still ongoing.
We would like to share with you some of the stories we have heard from the evacuees.
This time, we would like to introduce Ms. Akiko Morimatsu, who gave a speech with Greenpeace at the UN Human Rights Council on the current situation of the victims.
(All information in this article is current as of 2018)

Akiko Morimatsu’s eldest daughter, who was a newborn infant at the time of the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, is now in elementary school. In the seven years since she left Fukushima Prefecture, she has never lived with her father.
Her eldest son, who was three years old, is a father’s child. Whenever his father came to see his evacuated family once a month, he would return to Fukushima Prefecture, and I could not tell you how many times I wet my pillow with tears of loneliness and sadness.

In March of this year, Ms. Morimatsu made up her mind to stand on the stage of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

Ms. Morimatsu is a so-called “voluntary evacuee. Housing support, which was the only support for “voluntary evacuees” from outside the evacuation zone, has been cut off, and now there are even eviction lawsuits against “voluntary evacuees” who cannot pay their rent.

In the fall of 2017, Greenpeace, together with the victims of the nuclear accident, appealed to the member countries of the United Nations Human Rights Council about these human rights violations that the victims continue to suffer. Many people who supported us with signatures and donations supported this project.

Subsequently, recommendations for correction were issued by Germany, Austria, Portugal, and Mexico. Greenpeace is calling on the Japanese government to accept these recommendations.
We hope that as many people as possible will know why Mr. Morimatsu decided to speak directly with Greenpeace about the current situation in front of the representatives of each country at the time when the decision to accept the recommendations will be announced.

A nursery school in Fukushima Prefecture in 2011

In the midst of impatience, anxiety, and unpredictable fear

It was during the Golden Week holidays, two months after the disaster, that Ms. Morimatsu decided to evacuate.
Until then, she had been trying to rebuild her life in Fukushima Prefecture.

However, even though no evacuation order had been issued for the area called Nakadori, where he was living at the time, the kindergarten distributed disposable masks to all the children and instructed them to wear long sleeves and long pants. Elementary and junior high school students in the neighborhood drive their own cars to school, even if it is within walking distance. They are not allowed to go outside without permission, and of course they are not allowed to play outside either at the kindergarten or around their homes.

On weekends, the whole family travels to Yamagata and Niigata prefectures on the highway to take the children out to play. Radioactive materials have been detected in tap water and fresh food. We could not hang our laundry or futons outdoors.

No matter what we did, we had to first think about the possible effects of radiation on our children and pay close attention to everything.

No one can tell us what is the right thing to do.

I don’t even know if I should continue to live here. I feel impatient, anxious, and unpredictable.

One by one, families in the neighborhood and kindergartens were leaving Fukushima Prefecture, and it was the fathers of the children who first suggested to Ms. Morimatsu that she take the children to the Kansai region, where she had spent her school days, as they were planning to use the holidays to reorganize their living environment.

What she saw there was a media report about the danger of radioactive contamination, which had not been reported at all in Fukushima Prefecture.

What can we do to protect the future of children who are highly sensitive to radiation?

Only I, as a parent, could protect them.

It was time to make a decision.

Greenpeace radiation survey at a kindergarten in Fukushima Prefecture, 2011.

I separated the children from their father.

With the encouragement of relatives and friends in the Kansai region, and with the agreement of her husband, who continues to work in Fukushima Prefecture, Morimatsu decided to evacuate with her children.

No evacuation order was issued for the area where the Morimatsu family was living. They had to pay separate rents and utility bills for the rental house they rented to replace their house that was damaged in the earthquake, and for the house they rented to house their mother and child in Osaka (*Housing support for voluntary evacuees ended in March 2017. Because Ms. Morimatsu had left public housing early, which had a short move-in period, she was not provided with housing after that and is not counted in the number of evacuees, forcing her to continue living as an evacuee completely on her own).

Even for fathers to come to see their young children, the high cost of transportation is prohibitive.

What kind of impact will not being able to see their fathers most of the time have on the children’s mental development?

How do fathers feel when they can’t watch their adorable children grow up?

Was the evacuation really the right thing to do, forcing families to live apart?

Mr. Morimatsu was in agony, but he decided to find a job in the evacuation area so that he could see his father and children as often as possible.

However, there was no way to take care of her oldest daughter, who was only one year old at the time, at the evacuation site.

Because of the risk of not receiving information from the local government regarding public support and health surveys for children, victims who are voluntarily evacuating cannot inadvertently report their departure. As a result, they were not able to receive services such as day-care centers smoothly in their evacuation areas.
As a result, although she was able to be placed on a waiting list for childcare, her childcare fees were also determined based on her household income, so her own income, which she had begun to work to supplement her double life, was added to her household income, which was quite high. Since she is not a widow, she is not eligible to receive subsidies for single-mother households.

Empty playground of local day nursing school called “Soramame” in Fukushima city. Before Nuclear crisis, this school was taking care of 24 kids. However, since most of them have evacuated to other places with their families, now only 7 kids left. A director of the school, Sadako Monma 48 says “After March 11th, kids are not playing on the playground and instead they are playing inside the school all the time due to nuclear issues”. Since many kids left the school, Monma is thinking about closing the school which has been running for the past 15 years due to financial situation. Fukushima prefecture.

The Best Choice in the Worst Situation

The number of people like Ms. Morimatsu who evacuated from areas where evacuation orders were not issued is a small minority compared to the total number of victims of the nuclear accident. She said that she felt guilty and conflicted about evacuating from a place where even temporary housing could be built for victims from areas where evacuation orders had been issued.

But no one would willingly abandon their current life to evacuate.

Ms. Morimatsu’s husband chose to continue working in Fukushima Prefecture even if it meant leaving his family.

Whether to evacuate or not, each victim’s decision should be respected as the best choice under the worst circumstances.

Voicing one’s anxiety or pointing out what one feels is wrong should not be denied.

But we are practically forced to close our eyes, keep our mouths shut, and pretend to forget about it.

The biggest victims are “children”.

Seven years have passed since the accident, and yet the “right to health” of children, who are the most vulnerable to radiation exposure, has not been given equally to everyone’s children?

