Japanese leadership failed to report on spread of Fukushima radiation leak

Japanese leadership failed to report on spread of Fukushima radiation leak

Tōkyō : Japan | Jun 19, 2012 at 9:52 AM PDT
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              A spike in water radiation levels has spurred new fears about food safety as rising black smoke forced another evacuation of workers trying to stabilise Fukushima's radiation-leaking nuclear plant. (March 23)

Nuclear power is supported by some and opposed by others. Fear of radioactive contamination is a sound concern. Exposure to high levels of radiation can lead to radiation sickness and even death. Citizens must be able to trust their government to release pertinent information in cases such as the radiation leaks from a nuclear power plant in Japan following a tsunami in 2011.

U.S.military aircraft gathered data following the 2011 disaster. According to a report by Reuters: “U.S. military aircraft gathered radiation data from March 17-19 over a 45-km (28-mile) radius and found that people in an area about 25 km (15 miles) northwest of the plant - where some people were moving - were exposed to the annual permissible level of radiation within eight hours, Japanese media said. The information was passed to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) and the science and technology ministry by Japan's Foreign Ministry but neither agency passed it to the prime minister's office, which was overseeing the evacuations. 'It is extremely regrettable that this information was not shared or utilized properly within the government and I have no words to apologize, especially to the disaster victims,' Industry Minister Yukio Edano, top government spokesman during the crisis, told a news conference. The government had previously admitted that it failed to quickly disclose computer forecasts showing the direction radioactive material would disseminate, due to poor internal communication. The result was that thousands fled in the same direction as the radioactive material was drifting."

This is an extremely concerning and controversial issue because thousands of people in Japan were fleeing from the tsunami and following the direct path of the radiation. The failure of their government to communicate may have cost thousands of people their lives. This information needs to be readily available, distributed quickly and communicated effectively in order to save as many lives as possible.

Exposure to radiation can cause nausea, headaches, vomiting and hair loss. As exposure levels increase, so do the severity of the symptoms. People who are exposed to radiation are more likely to become ill due to damage to the immune system. Higher level exposure can also cause leukemia, lung cancer, breast cancer and other types of cancers. There is no treatment for fatal exposure to radiation. The death is painful and grueling.

We don't have to look further than Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Hiroshima to see examples of what happens from exposure to radiation.



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Japan's Trade Minister Yukio Edano speaks at a news conference about the resumption of nuclear power operations in Japan
Japan's Trade Minister Yukio Edano speaks at a news conference about the resumption of nuclear power operations in Japan
Amee Ellsworth is based in Bennett, Colorado, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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