Ignoring the UN recommendation is not acceptable — Fukushima mother tells Human Rights Council
RELEASE ENERGY 2018.03.19

Ignoring the UN recommendation is not acceptable — Fukushima mother tells Human Rights Council

Geneva, March 19 2018 – The Japanese government must immediately take measures to fully implement the Fukushima recommendations accepted today at the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), an evacuee mother from the nuclear disaster and Greenpeace told the UN session. Recommendations made by member states, if implemented, would dramatically improve the lives of tens of thousands of evacuees, including restoring the rights of self evacuees and reducing the radiation exposure of Fukushima citizens to the international recommended maximum.[1]

“The Japanese government have been ignoring people who want to avoid radiation. I thank United Nation member states for defending the rights of Fukushima citizens and I call on you to continue to help all the victims and evacuees of nuclear disasters, and to protect the people of Fukushima and East Japan, especially children, from radiation exposure,” Akiko Morimatsu, a mother and evacuee from Koriyama in Fukushima told the United Nations.

Seven years after the meltdown of three reactor at Fukushima Daiichi, owned by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the accident is still ongoing, as recently admitted by Japan’s nuclear regulator.[2]

The Japanese government has accepted UN recommendations to provide essential financial, housing and medical support for self evacuees. Yet in 2017 the Government removed as many as 29,000 Fukushima citizens from the official record as self evacuees and terminated housing support. Akiko Morimatsu, is one of those disappeared by the government.

The Japanese government has accepted the recommendation of Portugal to apply the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, which places special emphasis on the rights of women and children. The Japanese government has however, failed to indicate a timeframe for when it would fully apply these important human rights principles.

Greenpeace radiation investigations in Fukushima recently reported on the high levels of radiation that evacuees will be exposed to if they were to return to their homes and which will pose an unacceptable risk for 40-100 years or more depending on the level of contamination.[3] The Japanese government accepted the UN recommendation to restore the maximum permitted public dose to 1 millisievert per year (mSv/y). Yet current policy is to permit up to 20m Sv/y, and only last week the Reconstruction Minister responsible for Fukushima declared that 100 mSv in a year posed no cancer risks.(4)

Government policies on Fukushima are driven by its effort to create the illusion Japan has restored Fukushima and that there are no more evacuees suffering, with the aim of reducing majority public opposition to nuclear power and restarting 30-35 reactors. The reality is very different, with high levels of radiation in areas of Fukushima, an on-going crisis at the destroyed nuclear site, tens of thousands of evacuees and only four reactors currently operating.

“The systematic violation of human rights of Fukushima citizens in Japan, in particular women and children, is a deliberate policy directly linked to its overall energy policy, specifically the aim to restart nuclear reactors.Greenpeace call on the government of Japan to fully implement without any delay the UPR recommendations it has accepted. Failure to do so would be a serious violation of Japan’s domestic and international human rights obligations. So the Japanese government must not fail the victims who had suffered so much”, said Kazue Suzuki, Greenpeace Japan’s energy campaigner told the United Nations session.

[1] Portugal, Austria, Germany, and Mexico introduced formal recommendations urging the government to continue its economic, health, and other support for Fukushima survivors. Germany urged the government to implement the 1 mSv standard for its resettlement policy, which is in line with the findings of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health following his mission to Japan for Fukushima survivors in 2012.

Japan is undergoing a United Nations process called a “Universal Periodic Review.” The UPR is a four-year UN cycle for reviewing the human rights situation, identifying issues, and monitoring progress of member states. Japan will be subject to review again in 2021. It is a state-driven process, wherein countries declare what steps are being taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries. Civil society organizations, UN Special Mandate holders, and other UN member nations also have the opportunity to participate in the proceedings to raise human rights concerns in the country under review.

[2] Toyoshi Fuketa, Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman, 7th March 2018, 

[3]  Example of dose calculation – Greenpeace radiation survey teams in 2017 recorded radiation levels of up to 11 microSieverts per hour in Obori, north of the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

[4] Foreign Press Center Japan briefing on 7th March 2018, Masayoshi YOSHINO, Minister for Reconstruction – 

 

Contacts: 
Shaun Burnie, Senior Nuclear Specialist, Greenpeace Germany, 
Email: sburnie@greenpeace.org, Mobile: +49 151 643 20548

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