Greenpeace marine radiation monitoring blocked by Japanese government

Press release - 28 April, 2011
Tokyo, Japan, 28 April 2011 – The Japanese Government has refused to grant Greenpeace permission to carry out independent radiation monitoring within the country’s 12 mile territorial waters, approving only a much more limited programme further out to sea.

The organisation’s flagship, the Rainbow Warrior, arrived outside Tokyo today, enroute to site of the stricken Fukushima nuclear complex. Greenpeace submitted a comprehensive research plan to the Japanese Ministry of Food and Agriculture including testing beyond that being carried out by the government (1). While permission has been granted to test seawater, sediment and sea life, the most important research within the 12 mile limit is being blocked (2).

The Rainbow Warrior needs to have its gyro compass repaired, so as such intends to dock briefly in Tokyo after which it will proceed to the Fukushima coast.

“It is critical that Greenpeace is allowed to test marine life, and to conduct monitoring in the coastal areas most at risk from sea water contamination from the Fukushima plant” said Junichi Sato, Greenpeace Japan Executive Director. “This is about providing independent and transparent information that will help people to protect both their health and livelihoods”.

So far Greenpeace has carried out independent land based monitoring and published all of the results (3), which have been greeted with considerable appreciation by local officials and members of the public. In order to get a more complete picture marine based monitoring is vital.

“We need to extend our research (4) into the marine environment Japan relies upon so heavily to feed itself”, said Ike Teuling, Greenpeace radiation expert aboard the Rainbow Warrior. “It has been almost two months since this crisis began and there is still not enough information in the public domain, or enough safety measures in place to protect the health of the population.”

“We have been working closely with the authorities, and while we welcome this recognition of our research activities, like much of the government’s response to this nuclear crisis, it simply does not go far enough”, added Sato. “The government must urgently revise its decision and approve testing closer to shore, so we can begin this critically important independent research.”
 
ENDS

CONTACTS:

Greg McNevin, Greenpeace International Communications, in Tokyo, +81 80 3930 3341
Greenpeace International Press Desk Hotline, Amsterdam +31 20 7182470

Photography and video of the radiation monitoring are available:
Greenpeace International Picture Desk, , +31629001152
Greenpeace International Video Desk, , +31646162015

For more on Greenpeace’s work in Fukushima, visit:
http://t.co/csFsCvF
Receive Greenpeace International press releases via Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/greenpeacepress

NOTES

(1) The Greenpeace research plan:
http://www.greenpeace.org/japan/Global/japan/pdf/20110428_Research_plan.pdf

2) MOFA approval of the research application, which was presented through diplomatic channels by the Dutch authorities:
http://www.greenpeace.org//japan/Global/japan/pdf/MOFA_response.pdf

3)  Results from Greenpeace’s land-based radiation monitoring:
http://www.greenpeace.org/fukushima-data

4) Three Greenpeace teams have carried out radiation monitoring outside the 30km mandatory evacuation zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant. Two teams focused on mapping surface contamination and the third on food and milk testing. During March 27 and 28, radiation monitoring was conducted in Iitate village and Namie region. Between April 4 and 8 the teams conducted detailed measurements as well as food and soil analysis in Fukushima City, Koriyama City, Minamisoma, Namie, Iitate, and many places in between.

A detailed and annotated Google map of locations and radiation readings compiled by the Greenpeace team can be found here http://bit.ly/gaMGnf

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