— Green Action, 11/9/2011
Date started: June 30, 2011
September (extended) late 2011
Purpose: Protect Fukushima infants, children, and expectant mothers from high radiation exposure. The petition calls for: more extensive evacuation from highly contaminated areas, measurement of residents’ internal radiation exposure, dismissal of Fukushima health advisor Shunichi Yamashita and strict adherence to a 1mSv limit for public radiation exposure.
Who can sign: Open to signatures internationally.
Sponsoring organizations: Fukushima Network for Saving Children from Radiation, Citizens Against Fukushima Aging Nuclear Power Plants (Fukuro-no-Kai), FoE Japan (International Environmental NGO), Green Action Japan, Osaka Citizens Against the Mihama, Oi and Takahama Nuclear Power Plants, Greenpeace Japan
Text of the petition — translated from the Japanese original (PDF, 167 Kb):
Naoto KAN, Director-General of Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters
Yuhei SATO, Governor, Fukushima Prefecture
Yoshiaki TAKAGI, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
Ritsuo HOSOKAWA, Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare
Emergency Petition to Protect the Children of Fukushima
By encouraging the temporary and long-term evacuation of children and strictly adhering to the legal annual radiation limit of 1 milliSievert
On May 27, in response to the urgent pleas of Fukushima parents and supporting citizens’ groups, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology announced that it intended to restrict the annual radiation limit at Fukushima schools for the current academic year (April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012) to 1 millisievert (mSv). This standard, however, does not include radiation exposure outside of school, radiation received between the March 11 nuclear accident and March 31, or internal exposure. Children have already absorbed several times more than 1 mSv, and Fukushima residents are insisting that prefectural and local governments immediately act to reduce the cumulative radiation risk by relocating children temporarily or for longer periods to safer areas and closing schools early for summer recess. We demand that the central government and Fukushima authorities implement the following measures without delay.
- In areas with particularly high levels of radiation, promote short-term or long-term evacuation and close schools early for summer recess. Give top priority to the relocation of infants, children, and expectant mothers. In many parts of Fukushima, the cumulative radiation exposure far exceeds the limit of 1 mSv per year. Since atmospheric radiation levels show no sign of abating, the inhabitants of heavily contaminated areas will continue to endure high radiation doses, both externally and internally. In order to minimize such exposure, residents should be evacuated promptly to areas where radiation is less severe. Top priority must be given to infants, children, and expectant mothers—all highly susceptible to radiation effects, and schools should be closed early for summer recess. The Education Ministry has stated that early closure is up to the discretion of school principals. Early closure should be implemented for all schools immediately.
- Monitor regularly the degree of internal exposure for all Fukushima residents, including children, using whole-body counters. Presently, central and local authorities do not calculate internal exposure when computing radiation doses. In fact, however, radiation absorbed internally through food, drink, and inhaled dust particles is thought to be a potent danger to health and is causing growing anxiety among Fukushima residents. The authorities must provide medical examinations using whole-body counters so that any inhabitant who so desires can be tested for internal exposure and have access to the results.
- Dismiss Shunichi Yamashita, professor at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki University, from his dual positions as advisor to Fukushima prefecture on health-risk management for nuclear radiation and as a member of the prefecture’s Health-Management Investigation Committee. In order to assure the safety of children in Fukushima and adjacent areas, including the Kanto region, special attention must be paid to the long-term health effects of low-level radiation. Professor Shunichi Yamashita of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki University, has repeatedly told people in Fukushima that the risks posed by low-level exposure are minimal and that “doses of up to 100 mSv are safe even for pregnant women.”The Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan (NSCJ) has said that none of its commissioners or technical advisors has stated that 20 mSv is a safe dose. Professor Yamashita’s advice is in contradiction to this statement. The model in which even low doses of radiation have a linear effect relative to dose is widely accepted internationally, including by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). Professor Yamashita’s pronouncements ignore the international consensus on radiation effects. In text directed to medical specialists, Professor Yamashita states “the risk of cancer developing at exposures of 10 to 100 mSv cannot be denied,” in complete reversal to the advice he dispenses to Fukushima residents. Entrusting the well-being of Fukushima residents to a health-risk advisor who dismisses the dangers of low-level radiation is extremely troubling and problematic. Only a scientist who acknowledges the long-term dangers posed by low-level exposure is qualified to advise the prefecture on radiation-related health management issues.
- Strictly adhere to the legal annual radiation limit of 1 millisievert. Compute the radiation dose based on total cumulative radiation, internal and external, absorbed since March 11. Revoke the current provisional annual limit of 20 millisieverts (3.8 microsieverts per hour). Lower the provisional radiation standards for food and drink so as not to exceed the annual limit of 1 millisievert. From a public health standpoint, current laws and regulations, such as the Act on the Prevention of Radiation Disease Due to Radioisotopes, establish 1 mSv per year as the legal radiation limit. This applies to all of Japan, including Fukushima. The national and local governments must adhere strictly to this standard, which is based on the total cumulative radiation dose, internal and external. The Education Ministry should repeal its April 19 directive to Fukushima prefecture, which establishes a provisional guideline of 20 mSv per year for school grounds and facilities (3.8 microSieverts per hour).Furthermore, the government’s provisional radiation standards for food and drink (“Indices Relating to Limits on Food and Drink Ingestion”), even if applied rigorously, could result in a total radiation dose of up to 17 mSv per year.* We demand that the provisional standard be lowered so as not to exceed a cumulative yearly does of 1 mSv.
*Note: Concerning the computation of the current provisional standards, see “Annex 14: Indices Relating to Limits on Food and Drink Ingestion,” in Nuclear Safety Commission, Disaster Prevention Measures for Nuclear Power Facilities (June 1980, partially amended August 2010), and Food Safety Commission, Emergency Measures Concerning Radioactive Substances (March 2011).