I just want to live a normal life together with my child.

I want my children to live a long and healthy life, even if it’s just for a minute or a second.

It is a natural wish for parents to long for this.

The current situation is such that even this desire is being ignored.

Akiko Morimatsu (photo taken in 2021) ©️ Greenpeace / Kosuke Okahara

Protecting the Human Rights of Victims of the Nuclear Accident

The right to avoid radiation exposure and protect one’s health continues to be violated regardless of whether one evacuates or not.

Is the right to avoid radiation exposure, in other words, the right to evacuate, equally recognized for those who want to evacuate?

The policy of not recognizing the right to evacuate, discontinuing the provision of housing without medical support or information, and effectively forcing victims to return home through economic pressure is a violation of human rights for the Morimatsu family and other victims of the nuclear accident.

If the same thing happened to you, what would you protect?

What would you value the most?

The right to life and health is a fundamental human right given to every individual, from the newborn baby to the elderly person whose life will end tomorrow.

Mr. Morimatsu is still evacuating with his children.

Greenpeace’s activities are based on scientific evidence derived from the results of radiation surveys conducted in the area immediately after the accident.
We will continue our research activities and human rights protection activities for the people affected by the accident.

February 21, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Disaster’s Impact on Health Will Be Challenged in Court 

By Thisanka Siripala

February 17, 2022

A link between radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster and cancer will be the focal point of the civil court case against operator TEPCO.

Almost 11 years have passed since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant catastrophe. But even as Fukushima prefecture gets ready to launch a new revitalization slogan – “Making Fukushima’s reconstruction a reality one step at a time” – it is still struggling to overcome the lingering aftereffects of the accident. Earlier this month, a group of six men and women diagnosed with thyroid cancer as children filed a class action case against Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), seeking $5.4 million in compensation.

Eastern Japan was hit by a massive magnitude 9.1 earthquake and 15-meter tsunami on March 11, 2011. The disaster shut off power and cooling to three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, triggering the release of radiation for up to six days.

The plaintiffs, who are aged between 17 and 27, are seeking to hold TEPCO responsible for the thyroid cancer they developed. Two have had one side of their thyroid removed and four others have had a complete thyroidectomy and are planning or undergoing radiation therapy. The treatment has forced them to drop out of school or college and give up on their dreams. The plaintiffs argue that their thyroid cancer has created barriers to their education and employment as well as marriage and starting a family.

The Fukushima Daiichi meltdown was the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986, which was followed by a spike in cancer cases in the region. In Japan a health survey conducted by the Fukushima prefecture found 266 cases of cancer among the 380,000 people aged under 18 at the time of the accident. The lawyers representing the plaintiffs argue that pediatric thyroid cancer is extremely rare, with an annual incident rate of two cases in one million people.

The plaintiffs added that in the past decade they have been forced to stay silent due to social pressure and the risk of public outrage over speaking out about the connection between the Fukushima nuclear accident and their thyroid cancer.

The Federation of Promotion of Zero-Nuclear Power and Renewable Energy, a civic group that includes five former Japanese prime ministers, sent a letter to the EU urging the elimination of nuclear power. In the letter, they stated that many children are suffering from thyroid cancer as a result of the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident.

However, the Japanese government believes there is no causal link between exposure to radiation from the accident and the children developing thyroid cancer. Prime Minister Kishida Fumio said at a House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting that “it is not appropriate to spread false information that children from Fukushima are suffering from health problems.”

At a press conference Takaichi Sanae, chairperson of the ruling LDP’s Policy Research Council refuted the letter sent by the federation. She stressed the government’s position that the cases of childhood thyroid cancer have been assessed by experts who have determined the accident is unlikely to have caused cancer.

Fukushima prefecture’s expert panel say there could be the possibility of “over-diagnosis” due to increased vigilance after the disaster, suggesting that some patients diagnosed with cancer did not need treatment. They say they are continuing to investigate the nature of each diagnosis. The Ministry of Environment also said they will continue to disseminate knowledge based on scientific findings to dispel rumors about the health effects of radiation.

Last week, the Fukushima reconstruction and revitalization council met to discuss the “diverse needs of the prefecture” and a long term response to support evacuees. Governor of Fukushima Uchibori Masao acknowledged that the prefecture is “facing many difficulties including the reconstruction and rehabilitation of evacuated areas and rebuilding the lives of evacuees and victims of the disaster.” There are also plans to establish a new national research and education organization in Fukushima that will devise measures to prevent and dispel rumors fueling discrimination toward evacuees and Fukushima food.

Taiwan recently lifted its blanket food import ban on Fukushima produce introduced in the wake of the disaster but there are 14 countries and regions that still maintain import restrictions. Additionally, Japan’s decision to discharge more than one million tonnes of low-level radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea is another issue attracting negative publicity abroad.

February 20, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

DPP sacrifices Taiwan people’s interests by lifting ban on Japan‘nuclear food’ for political gain

Deceit and Betrayal

People protest against the lifting of restrictions on US pork containing ractopamine in Taipei on November 22, 2020.

February 13, 2022

The surprise lifting of a ban on importing food from five prefectures in Japan around the site of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority has sparked anger in the island of Taiwan.

After being banned for more than a decade, the “nuclear food” as it is known by Taiwan people, will finally be allowed to return to the island’s dinner tables, which is regarded by local media and observers as another betrayal of the public opinion by the DPP authority after the reauthorization of ractopamine-enhanced pork imports from the US.  

Importing toxic food and generously gifting scarce masks to the US in the face of local emergency shortages, the DPP has engaged in countless cunning political calculations against the interests of the Taiwan people, to enhance international visibility or initiate skewed “international cooperation.” 

To pursue its political interests and separatist conspiracy, the DPP goes against the will of people on the island, negatively impacting public health and safety, said Ni Yongjie, deputy director of the Shanghai Institute of Taiwan Studies. “It is messing up Taiwan with fascist-like deeds.” 

