Meltdowns haven’t killed anyone: LDP bigwig

by Reiji Yoshida

Staff Writer

Liberal Democratic Party policy chief Sanae Takaichi has created a stir by saying the 2011 Fukushima meltdowns didn’t kill anyone and arguing the government should restart reactors nationwide given Japan’s scarce energy resources.

Delivering a speech in Kobe on Monday, Takaichi said the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 plant “has not claimed the lives of any people,” and argued the nation should “utilize nuclear power stations after securing the maximum possible safety.”

No deaths have been confirmed to be directly related to the massive quantities of radioactive materials spewed from the Fukushima No. 1 plant’s wrecked reactors since the March 2011 triple meltdowns.

However, hundreds of elderly people and hospitalized patients around the stricken complex were forced to evacuate because of the disaster, resulting in at least 70 deaths, according to the final report by the investigatory Diet committee on the crisis.

Takaichi’s remarks were heavily covered in media reports, forcing Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga to try to defend her Tuesday by claiming certain parts of the speech were taken out of context.

“I saw the context, and I don’t think it’s a problematic remark,” Suga told a news conference Tuesday. “It is true (the three meltdowns) did not kill anybody.”

But when asked about the fatalities caused by the evacuation of elderly and hospitalized people, Suga admitted some of them had died and said “we recognize the vast damage.”

“It’s true some people died at evacuation places,” Suga said.

The LDP-led government has pledged to reactivate nuclear plants across the country once their safety is confirmed, based on new regulation standards that are set to take effect in early July.

Nuclear activists have also criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for helping Japanese firms to export nuclear power equipment and technologies at a time when all but two of the nation’s reactors are still suspended in view of the Fukushima crisis.

Scientists, including those at the U.N., generally agree they are unlikely to find a significant statistical increase in deaths from cancers in the coming years from the nuclear crisis, given the relatively low radiation exposure of residents near Fukushima No. 1.

  • Michael Craig

    70 people died not from the meltdown, but during evacuation from Fukushima 1 and thousands died because of the tsunami which was the result from the M 9 quake!!

    Get your facts straight, Sanae

    • Estim8z

      You likely have some trans-uranic isotopes in your teeth due to fukushima. If you knew the facts, you would be very afraid. But if your head is in the sand you speak courageously. You are part of the problem moving forward. We must acknowledge the danger if we are ever to change what we are doing wrong. Please be part of the answer and learn the facts, so you don’t represent the lies as you are in this discussion.

  • thedudeabidez

    This is the latest garbage line being peddled by the nuclear mafia, as if tens of thousands of people losing their homes and livelihoods is of no consequence. Furthermore, any deaths that do emerge will be in the years to come from elevated cancer risks, which the state and the UN (WHO reports re. radiation risks must be approved by the IAEA, whose mission is to promote the spread of nuclear power) will do their best to say have no relation to radiation exposure, as they did after Chernobyl. Takaichi’s statement also ignores the very real fact that Japan was only spared a far worse outcome to the meltdowns due to the fact that prevailing winds took 80% of the emissions out to sea in the first, critical days of the accident.

    The LDP had decades in power to “ensure maximum safety”. The cozy ties between the nuclear industry and the politicians/ bureaucrats supposedly regulating it ensured this didn’t happen. There is no reason to believe this will be any different in the future.

    • Michael Radcliffe

      I think it is important to remember that the dislocation caused by the evacuation was caused not by radiation, but by fear of radiation, a rather different beast indeed.

      Mr Takaichi is in fact correct. The Fukushima accident has not directly caused any deaths or injuries, and any future health effects will probably be undectable. That is the expert scientific opinion. To suggest that the WHO is lying is to support a conspiracy theory, a fringe belief no more convincing than theories that the Moon landings were faked or that 9/11 was an inside job.

  • Estim8z

    I think Sanae Takaichi should have all the fukshima and miyagi prefecture food sent to his house. There is overwhelming proof that even low dose (much lower that of the ambient radiation levels in evacuated areas, as well as areas to the north and south, including Tokyo) produce a chromosomal instability, especially in the offspring of those exposed. It is a well established fact that radiation exposure take 20 generations for the full DAMAGE to be manifested. Time will tell, that the nuclear priesthood and its blind followers are wrong and then it will be too late. to make the changes that must be made not. Stop the use of nuclear power, and do it now. Also, we need to start to deal with the huge issue of spent fuel and nuclear waste. There is currently no place to safely store this deadly material, and no more new fuel should be made until we can deal with the waste that is piling up. We are just making it impossible for our children so we can have economic prosperity today. Very foolish.