April 21, 2011 Prime Minister Naoto Kan Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo), Sunao Tsuboi, Chair, Sumiteru Taniguchi, Chair, Terumi Tanaka, Secretary General: Request regarding the Great East Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Power Plant Disaster As survivors of the atomic bombs which wreaked unprecedented devastation on humanity, we Hibakusha now expect much of the Japanese Government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) as they make efforts for recovery from the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant disaster and to aid those affected. While a triple disaster on such a scale does indeed occur only rarely, from our experiences we are anxious that current efforts are focused on immediate measures, while comprehensive policies are being delayed and crucial aspects neglected.
We atomic bomb survivors continue to suffer in all parts of our bodies, hearts and lives from the effects of our experiences 66 years ago and since. We have accumulated achievements as a movement calling for assistance for Hibakusha. In this capacity, we call for necessary emergency measures to be taken for the survivors of the recent disaster.
Based on our own experiences, we make the following recommendations.
We call on the Japanese Government and TEPCO to accept these with sincerity and take steps for their implementation.
1. To issue all survivors and evacuees of the earthquake, tsunami and radiation leaks with Disaster Victim Certificates.
At the time of the atomic bombings, authorities including the police made exhausting efforts to issue Disaster Victim Certificates. These were extremely effective afterwards in confirming that the holder was a survivor of the bombings.
As time passes and survivors become more dispersed, activities to confirm the victims become more difficult.
The certificates issued in this case should include a section for information about the situation of experiencing the disaster (including people whose whereabouts is unknown) and movements after the disaster.
We expect the Government to implement sufficient policies for relief and recovery, and call for all efforts to be made for initial measures, with an understanding of the overall damage and situation as a prerequisite.
2. To issue all victims of the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident with a health monitoring book, and the state to take responsibility to conduct regular medical checks at least annually.
We Hibakusha are still suffering even after 66 years.
Radiation disease caused by nuclear fallout rarely occurs within the short-term; most cases occur after a considerable amount of time. The Government and TEPCO must take responsibility for long-term policies including life-long regular health checks and medical measures.
Furthermore, we call for health monitoring books to also be issued to all workers who are now risking their lives to work inside the nuclear power plant upon TEPCO’s orders.
The Government and TEPCO must bear the responsibility to take full measures for those people in the nearby areas who were issued with evacuation orders or voluntary evacuation advisories. Measures must be taken assuming the worst case scenario.
3. Until the lives and medical care of the survivors can be properly secured, the evacuation centres where survivors are sheltering must not be closed. Policies must also be made to care for children orphaned by the disaster.
Having seen many children orphaned by the atomic bombs and the war rendered homeless, we are deeply anxious that the recent disaster could also create more orphans. We call for particular consideration to be made for policies to care for children.
4. To provide accurate information regarding the damage caused by radiation, to ease anxiety of citizens and to eradicate harmful rumours and discrimination against survivors.
5. To make a major transformation of energy and electricity policy from reliance on nuclear energy to research, development and use of renewable energy.
In the immediate future, we call for maximum measures to be made to ensure the safety of existing nuclear power plants, while protecting the three principles of the peaceful use of nuclear energy (independent, democratic, made public) and assuming the worst case scenario.
6. To learn from the severity of this nuclear power plant disaster and make progress towards the abolition of nuclear weapons. To cease the concept of protecting Japan through military means, and change to a policy of peace and security that gives the highest priority to diplomacy, aiming for the co-existence of humanity and based on Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.
7. TEPCO to take full responsibility for the nuclear power plant accident, and give compensation for the damage it caused.
* This document was submitted to the Prime Minister, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry; Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).