2 million Japanese to undergo health checks after nuclear disaster
May 27, 2011, 10:13 GMT
Tokyo - Local authorities in Japan said Friday they would check the health of 2 million people living near a damaged nuclear power station to examine the effects of radiation.
Since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, it has been leaking radioactive substances.
The Fukushima prefecture's government established a committee to oversee the checkups and plans to begin them in late June due to residents' concerns over harmful effects of radiation and long-time exposure to low-level radiation.
It would would also conduct follow-up radiation checks over the next 30 years on some 150,000 residents near the plant, Japanese media reported citing public officials.
Education Minister Yoshiaki Takaki said that the central government would aim to keep cumulative radiation levels at school grounds in the prefecture below 1 millisievert per year.
Takaki said if the levels remain above 1 microsievert per hour, Tokyo will pay to remove radioactive top soil.
The ministry prompted angry protests by local parents when it set an annual radiation exposure limit for children of 20 millisieverts, the same level the International Commission for Radiological Protection allows for nuclear plant workers.
Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato welcomed the move, saying since atomic power generation has been a national policy, the central government should shoulder the cost.