Artificial arguments down people’s throats

Following the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster caused by the massive in 2011, Taiwan’s authorities banned food imports from Fukushima for over a decade. In 2018, the island held an anti-nuclear food referendum where Taiwan people supported the existing ban with 7.79 million votes. 

However, the sudden announcement by the DPP authority to lift the ban is not a change in public opinion in Taiwan. The Japan Times said that island’s leader, Tsai Ing-wen, prioritized Japan-related food issues in trying to win Japan’s support for Taiwan’s entry into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

In the face of fierce public protest, Tsai asserted that since 2016, the local authorities have completed six assessment and investigative reports, and enacted strengthening measures on the imported foods monitoring. 

Ironically, local media cited expert analyses as saying that much of the leaked radioactive material is still radioactive. 

The Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) party revealed that the DPP intentionally shortened the policy notice period from 60 to 10 days, and only Kaohsiung, Taichung, and New Taipei City presently have radiation inspection equipment, Tsai and the DPP’s alleged commitment has only been lip service.

Some DPP members on January 16 suggested that the food should be referred to as “Fu food” rather than “nuclear food.” “Fu food” may refer to Fukushima food but also means “blessed food” in Chinese, a term likely more acceptable to Taiwan people.

The DPP even released a so-called poll on February 9, indicating that 58.7 percent of the public support the distribution of Fukushima food

The KMT revealed that the “poll” only used “Japanese food” as a substitute, failed to mention the radiation risk associated with such food.

Source: Taiwan Yahoo news poll conducted between February 8 and February 11. Graphic: GT

“It showed DPP’s hand by directly announcing the embrace of ‘nuclear food’ by the end of month,” Ni sighed. “The DPP authority completely forgets about public interests.”

By opening the door to “nuclear food,” the DPP authority rush to improve relations with Japan. The DPP regards Japan as a main ally on the “international stage” that can help with DPP’s secessionist strategy, Ni said.

Put Taiwan people aside

Looking back at Tsai’s recent years in office, the island has been gripped by concerns over food safety and public health.

Taiwan reportedly started importing ractopamine-enhanced pork from the US in January 2021, after the island’s DPP-dominated legislative body approved acts to lift restrictions on such pork.

Ractopamine is banned from food production in at least 160 countries and regions including the European Union. Regardless of the 70 percent dissent by the Taiwan residents, as a local poll showed, the DPP actively paved the way for imports of the controversial pork to appease the US. 

Head of Taiwan’s health authority Chen Shih-chung once said he was willing to “eat ractopamine-enhanced pork for three consecutive months” as importing the pork could enhance Taiwan’s “international status,” though such attempts did nothing to quell public anger. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tsai authority further enraged the Taiwan public by utilizing essential anti-epidemic supplies including medical masks and vaccines to pursue its separatist agenda. 

In March 2020, DPP reportedly signed a “jointly statement” with the US and promised to provide it with 10,000 medical masks per week. A month later, the DPP announced a total of 16 million donated masks globally.

Ironically, the DPP made the promise when the island seriously lacked masks. As Taiwan media reported in February and March of 2020, local residents were only allowed to buy two or three masks each week. There were long queues at the pharmacies at that time.

In May 2021, the DPP authority announced the purchase of 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from local producers Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp (MVC) and United BioPharma (UB) at a cost of NT$750-881 ($26.9-31.6) per dose, much more expensive than the vaccine produced by the world’s current major brands including Oxford-AstraZeneca ($4) and Moderna ($15), reported Taipei-based United Daily News in June 2021. Prior to that, DPP had rejected vaccines provided by the Chinese mainland, and turned down private purchases or donations even amid severe vaccine shortages.

According to an exclusive report by Reuters in June 2021, UB-612 vaccine is developed by private US firm COVAXX. Sources told Reuters that Erik Prince, former head of Blackwater, invested in COVAXX in 2020.

Blackwater is known for providing intelligence, training, and security services to the US army and government. After the real entity behind the development of the  UB-612 vaccine was revealed, Taiwan social media platforms were flooded with recriminations about DPP’s lies to the people in the interests of American big business and a possible US-led political alliance.

“The government uses large amount of public money to purchase the [UB-612] vaccine in the name of ‘supporting a Taiwan-developed vaccine; but the fact is, the vaccine is from the US,” Taiwan’s TV commentator Huang Chih-hsien wrote on Facebook in June 2021.  

Taiwan people demonstrate in the streets of Taipei in March 2017 in a rally against nuclear energy. Photo: AFP

The DPP authority have frequently caused public anger due to their traitorous behaviors during the past years, and they are aware of the anger caused, Ni said. “They just don’t care, as long as this separatist party can benefit,” he said.

Sadly, the DPP’s behaviors were paid by the whole of Taiwan, Ni noted. “The consequences of it ignoring food security and public health will be borne by all the residents and their offspring on the island,” he told the Global Times.

February 17, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

The second court of appeal in the Children’s De-exposure Trial

February 15, 2022

The “Children’s De-exposure Trial” for the Fukushima nuclear accident was held at the Sendai High Court on February 14. This is the second time the court has heard the case since the appeal trial began in October last year.

In order to protect their children from radiation exposure, parents and children in Fukushima are suing the government, Fukushima Prefecture, Fukushima City and other local governments. In March last year, the Fukushima District Court ruled that the parents and children lost the case. The case has been moved to the Sendai High Court. The related article on this site is at the end of this article.

Imagine how unbearable it must be!

 At the second court session held on the 14th, what attracted me (Uneri) the most was the statement by Mr. A, the plaintiff (who was living in Fukushima at the time of the accident). The words of people who lived in Fukushima at the time of the accident have a strong appeal to the listeners. It is a long text, but I am hesitant to cut it down, so I will introduce it in a slightly abbreviated form.

