Japanese Government To Finally Admit Forced Indefinite Long-Term Depopulation Of Fukushima Communities

Large Zone Near Japanese Reactors to Be Off Limits (New York Times, August 21, 2011):

TOKYO — Broad areas around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant could soon be declared uninhabitable, perhaps for decades, after a government survey found radioactive contamination that far exceeded safe levels, several major media outlets said Monday.

The formal announcement, expected from the government in coming days, would be the first official recognition that the March accident could force the long-term depopulation of communities near the plant, an eventuality that scientists and some officials have been warning about for months. Lawmakers said over the weekend — and major newspapers reported Monday — that Prime Minister Naoto Kan was planning to visit Fukushima Prefecture, where the plant is, as early as Saturday to break the news directly to residents. The affected communities are all within 12 miles of the plant, an area that was evacuated immediately after the accident.

The government is expected to tell many of these residents that they will not be permitted to return to their homes for an indefinite period. It will also begin drawing up plans for compensating them by, among other things, renting their now uninhabitable land. While it is unclear if the government would specify how long these living restrictions would remain in place, news reports indicated it could be decades. That has been the case for areas around the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine after its 1986 accident.

Since the Fukushima accident, evacuations have been a sensitive topic for the government, which has been criticized for being slow to admit the extent of the disaster and trying to limit the size of the areas affected, despite possible risks to public health. Until now, Tokyo had been saying it would lift the current evacuation orders for most areas around the plant early next year, when workers are expected to stabilize Fukushima Daiichi’s damaged nuclear reactors.

The government was apparently forced to alter its plans after the survey by the Ministry of Science and Education, released over the weekend, which showed even higher than expected radiation levels within the 12-mile evacuation zone around the plant. The most heavily contaminated spot was in the town of Okuma about two miles southwest of the plant, where someone living for a year would be exposed to 508.1 millisieverts of radiation — far above the level of 20 millesieverts per year that the government considers safe.

The survey found radiation above the safe level at three dozen spots up to 12 miles from the plant. That has called into question how many residents will actually be able to return to their homes even after the plant is stabilized.

Some 80,000 people were evacuated from communities around the plant, which was crippled by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and towering tsunami on March 11. Many of those residents now live in temporary housing or makeshift refugee shelters, and are allowed back to their homes only for brief, tightly supervised visits in which they must wear protective clothing.

3 thoughts on “Japanese Government To Finally Admit Forced Indefinite Long-Term Depopulation Of Fukushima Communities”

  1. Thank you so much for staying on this very important story. The pollution from the radioactive fallout is all over the globe now, and so far, nothing credible has been established to end or moderate it’s constant flow into our atmosphere, water and soil. Plutonium has been detected in our crops, all types of radioactive poisons are in our rain, soil and water. Our governments dealt with the crisis by turning off the radioactive monitors, and burying the story under obfuscation and denial. Norway, Canada and the USA all shut down the info, I am not sure of other nations.

    I recently moved from a coastal rain forest in Northern CA. The leaves on the pine trees were turning grey. Thanks to our declining civilization, there were no agencies or experts I could call, and I had to make a decision. Should I remain in the forests, or move into the city? I read ten times as much radiation settles in forests than in cities for obvious reasons. Cities are concrete, can be washed down, forests are not. Pine trees in Russia after the 1986 disaster also suffered and died more quickly than other types of trees. I have chosen to live in a town east of the ocean, and will be settled there soon.

    The lack of information is shocking in a supposedly advanced Information Age. Were it not for this website, Infinite Unknown, many of us would not know what to do. How do we deal with acid rain, etc? I was able to find correct information here, and was able to advise many friends who didn’t have a clue what to do.

    Most of the scientists who covered this story in the beginning have been pretty well silenced. We live in a global corporate oligarchy, and as long as Americans are willing to sit and stare, doing nothing to improve their situation, it will only get worse. I find the apathy in the USA appalling, apathy is a dictator’s best friend. Europe and Japan’s citizens are finally speaking out, but the news from their actions is blacked out by corporate media.

    Thanks for your brave and persistent reporting on this very important story. There are big corporate interests who want to keep this story buried, no matter how many people sicken and die.
    Marilyn Gjerdrum

  2. It’s too bad that the Japanese government is “a day late and a dollar short” on their ability to see the real truth of the situation. How many thousands of people in this contaminated are have been heavily exposed to radiation and will suffer horribly from it?? Total human indifference; until NOW!! How sad.
    Are they going to address the even larger element of this disaster of poisoning the seas, air and ground that will eventually affect all of us, world wide??
    Open your eyes, experts; get to your labs and start working on solutions to this problem, your civilization is depending on you.


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