On February 23, a demonstration for the collective evacuation of the children from the high radiation areas took place in Shinjuku Tokyo. "There were 600 citizens on the street of Shinjuku calling for an immediate evacuation of the children" said a lawyer from the Collective Evacuation Trial Team, the group which organised the demonstration. In the afternoon of one Saturday, the demonstration made a significant appeal to the city workers and students as well as the overseas media reporters passing through the central parts of Tokyo. There seemed to be no doubt that the action taken by ordinary citizens on this day held a significant meaning for which the trial is now considered as the bottom line for preserving the human rights of the people in Fukushima. Soon, the short video filmed at the demonstration including the speeches by the evacuees from Fukushima will follow.
Revealed deterioration of the health condition of chlildren
The impact of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster on the health condition of children could be far more disturbing than most of us had ever imagined. The recent result of the thyroid examination conducted by the Fukushima Medical University revealed that 3 children were diagnosed with thyroid cancer and 7 children with malignancy or highly suspected with thyroid cancer. In comparison with the cases in Chernobyl (Mogilev, Gomel, Bryansk, Kiev and Zhitomir) after 5-7 years where one out of 14,000 children was diagnosed with thyroid cancer (1), 10 out of 38,000 children in Fukushima under the age of 18 having thyroid cancer or malignancy after two years shows a significantly higher proportion of the emergence of thyroid cancer. This fact therefore implies that the children of Fukushima are suffering from the equal or even greater effects of radioactive exposure than that of Chernobyl. It is also crucial to bear in mind that the cases of cancer in children's thryoids are only the tip of iceberg of the plenty other symptoms caused by the deterioration of the health condition among the entire population of Fukushima.
Evacuation Trial as a world changing affair
Since the Japanese government had long sought the development of nuclear power as one of their main industrial policies with little concern for the security provisions due to their institutional failure (2), it must be the government, not the citizens, that owes the entire reponsibility to evacuate the children from the high radiation areas. Based on the studies conducted after the Chernobyl disaster, the estimation of worldwide casualty was almost as high as a million (3). In this sense, we concern that children of Fukushima are left in the dangerous "zone" where their health and basic human rights are at stake. Many intellectuals and activists from all over the world, including Noam Chomsky and the UN Rapporteur, are paying big attention to our fight against this violation of basic human rights in Japan. Now, we affirm that the power of the citizens is vital for the court to make a just and right decision to evacuate the children.
Toshio Yanagihara The Fukushima Collective Evacuation Trial Team
- Ito M, S. Yamashita, K. Ashizawa, H. Namba, M. Hoshi, Y. Shibata, I. Sekine, S. Nagataki, I. Shigemats, (1995) Childhood thyroid diseases around Chernobyl evaluated by ultrasound examination and fine needle aspiration cytology, Thyroid. 1995 Oct;5(5):365-8.
- The National Diet of Japan, (2012) The Official Report of the Fukushima Nuclear AccidentIndependent Investigation Commission, Tokyo.
- Yablokov, A., V. Nesterenko, A. Nesterenko, J. Sherman-Nevinger, (2009) Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, New York Academy of Sciences, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.