Statement of Opinion by Plaintiff Male A

My name is A. I am a plaintiff. I would like to talk about a basic misconception about the nuclear accident.
There is a common misconception that an unprecedented earthquake and unexpected tsunami caused an unexpected nuclear accident. But this is a big misunderstanding. Accidents at nuclear power plants caused by earthquakes and tsunamis were predicted, and because of this, seismic reinforcement and work to raise the seawalls were carried out, and accidents at some plants were avoided (Tokai Daini Nuclear Power Plant, for example).
Because nuclear accidents were anticipated, the measures to be taken in the event of an accident were also determined in detail. After the JCO accident in 1999, these measures were compiled into a series of laws called "nuclear disaster prevention," which culminated in the Act on Special Measures Concerning Nuclear Emergency Preparedness.
What I would like to argue is the fact that the government and Fukushima Prefecture did not follow these procedures and forced us, the residents, to be exposed to radiation. The SPEEDI (System for Prediction of the Effects of Emergency Radioactivity) data, which was up and running less than two hours after the earthquake and should have been used for emergency evacuation, was not made public until March 23, 2011, more than 10 days after the nuclear accident. The Nuclear Safety Technology Center (NSTC), which was managing SPEEDI at the time, sent more than 30 faxes to the Fukushima prefectural government in the morning of March 13, 2011, as well as email attachments from late at night on March 11, but the prefecture still did not release this data either. Fukushima Prefecture explained that they could not release the data because they did not have information on the source of the emissions, but this explanation is completely unreasonable. This is because the guidelines for dealing with the accident ("Guidelines for Environmental Radiation Monitoring in Emergencies") included a response plan for cases where there was no source information.
It is not only about predicting the diffusion of radioactive materials. In terms of actual measurements, information was concealed and data acquisition was obstructed. From the morning of the day after the earthquake, the staff of the Fukushima Nuclear Energy Center went to the vicinity of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant to take actual measurements of radioactive materials released into the environment, following the "guidelines" mentioned above. On March 12, five monitoring sites were monitored, and on March 13, ten sites were monitored, but then the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology stopped the monitoring, according to a person who was involved in the monitoring at the time. As a result, the actual measurements from March 14 to 17, when the contamination caused by the nuclear accident was most serious, are missing.
As a result, the residents of the affected areas were left without being informed of the massive spread of radioactive materials, the fact that the plant had melted down, or how to evacuate. In other words, the purpose of nuclear disaster prevention, which is to protect the residents from radiation exposure, could not be achieved due to the inaction and interference of the government. This is why we claim that we were forced to suffer unnecessary radiation exposure.
At the end of March 2011, the Fukushima Prefectural Board of Education decided to start classes at schools in the prefecture from April 6 to 8 without measuring radiation levels, and in early April, the Nuclear Safety Commission began to consider whether the exposure limit for residents in areas with high radiation levels should be raised from 1 millisievert to 20 millisievert per year. On April 10, it was reported that the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) is planning to set the annual exposure limit for students at 20 millisieverts. On April 10, it was reported that the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology is planning to set an annual exposure limit of 20 millisieverts for children, which means that this standard will be applied even to children in order to prevent the expansion of the evacuation zone.
In this way, the government and Fukushima Prefecture hid information and prevented residents from evacuating at the beginning of the nuclear accident, and later, when it became clear how serious the contamination was, they raised the radiation dose limits for residents (instead of expanding the evacuation zone). Needless to say, all of these actions were against the law, against justice, against international common sense, and against humanism.
As a result, everyone in the disaster area, myself included, did not know how much radiation we had been exposed to, and thus we spent the first ten years of the accident with health concerns. Whenever I had a prolonged cold, a sore throat, or a lumpy feeling, I would think, "What if this is ......? You can imagine how unbearable these days are. In the affected areas, there are many people who are sincerely worried about the health and future of their children, but are unable to speak out about it. Who has created such a society? Wasn't it created by those who turn a blind eye to acts that are against the law, against justice, against international common sense, and against humanism?
In response to this situation, isn't it time to remove the unreasonable things that have been imposed on the disaster area and change the injustice? I sincerely and earnestly hope that the court will make an appropriate decision.
Plaintiff A's statement of opinion

 It was a very impressive statement. To “imagine” the unbearable suffering of people. It is something that we all need to keep in mind.

At the meeting after the trial

 At a meeting held in Sendai City after the court session, there was a briefing on the “3/11 Children’s Thyroid Cancer Trial,” which was filed in the Tokyo District Court last month. Ken’ichi Ido, a lawyer for “De-exposure of Children” is also involved in this trial.

On January 27th, six young men between the ages of 17 and 27 who were living in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the accident filed a lawsuit against TEPCO, claiming damages. The reason for their claim is that their thyroid cancer was caused by radiation exposure. They were between 6 and 16 years old at the time of the accident. All of them have undergone surgery. Four of them had recurrences and had to have surgery again. Four of them have had their thyroid glands completely removed and have been forced to take hormones for the rest of their lives. Four of them have had total thyroidectomies and will have to take hormones for the rest of their lives. One of them has also been diagnosed with metastasis to the lungs, and we don't know what will happen to him. This is the situation. Since nearly 300 cases of thyroid cancer have already been found in Fukushima Prefecture, which should have been one or two cases per one million people per year, we will fight the case on the grounds that the only possible cause is radiation exposure.

The theory of over-diagnosis and various other arguments have been used to say that there is no causal relationship between cancer and exposure. (The prefectural residents' health survey review committee and UNSCEAR (United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation) have issued such opinions. In response to this, there has already been a bashing movement, saying, "Don't file a lawsuit if exposure is not the cause. However, if the causal relationship is denied here, all of the various cancers and health hazards that are actually occurring will be denied. The fiction that the government is trying to create, that "there was no health damage at all" despite the fact that so much radiation was released by the nuclear accident, will be accepted. I believe that this is a trial that we cannot lose.

It takes a lot of courage to go to court now, and the six young people took their time and consulted with their families before making their decision. The reason for their decision is partly because they are worried about their own future, but also because nearly 300 young people are living with the same kind of suffering and anxiety. These people are being torn apart, so they have a strong desire to give courage and encouragement to these people. I think that's where he made his decision in the end.
Attorney Ido

The “Thyroid Cancer Trial” is a trial in which people who have unfortunately been diagnosed with thyroid cancer hold Tokyo Electric Power Company responsible for their condition. The “Children’s De-exposure” is an appeal for the right to protect children to the maximum extent possible to prevent them from getting such diseases. Both are very important. We need to pay attention to them.

