Symposium: “Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Accident Status and Future Prospects”

Fukushima, Japan

I have just returned from the disaster stricken area of Miyagi prefecture. Yesterday, following the decision made by The Nippon Foundation I was at Ishinomaki city and Onagawa town to offer representatives of bereaved families 50,000 yen ($600) for each missing and dead persons. I am dedicated to delivering this monetary gift to the relatives and families of the 30,000 who are missing and dead.

Do you know the difference between “public donation” (GIENKIN, in Japanese) and “aid money” ( SHIENKIN, in Japanese) both collected for the benefit of the disaster victims? “Public donation” is collected by the mass media and Japan Red Cross Society but it is customary to establish a committee to oversee the distribution of the donation fairly to all victims. For this reason it takes time. For example, citing the Hanshin/Awaji (Kobe) Great Earthquake the victims received donations only one year later. The reality of how “public donation” is provided is that our wish to support and help disaster victims is only delivered after a full year.

The Nippon Foundation uses its advantage as a civic organization in its support activities to flexibly cope with the situation case by case, rather than focusing on equitable and fair distribution.

NPOs and individual volunteers are working hard at 2500 or so shelters. No one has offered them resources to support their activities. I believe that it is aid money that provides support to NPO and volunteer activities. And for the time being it is The Nippon Foundation alone that can expeditiously offer such funds to support NPOs and volunteers. I invite you to understand the differences between the two types of donations, “public donation” and “aid money” and ask you to make your donation as “aid money”.

The Nippon Foundation had been involved in handling the post-accident situation of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident as requested by President Gorbachev at the time. We air lifted by Russia’s super big transport plane Antonov, state of the art medical devices such as whole body counters that measure radiation exposure of the organs as well as thyroid gland examiner and covered two hundred thousand Russian children in ten years. Our lecturer, Professor Shunichi Yamashita from Nagasaki University Graduate School has presented a detailed test report to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). There is no other report that is more detailed data than this on Nuclear Power Plant accident so if you are interested please check it out.

Today’s symposium, rather than giving you scientific knowledge concerning nuclear power plant accident, has put the priority in resolving your concerns and uncertainties you may have in your day to day living. The government announcement usually includes an evasive phrase: “while it is not a problem, but to be cautious you should…” Most of us take caution and conclude that it is wise not to drink tap water.

Our experience of Hiroshima and Nagasaki suggested that children below the age of ten were susceptible to thyroid abnormality and in addition quite a number of children would have the onset of leukemia. There were just two leukemia cases. I am not a specialist physician, but the possibility of ordinary people suffering ill health is near zero, apart from the workers on reactor sites.

Media likes to report that so and so has reached 1000 times, or even 5000 times above the standard norm, and most of us are affected by the large multiplier number and as a result become fearful. No doubt radiation is dangerous, but it is the multiplier number such as the 1000 times the standard that cause harmful rumor.

Today we have invited the media and foreign diplomatic corps to our lecture. For example, a chest CT scan has radiation level of 6.9 micro sievert. Radiation dose from a number of such CT scans conducted in a year is higher than the dose one gets from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident.

I saw milk being disposed of on the TV screen but there is no problem in drinking it. And if they are processed as cheese and butter than the dairy products have 5% lower dose compared to the original milk.
The point is that there should be a clear explanation as to how much dose is safe and that there is no need for us to worry as we go about our life. Provisory clause and qualifications only cause fear.

The three lecturers we have today will talk clearly and simply to remove your fears. Please ask questions centered on your concerns that arise in your daily lives. And please pass on to your friends and acquaintances what you understand today because I believe it is most important for us to coolly understand the situation and stop the harmful rumor from going around.

Professor Shunichi Yamashita of Nagasaki University Graduate School addressed the issue of radiation exposure from food and water intake and said that children suffered from cancer as the result of the Chernobyl accident because they continued to eat contaminated food over a long period. With regard to Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant there is almost no contaminated food intake due to an “excessive amount” of information.

Footnotes (Icing on the cake)
The concern of the international society is increasing due to the discharge of radioactive water from Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power plant. The Japanese government has the responsibility to provide an authentic disclosure of information. While I am not a specialist, Cesium 135 which is even now an issue at Chernobyl had no effect on mal health. Iodine has a half life of 8 days. The effect in Japan from this is close to zero.

I would rather like to draw your attention to the lecture of Russian Vice Premier Ivanov in New York. “If the oceans are contaminated, then fish we catch 100 nautical miles away may be exposed to danger. Of course, there will be an impact.” he said. (April 6, 2011, Asahi Shimbun)

I wish to say the following to Vice Premier Ivanov.
In the 1990s there were rumors that (Russia) had sunk a number of nuclear powered submarines in the Sea of Japan. Have you forgotten that Japan had provided Suzuran, a facility to process radioactive liquid that was dumped in the Sea of Japan.

Was there anyone who suffered ill health by eating fish that were contaminated by radioactive waste Russia dumped?

I repeat, the Japanese government should disclose correct information to the international community.