“Not only for thyroid cancer or leukemia but also various other diseases and health impairments, as were reported after the Chernobyl incident. It is even said that as a result of the incident, babies were being born already exhibiting a whole variety of illnesses. I think that the conduct of blood or urinalysis tests should be the responsibility of the Government, not only for the people in Fukushima Prefecture but also for all people in Eastern Japan, and, not only for children but for adults too. What is the Governmental view on this position?”


Mr. Taro Yamamoto  I am Taro Yamamoto, and I stand as an independent MP.

Thank you for your time today.
This is the first question I have raised since becoming a Diet member.
I’m grateful for your support.
Today I would like to ask a question about the radiation exposure to children by the TEPCO, Tokyo Electric Power Company, caused by the nuclear power plant disaster in Fukushima. I consider this to be an urgent and pressing issue because it raises health issues, the safety standards of food, and highlights the very poor labor conditions facing workers tackling the TEPCO nuclear power plant’s disaster.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Mr. Suga, I would be grateful to hear foremost your understanding of the situation.
On September 7th, in Buenos Aires, there was a bidding presentation for the Tokyo Olympic Games. Prime Minister Abe presented there and responded to a question from the IOC committee.
“The safety standards of food and water in our country are the strictest standards in the world,”
“The amount of contamination from food or water throughout Japan is only 1 out of 100; and therefore complies with the strict standards. It means that I can report satisfactorily about health levels in Japan, both in the past, right now, and in the future”. These were his remarks.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga, would you confirm that Prime Minister Abe did make this comment?

Chief Cabinet Secretary (Mr. Yoshihide Suga) Yes, this is correct – Prime Minister Abe did make this comment.

Mr. Taro Yamamoto I regard this remark by Prime Minister Abe as a serious factual error.
According to the data from the people’s health management survey review committee in Fukushima Prefecture, on August 20 this year,

I have heard that Professor Shinichi Suzuki of Fukushima Medical University, who is in charge and leads this investigation, has said that the emerging rate of thyroid cancer in children less than 18 years old was in fact one or two out of 1 million people, and if this is in fact the case, the rate has reached to 100 times more compared to the rate before the Fukushima Nuclear Accident happened on March 11, 2011.
Isn’t this health impairment directly caused by the radioactive exposure to the TEPCO nuclear power plant disaster?
What is the Governmental view on this?

Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Division Manager of Environmental Health Department (Mr. Taro Tsukahara) I will answer.
In the 12th meeting of the peoples’ health management survey review committee in Fukushima Prefecture on August 20 of this year, there was a report stating that 18 people had been diagnosed with cancer, and 25 people in total had been diagnosed as possibly having cancer.

To date, the rate of children exhibiting cancerous symptoms who consulted with medical institutions and who were then diagnosed with thyroid cancer each year is said to be one out of 100,000.

The outcome of the second examinations for thyroid cancer on children in the fiscal year of 2011 concluded that thyroid cancer is now diagnosed at a rate of nine persons out of approximately 41,000 people.
Your question is about the difference between each rate; however, there is no comparable example of examinations on children who exhibited no symptoms.

The examinations were conducted by skillful doctors or engineers during the first stage where there were no symptoms present, using the newest apparatus or machines, and as a result of this, early small amounts of cancer were found in large numbers and that is the reason why the rates have become high; this is also consistent with the international view.

According to the people’s health management survey review committee in Fukushima Prefecture, we find it hard to believe that the reason behind the increase is due to the nuclear power plant disaster, but we continue to observe the situation through investigations and we, the Ministry of Environment, will offer any support that is necessary.

Mr. Taro Yamamoto Indeed.
So to summarize, you said the number of people exhibiting some symptoms widely consulted medical doctors, but the number of people without any symptoms was overwhelmingly small; and for that reason, if you were to examine a wider pool of people, you would find symptoms present in a wider variety of people, is that correct? I hope I have understood this correctly.

