Japanese Government Asked for Action on Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tokyo - (PanOrient News) Members of Japanese civil society submitted today demands to the Japanese government asking for swift action in its response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear earthquake disaster.

A petition initiated by Phase Out Nuclear Energy Fukushima Prefecture Network and Citizens' Nuclear Information Center and signed by 258 groups and 1010 individuals was handed to officials from the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy and the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

Under the title, Urgent Demands Regarding the Nuclear-Earthquake Disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plans, the petition was addressed to Mr. Kaieda Banri, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry.

It said that "On March 11, a massive magnitude 9.0 earthquake and associated gigantic tsunamis hit the Pacific Coast taking away the lives of many people, damaging houses and other buildings, and causing a nuclear-earthquake disaster.

"At the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) failure to promptly respond to the loss of coolant due to the loss of both external and emergency power sources resulted in hydrogen explosions and the meltdown of reactor cores.

"Large amounts of radioactive materials have been emitted into the atmosphere, and people who live within a 30km radius of the Fukushima Daiichi Plant had to evacuate.* Residents of Eastern Japan are facing the danger of radiation exposure. An unprecedented crisis situation continues, including in relation to the spent fuel pools.

"TEPCO and the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency have not appropriately disclosed relevant information about the accidents and radiation levels. By not disclosing this information and by repeatedly stating that the current situation will not “immediately” affect people’s health, the government is increasing a sense of uncertainty and anxiety.

"TEPCO Chairman Katsumata referred to decommissioning Units 1-4 of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Given the strain and grief of the citizens of Fukushima Prefecture, whose lives, properties, and/or hometowns were lost, it is necessary not only to decommission all the units of the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini Nuclear Power Plants, but also to immediately redirect Japan’s energy policy to a phase out of nuclear power generation.

"This is a critical time when the current and future directions of Japan, the energy policy of the government in general and the Atomic Energy Administration in particular are being questioned. Strong leadership from the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry is needed to address these issues.

"As emergency countermeasures, we strongly demand the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry to take the following actions:

1. To secure the cooling function of the units of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and to bring the accident situation under control as soon as possible;

2. To issue evacuation orders to residents within the 30km zone* around the Fukushima Daiichi Plant and to those in high radiation zones based on simulation results of the System for Prediction of Environment Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI) ;(The government has officially declared an evacuation zone of 20 km around the site and instructed people to stay indoors within the 20 ~ 30 km zone. It has encouraged people within the 20 ~ 30 km zone to leave, without officially declaring it as an evacuation zone.)

3. To increase the number of radiation monitoring locations, and to establish a system to help individuals, including pregnant women, babies and infants, who wish to voluntarily evacuate when the total radiation dose exceeds 1mSv (the annual permitted exposure level);

4. To establish compensatory measures for damages due to radioactive contamination of agricultural products within and outside the 30km zone of the Fukushima Daiichi Plant;

5. To decommission all the nuclear reactors of both Fukushima Daiichi and Daini Nuclear Power Plants; and

6. To immediately redirect Japan’s energy policy to a phase out of nuclear power generation.

Mr. Philip White, the International Liaison Officer for the Citizens' Nuclear Information Center told PanOrient News that officials of the agency said in their responses to the demands of the petition that "the government was doing its best, and was considering extending the evacuation zone, but that no decision had been made."

On their reply to question 3, the officials said that this matter has been reported to the Cabinet Office. As for questions 4 and 5 "no substantial replies were received" according to Mr. While. He said that the officials indicated that they can't comment because these are matters for the future.

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