Title: UN envoy: Japan should do more for nuclear victims
Author: MARI YAMAGUCHI
Date: November 26, 2012 07:44 AM EST
[After finishing an 11-day survey in Fukushima and other areas] A United Nations rights investigator said Monday that Japan hasn’t done enough to protect the health of residents and workers affected by the Fukushima nuclear accident.
Anand Grover, U.N. special rapporteur on the right to health, said the government has adopted overly optimistic views of radiation risks and has conducted only limited health checks after the partial meltdowns at several reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant caused by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011. [...]
Although he welcomed ongoing health checks of affected residents, Grover said they were too narrow in scope because they are only intended to cover Fukushima’s 2 million people, and that only children are being given thyroid tests, even though the impact of radiation went far beyond Fukushima’s borders. He said the health survey should cover “all radiation-affected zones” stretching across much of the northeastern half of the main Japanese island of Honshu. So far, only one-quarter of Fukushima’s population has been covered.
[...] many residents complained that they have not been allowed access to their own health check results, Grover said. [...]
More from the UN investigator
- “The scope of the survey is unfortunately narrow as they draw on the limited lessons from the Chernobyl accident and ignore epidemiological studies that point to cancer as well as other diseases in low-dosage radiation”
- “Chernobyl is not a good example, whose study in the first three years was a blackout. So we don’t have data”
- “[Some studies that say radiation exposures of up to 100 millisieverts per year show no clear evidence of higher cancer risks] But that is controversial. And there are a lot of studies which indicate otherwise. The government need not say which is right. The government has to err on the side of caution and be inclusive.”
- In Chernobyl the obligatory resettlement threshold limit was just one-quarter of Japan’s
Published: November 26th, 2012 at 9:05 am ET