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Greenpeace finds radiation levels remain dangerously high around Fukushima and forcing the relocation of evacuees back into contamination violates human rights

It has been seven years since Japan’s triple disaster with the earthquake, a monstrous tsunami and the triple meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in March 2011. The government is pressuring tens of thousands of evacuees from the radioactive fallout to move back to their cities and homes. In September of 2017, Greenpeace Japan began taking tens of thousands of radiation measurements around homes, along roads, in forests and farmland in Namie and Iitate prefectures within the contamination zone.  The subsequent  Greenpeace report found that inside many abandoned homes the radiation readings are still several times higher than government long-term cleanup goals. Another finding reported that radioactive clean-up of the environment is inadequate and the government’s long-term radiation reduction goal won’t be reached in many areas before 2050 and others 2100. The key finding warns that if populations are economically forced to relocate back in contaminated zones, children and pregnant women are particularly at risk to adverse health consequences from radiation exposure which is an egregious violation of human rights.

As of January 2018, more than 75,000 Japanese people have not returned home since the nuclear catastrophe. Over 40,000 people of that number are from the prefectures hard hit by radioactive fallout in Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate. The Japanese government continues to ignore international safety standards for protection from radiation exposure. The United Nations recognizes that populations should be evacuated and not return to contaminated zones above 1 microsievert per year (mSv/yr). Following the Fukushima disaster, Japan raised its “permissible” radiation exposure limit to 20 mSv/yr. 

Greenpeace video of radiation data gathering in Namie

Greenpeace video of Japanese family returning home