As a father who has evacuated his wife and children from our home near the mess at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, I would like to share a couple of insights that will hopefully inform the debate, or the lack of one, that has been raging:
* It seems to be very difficult for the administration and the so-called experts who have visited the villages and towns of Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures to reassure us. We don’t know [what to believe or what to expect] because nothing like this has ever happened before. Forget about Chernobyl, Hiroshima and Windscale; the timelines, locations, climate, topography, wind patterns and groundwater systems are all different.
* Authorities have not taken systematic readings. Air, water and soil samples have not been taken in areas that matter. We have no benchmark, because samples were not taken before the nuclear plant crisis. The speedy radiation sensor system failed immediately after the March 11 earthquake because of inadequate electricity backup. There are no future projections of radioactive contamination and no model on which to base them.
* That livestock seem to be receiving more attention than children in the region is a disgrace. On March 10, we would not have been able to imagine that our children would be attending contaminated schools wearing dosimeters.
* Internal radioactivity will be passed on to our children’s children. Cesium will remain in the environment for 150 years. A parent can’t help viewing this threat as the result of unforgivable neglect. It’s past time that the authorities admit what they don’t know, and act now to move children out of contaminated areas and provide them with a chance at a future.
And let’s turn our minds to how to make this evacuation an opportunity for them, rather than wringing our hands over what we should do.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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