 At the meeting, the lawyers also pointed out the recent “very unconscionable thing” that happened. I have not been able to introduce it on this site, so I will write about it here.

Former Prime Ministers’ EU letter issue

In a letter to the European Commission, five former prime ministers, including Junichiro Koizumi, Naoto Kan, and Tomiichi Murayama, wrote that “many children are suffering from thyroid cancer (due to the nuclear accident). The government and Fukushima Prefecture are protesting vehemently against this.

In a letter to the European Commission, he wrote, "Many children are suffering from thyroid cancer (due to the nuclear accident). It is not appropriate."
Reconstruction Minister Nishimei

The prefectural government and Fukushima Prefecture are fiercely protesting against the report. We have written to you to request that you provide us with objective information based on scientific findings."
Governor Uchibori

How do you see this trend? At the post-court meeting, Mr. Ido said

It reminded me of the attack on "Yummy Shinbo". In the end, by bashing the "nosebleeds" in "Yummy Shinbo," people couldn't talk about the fact that many children had nosebleeds. Such a social atmosphere was created to erase the nosebleeds as a fact. I think that the powers that be want to make the thyroid cancer case a success story like the one they had at that time. However, it is inconceivable that there is no health hazard after such a huge accident. We need to appeal this fact at every opportunity. We must not allow the facts to disappear.

 I agree. Uneri Unera also strongly protests. In the prefectural health survey, thyroid cancer was found in more than 250 people, and more than 200 operations were performed to remove it. It must be true that “many children are suffering from thyroid cancer. The only basis for Uchibori’s opinion that “the prefectural health survey shows no link between cancer and radiation exposure” is that “we have not been able to find a clear link between the two at this time. The only basis for the view that “there is no link between cancer and radiation exposure” is that “we have not been able to find a clear link between the two at this time.” In my opinion, it is much more factual to point out that “many people are suffering” rather than to argue forcefully that there is no link.

 There are many people for whom it is more convenient to say that there were no health problems caused by the Fukushima accident. There are many people who would be better off if it were stated that there were no health problems caused by the Fukushima accident. Even ordinary people who have lived in the Tokyo metropolitan area, such as myself, might feel more comfortable if they knew that there was no such thing. This is because the responsibility of living in a society that has been promoting nuclear power plants without actively resisting them would be lessened.

 However, in the case of the sensitive subject of low-dose exposure, the moment we give in to the temptation to say that there was no damage, we will lose sight of all the actual damage. Until the day comes when we can say, “There really was no damage to our health” (unfortunately, I don’t think that day will ever come), I think we should focus on the fact that there are people who are actually suffering and worried.

It’s OK to be scared, to cry, to be angry

 At the end of the meeting, a different plaintiff from the one who gave an opinion in court took the microphone. She is a woman who has raised two children in Fukushima. I would like to end this report with her words.

When we filed the lawsuit in August 2014, my second son said, "Mom, I want to take a day off from school to say something," and spoke at the meeting. The son who spoke at that time is now 15 years old. He has been sick since he was in the fifth grade and is now in the third grade. He will take the entrance exam this year, but he only went to junior high school for the first semester. I don't know if it was because of the radiation. I don't know if it is because of the radiation or not, but he used to be fine, but now he is like that. As I mentioned earlier about the nosebleeds, both my first and second sons had many nosebleeds at that time, and I had to move left and right. I was really scared and didn't know what to do. I was really frustrated when we lost the case in Fukushima, and I am determined not to lose in Sendai. It's okay to be scared, to cry, to be angry. So that one day we can laugh at the end. I would like to make this happen.
One of the plaintiffs

 The next court date has been set for May 18.

February 17, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , | Leave a comment

The Second Oral Argument of the Appeal Court at the Sendai High Court – At the previous date, the representative of the plaintiffs said, “The Fukushima District Court should make a proper decision on the issue of radiation exposure.

February 14, 2022

The second oral session of the “Children’s De-exposure Trial” was held on February 14, 2012. This case squarely questioned the risk of radiation exposure in Fukushima Prefecture after the nuclear accident and the negligence of the government. The second oral argument will be held on the afternoon of February 14 in Courtroom 101 of the Sendai High Court (Presiding Judge Masako Ishiguri). In the first oral argument held in October last year, Sumio Konno, the representative of the plaintiffs, made a statement. Sumio Konno, the representative of the plaintiffs, made a statement at the first oral argument in October last year, saying, “I hope the court will make a bloody decision on the issue of radiation and safe education for children. Please make a proper decision on the issues that the Fukushima District Court has thoroughly evaded. This summer marks eight years since the lawsuit was filed. This summer marks eight years since the lawsuit was filed, and a series of lawsuits will continue to be filed in Sendai, accusing the government and local governments of negligence in dealing with radiation exposure caused by the nuclear accident, including the health risks of low-dose radiation exposure and the dangers of internal exposure to insoluble radioactive particles.

