It is 3 years and 4 months since disaster hit the Fukushima nuclear power plants. Victims suffer. Their situation is worse instead of better. Their psychological and economic conditions are aggravated. Children, in particular, lead a serious life. Where has gone the law to help disaster-hit people and children?
REVIVE LAW TO HELP PEOPLE EFFECTIVELY AND IMMEDIATELY!
Nine, major electric companies, except for Okinawa Electric Power Company, held annual shareholders’ meetings, respectively, on June 26. All the companies rejected a proposal to ‘stop nuclear power generation’. TEPCO, or Tokyo Electric Power Co., responsible for the Fukushima accident, keeps an adamant, aggressive position: it insists on re-operation in a threatening way, suggesting a rate hike by 10%. The company has abandoned demands of residents of Namie-machi municipality to increase compensation amounts.
Meanwhile, Minister of Environment Ishihara Nobuteru apologized local people after rescinding his remark which had angered and hurt them; he had told it is ‘a matter of money’, referring to where to store contaminated soil. During his admission of guilt he shamelessly replied he would share sentiments in common with local people.
Government Underestimates Exposure to Radiation
Three years have passed since the calamity. General situation has changed radically in terms of demands of radiation victims and civic struggles against nuclear. The law to help victims and children is being undermined in its spirit and buried in oblivion.
It was enacted and implemented in June, 2012; it had been proposed by supra-partisan lawmakers with an objective to support people hit by the nuclear disaster. But, in fact, it had not been implemented over a year due to disagreement on the basic policy. It was finally approved by the Cabinet in October, 2013, but many problems remain unsettled; many of the people have demanded assistance from the state in evacuation, dwelling and return, especially aids for residence and healthcare, but they are left unsolved.
While the state government has relieved evacuation orders, it has heightened the level set for decontamination. That means the government underestimates radiation exposure to escape the issue.
Disaster-hit people say: ‘the law has come into effect for two years. What did it give us? To which extent did it work for us?’ So many problems are left unsettled.
Supporting Systems ? Not Yet Complete
First: a concrete mechanism (a consultation system on the permanent basis) has not yet been built up to integrate voices of people to the government’s policies, in particular, demands for dwelling. An institution is absent to provide long-term service and free-of-charge residences for evacuees.
Second: an office has not been established yet for a medical check and fee administration for reduction and exemption which the law stipulates under Article 13. Currently a medical check/examination is done by the initiative of Fukushima Prefecture and is limited to an ultrasound check on the thyroid. More detailed examination is provided only for those evacuees from the designated areas and those who want such a check among them.
The number of thyroid cancer patients counts 89, which includes those diagnosed as dubious. The situation is serious. Fukushima Prefecture is in charge of medical services and fee administration, but the central government should involve in these jobs to support people.
The state government should owe responsibility for radiation exposure of children and elaborate evacuation policies so that family members may live together, not separately. The law was enacted to give hopes to children and disaster-hit people. It must be encouraged to help people effectively.
July 8, 2014