Japanese Seethe Over Hushed Radiation Forecasts
Thousands exposed because gov't agencies refused responsibility
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2011 9:48 AM CDT
A girl holds her petition to ask the education ministry to protect children from radioactive contamination at Fukushima prefecture during a rally at the Education Ministry in Tokyo on May 23, 2011.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Anger is growing in Japan over the government hiding radiation forecasts from the public, causing unnecessary exposure to thousands, letting contaminants into the country's food supply, and not acknowledging that there even was a meltdown for three months after the initial disaster, reports the New York Times. Thousands of fleeing residents close to the Fukushima reactors actually traveled into the worst of the radioactive winds because results of the government's radiation dispersal measurement system were not announced, apparently because officials were frightened of having to enlarge the danger zone and acknowledge the disaster's severity.

“As a principle, the government has never acted in such a way as to sacrifice the public’s health or safety,” said Goshi Hosono, the minister in charge of the nuclear disaster. But critics see a pattern of denial and evasion. Ministries passed around damning information, all scared to take responsibility for the results. One small city 40 miles west of Fukushima is actually suing the government, trying to get their children relocated to a safer region and force the government to come clean about the disaster. “If they wanted to protect people, they had to release information immediately,” said one sociologist.
 

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