Families Ask the World “Not to Forget” the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster at the United Nations
HRN’s activity was reported on SIC NOTICIAS (a Portuguese news site).
— Rough Translation —
Families affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, one year ago in Japan, went today to the United Nations to ask the international community “not to forget” the tragedy and to halt the proliferation of nuclear energy.
“I have been thinking how come the adults don’t ask if this could happen to their countries”, said Kaisei Fukagawa, 7, who abandoned his homeland “without being able to say goodbye to his schoolmates.”
“When I grow, I wanna be a doctor, be a responsible adult and protect the kids and Earth,” said the kid who, since March 11th, 2011, only sees his father, who remained in Fukushima, once a month.
Kazuko Ito, general secretary of “Human Rights Now”, an international human Rights NGO, based in Tokyo, has been traveling frequently to Fukushima, until last November, and affirms that the population in that region is still facing a crisis.
“The more urgent needs are medical treatments and non-contaminated food, and also moving some people away,” said the leader, who went to NY to accompany the Fukushima families.
In regards to the UN, these people are fighting for a standard resolution, on the level of the General Assembly, for victims protection, in case of nuclear accidents.
For now, this NGO and other organizations are trying to gather support from missions of countries with UN representation, in order to compose a resolution project to be submitted to voting. “For now, nobody is composing the text, we still need to advocate,” said Kazuko Ito.
A first victory for the group was the recent confirmation of a visit to the region, by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, Mr. Anand Grover, scheduled for November. “We need very strong international pressure. Public opinion is very important to move him and make sure he makes a good report,” said Ms Ito.
The same pressure, she says, can be exerted by people anywhere in the world, be it with their local politicians or UN delegates, to “talk on Fukushima or nuclear matters.”
Until the weekend, the group will meet with representatives of some countries to which the Japanese government is in the process of selling nuclear reactors, such as Vietnam and Jordan.
Around 20 thousand people died or disappeared in the Fukushima tragedy. After the accident at the nuclear reactor, an extremely high level of radioactive emmissions was reported (7 in INES scale), contaminating the whole region, and posing increased health risks for the millions that live there.
Yuri Tomitsuka, 10, talked about his experience of feeling the earthquake in the school, the way back home – located 58 km away from the nuclear power plant – and the family meeting, where they decided to go and stay with her mother’s family in Yokohama. “Today I cannot see my father much, but I liked that we were moved out because I could have been very sick.”
Yoshiko Fukagawa, Yuri’s mother, described Fukushima as “a beautiful place”, with “all kinds of cherry trees, some with more than 1000 years,” mountains, flowers and traditional festivals; where “severe winters” are spent “skiing or in rotenburo.” Today, the scenary is quite different and “much of those that barely survived the earthquake are now exposed to radiation and anxiety,” she said. “I heard that people outside Japan see us calm and helpfull after the earthquake. Those who look at us today, please, do not forget us.”