Government radiation monitoring in areas near Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is unreliable, Greenpeace charged on Tuesday, with heavily populated areas exposed to 13 times the legal limit.
The environmental group said authorities were wasting time cleaning up evacuated areas and should prioritise decontamination efforts in places where people live, work and play.
Greenpeace found that in some parks and school facilities in Fukushima city, home to 285,000 people, radiation levels were above three microsieverts per hour. Japan’s recommended radiation limit is 0.23 microsieverts per hour.
“We also found that official monitoring posts placed by the government systematically underestimate the radiation levels,” said Rianne Teule, Greenpeace’s radiation expert, adding that some machines are shielded from radiation by surrounding metal and concrete structures.
Two Japanese Greenpeace members known as the “Tokyo Two” began their trail yesterday. They aim to expose as much as they can about the Japanese whaling industry, but for now they are on trail for a case that may end up with them sentenced to jail for 10 years.
Greenpeace on Friday urged Japan to give a fair trial to two of its activists who sought to expose embezzlement in the state-funded whaling industry but were instead arrested for theft and trespass.
The “Tokyo Two“, as the environmental group calls them, were held in police custody for 23 days after their arrests in 2008 and face a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted in the trial that starts Monday.
Greenpeace says Japanese nationals Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki were merely doing their jobs in an environmental investigation when they took a box of whale meat from a mail depot and presented it to state prosecutors as proof of embezzlement.