Speech by Former Mayor of Futaba, Fukushima, Katsutaka Idogawa

The former mayor of Futaba town, Fukushima, Katsutaka Idogawa, gave the address below at a side event organized by Human Rights Now (HRN) at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. The event, held in March 2012, coincided with the release of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health’s report after his visit to Japan. Attendees included various government officials, NGOs and concerned residents.

In the speech he talks publicly about his experiences with Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), personal fears over the danger posed to citizens health due to the slow response of the Japanese government and is critical of their reaction to the Special Rapporteur’s report.

 A full transcript of the speech appears below and an English and Japanese version is also available to read and download in PDF file format here.

Speech by Former Mayor of Futaba Town, Fukushima, Katsutaka Idogawa

“Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. My name is Katsutaka Idogawa and I come from Futaba Town in Fukushima Prefecture where the nuclear accident occurred in March 2011. First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Human Rights Now, the organizer of this side event and to all the people who have provided me with support.

I would also like to extend my gratitude to Mr. Anand Grover, the Special Rapporteur for the rights to health, for his utmost efforts to date to realize his detailed report on the facts finding visit in Fukushima last year.

Before the accident, the residents in Futaba had been leading a healthy and peaceful life by respecting the human rights. We hosted the construction of nuclear power plants on the condition that a serious accident would never happen.

Whilst I was always worried about a possible nuclear accident, the Nuclear Safety Agency and TEPCO reassured me by saying that “Mr. Idogawa, such an accident will never happen. We can stop it by cooling and confining the reactors. We guarantee the safety, so please do not worry”.

However, the level 7 nuclear disaster, which is regarded as one of the worst ever nuclear accidents in our history, occurred. Though the government of Japan gave me an instruction to evacuate the population, they did not specify how and where and by when it should have been carried out.

Yesterday the government of Japan emphasized that they were making the utmost efforts to cope with the relevant problems. However, the government had not neither approached me nor given me any instruction amid the emergency. To whom their respectful measure was addressed? Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey is being carried out without reflecting the opinions and requests of the residents.

Moreover, the prefecture does not disclose the results of the survey to each person. It is not until there is a request for disclosure of the information that the prefecture reveals the data. It means that Fukushima Prefecture is violating the right to know of the residents. It is therefore the violation of human rights.

I would also like to draw your attention to the fact that schools in Fukushima Prefecture has been using the local produces for the school meal since April this year. It is possible as the annual dose limit is set at 20mSv.

The accident is yet to be seized. The damaged reactors are still emitting radioactivity. There is no improvement in stopping the leakage of contaminated cooling water. Support bases in the temporary housing have never been established.

I actually asked my former colleague at the town office of Futaba about this support bases. They have not received any relevant information from the government. It is evident that the government and TEPCO are covering up a lot of information. They have never organized any disaster management meeting for us.

They have never heard my opinions. To the contrary, the government is trying to underestimate the impact of the accident. I know one of the residents in Futaba underwent an operation for thyroid cancer and this person has not informed the prefecture of it, as she is afraid of information cover-up by them.

Fukushima Prefecture did not release any data on environmental radioactivity prediction collected via SPEEDI (System for Prediction of Environment Emergency Dose Information). Due to this, the residents were unnecessarily exposed to a high dose of radiation.

I have been devoted myself to accusing the government, Fukushima Prefecture and TEPCO of their lack of responsibilities and urging them to provide us with sincere apologies and compensations. I strongly hope that the government of Japan will prove their burden for all what they have refuted in their statement against the report of Mr. Anand Grover.”

日本国 福島県 双葉町民 井戸川克隆

Katsutaka Idogawa, a resident of Futaba Town, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan