TOKYO (majirox news) – Taking a plunge into the dark, Japan’s government has adopted a controversial new directive, school-age children can now be exposed to 20 times more radiation than previously allowed. It’s all for a good cause, say officials.
Unhappy parents, disturbed by this step, staged a vocal demonstration outside the main building of the Ministry of Education, located in central Tokyo, calling on the government to go back on its ruling.
“I don’t see that the people raising these limits would let their own children go to school or risk going in those areas ,” said Ai Kichida, a Fukushima resident.
Standing before the impromptu gathering of parents in the street, officials said that their unexpected ruling was required to protect the interests of hundreds of thousands of children in the radiation high environs of Fukushima, where a stricken nuclear power station continues to leak radiation into the sky, the sea and the land, following a combined earthquake and tidal wave shocker, unleashed on Japan March 11.
Government officials said the permissible radiation level was raised to 20 millisievierts a year—the amount of radiation permitted as a German nuclear worker —or else these multitudes of Fukushima school children would have to be evacuated to other parts of Japan with dire consequences for their education and home life.
Parents said that the government was seeking to prolong the role of nuclear power in Japan’s energy picture, while disregarding the interests of schoolchildren all across the archipelago and the scope for alternative energy supplies.
Scott Stokes was the former Tokyo bureau chief of the Financial Times, The Economist and the New York Times. His upcoming book on Perry is published by Overlook Press of New York