My son ate snow in Tsushima.
 The Fukushima District Court’s decision to deny the dangers and concerns of radiation and the future of our children, which we have been advocating, by simply following the arguments of the government and Fukushima Prefecture, filled us with frustration and emptiness.
 I want the court to make a bloody decision on the issue of radiation and children’s safety education. Please make a proper decision on the issues that the Fukushima District Court has thoroughly evaded.
 On behalf of the plaintiffs in the first trial, Ms. Konno made a statement in the courtroom of the Sendai High Court.
 More than seven years have passed since the lawsuit was filed, and many of the child plaintiffs have graduated from junior high school without having the opportunity to receive education in a safe place or compensation. The remaining child plaintiffs will be graduating in March of the next year. During this period, some of the plaintiffs had to withdraw their complaints due to various reasons. Some of the plaintiffs’ mothers, out of desperation, evacuated with their children to safer places where they could receive their education.
 At the time, I was working alone at the Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant (Miyagi Prefecture). He was working alone at the Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant in Miyagi Prefecture at the time, and his wife and children, who were living in Namie Town, evacuated to the Tsushima area like other townspeople. He later found out that the evacuation, which was supposed to be a way to escape the risk of radiation exposure, was actually a move to a more contaminated area.
 My son, who was five years old at the time of the nuclear accident, was evacuated from the early morning of March 12 to the early morning of March 15, 2011, to the gymnasium of Tsushima High School in the Tsushima district of Namie Town. The area was highly contaminated due to the flow of radioactive plumes and is still designated as a difficult-to-return area. My son told me that he rolled up snow and ate it as ice cream. When I heard that story, I was shocked.
 About half a year later, my son began to have a cold-like illness that lasted for about two years. I visited the hospital twice a month. The doctor said, ‘It’s a lowered immune system. If the town of Namie had been informed of the SPEEDI information at that time, they would have evacuated further away from the Tsushima area. I had exposed my son to radiation…. I am frustrated and angry with Fukushima Prefecture. Even now, only Fukushima residents are forced to be exposed to 20 millisieverts of radiation per year.
 Since the accident at the nuclear power plant, Ms. Konno has consistently said, “Children cannot protect themselves. The frustration of not being able to protect her own children from the risk of radiation exposure is a feeling shared by the plaintiffs in the first trial.
 It is up to us adults to protect our children. It’s our responsibility as adults. It is our minimum duty as adults.

Sumio Konno, speaking on behalf of the plaintiffs at the first trial. I want the court to make a bloody decision on the issue of radiation and children’s safety education.

(“We should avoid unnecessary radiation exposure.”)
 The lawyers outlined their reasons for the appeal.

 Lawyer Ido
 The “School Environmental Hygiene Standards” do not include any standards for radioactive materials. There should be a standard for radiation exposure, and the fact that there is not is negligence on the part of the government. Children should be protected from radiation exposure at the level of environmental standards. I would like the court to make a straightforward judgment. It is true that the air dose has gone down, but the concentration of soil contamination will not go down easily. Most of the radioactive cesium in the soil is made up of insoluble fine particles. If these particles are taken into the body and internal exposure occurs, the biological half-life is thought to be as long as several decades, posing a serious danger. Using children as guinea pigs is unacceptable. Unnecessary radiation exposure that can be avoided should be avoided. In its written reply, the government claims that ‘exposure to about 1 millisievert per year is not worthy of legal protection. We hope that the court will reaffirm the natural principle that radiation exposure should be avoided whenever possible.

 Koichi Mitsumae, Attorney at Law
 The main issue in this lawsuit is how to measure the amount of radiation that the people of Fukushima have been exposed to as a result of the nuclear accident, and how to consider the effects of low-dose internal exposure on their health. It is extremely important that the results of the prefectural health survey be verified based on fair science. The degree of nondisclosure of information regarding the results of the survey is appalling. We call for a full hearing, including the examination of expert witnesses.
 Attorney Kenzo Furukawa
 ”Should we evacuate or stay indoors? What should we eat and what should we drink? What should we eat and drink? The most important thing to make the right decision is accurate information. However, the decision of the first instance court was based on abstract theory and made no decision, allowing the government and Fukushima prefecture to hide information. In Namie Town, neither the national government nor the Fukushima Prefecture provided SPEEDI information, which led to the evacuation of many townspeople to the Tsushima area, where radiation doses were high, forcing them to be exposed to unnecessary radiation. If only the government and Fukushima Prefecture had provided the SPEEDI information, there are still people who would not have been exposed to radiation. The decision of the first trial must be fundamentally revised.

 Yasuo Tanabe, Attorney at Law
 The ICRP’s 2007 recommendation of a reference level of up to 20 millisieverts per year is unacceptable from the perspective of protecting the lives and health of children. The fact that Fukushima Prefecture decided to reopen schools prior to the April 19, 2011 notice by the Ministry of Education clearly exposed children to radiation doses that were several times higher at the very least. I hope the court will decide whether the government and Fukushima Prefecture acted illegally from the perspective of protecting the residents from radiation exposure.

 Attorney Toshio Yanagihara
 Until March 11, 2011, the Japanese government and legal system were completely unprepared for the consequences of the nuclear accident. “The Japanese government and legal system were completely unprepared for the nuclear accident until March 11, 2011, and even after the nuclear accident, the case has been left unresolved.
 The court should make a correct judgment on the illegality of the orders and recommendations issued by the government, based on the basic premise that the plaintiffs in the first trial were sovereign citizens of this country and the subjects of human rights before and after the nuclear accident.

 Shin-Yi Choi, Attorney at Law
 After the nuclear power plant accident, the government’s policy has been based on ’20 millisieverts per year. The government has submitted a joint opinion as a theoretical basis that there is no proven health risk for radiation exposure of up to 100 millisieverts per year. On the other hand, the court of first instance did not take into account the risk of internal radiation exposure, especially insoluble radioactive particles. We hope that the appellate court will address this point head-on.

Ken’ichi Ido, a lawyer, has consistently stressed that “unnecessary radiation exposure that can be avoided should be avoided.

