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Fukushima anniversary: Japanese Church calls for ban on nucelar power

by Antony Bushfield

On 11 March 2011 a huge earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused devastation claiming 15,893 lives, with 2,572 still missing.

The quake triggered a nuclear disaster, with meltdowns in three reactors at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.

A 20km area around the power plant remains off limits due to radioactive contamination and residents outside the exclusion zone are living in fear of radiation poisoning.

The Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK, Anglican Church in Japan) has worked with survivors since the disaster and is now calling for the country's remaining plants to be closed.

The secretary-general of the NSKK project Let Us Walk Together, Kay Ikezumi, said: "The true impact of the aftermath of the nuclear disaster is not widely known.

"We think the Japanese government wants to hide the reality from the Japanese people and from the world.

"Before the disaster, many people thought nuclear power was necessary, but now many people are changing their minds.

"It will take 40 to 50 years for the land to be decontaminated sufficiently for human habitation, and thousands of years more for complete decontamination.

"Moreover, even today, the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant is producing about 500 tonnes of contaminated water every day, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find places to safely deposit this."

Japan has 54 nuclear power plants, of which all but two were temporarily shut down following the nuclear disaster pending new safety measures.

Mrs Ikezumi added: "NSKK has concluded that we need to decommission all nuclear power plants - we have managed perfectly well in Japan without them, although perhaps we will need to think about living simpler lives.

"As Christians, we believe anything that threatens or violates lives must be stopped."

A number of children who survived the quake have since been diagnosed with cancer while plants, trees and animals in the area have been left deformed.

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