May I continue with the next question?
Recently I submitted a memorandum containing questions about protection from radioactive exposure.
A written answer was sent from the Cabinet on October 29, 2013.
In it, I asked why, if cesium can be inspected by a whole body counter for the internal exposure investigation, what is the reason for not carrying out an inspection on other nuclides,

For that question, the Government replied in a written paper that some nuclides other than cesium, such as tritium and strontium cannot be inspected. To examine those nuclides, biological body samples, such as urine tests, would be needed.
In short, I think the inspections via a biological body sample are necessary.
Not only for thyroid cancer or leukemia but also various other diseases and health impairments, as were reported after the Chernobyl incident.
It is even said that as a result of the incident, babies were being born already exhibiting a whole variety of illnesses.

I think that the conduct of blood or urinalysis tests should be the responsibility of the Government, not only for the people in Fukushima Prefecture but also for all people in Eastern Japan, and, not only for children but for adults too.

What is the Governmental view on this position?

Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Division Manager of Environmental Health Department (Mr. Taro Tsukahara) I will answer.

I think it is important to properly consult and take on board the opinion of medical specialists who plan the content of the health survey and who recommend how to carry out the examinations. It is my understanding that as a result of the review committee, where local doctors and specialists discussed healthcare administration by the State and lessons learned from historical disasters such as Chernobyl, as a direct result of this Fukushima Prefecture decided to set up its own people’s health management survey review committee.
We understand that each prefecture holds a council of advisers in the neighboring prefectures of Fukushima, and, the outcome has been that there is no need for a special scientific health care view.
Also, not only us but WHO and the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) say that there was no evidence of an increase in cancer; they also say the possibility of the numeric evaluation increase is low.
Therefore, I think, for the time being, it is important to continue what is being carried out now by the people’s health management survey in Fukushima Prefecture.

Mr. Taro Yamamoto My question before was the reason why so many people have suffered from thyroid cancer or been diagnosed with possible thyroid cancer;
And, you answered that the reason for the increase is that people went to the hospital for a check-up when they got symptoms or felt something was wrong. That is why the numbers are small, you said.
Your explanation is that the examination has been carried out for a wider range of people since the accident, and that is the reason why so many people have been diagnosed with cancer; if so, this hypothesis could be verified by carrying out the examination not only in Fukushima but throughout Japan.
And, without such a wide survey, you will not know whether what you are doing is truly right or wrong,
And, I fully believe that we must carry out a wide survey to understand the true picture; how many people have suffered from thyroid cancer or been told about the possibility that they have thyroid cancer.

I will continue to the next question.

As this is the first time I am asking questions, I apologize if I am not following protocol.

At the presentation for the Olympics on September 7, Prime Minister Abe
clearly spoke about health issues, and promised that there were no past, current or future problems. Furthermore, to ensure that the status quo continues, he said he would take personal responsibility for initiating a program containing a radical solution to all the health problems which he said he had already started. He said he wants to make a clear commitment on this.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga, do you enforce this Governmental commitment?

Chief Cabinet Secretary (Mr. Yoshihide Suga) Since the Prime Minister’s commitment is a Governmental commitment; it stands to reason that we will ensure responsibility for it, of course.

Mr. Taro Yamamoto Next, I would like to ask about the safety standards of food; there is a standard level of radioactive material contained in Japanese food at the moment, isn’t there?
It is said that our standard is based on an international standard; the index of Codex Alimentary Commission.
The standard is set not to exceed 1mm Sievert per year for internal exposure through food consumption, and the radioactive cesium standard is set at 100 Bq for food, 50 Bq for infant food, 50 Bq for milk, and 10 Bq for drinking water per Kg,
I think that this standard must be and should be reduced even more.
At the presentation for the Olympic Games, Prime Minister Abe declared;
“The amount of contamination from food or water is 1/100 of the standard value throughout Japan” — he made this declaration.
Regarding this, I would like to ask the Minister who specializes in food safety, Minister Mori.
I think that the standard level should be greatly reduced as Prime Minister Abe declared, aiming at 1/100 of the present standard.
Many countries ban food imports from our country now.
I think a reduction to the standard level must be effective in order to remove these bans, Minister Mori, what do you think about this?

Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Food Safety(Ms.Masako Mori) The Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare is actually responsible for the standard values in food, however, since you are asking me, I will reply on the question of food safety. We have to take necessary measures while recognizing that the most important consideration is national health protection based on scientific knowledge.
So the Food Safety Committee submitted a report on the radioactive material contained in food in October 2011. It was investigated with objectivity and neutrality based on scientific knowledge. The outcome of the evaluation was the impact on health from radioactive material contained in food.

Mr. Taro Yamamoto According to the environmental radiation database, the numerical value before the accident was 0.1 Bq or less per kg, and this used to be the national average level. It is now 100 Bq per kg. It means that the safety standards at the moment are set 1000 times or more compared to the level before the accident. Regarding this situation, I would like you to make the greatest effort to ensure that the proper numerical value of food content for children’s school lunches is brought closer to the level existing before the accident.
It is not yet proven medically what the effect is on the human body if you continue to eat “100 Bq per kg”, is it?
I think it is very dangerous to keep on using this safety standard. It is said that children would be more affected and are more sensitive to the radiation – 3 to 10 times or more – compared to that of an adult. The food content for a child is important and even more so in relation to the school lunch. This is because parents are very unlikely to refuse the lunch for their children due to cultural tradition; even if the lunch contains high levels of radiation. . Isn’t this the case?
I would like to ask you to be conscious of the numerical value contained in the food content for school lunches and ensure the level is lowered as much as possible and nearer to the level before the accident.
Out of all of my points raised, this is my highest priority for you to action.

Next question. When I asked why the manual for the standard value barometer used is only for radioactive calcium, the reply from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare the other day was as follows:
The measurement of nuclides other than radioactive cesium requires time.
According to the data from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, most nuclides other than cesium are strontium 90.
Regarding the measurement of strontium 90, there was a press announcement stating that the analysis system, which can measure strontium 90 in about 15 minutes, was developed through joint research by Fukushima University and JAEA (Japan Atomic Energy Agency).
This was on September 18.
This system should be utilized immediately, or as soon as possible, to measure strontium 90 in food. I ask the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, what you think about this?

Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Pharmaceutical and Food Safety Bureau, Division manager of the Department of Food Safety (Mr. Kazuya Niimura) I will answer.
Regarding the inspection of radioactive material in food, the inspection has been carried out according to the standard levels and considering the following nuclides: radioactive cesium, the strontium 90, ruthenium106, and plutonium.
As you pointed out, this standard level containing nuclides other than radioactive cesium, has been set up for the purpose of preventing excess radioactive cesium, more than 1mm Sievert per year, through the consumption of food. For this reason, it is possible to manage the dose of the strontium by making radioactive cesium a subject for examination. I think that the measurement of strontium is unnecessary when we already carry out food monitoring examinations.

In addition, I know that a combined team, including Fukushima University, has developed a new analysis method for strontium 90, which is one of the radioactive materials. Since a new analysis method can be measured in a short time, we can expect it to be used as a screening method, but I have heard that this examining method was developed for the purpose of measuring contaminated water. So, as it stands, the availability of using this examination for food evaluation has not yet been made.

