(LinkAsia: July 20, 2012)
In Fukushima, the Noda administration is making all sorts of promises to revitalize the area after last year's nuclear accident. But as NHK report shows, progress is hard to see.
NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: July 13, 2012
Mayuko Ambe, Reporter, NHK World:
Fukushima is a shadow of its once vibrant self. Towns and villages surrounding the nuclear plant appear deserted. The ghostly figures of decontamination crews dot the landscape. Tens of thousands of residents have been forced to live in temporary housing.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda says fixing the problems in Fukushima is his number one national policy. His cabinet approved a plan to revitalize the prefecture. It says his government will continue to be active in decontamination work. The plan sets a goal of reducing residents’ exposure levels to 1 millisievert per year or lower in the long term. That’s in line with international standards. The plan addresses the mounds of toxic top soil that are piling up because of the clean-up effort. It says government officials will consider temporarily storing the contaminated dirt on state-owned property.
The impact of radioactive material on public health is one of the major concerns in Fukushima. Noda is promising to subsidize thyroid tests for children to check for signs of symptoms of exposure.
The plan doesn’t mention raising subsidies for businesses operating in the prefecture even though Fukushima authorities strongly requested the addition. However, it does reflect the prefecture’s goal of creating communities that don’t depend on nuclear power. The prime minister wants to promote the introduction of renewable resources. His goal is for green energy projects to create jobs.
The problems in Fukushima seem to pile up with each passing month. 160,000 people still can’t go home. A significant number of residents don’t have work. Some people in the prefecture say the new plan lacks concrete details. They want the government to work harder and work faster, so they can restart the lives they were leading before the disaster changed everything.
Japan’s environment ministry estimates that the total cost of cleaning up the soil could exceed 14 billion dollars.