On Tuesday night, March 13, I went with some friends to hear Professor Akira Lazy Cat Murakami speak about the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants on the eastern coast of Japan. While the area immediately surrounding the radioactive power plants has been evacuated, nearby areas which are also significantly impacted by radioactive pollutants in the air and soil have not been evacuated and are still heavily populated. The Japanese government essentially turns its back on the future health of those citizens as it promotes a campaign to downplay the toxic effects of the released nuclear material.
Lazy Cat describes the BUY FUKUSHIMA campaign that the Japanese government uses to pressure its citizens to consume food grown and products manufactured within zones affected by radioactive fallout. Japan has a highly conformist social culture and citizens who do not engage in the BUY FUKUSHIMA campaign are shamed and derided. His slides show the limits of so-called acceptable levels of airborne radiation for schools to be open for attendance. He tells us that all the expensive racehorses which used to be stabled there have long since been evacuated; yet nothing has been done to evacuate these families, and their children will certainly be affected. Lazy Cat explains that Tokyo itself has been significantly polluted by radioactivity. His slide states, On the 12th of November, Dr. Yagasaki said in a lecture that, Children, women hoping to have babies in the future, and pregnant women should be evacuated from Tokyo.
The mood in the room ranges from thoughtful to shocked as we all take in the grim reality. The distance between Fukushima and Tokyo is roughly 150 miles. The distance that has been evacuated around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants is roughly a 25 mile radius. Even Kyoto is affected as it receives shipments of food from polluted perfectures. If you look at a map of Japan you can see that from Fukushima to Tokyo to Kyoto spans the greater part of the entire country of Japan. This is a disaster of enormous proportions. We in California, and the whole world, really need to take a serious look at the very real lack of safety of nuclear power. California currently has two operating nuclear power plants and five more which are not operational. You can read about them here.
This article by Tilman Ruff, Associate Professor of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the University of Melbourne, is informative as well.
He states: Astonishingly, evacuation is not recommended from areas where residents are likely to be exposed to doses of up to 20 mSv per year. Even in the bad old days of the Soviet Union, those anticipated to receive more than 5 mSv annually after the Chernobyl disaster were resettled as a matter of priority. And those likely to receive more than 1 mSv annually had resettlement rights.