He withdrew from the Shisu Management Agency on May 27. “We have decided to accept Yamamoto’s sincere wish not to cause us any trouble because of his personal activities,” Shisu stated on its homepage.
A drama that Yamamoto was to star in starting on July 8 was cancelled apparently due to his remarks. Commenting on nuclear issues can jeopardize a career.
Yamamoto spoke out against the government’s adoption of a new directive stating that school-age children can now be exposed to more radiation outdoors than previously allowed. As reported, government officials said the permissible radiation level was raised to 20 millisievierts a year or else these multitudes of Fukushima school children would have to be evacuated to other parts of Japan, which would cause dire consequences for their education and home life.
On May 23, Yamamoto participated in a demonstration outside the Ministry of Education building in central Tokyo. He called on the government to reverse its ruling.
He also supported Operation Kodomotachi (Operation Children), which urged the evacuation of children who lived beyond the 30-kilometer evacuation zone near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which has been leaking radiation since the earthquake and tsunami on March 11. Operation Kodomotachi has found about 4,000 host families in Hokkaido for these children.
Yamamoto was severely criticized for saying that residents near the 1986 Chernobyl accident were evacuated when their exposure was only 5 millisierverts a year and that the Japanese government’s standard as set by the Ministry of Education was an “an act of murder.” He added that the government did not want to pay for moving the residents and that the government had let the people down.
Operation Kodomotachi praised Yamamoto for his courage and efforts to protect children. “Our activities are aimed at primarily helping children with their future and is not against nuclear power,” said officials of the operation. “It is running on pure thoughts and Yamamoto is protecting the children.”
Yamamoto frequently appeared in TV dramas and travel programs.