May 16, 2013

Over 300 people came together at Fukushima University on May 11th for the “Nuclear Disaster Victims’ Support Act Forum in Fukushima.” Participants included the Diet members from across party lines, local government representatives, doctors, lawyers, and the media.

Dr. Koichi Kida, vice-president of the Fukushima Medical Association, noted in his remarks that, “The health care of the victims needs to be addressed broadly and over the long term. The government must take responsibility and ensure health care is delivered in accordance with the Act.” “Medical examinations should be arranged not only in Fukushima, but wherever victims need them.” Dr. Hisako Sakiyama, former member of the National Diet Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission, told attendees that there is scientific evidence of the health risks from radiation exposure of 100 mSv or less. She further noted that the non-cancerous disease impact of radiation continues to be overlooked.

Dr. Yoshihiro Kumasaka, representative director of the Social Inclusion Support Center, and former Miyako City mayor, reported feedback from the hot-line (“snuggle-in” telephone counseling service), noting that Fukushima evacuees’ concerns were particularly serious. Additionally, the package of policies for support to victims of the nuclear accident announced by the Reconstruction Agency and others on March 15th, are considered to provide very few concrete solutions. He concluded noting the strong desire for the Japanese government to establish the basic policy for the Support Act without further delay.

In addition, Fukushima residents (including farmers and other producers), voluntary evacuees from Fukushima and other prefectures, returnees to Fukushima, among others, raised many issues from a variety of different standpoints. All of them appealed for the earliest possible formulation of the basic policy to help resolve the many outstanding issues.

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