Lifestyle & Belief

Fukushima-exposed city should evacuate children, lawsuit says


A man holds a placard during a march denouncing the use of nuclear plants and power during a May Day demonstration in Tokyo on May 1, 2011. Several hundreds of people took part in the May Day demonstration in the wake of the country's recent nuclear crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant, north of Tokyo, damaged in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.



Parents in the city of Koriyama have filed a lawsuit asking the government to evacuate their children to an area with lower radiation levels. Koriyama is 40 miles west of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

The International Committee on Radiological Protection has ruled that people are safe if their annual maximum exposure to radiation is 1 millisievert. This is also the natural background level of radiation in most of Japan. But the lawsuit, originally filed two years ago, points to tests showing that the children in Koriyama are at times exposed to millisievert levels ranging from 3.8 to as high as 6.67, Majirox News reported at the time.

More from GlobalPost: On Location Video: The dirty work of cleaning up Fukushima

However, a dispute over how much radiation is safe has kept the lawsuit in appeals courts. After the disaster, the central government of Japan set a threshold much higher, of 20 millisieverts of annual exposure, for people to decide whether to stay in an area or not, Japan Daily Press reported.

A Japanese appeals court is expected to rule soon on the lawsuit, the Associated Press reported. The lawsuit could serve as a precedent to other children living in an Fukushima-affected areas. "I don't understand why an economic power like Japan won't evacuate the children — something even the fascist government did during World War II," one attorney told the AP. "This is child abuse."