Fear grips Japan as the Fukushima power plant continues to pose grave radioactive threat. While the Japanese government is carefully securing the health of the people, parents especially fear for their children’s safety.
Recently Japan’s Ministry of Education lowered its radiation limit for students (20 millisieverts a year), allowing them “to be exposed to 20 times more radiation” than was allowed before.
This would be equivalent to exposing children to as much radiation as a German worker. According to the Nobel Prize-awarded group Physicians for Responsibility, this would increase the cancer risk of children to 1 in every 200, versus the 1 in every 500 risk for adults.
"Any exposure, including exposure to naturally-occurring background radiation, creates an increased risk of cancer. Children are much more vulnerable than adults to the effects of radiation, and fetuses are even more vulnerable. There is no way that this level of exposure can be considered 'safe' for children."
In a fit of rage, around 400 protestors, majority of whom come from Fukushima, performed a demonstration at the Ministry of Education’s office, questioning the government’s move.
Said Sanako Keiji from Fukushima, “While it may perhaps be safe to raise the exposure limit from one millisievert to 20 millisieverts per year, it doesn't seem to be the case that the people raising that limit would allow their own children to go and play in those areas."
The government explained that if they don’t lower the radiation limits, many schools would be closed, thus putting children’s education on hold.
Around 5,000 students have been affected with the nuclear problem, as more than 20 elementary schools and junior high schools have been closed as a result of the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan on March 11 this year.
Sources: • May 23, 2011. Mark Willacy. “Outrage as Japan lifts radiation limit for kids” ABC.Net.au • May 23, 2011. “Japanese protest revised school radiation limit” Straitstimes.com • May 23, 2011. “Japanese ire over radiation limit for kids” News.com.au