UN envoy says Japan should do more to protect nuclear victims

Featured - November 28th, 2012

Japan has not done enough to ensure the health of residents and workers affected by the Fukushima nuclear crisis, Anand Grover, the UN Special Rapporteur, said Monday.

Grover said in his report after an 11-day survey that the government had adopted “overly optimistic views” of radiation risks and conducted limited health checks following the meltdown.

Ongoing health checks for affected residents were “too narrow in scope,” he added.

The health survey should encompass “all radiation-affected zones” and not only Fukushima as the impact of radiation went far beyond its borders. Still, only one-quarter of Fukushima’s population has been covered, AP reports.

Only children are given thyroid tests while many nuclear plant workers are not eligible for free cancer screenings despite being exposed to high levels of radiation.

Grover’s draft report comes amid growing public distrust of the government and nuclear industry, which has been criticized for cover-ups and delays in disclosing key radiation information.

Grover also said the government should work harder to engage residents in decision-making, monitoring and implementation of measures that affect their health.

“I personally think experts only know part of the real situation. Communities must be involved,” Grover told AP.