社説:原爆の日 経験を原発にも生かせ

(Mainichi Japan) August 6, 2011
Lessons learned from A-bombing should be applied to welfare of Fukushima residents
社説:原爆の日 経験を原発にも生かせ

Aug. 6 marks the 66th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945.

We commemorate the anniversary under different circumstances than usual this summer -- amid the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant crippled by the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

Scenes of many areas in the Tohoku region devastated by the triple disaster have reminded many hibakusha, or survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings, of their own cities when they were reduced to ashes by the blasts and intense heat.

On top of this, we are now facing the hazards involved in the use of nuclear energy, and the peace declarations that Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui read during the Aug. 6 anniversary ceremony and Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue will read on Aug. 9 mention the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

The Hiroshima Municipal Government is urging the national government to review its overall energy policy at an early date.

In his peace declaration Matsui quoted the late Ichiro Moritaki, former chairman of the Japan Congress against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs stated, who said, "Nuclear energy and humankind cannot coexist."

The Nagasaki Municipal Government will not mention "elimination of nuclear power plants" but clearly call for a decrease in Japan's reliance on nuclear power stations in the future.

The Fukushima nuclear crisis has also had some influence on the policies of hibakusha organizations and anti-nuclear groups.

The Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations has decided to incorporate calls for the gradual shutdown and dismantling of nuclear reactors in its platform -- a first in its 55-year history.

With A-bombing survivors' suffering from the after-effects of radiation exposure fully in mind, the confederation has also submitted a petition to the central government urging that residents of areas near the Fukushima nuclear plant as well as workers undergo regular health checks.

The Japan Congress against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs recently held an international convention in Fukushima for the first time and appealed for the elimination of nuclear power stations.

However, there are differences between hibakusha and anti-nuclear organizations over the pros and cons of calling for the elimination of nuclear power plants.

There are some organizations and activists who argue that the peace movement and nuclear power plants are separate issues.

True, there are big differences between destructive atomic bombs, which release huge amounts of radiation in a moment, and nuclear plant accidents, in which radioactive substances that emit low levels of radiation spread and affect extensive areas.

Still, they are the same in that people are worried about radiation exposure over the long term.

The lack of knowledge about the effects of being exposed to low doses of radiation has caused widespread fears among residents around the Fukushima plant.

While keeping in mind the differences between atomic bombing and nuclear plant accidents, specialized knowledge collected by Radiation Effects Research Foundation -- which has conducted research on the effects of radiation on hibakusha -- as well as lessons learned from the Chernobyl nuclear crisis should be fully utilized for the health management of residents near the Fukushima plant.

For many years, nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants have been regarded as completely separate matters.  核兵器と原発はこれまで切り離して考えられてきた。

Furthermore, the safety myth of atomic energy had taken root in society in recent years.

However, the Fukushima nuclear crisis has reminded the public of the risks involved with nuclear power stations. しかし、福島の事故は原発の危険性に改めて目を向けさせた。

It is our mission to step up efforts to dispatch messages to the world calling for nuclear disarmament while fully utilizing our experiences as the only atomic-bombed country to ensure the safety of nuclear power stations.

毎日新聞 2011年8月6日 2時32分

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