Thank you, Madam Vice-President.
2018 marks the seventh year since the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Human Rights Now is concerned about the housing situation of affected people, over 50,000 of whom remain officially evacuated.
In recent years, Japan’s government has been lifting evacuation orders in areas where public exposure to radiation is permitted up to 20 millisieverts per year, much higher than the recommended international standard of 1 millisievert per year and ending compensation payments to evacuees from these areas.
At the end of March 2017, the prefectural government also ended housing support for the 32,000 self‑evacuees living outside of government‑designated evacuation zones and it may stop providing free housing to over 5,000 more households by March 2019.
This decisions create financial pressure for displaced persons to return to their housing areas with potentially high radiation exposures. This is inconsistent with principle 15(d) of the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, principle 8 of the Pinheiro Principles, and and has been criticized by the Special Rapporteur on the right to health Anand Grover, the Human Rights Committee and several states under Japan’s latest UPR. The Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing’s recent report also calls on states to meet the needs of displaced populations with strategies that include participation in housing decisions.
Human Rights Now calls on the government of Japan to provide necessary financial and housing support to evacuees as long as needed to ensure their ability to freely choose where to live and without pressure to return to unsafe areas. We also urge the government to invite the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing to visit Japan to examine evacuees’ housing situation without further delay.