Target: Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe
Goal: Call for the evacuation of citizens in Fukushima in the wake of the nuclear disaster
The 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster is acknowledged as the largest nuclear catastrophe in history. With radiation levels comparable to the disaster in Chernobyl, it would be logical to assume that the disaster in Fukushima would have been handled in a similar fashion—or at least with the same amount of urgency. However, the evacuation of Fukushima in the event’s aftermath has left many Japanese citizens wanting. Worried families seeking to evacuate their children and loved ones are facing continual backlash from the Japanese government.
The harm of residual radiation is a very real threat to residents of Fukushima and the disaster area. Residents of the affected area are so concerned, in fact, that many of them have come together to form the Fukushima Collective Evacuation Trial Team. This group of parents, lawyers and other concerned citizens has banded together to demand that the government of Japan order an evacuation of the Fukushima region.
Numerous attempts to evacuate Fukushima have been thwarted by the Japanese government, on both local and national levels. Back in 2011, a group of fourteen students from Koriyama City in Fukushima filed a lawsuit against the local government, contesting the continuance of mandatory education in the areas with high radiation exposure and demanding an immediate evacuation effort. The local government in Koriyama City dismissed the lawsuit in 2011. However, an appeal is currently being processed.
Children are being forced to continue attending school in the disaster zone, which will most assuredly lead to long-term health problems. Our Planet-TV, a Japanese media non-profit organization, reported that to date, three out of 38,114 children (under the age of 18) in Fukushima have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer since the nuclear incident. These numbers are slowly rising, and will continue in this trajectory if preventative measures are not taken. And, as reported by Global Voices, the struggle of children in Fukushima is rarely reported in mainstream media.
Toshio Yanagihara, a lawyer with the Fukushima Collective Evacuation Trial Team, testified in front of the United National in late 2012, calling for an immediate evacuation. As explained by Yanagihara: the radiation levels in Fukushima are equal, if not higher, than in Chernobyl, and “If you apply the evacuation standard used in Chernobyl, most of the central part of the city would fall under the mandatory evacuation area, where the residents would be required to move out. It is in this level of dangerous contamination that the children remain and attend school.”
The health and well being of citizens, and especially children, must be a priority for the Japanese government. There cannot be such resistance to actions as logical and health-conscious as an evacuation of the radiation-laced area. It is the responsibility of the government to protect the citizenry. Sign below to call upon the Japanese government to cease mandatory education in the Fukushima area, and to organize an evacuation immediately.
Dear Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe,
In 2011, Fukushima experienced the largest nuclear disaster in history. One would assume that in the aftermath of this crisis, the people living in the disaster zone would have been a priority for the Japanese government. Sadly, it seems this is not the case, as your government refuses to evacuate the area, forcing children to attend school in the most dangerous areas.
Downplaying the severity of the situation by denying concerned residents an evacuation will not do away with the long-term damage this disaster will most certainly cause. All this government stonewalling is accomplishing is putting residents, and children in particular, at a higher risk for developing deadly health conditions.
Please act in the best interest of the families living in Fukushima. Take the concerns and demands of the Fukushima Collective Evacuation Trial Team seriously, and lead an evacuation effort.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: The Mole