Pay attention to radiation safety issues at the 2020 Tokyo-Olympics
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We request that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) take measures to protect the health of the Olympic athletes and visitors.
The Olympic Charter defines the IOC’s role as a committee to “encourage and support measures relating to the medical care and health of athletes,” (Olympic Charter, Article 2-10)
Fukushima’s radioactive contamination is a serious environmental issue. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011 was rated a Level 7, the maximum on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), on par with the Chernobyl disaster (1986). However, radioactive contaminants last for a long time.
Even eight years after the incident, Fukushima’s radiation level is still eight times higher than the international safety limit, according to Greenpeace’s survey (March 2019).
Radioactive contamination from nuclear disasters like the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster can cause health related issues because they release radioactive cesium and iodine into the air.
The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that such radioactive materials can damage organs (such as bone marrow, the heart, and stomach) and compromise the immune system. Radioactive iodine accumulation can cause thyroid cancer and radioactive cesium easily accumulates in muscle tissues, which can lead to general paralysis and bone marrow cancer.
Thus, the health of athletes and visitors at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is at risk.
The Japanese government announced that it will provide meals made with marine and agricultural products from Fukushima to athletes during the Olympic Games, claiming the safety of its products. However, the cesium level of Fukushima’s seafood, such as catfish, brown trout, and trout, is three times higher than the safety limit. The WTO even ruled in favor of Korea regarding Korea’s import ban on seafood from Fukushima.
Radioactive cesium is also detected in their agricultural products, which is expected, considering that they grow on the radioactive soil of Fukushima.
Japan has also decided to hold some Olympic events near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Olympic baseball and softball games will be held just 70km (44 miles) from the plant, and the Olympic torch relay will be held just 20km (12 miles) away. Even in Chernobyl’s case, a 30km radius of the Chernobyl plant was still off-limits after three decades after the incident, so it is certain that Japan’s decision of allowing visitors to those events is gravely worrisome.
The Olympic Games are an international sporting event. The goal of the Olympics is to have sport in the service of the harmonious development of humankind and promote a peaceful society, as defined in the Olympic Chapter.
In order to do this, the most fundamental prerequisite is to protect the health of athletes and visitors. The IOC must take active measures to protect their health, in accordance with the Article 2-10.
In response to this, we have the following three requests:
First, the IOC must request that Japan bans the use of agricultural and marine products from Fukushima, in order to protect the health of athletes.
Second, the IOC must request that Japan not use stadiums that are close to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Third, the IOC must request that Japan be transparent in releasing all of its radiation safety test results.
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