Tokyo, Japan – The Japanese government has accepted recommendations made at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on the rights of evacuees from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, including acknowledging for the first time that evacuees have rights under under the UN Principles of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP).

If implemented, it should immediately lead to the government reversing its decision to remove 29,000 self-evacuees from the official record and to restore all their rights, including full housing support.

“This is a victory for the human rights of tens of thousands of evacuees, coming seven long years after the nuclear disaster which tore so many families apart,” said Hisayo Takada, Deputy Program Director at Greenpeace Japan.  “For the thousands of evacuees of the nuclear disaster this is only a first, but important, step. The decision means that the Japanese government must immediately stop policies that are violating the rights of evacuees, especially women and children.”

The UNHRC recommended to restore the maximum annual radiation exposure to 1mSv which would mean a halt to lifting evacuation orders in areas that are highly contaminated.

Greenpeace Japan’s latest radiation survey shows levels of radiation in some areas of Fukushima Prefecture similar to an active nuclear facility requiring strict controls, and in one instance levels up to 100 times higher than the international limit for public exposure [2] [3]. The high radiation levels in these areas pose a significant risk to returning evacuees until at least the 2050’s and well into next century.

“The Japanese government is still trying to minimise the true scale of the impacts of the disaster. If it is genuine in its commitment to the international community, it would recognise the rights of 29,000 self evacuees and ensure no one is exposed to annual radiation of 1mSv. Sadly, there’s no sign that policy will actually change,” said Hisayo Takada.

“The world can’t afford to have another environmental and human rights crisis like this again. On the eve of the anniversary, Japan and governments around the world must learn from this nuclear disaster and urgently transition away from nuclear to safer, cleaner renewables.”

The Fukushima disaster is the single largest release of radioactivity into the ocean and one of only two Level 7 nuclear disasters in world history – the other being Chernobyl.

ENDS

Notes:

[1] The announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was made in a formal submission to the UNHRC on 8 March 2018.

[2] Reflections in Fukushima: The Fukushima Daiichi Accident Seven Years On

[3] The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) sets a maximum dose of 1 mSv/ year in normal situations for the public, and in the range of 1-20 mSv/y under post-nuclear accident situations, such as that resulting from Fukushima Daiichi. The ICRP recommends that governments select the lower part of the 1–20 mSv/year range for protection of people living in contaminated areas, and “to reduce all individual exposures associated with the event to as low as reasonably achievable.”

Link to Photos and Videos can be found here: http://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MZIFJXWRJCD

Contacts:

Chisato Jono, Communications Officer, Greenpeace Japan, email: chisato.jono@greenpeace.org, mob: +81 (0) 80-6558-4446

Greenpeace International Press Desk, pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org, phone: +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)