The three-year anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster recently passed, and a prominent nuclear expert has come out in protest of the way both the Japanese government and the country’s nuclear industry continue to handle the situation. During a recent episode of the Nuclear Hotseat podcast, celebrity and lawmaker Taro Yamamoto lamented how the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) is still downplaying the threat of radiation, which he believes will end up “sacrificing” 99.99 percent of the Japanese population.
In Japan, stated Yamamoto, it is still taboo to even talk about radiation, even though its effects have been felt throughout the country and even beyond its borders. Insinuating that the country as a whole has essentially buried its head in the sand on this important issue, Yamamoto called out the nuclear industry in particular for minimizing the radioactive impact of Fukushima, which many now believe to be the worst nuclear accident in recorded history.
“Idiotic ideas — like restarting the nuclear plants — are being considered here in Japan,” stated Yamamoto during the interview. “I think it is wrong that people’s lives are being sacrificed because of money and the company profits… 99.99 percent of the people are being sacrificed.”
You can listen to this podcast episode here:
Cleanup efforts ‘nowhere near under control,’ says local Fukushima resident
These are powerful words that also represent the views of many others who are “in the know” about what is really going on across the Pacific. Speaking to reporters, a resident of Fukushima recently explained how the situation is “nowhere near under control” as the media claims, and that it will probably take several generations to make a significant dent in the mitigation efforts at the stricken plant.
“[R]adioactive water is still leaking, there is still a very long way to go until it can be decommissioned, and we must be prepared for a long term battle which will go beyond the present generation,” wrote Fukushima resident Arao Shunsuke in a letter posted at DiaNuke.org. “Even now over 100,000 people from Fukushima are still living in miserable conditions in temporary housing.”
You can read Shunsuke’s full letter here:
At least 75 children have confirmed cases of thyroid cancer, but authorities deny link to Fukushima
From day one, many health officials, nuclear experts and, of course, spokesmen representing TEPCO have denied that Fukushima radiation is significantly impacting public health. But we know from numerous recent reports that, like Shunsuke pointed out, radioactive contamination is persistent in the region, and leakage at the plant continues to this very day.
It only makes logical sense, then, that all of this contamination is going to affect the people living around the plant, including the 75 children that were reported back in February as having confirmed cases of thyroid cancer. But these cases are being ignored by authorities, who insist that Fukushima radiation is somehow not a threat.
“The [radiation] monitoring post, which is in the square in front of the Nihonmatsu City Hall, shows 0.3 microsieverts per hour; the lawn at the entrance shows 0.7 and the reading in my living room is 0.2,” adds Shunsuke. “But this is above the level of 1 millisievert per year (0.23 microsieverts per hour), which is the exposure limit for the general public.
Despite all of this, TEPCO has yet to take responsibility for any of the damage caused, both in and around Fukushima and throughout Japan and the rest of the world. The utility would prefer to pretend that nothing is wrong while continuing to bungle the ongoing cleanup efforts, which are putting the entire world at risk.
Sources for this article include: