Japanese government aide quits over nuclear crisis

Criticism of the Japanese government's handling of the radiation crisis at a nuclear power plant has increased after an adviser quit in protest over what he claimed were unsafe, slipshod measures.

Toshiso Kosako, a professor at the University of Tokyo's graduate school and an expert on radiation exposure, announced late yesterday that he was stepping down as a government adviser.



Prime Minister Naoto Kan appointed Prof Kosako after the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami which struck north-eastern Japan on March 11.



The disaster left 26,000 people dead or missing and damaged several reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant - triggering the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986.



In a tearful news conference, Prof Kosako said he could not stay and allow the government to set what he called improper radiation limits of 20 millisieverts an hour for elementary schools in areas near the plant.



"I cannot allow this as a scholar," he said. "I feel the government response has been merely to bide time."



Prof Kosako also criticised the government as lacking in transparency in disclosing monitoring of radiation levels around the plant, and as improperly raising the limit of radiation exposure levels for workers at Fukushima Dai-ichi, according to the Kyodo News agency.



The prime minister defended the government's response as proper.



"We welcome different views among our advisers," Mr Kan told parliament today in response to an opposition politician's questions.



A government advisory position is highly respected in Japan, and it is extremely rare for an academic to resign in protest of a government position.



The science and education ministry has repeatedly defended the 20-millisievert limit as safe, saying that efforts are under way to bring the limit down to 1 millisievert. Some people have expressed concerns, noting that children are more vulnerable to radiation than adults.



Japan, which has 54 nuclear reactors, has long been a major proponent of atomic power, constantly billing its technology as top-rate and super-safe.



Japan's government has also been trying to make deals to build nuclear power plants in other countries, although such attempts are likely to fall flat after the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident.



As the only country in the world to suffer an atomic bombing, as it did at Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War, Japan has long had a powerful anti-nuclear movement, and such protests have become louder recently.



About 450 protesters gathered in Tokyo's Yoyogi Park today, beating drums, shouting "No more nukes" and holding banners which read "Electricity in Tokyo, sacrifice in Fukushima".



"We knew all along nuclear power was dangerous. I just didn't know how to express myself," said one of the protesters, 50-year-old Yoshiko Nakamura, who was taking part in her second demonstration in two weeks.



"This is a great opportunity to send a message and voice my fears."



Such demonstrations have become more frequent, including during the Golden Week holidays, which continue through the weekend and next week.



"What I had feared might happen has become reality," said Kenji Kitamura, a 48-year-old office worker. "It is outrageous children are being exposed to such high levels of radiation."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Buddy DeFranco
people
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month