To the Civil Department of Fukushima District Court
There are two parts in the « Trial to Protect Children from Irradiation »: the « Children’s Rights Trial » and the « Parent-Child Trial ». In the case of the first trial the defendants are the local governments. The plaintiffs demand the recognition of the right of primary and secondary school students of Fukushima Prefecture to enjoy education in a healthy environment. The second trial requires the recognition of the responsibility of the central and prefectural governments for not having taken the necessary protective measures and thus for unnecessarily exposing the children to radiation. The civil party, consisting of children and their parents who were residents in the Fukushima Prefecture when the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident occurred, seeks compensation from the Fukushima prefectural and Japanese central governments.
The Japanese government totally underestimates the health risks associated with low-dose radiation exposure, and with internal radiation from the soil, water or air, or from contaminated substances. As a result, many children are exposed to the radiation they could have avoided. According to the thyroid examinations performed on children and adolescents under the age of 18 at the time of the nuclear accident, as of December 25, 2017, the number of cancers diagnosed was 193 cases. However, the government continues to consider that there is no link between this fact and irradiation, and has not undertaken research to find out the cause of the greatly increased frequency*. We must protect children from radiation. Since the government refuses to take action, it is our deepest wish that the judiciary would make a reasonable judgment taking reality into account.
Here is the site of Change.org where you can sign the petition.
Below is the text prepared by the Citizens’ Network for Evacuation from Radiation Japan (of March 2018) which explains the context.
Fukushima Radiation Is Still Damaging People’s Health; Save our Children!
The Japanese government is Trying to Conceal the Real Picture of the Child Thyroid Cancer Outbreak in Fukushima and to Deny its Correlation with the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster
- So far as many as 193 child thyroid cancer cases in Fukushima have been reported!
- It was discovered that that at least one patient was uncounted! There may be a lot more cancer cases yet to be registered?!
- After this possibility of omission was pointed out, the Fukushima Medical University Hospital decided to reinvestigate the number of thyroid cancer
The Health Management Survey Exploratory Committee of Fukushima Residents held on October 23, 2017, found that three children were newly diagnosed with suspected or confirmed thyroid cancer, bringing the total cases to 193.
The committee admitted that there has been “a noticeable increase in the number of child thyroid cancer cases.” Oddly enough, however, their conclusion was that this “cannot be possibly related to the Fukushima nuclear accident.” They say that the unusually high incidence is caused by the screening method of examining all children, which has found a lot of latent cancer cases and led to unnecessary treatment and operations, in other words, “overmedication.” Now, based on this theory, the committee is planning to “scale back” the current medical examination scheme itself, claiming that this outbreak results from the “screening effect” or “overmedication.”
Many experts are rightly opposing this officially endorsed theory. They think that this outbreak is not due to the “screening effect” or “overmedication” and have been caused by nothing else but the effects of radiological irradiation. This is evident because:
- while child thyroid cancer is generally very rare except as the result of irradiation, the incidence rates of child thyroid cancer in Fukushima are extremely high, tens to hundreds of times higher than usual, and are especially higher in the more contaminated areas;
- in many cases (about 70%) cancers have already metastasized by the time they are detected, meaning that they are not Concerning thyroid cancer this kind of early malignant transformation is very unusual:
- some of those diagnosed as A1 (no symptoms) at the primary (first) screening have developed cancers at the subsequent (second) round of examination within such a short period of time as two to three years (see the flow chart);
- the incidence rates in the second round have conspicuously risen compared to those in the first round;
- the recurrence rates are also extremely high (about 10%).
In a Diet interpellation session, Taro Yamamoto, a member of the House of Councilors, revealed the fact that a child, four years old at the time of the Fukushima disaster, who had undergone thyroid removal surgical operation in the Fukushima Medical University Hospital, was not listed in the records announced by the committee.
He also cited another fact, namely that 1,082 patients in Fukushima have had thyroid cancer operations at nine hospitals over a period of four years. Based on this fact he stated that this number (1,082) would naturally be regarded as including children under 18 years old at the time of the disaster. The committee should have counted them as child thyroid cancer cases. He criticized the committee, saying that if the committee intentionally omitted or excluded this data, the public would inevitably consider that the committee, by reducing the total number of cases, is falsifying the real picture of child thyroid cancer occurrence in order to deceive the public.
