May 06, 2011
Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: Meeting with Japanese government to demand rescinding of 20mSv/y radiation exposure standard for children
Friends of the Earth Japan and other civil society groups in Japan recently met with the government to call for them to reverse a decision to increase the level of 'safe' radiation exposure to children.
The meeting began with The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), followed by The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC). Not only did the two ministries fail to respond with certainty about their understanding of and decision-making process taken for arriving at the "20mSv/standard, the NSC also stated that it does not endorse "20mSv/y" as a standard. The conundrum over how and by which government authority the standard was determined is deepening.
The MHLW has stated that children should not/ cannot be allowed to play within a radiation-controlled area (0.6microSv/h or more), however, the ministry did not respond to whether or not playing in an area of
equivalent contamination as a radiation-controlled area should be/ could be allowed.
The NSC stated that it does not endorse "20mSv" as a standard. In addition, it confirmed that none of the Nuclear Safety Commissioners or any of the experts that were involved in the decision-making had deemed 20mSv/y was safe.
MEXT has admitted that the“3.8microSv/h” standard, which allows for outdoor activities, does not take internal exposure into consideration. It said it concluded this because breathing in dust etc. comprised only 2% of total exposure and was therefore only minor exposure. However, it supplied no data to back up its exposure assessment.