26 Mars 2019
In 2020, Japan is inviting athletes from around the world to take part in the Tokyo Olympic Games. We are hoping for the games to be fair and peaceful. At the same time, we are worried about plans to host baseball and softball competitions in Fukushima City, just 50 km away from the ruins of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. It was here, in 2011, that multiple nuclear meltdowns took place, spreading radioactivity across Japan and the Pacific Ocean – a catastrophe comparable only to the nuclear meltdown of Chernobyl.
The ecological and social consequences of this catastrophe can be seen everywhere in the country: whole families uprooted from their ancestral homes, deserted evacuation zones, hundreds of thousands of bags of irradiated soil dumped all over the country, contaminated forests, rivers and lakes. Normality has not returned to Japan. The reactors continue to be a radiation hazard as further catastrophes could occur at any time. Every day adds more radioactive contamination to the ocean, air and soil. Enormous amounts of radioactive waste are stored on the premises of the power plant in the open air. Should there be another earthquake, these would pose a grave danger to the population and the environment. The nuclear catastrophe continues today. On the occasion of the Olympic Games 2020, we are planning an international campaign. Our concern is that athletes and visitors to the games could be harmed by the radioactive contamination in the region, especially those people more vulnerable to radiation, children and pregnant women.
According to official Japanese government estimates, the Olympic Games will cost more than the equivalent of 12 billion Euros. At the same time, the Japanese government is threatening to cut support to all evacuees who are unwilling to return to the region. International regulations limit the permitted dose for the general public of additional radiation following a nuclear accident to 1 mSv per year. In areas where evacuation orders were recently lifted, the returning population will be exposed to levels up to 20 mSv per year. Even places that have undergone extensive decontamination efforts could be recontaminated at any time by unfavourable weather conditions, as mountains and forests serve as a continuous depot for radioactive particles. Our campaign will focus on educating the public about the dangers of the nuclear industry. We will explain what health threats the Japanese population was and is exposed to today. Even during normal operations, nuclear power plants pose a threat to public health – especially to infants and unborn children. There is still no safe permanent depository site for the toxic inheritance of the nuclear industry anywhere on earth, that is a fact.
We plan to use the media attention generated by the Olympic Games to support Japanese initiatives calling for a nuclear phase-out and to promote a worldwide energy revolution: away from fossil and nuclear fuels and towards renewable energy generation. We need to raise awareness of the involvement of political representatives around the world in the militaryindustrial complex. We denounce the attempt of the Japanese government to pretend that normality has returned to the contaminated regions of Japan. We call on all organisations to join our network and help us put together a steering group to coordinate this campaign. The Olympic Games are still two years away – now is still time to get organised. We look forward to hearing from you, with best regards,
For the campaign „Nuclear Free Olympic Games 2020“:
Press Release IPPNW Germany March 25 2019
Tomorrow in one year, on March 26 2020, the Olympic torch relay will start in the radioactively contaminated Fukushima Prefecture. This is why tomorrow, a group of anti-nuclear oranizations in Germany, Switzerland, France and Japan will launch an international information campaign entitled „Tokyo 2020 - The Radioactive Olympics”. The campaign will focus on the ongoing radioactive contamination of parts of Japan due to the nuclear catastrope of Fukushima, which began eight years ago.
Dr. Alex Rosen, chairman of the German affiliate of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), one of the principal organizations behind the campaign explains: „We are concerned about the health consequences of radioactive contamination, especially for people with increased vulnerability towards radiation, such as pregnant women and children.“
International regulations limit the permitted dose for the general public of additional radiation following a nuclear accident to 1 mSv per year. “In areas where evacuation orders were recently lifted, the returning population will be exposed to levels up to 20 mSv per year, however”, says IPPNW physician and founding member of the campaign, Dr. Jörg Schmid. “Even places that have undergone extensive decontamination efforts could be recontaminated at any time by unfavourable weather conditions, as mountains and forests serve as a continuous depot for radioactive particles. Now the Japanese authorities are trying to force the people evacuated from the contaminated areas to return by cutting their financial assistance and ending housing schemes for nuclear refugees,” says Schmid.
The campaign, which will continue all the way until the end of the Olympic Games, has a clear message: We denounce the attempt of the Japanese government to pretend that normality has returned to the contaminated regions of Japan”, says Rosen. “Already now, we are seeing an increased rate of thyroid cancers in Fukushima children and adolescents. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. More than 50,000 nuclear refugees continue to live as displaced persons in their own country. At the same time, more and more radioactive refuse is seeping into groundwater and the ocean and the decontamination and reconstruction work is largely carried out by unskilled and uninformed subcontractors, without proper training or protection. Normality looks different.“
Supportes of the Campaign „Tokyo 2020 - The Radioactive Olympics“