In the first trial, the court ruled that there was no danger of radiation exposure.
 The “Children’s De-exposure Trial” was filed on August 29, 2014, and two lawsuits have been heard together.
 One is an “administrative lawsuit” (commonly known as the Children’s Human Rights Lawsuit).
 The first is an “administrative lawsuit” (commonly known as the Children’s Rights Lawsuit), in which public elementary and junior high school children in Fukushima Prefecture (plaintiffs) demand that cities and towns in Fukushima Prefecture (defendants) provide education in facilities that are safe in terms of radiation exposure.
 The other is the “lawsuit for state compensation” (commonly known as the “parent-child lawsuit”).
 The parents and children who were living in Fukushima Prefecture on March 11, 2011 demanded that the government and Fukushima Prefecture implement “five unreasonable measures” (1) concealing necessary information such as SPEEDI and monitoring results, (2) not allowing the children to take stable iodine pills, (3) reopening schools under the standard of 20 mSv per year, which is 20 times the limit of radiation exposure for the general public, and (4) not allowing the children to go to school after the accident. (3) reopening schools at 20 mSv/year, which was 20 times the limit of radiation exposure for the general public, (4) not allowing children to evacuate en masse when they should have done so at the beginning of the accident, and (5) using Mr. Shunichi Yamashita and others to promote false safety information.
 On March 4, 2020, they realized the witness examination of Shunichi Yamashita (Professor at Nagasaki University and Vice President of Fukushima Medical University), who was appointed as the “Radiation Health Risk Management Advisor” for Fukushima Prefecture immediately after the nuclear accident.
 However, on March 1 last year, the Fukushima District Court (presiding judge: Toji Endo) dismissed the plaintiffs’ case in its entirety and handed down a judgment dismissing the case.
 Regarding the demand that education be conducted in facilities with a safe environment, Judge Endo ruled that “the 20 mSv/year standard cannot be considered immediately unreasonable,” that “it is not sufficient to find that the increase in cases of thyroid cancer discovered through thyroid examinations (Prefectural Health Survey) is due to the effects of radiation caused by the nuclear accident in question,” and that “the It is possible to carry out education at the public junior high schools attended by the plaintiffs while decontamination and remediation measures are taken,” and “It cannot be said that there is any illegality in deviating from or abusing the discretionary authority of the Board of Education, nor can it be said that there is any concrete risk of exposure to radiation to a degree that would adversely affect the maintenance of human health. The court dismissed the case, saying, “Since it is not recognized that there is a concrete risk of exposure to radiation to a degree that would adversely affect human health, it is not recognized that there is an illegal violation of the plaintiffs’ moral rights pertaining to their lives and bodies.
 Kenichi Ido, the head of the defense team, posted the following message on his website before the second oral argument.
 In this brief, we will present the criteria for abuse and derogation in the exercise of administrative power and argue that the exercise of discretionary power by the government and Fukushima Prefecture that exceeds these criteria is illegal and invalid beyond the permissible range. We will also present the method of interpretation of international human rights law that should serve as the standard for the exercise of discretionary power. In addition, I will argue against the claims of the State and Fukushima Prefecture, especially against the State’s claim that the benefit of not being exposed to 1 millisievert per year is not worthy of legal protection. The father, one of the appellants, is also scheduled to give an opinion. The argument will reach its climax. I ask for your attention.

February 17, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , | Leave a comment

Kenichi Hasegawa, former dairy farmer who continued to tell the truth about the nuclear accident in Fukushima, passes away.

Immediately after the accident, I pressed the village mayor to disclose information.
He also shared the voice of a dairy farmer friend who committed suicide.

 Mr. Kenichi Hasegawa, a former dairy farmer who continued to appeal about the current situation in Iitate Village contaminated by radiation after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident in 2011, died of thyroid cancer on October 22, 2011 at the age of 68. He was 68 years old. He was the co-chairman of Hidanren, a group of victims of the nuclear power plant accident, and the head of the group of Iitate villagers who filed for alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Since 2005, he has been focusing on growing buckwheat noodles in the village, while criticizing what the government and administration call “reconstruction projects” and “reconstruction Olympics. In February and March of this year, he was diagnosed with cancer and fell ill. Many people are saddened by the death of Mr. Hasegawa, who continued to communicate the issues of the nuclear accident both inside and outside Japan.

Mr. Hasegawa at the time, when he was the head of the community association of temporary housing.

 On January 13, 2012, prior to the Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World held in Yokohama, NGO officials and journalists from overseas visited Fukushima and Mr. Hasegawa conveyed the current situation of the Iitate villagers. He said, “I wish there were no nuclear power plants. He said, “I wish we didn’t have nuclear power plants, and I hope the remaining dairy farmers will do their best not to be defeated by nuclear power plants. He left a message that said, ‘I have lost the will to work.

Our government has been promoting nuclear power plants as a national policy, so I thought they would take proper measures when an accident occurred. But the government did not take any action. I may return to my village, but I can’t bring my grandchildren back. If we go back and end our lives, that will be the end of the village.

 Paul Saoke, a Kenyan public health specialist and then secretary general of the Kenya chapter of the International Council for the Prevention of Nuclear War, recorded Hasegawa’s lecture on his iPad. Mr. Saoke said, “In Kenya, the Fukushima nuclear accident is almost unknown. When I return to Japan, I would like to have the media watch the video of my lecture and let them know what kind of damage is being done by the residents. Mr. Hasegawa’s appeal was posted on the Internet and quickly spread around the world.

In 2012, he gave a speech at the European Parliament.
The film “My Legacy: If Only There Were No Nuclear Power Plants

In 2012, Mr. Hasegawa gave a lecture at the European Parliament in Belgium on the one-year anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear accident. Mr. Hasegawa visited Europe with his wife Hanako, and together with Eisaku Sato, former Governor of Fukushima Prefecture, conveyed the current situation in Fukushima.

Kenichi Hasegawa (center) attended the symposium held at the EU headquarters in Belgium. Kenichi Hasegawa (center) attended a symposium at the EU headquarters in Belgium with his wife Hanako (left) and former Fukushima Governor Eisaku Sato (second from right) (March 2012)

Our Iitate village was a beautiful village,” said Mr. Hasegawa. “Our Iitate village was a beautiful village,” Mr. Hasegawa began. While explaining how the government experts who came to the village kept saying that the village was safe, he said, “The villagers were exposed to radiation while the mayor and the people in the village administration clung to the village. We dairy farmers were told not to raise cows in the planned evacuation zone, and with no follow-up from the government, prefecture, or village, we made the decision to quit dairy farming on our own. Finally, I conveyed the regret of my friend who committed suicide, leaving behind a note saying, “If only there were no nuclear power plants.

A view of a pasture in Iitate Village (2011).
Photo: Hideaki Takamatsu

 In 2002, Naomi Toyoda’s film “The Last Will and Testament: If Only There Were No Nuclear Power Plants” was completed, and Mr. Hasegawa’s words and the events of his friend who committed suicide were further disseminated to society. Yasuhiro Abe, manager of the Forum Fukushima movie theater, said, “At the time, various debates were boiling in the local community, and despite the length of the film, it was fully booked for three days. Mr. Hasegawa’s words about Iitate were very human, and he had a different level of strength that no one else had.

