No More Radiation Victims (Hibakusha)
No More Radiation Victims (Hibakusha)!
Appeal to United Nations, national governments, nuclear corporations, radiation agencies
*Hibakusha: those who have been exposed to radiation
We citizens of the world have reached a point when urgent decisions need to be taken. In 1945, due to the use of two atomic bombs, Japan lost 200,000 citizens and, even today, tens of thousands are still suffering as Hibakusha from the after-effects of radiation. In areas contaminated by the accident at Chernobyl, today, less than 20% of babies are born healthy. Thyroid diseases, heart diseases, diabetes, kidney failures, immune deficiencies and congenital disorders are all being observed among many young children.
And now in Japan, already 35% of of the children of Fukushimahave nodules or cysts in their thyroids. In Tokyo, lymphocyte anomalies are being observed among infants in contaminated areas. In some hot spots, the death rate among children has already increased.
However, ignoring such evidence, the Japanese government is encouraging Fukushima residents and their children to go back to their home town to conduct human experiments on low level radiation (so called ETHOS project), is distributing contaminated foods nationwide with a low safety standard of 100Bq/kg (equivalent to the low level radioactive waste), and is incinerating contaminated debris all over Japan, causing atmospheric contamination worldwide.
Radiation contamination and its effects spread beyond national boundaries and are passed on to future generations. For our sustainable future, we should recognize effects of radiation as the most pressing global problem. Now is the time for all the citizens of Japan and the rest of the world to declare that we cannot live with nuclear technology, whether it is used for military or civil purposes, and that we should help Hibakusha and save future generations.
The United Nations and all national governments also have a decision to take. Nuclear energy is not an acceptable form of energy, as long as it produces radiation which harms the lives of people, especially the lives of the young and future generations, the very foundations of any nation’s future. Moreover, another disaster could take place at any time, anywhere, as long as more than 400 commercial reactors are in operation all over the world. Particularly dangerous are the older ones and those located near seismic zones. Accordingly, the United Nations and national governments should immediately take bold initiatives to phase out nuclear energy and to decommission reactors in the order of the danger that they pose to humanity, the environment and the economy.
Nuclear corporations also have a decision to take. The generation of nuclear energy apparently is in conflict with corporate ethics and social responsibilities. Not only is there a massive release of radiation at the time of accidents, but also the release of radiation under operating conditions damages the environment and people’s health. There are so many issues surrounding this industry for which its legitimacy should be questioned, such as issues of the disposal of nuclear waste, and workers exposed to radiation. If the manufacturing of asbestos can be banned, then the mining of uranium, the manufacture of nuclear fuel, the operation of nuclear reactors and the reprocessing of spent fuel should be banned all the more strictly. Nuclear corporations should change their central role from that of further promoting nuclear energy to the elimination and control of radioactive contamination and nuclear waste.
Radiation agencies all over the world also need to take a decision on the direction of their research activities. To date, most of them have set up radiation protection standards based on the assumption that the use of nuclear energy would remain government policy. However, these agencies should make their main role that of protecting the environment and people from radiation contamination. In order to achieve this, they should inform their citizens of the true risk of radiation exposure in terms that are easy to understand, especially the high-risk of internal exposure, providing the current scientific findings without trying to make the figures look more acceptable. Also, they should issue adequate and timely recommendations to protect the general public, especially such radiation-sensitive individuals as infants and pregnant women.
No matter what our social differences may be, who would not wish to protect ourselves, future generations and the environment? Nuclear energy has been threatening the environment of our planet and the life of every being. Taking the emergency at Fukushima as an opportunity to return to this simple truth, here we call for the following:-
1. The United Nations and national governments should immediately take a decision to phase out nuclear energy and to decommission reactors in a prompt manner as a matter of urgency. In addition, they should provide adequate support, such as places of evacuation and compensation for Hibakusha.
2. Nuclear corporations should make their central role that of eliminating and controlling radiation contamination and nuclear waste. In addition, they should provide adequate compensation for Hibakusha in a prompt manner.
3. Radiation agencies should acknowledge the risk of internal exposure and call for adequate safety measures, such as evacuation warnings, guidance on food and water intake, and the prohibition of the distribution/incineration of contaminated materials instead of implementing the criminal human experiment (ETHOS project). In addition, in cooperation with medical institutions, they should provide not only medical inspection but also medical treatment and support for Hibakusha.