Fukushima citizens remain exposed to high levels of radiation

Feature story - June 10, 2011
Tokyo – Greenpeace International Executive Director Dr. Kumi Naidoo has released information on contaminated soil from a Fukushima playground showing that readings seven times normal background levels could still be found at a kindergarten, despite having been already being decontaminated by authorities.

Radiation Test in Fukushima Playgrounds

© Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert / Greenpeace

Dr. Naido made the information public at a Tokyo press conference and criticized the Japanese government’s response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis and its ongoing failure to protect the health and welfare of its people.

"On Tuesday I had the privilege of meeting with both teachers and school children in Fukushima. Looking at innocent faces of the children, I found it difficult to contemplate the dangerously high levels of radiation they are being exposed to on a daily basis," said Dr Naidoo. "While the Japanese government has made some efforts at decontamination, it is not nearly enough. These are real people we are dealing with here, not statistics."

Greenpeace found at the kindergarten garden radiation levels that could expose children to an annual doze of radiation five times the internationally recommended maximum annual dose and a level that triggered evacuations after the Chernobyl accident in 1986.

Greenpeace intends to take the contaminated soil to Japan’s government and demand a commitment to realistic protection of those most vulnerable to

“The pregnant woman and children of Fukushima are the future of this country,” said Dr. Naidoo. “They are innocent victims of Japan’s insistence on using nuclear energy and there is a moral imperative for them to be evacuated from high-risk areas until proper decontamination is carried out".

Japanese authorities admitted this week that the Fukushima crisis is far worse than previously claimed by TEPCO, with several melt-throughs and a doubling of the estimated amount of radiation released. Despite this, Japan is not escalating its plans to protect the public. School children need greater protection from exposure to
radiation. More exposure is needed from TEPCO and the rest of nuclear industry of the problems of nuclear energy which is never safe or cheap.

“The Fukushima disaster will leave Japan with an infamous legacy - the way people used to talk about Chernobyl they will today talk about Fukushima. Having seen the after affects of Chernobyl I am here to implore the Japanese government to protect its people and learn from 50 years of mistakes of nuclear energy.

“Japan has begun to look away from nuclear and towards renewable technology, what is needed now is strong commitment and investment in this vision, to protect the future for all our children, and leave them a world in which they can meet their energy needs without resorting to nuclear power.”

More on Greenpeace’s work in Fukushima: http://t.co/csFsCvF and http://www.greenpeace.org/fukushima-data

Greenpeace exposure of the risks of building new reactors in Ontario and anywhere in Canada: http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/campaigns/end-the-nuclear-threat/Resources/