Human Rights after the Fukushima disaster: HRN releases opinion paper urging Japanese government to take immediate measures to protect affected people
The nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011, has had serious repercussions for the human rights those affected. Human Rights Now has released an opinion paper on this problem urging the Japanese government to take immediate measures to take all preventative measures to protect people from radiation.
The report underscores the need for the government to grant the immediate right to evacuation and reparation for all people living in areas where radiation levels are estimated at above 1mSv per year.
Due to radioactive contamination resulting from the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the health and daily life of a large number of people living in areas surrounding the nuclear plant is being exposed to considerable risk.
After the nuclear disaster, it has been estimated that the amount of radioactive materials released is over 168 times that which was released by the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, and this creates serious risks to the health of the population, in particular expecting mothers, infants, children and young generations most vulnerable to harm from radioactive material, particularly those living in areas which have not been designated as evacuation areas.
The government is using an exposure standard of 20mSv per year to determine evacuation and compensation measures, however there are no counter-measures in place for the protection and restoration of the health and living standards of the residents living in areas which are subject to a lower radiation amount.
Five months have passed since the nuclear disaster and we are now requesting that permanent counter-measures be taken instead of “provisional standards.” The current situation whereby the health of residents is put at risk by applying low standards departing from international norms cannot be tolerated.
Therefore, Human Rights Now, an international human rights NGO requests that the government of Japan and Tokyo Electric Power Company (“TEPCO”) assume their responsibilities for causing the damage resulting from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, as follows:
1. Take all necessary measures to protect the health and restore the living environment of the residents living in areas where the radiation dose exceeds 1mSv per year (excluding background radiation) in accordance with international standards and the standards applicable to the contaminated zones following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
2. Follow the practices of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation, the Ukraine and other countries after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster by designating the contaminated areas which are subject to a radiation dose in excess of 5mSv per year as evacuation areas, and in areas where the radiation dose exceeds 1mSv per year, recognize the right of the residents to compensation and support for relocation and by providing food supplies, medical care and assistance in their daily life:
· For residents living in areas where the radiation dose exceeds 1mSv per year (excluding background radiation), to take measures for compensation, and for the people who were deprived of their livelihood by relocation, to secure the comprehensive reconstruction of their daily life;
· In areas where the radiation dose exceeds 1mSv per year (excluding background radiation), to monitor constantly and disclose levels of radioactive contamination to the residents, to undertake immediate decontamination for a restoration of the prior environment, to protect from radiation, to provide food supplies, to take measures to provide medical examinations and medical compensation in connection with the influence of long-term exposure to radiation, including internal radiation, and to protect people from radiation injuries; and
· To reconsider the designation of the evacuation areas based on the actual status of the contamination.