Fukushima has a population of a little above 2 millions people.
Out of f which 118,862 have evacuated : 73,077 within the prefecture, 45,735 outside the prefecture, and current adresses unknown 50,
Four years after an earthquake and tsunami touched off the nuclear meltdown, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pressing to lift evacuation orders by March 2017 and cut off compensation to victims of the disaster by 2018. The move would allow—and some say force—tens of thousands of refugees to go back to their homes.
The pro-nuclear prime minister says that the move, proposed in June, is aimed at speeding up Fukushima’s “reconstruction.”
Under the national government guidelines, residents in government-ordered evacuation zones and “specific spots recommended for evacuation,” where radiation dosage is regionally high, are entitled to 100,000 yen each a month under TEPCO’s compensation for mental distress.
According to a partial estimate – there is no total public estimate of the cost of Fukushima disaster so far – but a partial estimate says it’s about $100 billion. Sixty percent of that has been spent for compensation measures. So compensating people for their loss of land and jobs is very expensive to the government and since the government has bailed out the company that ran the Fukushima reactors it’s basically now the government that is liable.
Tokyo’s preparing to declare some parts of the evacuation zone around the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, a safe place to live. Tokyo wants people back in the area as a matter of reducing the overall cost of the disaster, However environmentalists warn many areas still show radiation levels 20 times the globally accepted limit.
I don’t think it is possible to clean up in the real sense of the word, meaning that you take away the added radioactivity that has been contaminating the soil, the roofs, everything. It’s impossible. So what you can do is you can reduce the radioactive contamination in some of the areas. You can take off soil; you can decontaminate what has been done by water sprayed. But keep in mind that 80 percent of Japan is mountains and in this area as well there is a lot of mountains, there is a lot of dense forest, there is absolutely no way even to slightly decontaminate that region. So you will not have a stable situation of contamination but it will move all the time and a new radiation will wash down from the mountains and forests into the other lands.
A number of opinion polls, surveys have shown that the percentage that is decided to go back might be around a fifth of all people evacuated, many people are still undecided and about half decided not to go back. People have to imagine – besides the radiation situation – what are they going back to. We should not forget that many of the homes in Japan are made of wood and they are basically in extremely bad shape and would have to be completely redone. There is not much to go back to and on top of it there is the radiation issue. There is also the issue of going back to their homes but what about their neighbors, what about collectivity, what about the services? So there are all kinds of other social issues besides the pure health issue.
Prime Minister Abe would like the people of Japan to believe that they are decontaminating vast areas of Fukushima to levels safe enough for people to live in. The reality is that this is a policy doomed to failure. The forests of Fukushima prefecture (80% of the land) are a vast stock of radioactivity that will remain both a direct hazard and source of potential recontamination for hundreds of years. It’s impossible to decontaminate.
The elimination of compensation would effectively force people back into an environment that is dangerous for their health.
Stripping nuclear victims of their already inadequate compensation, which may force them to have to return to unsafe, highly radioactive areas for financial reasons, amounts to economic coercion. Let’s be clear: this is a political decision by the Abe Government, not one based on science, data, or public health.
Residents across Japan have staged protests and filed lawsuits to block nuclear restarts, and polls show that, in the aftermath of the 2011 disaster, a clear majority of the Japanese public opposes nuclear power. In addition, surveys reveal low public confidence in the Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric Power Co.—the company behind the Fukushima Daiichi plant that continues to release radiation into the ecosystem.
Despite public opposition, Abe is aggressively pursuing a return to nuclear power. Earlier this month, Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party revealed that it aims to have 20 percent of the country’s electricity supplied by nuclear power by 2030.
Over four years after the triple reactor core meltdowns and exploded containment buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the majority of the Japanese public has remained opposed to any nuclear restart. The country has been completely nuclear-free for nearly two years, thanks in large part to significant public opposition, in spite of the massive pressure from nuclear utilities and the Abe government on local city governments.
However, these utilities are massively powerful and the Abe government is wholly in bed with them.
In an effort to reduce public opposition, Abe has been pushing forward the pro-nuclear agenda to ‘normalize’ a nuclear disaster. If the public can be convinced that less than five years after the worst nuclear disaster in a generation, citizens can go home and return to life the way it was before the disaster – with no additional health risks – then that is a powerful argument against the majority of Japanese citizens who oppose nuclear reactor restarts.
The effort to minimize the impact of the disaster on the nuclear industry has been aided by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an agency charged with the promotion of nuclear energy in its charter. The IAEA has sought to downplay the radiological risks to the population since the early days in 2011. In fact, it produced two documents that can be said to have laid the foundation and justification for Abe’s current policy of de facto forced resettlement.
The reality is this myth making requires that the people of Fukushima prefecture be the sacrificial lambs for the nuclear industry. This is not only wholly unjust, but is a violation of their human rights.
After all, this is not the confusion that ensues after a nuclear disaster. This is a thought-out plan of forcing people back into their heavily contaminated former homes, no matter what the cost – both in wasteful, ineffective decontamination of these areas and in human health risks.
Compounding the gross injustice of the Abe Government’s forced resettlement policy, by focusing on creating a myth of a return to normalcy – and therefore investing vast amounts in expensive and futile decontamination – it is therefore utterly neglecting the contaminated areas that were never evacuated. Rather than addressing this urgent need to reduce the radiation risks to these populations, whom are currently living in contaminated areas, the government is more interested in deceiving the public in Japan and globally by creating illusions.
What is clear is that the damage done to the people of Fukushima prefecture, and especially Iitate, is irreversible and irreparable. Their entire communities and way of life were destroyed by the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi, with no prospect for a safe return in the foreseeable future.
To keep the victims of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in limbo, many crammed into tiny temporary housing cubicles, for nearly five years is inhumane. To force these citizens back into such heavily contaminated areas via the economic leverage the Government holds over them is a gross iniquity. And for the International Atomic Energy Agency to assist the Japanese Government in the propaganda war being waged on Fukushima victims not only undermines whatever credibility it may have, but amounts to it being an accomplice in a crime against the people of Japan.
20 μSv/h still detected in Fukushima city
Revenir ou pas, le dilemme des évacués de Fukushima
Japan Accused of Coercing Fukushima Refugees to Return to Unsafe Homes
Greenpeace: “The forests of Iitate are a vast stock of radioactivity that will remain both a direct hazard and source of potential recontamination for hundreds of years. It’s impossible to decontaminate.”
Japanese Government – aided by the IAEA – puts nuclear victims at risk with forced resettlement scheme
Press Release: Greenpeace investigation exposes failure of Fukushima decontamination program