In Fukushima prefecture, as many as 2,523 children were recommended for subsequent “medical follow-ups” (see the flow-chart above, encircled in red) based on their confirmatory examination results. The Fukushima prefectural government has a responsibility to immediately report how many of these cases (2,523 children) were diagnosed as “malignant or suspicious.”
Receiving a flood of criticism since this issue surfaced, the Fukushima Medical University Hospital publicized the plan to reinvestigate the actual conditions and statistics of thyroid cancer patients. Their words must be matched by deeds.
The hospital spent about 30 billion yen (about 357 million AUD [280 million USD]) building the Fukushima Global Medical Science Center (see the white building in the foreground of the photo below) and the construction was completed at the end of 2016. The center is equipped with state-of-the-art medical facilities including a thyroid examination division, a pregnant/parturient checkup division, and the Japan’s largest radiation therapy ward.
This fact strongly implies that people with diseases and health problems are increasing so rapidly that accounts of radiation-induced health damage can NOT be fobbed off as “harmful rumors” BUT in fact should be regarded as evidence of “actual harm.”
Hospital records certainly indicate increases in various diseases in Fukushima. After the disaster, conspicuous rises appeared not only in incidences of some kinds of cancers with relatively short latent periods such as blood cancers, but in death rates from myocardial infarction, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. But these are only a few examples.
The defunct Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors are still releasing radioactive materials into the environment, and the situation is very far from “under control.”
What the central and prefectural governments should do now is to responsibly organize large scale evacuation of residents, especially children, such as those that were organized in Japan during the Pacific War to save them from air raids conducted by the United States on Japanese cities. As children represent our future, the authorities should move them to safe and secure environments in order to prevent irradiation from victimizing them further. This should be the first priority. The government policy should be designed and executed in accordance with the internationally established “precautionary principle.” But in reality, by forcing the residents to return to live in more radio-contaminated areas and to be exposed to more doses of radiation, the Japanese government has done and continue to do the opposite.
2. The Japanese Government Launched Legal Action Against Evacuees, Effectively Forcing Them to Return to Radio-contaminated Areas
There are about 20,000 voluntary evacuees outside of Fukushima prefecture who wanted to protect their own families from being exposed to radiation. Japan has been and still is under the “nuclear emergency declaration” issued by the government since at the time of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Despite this, at the end of March, 2017, we witnessed the government slashing evacuees’ housing subsidies — effectively their lifelines — in spite of strong opposition from many evacuees and their supporters. Such a ruthless and shameless measure was executed despite the fact that financially this expense is utterly insignificant for the government. The housing compensation expenses for evacuees — about seven billion yen (about 83 million AUD [65 million USD]) annually — only accounted for 0.7% of the total government budget allocated to addressing the earthquake and the nuclear disaster, which was more than one trillion yen (about 12 billion AUD [9.3 billion USD]).
Then on October 25, 2017, the eight evacuee families living in public housing units in Yamagata prefecture, who tenaciously fought against the authorities’ demands to vacate the premises, were eventually sued by the government to move out.
In Fukushima, the levels of radioactive contamination are still too high, especially near and around the damaged nuclear power plant. The exhaust stacks of the defunct plant, extremely contaminated inside and cracked seriously by the earthquake, are in danger of collapse at any time. The total amount of radioactivity accumulated inside one of the stacks is estimated at about 100TBq (Tera Bq=1012Bq), comparable to the amount of cesium-137 released by the Hiroshima atomic bombing (89TBq).
In Fukushima a radiation report is broadcasted every day on TV (see the photo below). In such circumstances, there is no way people would want to return to live in the long term.
The evacuees sued by the authorities are simply victims, who lost their houses due to the nuclear disaster and what forced them to evacuate is clear: the nuclear disaster caused by the government’s and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)’s gross negligence. Had they not evacuated, they and their families would have suffered from health problems and in the worst-case scenario would have lost their lives.
The government and TEPCO ought to compensate them for their loss of home and community, health problems, and the general toll of lives. Such perverse legal action by the authorities against the victims, causing the victims excruciating suffering on multiple levels, is unspeakably cruel and inhumane, blatantly violating their human rights.
Many other evacuees have come from outside of the designated evacuation zone. They are also fighting against the authorities’ demands to leave public or publicly-subsidized housing.
The government is planning to completely abolish the housing subsidies for the evacuees from the designated evacuation zone soon. So many evacuees are destined to go through the same hardship. The outcomes in the pending court cases will also be crucial for these people’s futures.