Mr. Taro Yamamoto Thank you.
Although it is important to measure the completed food product, most importantly I think an investigation into the land where the food is originally made is the closest way to ensure safety and security. This must be carried out through a wide ranging examination of the various nuclides. My personal opinion is that what is now often referred to as simply a “harmful rumor” actually almost reflects the position in reality.
I think making these changes will lead to reassurance about food safety, and, will also lead to the quick export of Japanese Food overseas again.
I am sorry, my talk takes time.
Next, I ask a question about the workers’ labor environment for the TEPCO nuclear power plant disaster.
Under terrible working conditions, workers employed at the end the accident were truly risking their lives. They continue to work under extreme conditions. It is my sincere belief that, without these workers, Japanese life would have reached a stand-still – it is because of them that people can continue to go about their daily lives as if the Fukushima disaster never happened. We truly owe so much to these people. As a result, we must prioritize a proper consideration of the facts regarding their situation. These workers are subjected to the worst labor conditions, for example, exploitation through not receiving fare wages, not receiving a fair distribution of the labor, and carelessness in the management of health care and radiation control.

I would like to ask the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Can you declare that the Ordinance on Prevention of Ionizing Radiation Hazards, which is under your control, is strictly enforced in the field of the Fukushima TEPCO nuclear power plants disaster?

Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Division manager of Industrial Safety and Health Department (Mr. Arimichi Handa) As you pointed out, the workers in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant are working in an environment where there is a high dose of radiation.
We think it is necessary to manage the exposure levels and the worker’s health care. For this reason, we provide very strict direction to TEPCO and the original contractor on the reduction, quick measurement, and evaluation of the exposed dose, as well as daily health checks and so on.
More specifically, regarding the operation over 1mm Sievert per day, we ask TEPCO to submit a work plan before they begin, and we check if the implementation for the reduction of exposure levels has been done properly or not. Plus, we now continuously do on-site inspections at this power plant.
According to these inspections, if we find anything inappropriate, we issue a mandatory direction that anything we find is addressed immediately.

Mr. Taro Yamamoto That is right.
It seems that there is a special health examination which has been carried out once in six months to workers under the Ordinance on Prevention of Ionization Radiation Hazards. For example, the implementation is as follows: investigation on the history of radiation exposure, its analysis, the number of leucocyte and an inspection in percentage figures, the number of erythrocyte, the quantity of the blood pigment, hematocrit level, eye inspections for cataracts, and skin inspections. You say you are doing all of these things.

These medical examinations are only done during the workers’ tenure of office.
These checks will not be carried out after these workers have left their jobs. I ask the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare; whether you think it is your responsibility to monitor the entire healthcare lifespan of these workers and to carry out examinations for thyroid cancer and so on? What is your position on this?

Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Division manager of Industrial Safety and Health Department (Mr. Arimichi Handa) About Mr. Yamamoto’s indication, as you already know, for the people who were engaged in the urgent work at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant under completion of Step 2, we increased the limit level of exposure to 250 mm Sievert.
So, for these workers, we defined the indicator according to the report by the experts’ investigative commission, who defines a normal working limit as 100 mm Sievert for 5 years. We use this “100 mm” when we set the targets for cancer examinations, and we always ask the people concerned, (i.e. the workers) to have a cancer examination. In addition, we do take responsibility for the workers after they retire.
The radiation business at the Fukushima power plant site, aside from the issues arising from the disaster, is said to be completely the same as other radiation sites, so, for the workers who have not reached this contamination limit we think it is appropriate to keep them engaged in the same radiation work as before, as long as this is in conformity with the relevant legal statutes.

Mr. Taro Yamamoto Thank you.
I would like to hear about the problem of exploitation of the workers during the accident at the TEPCO nuclear power plant.
I think that the structure of subcontracting nuclear plant workers had become a problem in a number of ways.
As an example, I heard that the workers receive only a few thousand yen per day, even though they work at the place where the accident occurred, while the Top of the Pyramid at TEPCO were paid 80,000 yen per day. The workers are at the bottom of the pyramid, so somehow money has gone missing in between these two positions.
Did such things really occur? According to the explanation by you the other day, you understood and agreed with the result of the investigation on April 25 2013 where the prime contractor company had taken countermeasures to ensure proper labor conditions for TEPCO, even though proper wages for the workers were left out.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, I think you should take responsibility for ensuring proper labor conditions are enforced for workers as a result of the accident or under the decommissioning process. What do you think about this?

