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Fukushima farmers, families, activists from Japan - press conference

Two organic farmers from Japan, their children and fellow Japanese anti-nuclear campaigners made a plea for the safety of Fukushima’s children at a press conference in Washington, DC today.

“Our hearts have been torn apart in the Fukushima community because of the nuclear disaster,” said Sachiko Sato, (pictured far left with Aileen Mioko Smith/AP Photo) a natural farmer from Fukushima Prefecture, who evacuated four of her six children two days after the March 11 Fukushima nuclear reactor catastrophe began. “The community is split among those who evacuated and those who stayed, creating a chasm between former neighbors. This is the first health effect of this catastrophe.”

Mrs. Sato described how, not trusting official figures, she herself measured radiation levels at local schools, finding that 75% of schools should be considered radiation control areas and therefore dangerous for children. Meanwhile, the government raised the allowable radiation dose rate by 20 times to 20 microsieverts per year including for children. “Do they imagine that people can suddenly withstand doses of radiation 20 times greater than were previously allowed?” she asked. Many people cannot evacuate as they would leave behind aging, frail parents, Sato said. “Or they don’t want to lose their job or tear their children away from everything they know. Families have been ripped apart.”

Read the full press release.