Japan in Their Own Words (JITOW)/日本からの意見

Start Monitoring Radiation In Asia/Pacific Seas Now: Post-3/11Quake Observations from Tokyo (No.5)
HANABUSA Masamichi  / Former Ambassador to Italy

April 15, 2011
On April 12 Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency announced that the total amount of radioactive material, namely, iodine-131 and cesium-137, emitted into the air from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant after 3/11 until 4/12 morning is estimated to have reached 370,000 tera becquerels. The Agency, thus, raised the provisional severity level to 7, the same level as Chernobyl accident, from its previous 5 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES). It is explained that this estimate is based on the estimated conditions of the affected reactors. On the same day, Cabinet Office's Nuclear Safety Commission came out with a higher amount of 630,000 tera becquerels. The latter figure covers the period from 3/11 to 4/5 and is calculated according to the radiation observed around the facility. Agency spokesman Nishiyama said that this amount is equal to about 10% of Chernobyl accident.

I am somewhat relieved to hear the announcements about the severity of this major nuclear accident, because I felt that suspicion was growing in the world that the Japanese Government was trying to hide the facts to belittle the scale of the accident.

As it stands unfortunately, emissions of radioactive materials into the air and the sea will continue for a considerable time to come. It is inevitable that the fear for atmospheric contamination in our neighboring countries will grow more. But as long as we can muddle through without major blasts, the level of aerial contamination will remain very limited within acceptable levels. More important will be how to address the fear for long-term accumulation of radioactivity in fish and shellfish, sea-weeds, marine animals, etc. due to the overflow of contaminated water into the sea. In my view we must realize that a new international responsibility has arisen for Japan as the contamination of the sea expands. It is necessary for our government to express sincere regret for the possibility that other nations may be adversely affected by the latest nuclear disaster; adversity they may not be able to avoid by themselves. The government should promise that Japan will spare no effort to minimize the adverse effects in cooperation with the governments concerned.

It is my strong wish that our government swiftly indicates its basic policy toward collaboration with the foreign governments concerned with respect to sea contamination. It is essential that such cooperation must be undertaken in a flexible and practical manner. As a matter of course, the monitoring activities take place not only on high seas but also in the territorial waters and economic zones of other nations. The wishes of the littoral nations must be fully respected. We must aim at constructing relations of trust by ways of building up bilateral talks, realizing a seamless system of monitoring ocean contamination with the participation of appropriate international bodies and of sharing information acquired.

Some people may think if my proposals at this stage are overmuch. But the fight against radiation risk is a fight against an unseen enemy. Only the light of truth can allay the psychological fear. Nothing is more felicitous if the results of such monitoring activities can remove suspicion of radiation risks of the littoral peoples. I wonder, however, it is not so easy to overcome psychological fear.

At any rate the Japanese government will have to measure levels of radioactivity in the sea off the coasts of Eastern Japan. This inevitably will lead to the same activity in the continuous sea areas. I think that our government must be prepared to bear a substantial part of the cost of measuring radioactivity in Western Pacific sea areas. I think we have sufficient resources for it; for example, we can transfer our ODA resources for this purpose. I believe that the initiative should be taken right now and we will lose nothing for it.
The writer is Chairman Emeritus of the English-Speaking Union of Japan.
The English-Speaking Union of Japan

アジア・太平洋海域の放射能モニタリングを直ちに始めよう: 3/11大震災後の東京からの報告(その5)
英 正道  / 元駐伊大使

2011年 4月 15日
4月12日経済産業省の原子力安全・保安院は3月11日から同日午前までの間に福島第1原子力発電所から大気中に放出された放射性物質のヨウ素131およびセシウム137の総量が37万テラベクレルに達したと発表した。そして同院は国際原子力事象評価尺度(INES) で、今回の事故の暫定的深刻度レベルを従来の5から、チェルノブイリ事故と同レベルの7に引き上げた。この推定値は原子炉の現在の状況の推測から導き出されたものであると説明されている。同じ日に内閣府の原子力安全委員会は、大気中の放射能の観測結果から逆算して、3月11日から4月5日までの間にこれより多い総量63万テラベクレルの放射性物質が放出されたとした。保安院の西山スポークスマンはこの量はチェルノブイリ事故の10%程度に相当すると述べた。






一般社団法人 日本英語交流連盟

English Speaking Union of Japan > Japan in Their Own Words (JITOW) > Start Monitoring Radiation In Asia/Pacific Seas Now: Post-3/11Quake Observations from Tokyo (No.5)