Through his activities in Japan and abroad, Mr. Hasegawa has connected and interacted with a wide range of people.

Mr. Toshiyuki Takeuchi, the president of Fukushima Global Citizen’s Information Center (FUKUDEN), who has been informing people in Japan and abroad about Mr. Hasegawa’s activities, said, “Mr. Hasegawa is a person who has been affected by pollution. Mr. Hasegawa has been active as an anti-nuclear and anti-radiation activist, criticizing the government, the administration (village authorities), and TEPCO for failing to take appropriate measures that put the health of the residents of the contaminated area first. At the same time, he has a strong attachment to the Maeda area and his life there, and has returned to the area to start making soba noodles and rebuild his life. The complexity of his feelings (“irrationality”) was sometimes difficult to convey to people overseas.

 As I listened to Mr. Hasegawa’s story, there were many moments when I felt that “everything was there in Iitate Village and Maeda area before the earthquake, and it was the center of the world and life. “Complex irrationality” is probably a cross-section of the tragedy of everything being taken away on its own.

Solidarity with the Nuclear Weapons Abolition Movement
Bringing together people from all walks of life

 In 2007, after the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, ICAN Co-Chairman Tilman Ruff (Australia) and ICAN International Steering Committee member and Peace Boat Co-Chairman Satoshi Kawasaki visited Mr. Hasegawa’s house in Iitate Village with medals.

Mr Hasegawa with ICAN Co-Chairman Tillman Ruff, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate

 Mr. Ruff said. He refused to be cowed or silenced, and continued to speak the truth about the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, stressing the need for rights, dignity, health, and recognition of the people and land that the government and TEPCO unreasonably put in harm’s way. I am honored to have known Kenichi and to have been able to work for a common cause.”
 Mr. Kawasaki also mourns his death. Mr. Kawasaki also mourned his passing. “We were together on many occasions, including the European Parliament in Belgium in 2012, the round trip to Australia in 2013, and the Peace Boat trip. I remember the way he spoke straight from the bottom of his heart about the damage he had suffered as a dairy farmer and the anger and frustration of the people of Fukushima, strongly conveying his message to people even though they spoke different languages. I believe that Ms. Hanako, who has always accompanied us and talked about the damage caused by nuclear power plants from her own perspective, will continue to play a role as a sender.
 Ms. Riko Mutoh (Funehiki), who is also a co-chair of Hidanren, said, “Ms. Hasegawa was a big presence. His words were powerful and persuasive. After returning to Iitate Village, she was busy with local activities. He was a person who brought people together, both inside and outside of the village, within and outside of the prefecture, those who had evacuated and those who were living there.
(Text and photo by Hiroko Aihara)

February 13, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taiwan lifts Fukushima food ban as it looks to Japan for trade pact support

The island will ease restrictions to allow in produce from five Japanese prefectures more than a decade after the nuclear disaster.

Decision will help smooth the way for Taiwan’s bid to join the CPTPP, Cabinet spokesman says.

Taiwan is relaxing restrictions on Japanese food imports.

8 Feb, 2022

Taiwan will largely lift a ban on some Japanese food imports imposed after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster as it seeks closer cooperation with Tokyo.

Citing the need to join global trade pacts, including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the island’s government announced on Tuesday it would conditionally lift the ban on food from Fukushima and four other Japanese prefectures later this month.

“For 11 years, Japan has imposed restrictive measures even more stringent than international standards to reduce the risk in relation to food, leading to more than 40 countries, including the 11 member states of the CPTPP to fully lift the ban on related Japanese food imports,” Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng said.

Lo said many European countries had also relaxed their bans or required radiation-free certificates for the imports.

“All over the world today, only Taiwan and China maintain the ban, and even Hong Kong and Macau have partially lifted the ban,” he said.

Lo said that after years of reviews and consultations with food experts and scientists as well as examination of international standards and practices, the island finally decided to conditionally remove the ban.

Under the plan, food from Fukushima, Gunma, Chiba, Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures will be allowed in but aquatic products, tea, and dairy products will require proof that they are radiation-free and have certificates of origin.

General bans on wildlife meats, mushrooms and certain kinds of vegetables will remain in place.

Lo said the removal would help smooth the way for the island’s bid to join the CPTPP, which requires high standards for membership.

“For Taiwan to take part in the world trade and economic system and to join the high-standard CPTPP, we need to meet international criteria and refrain from ignoring scientific proof,” he said, adding Taiwan had discussed the issue many times with Japan and must remove unreasonable obstacles if it wants to join the Asia-Pacific trade body.

But he also stressed that the removal was not part of a deal in exchange for Japan’s support on CPTPP entry, though it would help the island’s bid.

John Deng, Taiwan’s top trade negotiator, said Taiwan applied to join the CPTPP last year and through its overseas representative offices or bilateral trade meetings, it had sought support from the 11 member states – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

He said the CPTPP’s review committee had yet to examine Taiwan’s application because it had been busy with Britain’s membership bid over the past year.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said on her Facebook account on Tuesday that her government would not neglect the health concerns of the public and would uphold food safety on the island.

The main opposition party, the Kuomintang, however, blasted the Tsai government for ignoring public opinion that the food products be banned.

The decision comes despite a 2018 referendum that supported the 2011 ban.

Observers said the decision had more to do with the island’s hopes of winning security and military support from Japan to counter growing threats from Beijing.

“Participation in the CPTPP is a reason, but more importantly, Tsai wants to use the measure to befriend Japan so that it will join the United States to help defend Taiwan in the event of a potential cross-strait conflict,” said Wang Kung-yi, director of the Taiwan International Strategic Study Society, a Taipei-based think tank.

He said Tsai had done all she could to seek support from the US.

Wang said Tsai had also tried hard to cement ties with Japan to counter the mainland especially after former Japanese prime minister Abe Shinzo said any mainland Chinese attack against Taiwan, either direct or indirect, would affect Japan’s national security.

Beijing considers Taiwan its territory that must control, by force if necessary. It has warned the US and Japan – which both recognise the mainland diplomatically – against military and official support for the island.

February 10, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment