ACTION ALERT: Act Now to Prevent Further Radiation Poisoning of Japanese Children

April 30th, 2011 - by admin

Nuclear Information and Resource Service & Green Action Japan – 2011-04-30 14:49:08

ACTION ALERT: Act Now to Prevent Further Radiation Poisoning of Japanese Children
Michael Mariotte / 
Nuclear Information and Resource Service

TOKYO (April 25, 2011
) — The Japanese government has made an unconscionable decision to increase the allowable radiation dose for children attending school in Fukushima Prefecture to 20 MilliSieverts/year — or 2 rems/year.

This is 20 times the allowable standard for the public in the US — and 20 times above the previous allowable standard in Japan. And at the same time, the Japanese government is planning to evacuate additional towns in Fukushima Prefecture because residents would be exposed to 20 MilliSieverts/year!

This double standard makes no sense. Nor does treating children the same as adults: children are more suspectible to radiation effects than adults. Our Japanese colleagues have set up an emergency petition calling for a reversal of this decision. They will be presenting the petition to government officials on April 30.

Please sign the petition here Ask your friends and colleagues to sign as well!

Important: please note that after signing, you will be sent an e-mail to confirm your signature. Please watch your inbox/spam box for this e-mail, and click the link on it to ensure your signature is recorded!

NIRS action page now lists actions in 18 states for tomorrow’s Chernobyl anniversary and for upcoming days and weeks. Several more actions will be posted to the page later today — so check tonight and tomorrow morning for the action nearest you!

Note: if your group is planning actions this Spring, please get the information to us as early as possible so we can help publicize. Make sure to include your group name; date, time and location of the action; and contact information. If you have a flyer or poster, send us a copy of that too.

Don’t forget about tomorrow’s Virtual March on Washington! To participate, just send a photo of yourself (and friends!) to Go here to see the current slideshow and download a sign you can hold for your photo. We’ll be presenting this virtual march to the Blue Ribbon Commisson on America’s Nuclear Future. Make sure your voice is seen!

Note: the Fukushima petition and Virtual March are open to people in every country. A reminder of the new position available at NIRS: The job description and application instructions are posted here.

Michael Mariotte is the 
Executive Director of the 
Nuclear Information and Resource Service

Petition Deadline April 30!
Green Action Japan

Citizens will be meeting with the Japanese government on Monday May 2, and will submit the signatures gathered. We will report back the results to you on this blog. Please tell us where you are from, as we are looking for the support of the international community. Thanks for your interest and participation!

We the undersigned ask you to join us in signing our petition, to be presented to the Japanese Government.

The Petition
Emergency Statement and Demands

We urgently demand the withdrawal of the Japanese Government’s inhumane decision to force 20mSv per year radiation exposure onto children.

On April 19th, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) notified the Board of Education and related institutions in Fukushima Prefecture the level of 20 millisieverts per year (mSv/y) as a Radiation Safety Standard for schools in Fukushima Prefecture. This is the standard to be used for school grounds and buildings. The Government has indicated that 20mSv/y is equivalent to 3.8 microSv per hour measured outdoors.

3.8 microSv/h is roughly 6 times [the 0.6 microSv/h] of “Radiation Controlled Areas” (0.6 microSv/h or more). The Labour Standards Act prohibits those under the age of 18 from working under these conditions. Forcing children to be exposed to such radiation doses is an exceedingly inhumane decision. Therefore, we condemn this in the strongest terms.

20 mSv/y is comparable to the [legally] recognized dose for inducing leukemia in nuclear power plant workers. It is also comparable to the maximum dose allowed for nuclear power plant workers in Germany.

In addition, this 20mSv standard [for Japanese children] does not take into account the fact children have higher sensitivity to radiation than adults, nor does it take into account any internal radiation exposure.

Currently, according to the radiation monitoring conducted at elementary and middle schools within Fukushima Prefecture, more than 75% of these schools have contamination levels comparable to “Radiation Controlled Areas” (0.6 microSv/h or more). Further, roughly 20% of the schools fall within “Individual Exposure Controlled Areas” (2.3 microSv/h or more) and are in an extremely dangerous situation.

The level set by the Japanese Government at this time amounts to coercion of this dangerous situation upon children, and, can interfere with voluntary measures by schools to minimize exposure.

MEXT states that 20mSv/y is based on the recommendation Pub.109 by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) as well as on the reference levels in the band of 1 to 20 mSv/y as “Post Emergency Situation” Standards from the ICRP statement released on March 21st. The latter means MEXT has adopted the maximum level.

As of April 21st, there has been no substantive information disclosure by the Japanese Government on the decision-making process for establishing these standards. Moreover, no explanation has been given concerning why the Government has neither taken the sensitivity of children into consideration nor internal radiation exposure into account. The contents of the consultation held between MEXT and the Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) are not disclosed, and the situation remains extremely opaque.

We demand the following of the Japanese Government:

- Retraction of the “20mSv/y” standard for children.

- Disclosure of the names of experts, who deemed “20mSv/y” for children to be safe.

At the governmental negotiation held on April 21st, it became evident that the Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) concluded the 20mSv/y standard for children as “Permissible” without undertaking any formal consultation. Moreover, on April 22nd, the Commission reported to the office of Mizuho FUKUSHIMA, member of the Japanese Diet, House of Councillors that no minutes (records) exist of the 5 Nuclear Safety Commission members’ deliberation leading to the 20mSv/year standard.

Expert comments cited from the articles on the establishment of the 20mSv/y standard (“Fukushima-Katastrophe — Japan legt hohe Strahlengrenzwerte für Kinder fest” or “Japan’s MEXT sets High Exposure Limits for Children”), Der Spiegel, April 21st, 2011.
(See comparison to German workers.),1518,758410,00.html

Edmund Lengfelder (Otto Hug Radiation Institute), “The cancer risk will visibly rise in the future. By setting these standards, the government will steer clear of any liability legally, however not morally.”

This petition is organized by:

Green Action, Greenpeace Japan, Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center, Citizens Against Fukushima Aging Nuclear Power Plants (Fukuro-no-Kai), Osaka Citizens Against the Mihama, Oi, and Takahama Nuclear Power Plants (Mihama-no-Kai), Friends of the Earth Japan

For further inquiries, please contact:
Green Action, 
Suite 103, 22-75 Tanaka Sekiden-cho
Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8203 Japan
Tel: +81-75-701-7223

Friends of the Earth Japan, 
3-30-8-1F Ikebukuro Toshima-ku Tokyo 171-0014, Japan
TEL: +81-3-6907-7217