Today’s Guardian reported:
Furious Fukushima parents have delivered a bag of radioactive playground dirt to education officials in protest at government moves to weaken nuclear safety standards in schools.
The new regulations say that children can be exposed to 20 times more radiation than was previously permissible. They have prompted outcry, the resignation of a senior adviser and a verbal attack on the prime minister, Naoto Kan, by lawmakers from his own party.
The new levels are not based on a new scientific assessment of the amount of radiation that children should be exposed to, but are the result of expediency:
Ministers have defended the increase in the acceptable safety level from 1 to 20 millisieverts as a necessary measure to guarantee the education of hundreds of thousands of children in Fukushima prefecture, location of the nuclear plant that suffered a partial meltdown and several explosions after the earthquake and tsunami on 11 March.
Parents have taken their concerns to Japanese lawmakers:
A group claiming to represent 250 parents in Fukushima visited the upper house of parliament and presented government officials with a bag of radioactive dirt from the playground of one of the affected schools. A geiger counter clicked over it with a reading of 38 millisieverts.
The parents’ anger over the standards change continues:
“How dare they tell us it is safe for our children,” said Sachiko Satou of the Protect Fukushima Children from Radiation Association. “This is disgusting. They can’t play outside with such risks. If the government won’t remove the radioactive dirt then we’ll do it ourselves and dump it outside the headquarters of Tokyo Electric.”