Our group has launched a postcard protest campaign against the plaintiff, the Japan Organization for Employment of the Elderly Persons with Disabilities and Job Seekers (JEED) to demand the withdrawal of the suit.
3. Tokyo, Prefectures Surrounding Fukushima, and Eastern Japan as a Whole Are Seriously Radio-contaminated
The map below illustrates marine cesium-137 concentration data of the waters near Japan. This information is cited from the 2012 radiological survey conducted by the Japan Coast Guard in March 2012. With a relatively long half-life of 30 years, cesium-137 still remains serious concern. Even in 2017, cesium was detected in fish caught off the coast of Choshi (Chiba prefecture) and in the Tone River estuary.
The contamination of Tokyo Bay is very serious. It is the result of the flow of several rivers including the Arakawa River bringing and concentrating radio-contaminants into the bay. These rivers originate in heavily contaminated mountain forests and flow along through many “hotspots,” highly contaminated small areas, widely scattered over the river basin.
The mouth of Tokyo Bay is narrow, so contaminants are easily accumulated within the bay. And in fact the radiation levels in the bay, compared to those soon after the disaster, rose higher and higher in years.
The photo below shows one scene broadcasted by NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) in June 2017. The higher levels of radiation (0.24-0.72µSv/h) than the government decontamination standard (0.23µSv/h) were detected in five different prefectural high schools in Chiba prefecture and decontamination was necessary. Even this government standard was raised just after the disaster from the pre-disaster one of about 0.17µSv/h.
On November 13, 2015, Tokyo’s Adachi ward office was notified that there were areas with high levels of radiation in the ward. Several places were measured for radiation, and six areas including parks were detected as “hot spots” and subsequently decontaminated. Many places in the Kanto area (Tokyo and the surrounding prefectures) were also decontaminated. The decontamination waste was left untreated in nursery, primary and middle schools in Yokohama city of all places. The issue of how to store and to deal with this contaminated material also remains unsettled, and is the subject of serious dispute.
4. Is the Japanese Government Food Radioactive Standard of 100Bq/kg Really Safe?
The map below is created by Whitefood Co. based on the data of the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. This illustrates food radiation contamination indexes in 2016. Extremely high levels of radiation have been recorded in the flesh of birds/animals and mushrooms.
It is true that the food contamination levels are generally declining because of the decaying of short half-life radio-nuclides and the washing away of radioactivity by rainfall, etc. but there still remains a distinct possibility that food from eastern Japan is contaminated to some significant degree.
Examples: Wild boar: 317.9Bq/kg/avg
Wood blewit: 551.5Bq/kg/avg
The Japanese government data tends to indicate food radio-contamination levels lower than those provided by citizen’s radioactivity measurement stations (CRMSs). So we should consider the real situation to be more serious than the official data shows.
As shown in the table below, compared to what we used to consume before the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, the current government standard for radiation in food is too high or too loose. The 10-100Bq/kg levels clearly indicate surprisingly high dose of radiation; say at maximum 250,000 times the pre-disaster level.
Radioactive materials enter the body and continue emitting radiation, damaging cells, DNA, genome, mitochondria, organs and systems in the body until excreted. One beta ray alone can cut 25,000 molecules while it travels one centimeter. Furthermore, once radioactive materials have invaded the body, the excretion process does not follow the exponential declining curve of the official theory. It has been shown to be much slower than that theory predicts. Internal radiation, especially in the form of insoluble micron-or-nano-sized particles, stays for an extremely long time inside our bodies.
Another important point for us to bear in mind is that the damaging effect of irradiation is not only a one-time event, but a long process which accumulates in our bodies. So, as far as radiation dose is concerned, the maxim should always be “the smaller the better.”
We are now living in circumstances which human-beings have rarely experienced before, where harmful artificial radioactivity exists everywhere around us and in us.
In order to keep living healthily, we must be careful about internal exposure, prevent radioactivity from invading our bodies through food or respiration, and avoid consuming radiation contaminated food.
Contact us if you would like to obtain more information about the real picture of the heavy contamination of radioactive materials in Fukushima and Japan, as well as a wide-range of serious health damage as a result of the nuclear disaster.
Our contact information:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Fsokai Telephone (in Japan): 090－8494－3856 (Ms. Okada) (from outside Japan): 81－90－8494－3856
March 27, 2018 (revised)
Citizens’ Network for Evacuation from Radiation Japan
Contact for the petition:
Nos Voisins Lointains 3.11