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Director-General for Policy Planning and Coordination (Mr. Toshihide Kasuya) In dealing with the decommissioning contaminated water problem, I think it is indispensable that the environment is improved so that workers feel comfortable and safe, and that they are recognized for their commitment working under such severe conditions. From that point of view, I think it is better for us, the State, to make a commitment that the amount of wages is set.
We think it is important, that the workers are given an explanation about their wages, the content of the work, the work environment before they begin, and that workers fully understand what their job entails. As for the Government’s role, for the medium-to-long term roadmap towards decommissioning, we check the progress of managing the safety control of the workers, radiation control, and healthcare and so on, continuously preparing comfortable working conditions for the workers as much as possible.
Besides, we understand that TEPCO has been addressing these issues with the prime contract companies on whether they have prepared and clearly provided details about the work, clear explanations about the wages to ensure the workers understand, and proper pursuance of the payment terms as agreed. As for the State, we would like to prompt TEPCO to correspond with us as and when is necessary.

Mr. Taro Yamamoto These are people who have truly committed their lives to work for this country
Regarding the problem of wages, the workers agreement should not be the main goal; the real goal of a responsible country, in my opinion, is to establish a policy where the workers fully understand their work conditions, and their agreement is obtained over fair wages and health care before they actually start work. To realise this, administrative assistance is also required.

This next question is the last one.
For the Minister in charge of the Special Secret Bill, Minister Mori, please.
Thank you.
Will information about the nuclear power plant be restricted under the new State Secret Bill?
I am sorry, since I have only 1 minute left; I ask only one question though I prepared more for today.

Minister in charge of Special Secret Bill (Ms. Masako Mori)
The information about the nuclear power plant disaster will not be restricted under the State Secret Bill.

However, some information, for example, regarding defense of the nuclear power plants by the police, will be classified as confidential because it is likely to contain information regarding the prevention of terrorism – this is set out in the attached table of the Bill, item No. 4 イ.

Mr. Taro Yamamoto That is right.
I requested information on this the other day.
(Showing the documents with redactions) This is the data from the nuclear power plant sent to Vietnam; most of the pages are completely redacted.
Almost all the pages are redacted; it is as if the Special Secret Bill has already come into force.
I would like to know the reasons for these redactions…. (There are people who are making remarks) Sorry for going over time.
Thank you.

Chairperson of the Committee (Mr. Toshikazu Mizuoka) Oh, do you finish?
Please, you decide if you have finished.

Mr. Taro Yamamoto Is it okay?
Thank you. Regarding the redactions in the Special Secret Bill, as it is defined too vaguely, it is difficult to comprehend. My view is that if the State does not clearly set out in more detail what would be protected and criminalized in the Bill, the Bill will dramatically restrict people’s lives in Japan and deprive them of their rights. Thank you.


○山本太郎君 よろしくお願いします。


国務大臣(菅義偉君/官房長官) そのように発言したことは事実であります。

山本太郎君 私、この安倍総理の発言というのは重大な事実誤認があるんじゃないかなって思うんですね。

政府参考人(塚原太郎君/環境省 環境保健部長) お答えします。


山本太郎君 なるほど。

○政府参考人(塚原太郎君) お答えします。

○山本太郎君 先ほどお聞きしたのは、甲状腺がん、そして甲状腺がんの疑いのある人たちに対して、どうしてこれだけ多くの人たちが甲状腺がん、そして疑いが出たのかという質問をしたときに、これは、発症して、そして何か調子が悪いなと思って病院に行った人たちが、今まではそういう症状があって訴えたから数が少なかったんだと、それを広く調査したらたくさんの人たちが該当するということが分かったんだよということを先ほど言われていましたけれども、でも、これ福島県だけじゃなくて、もちろん関東でも東北でも、日本全土でやればそれが本当かどうかということははっきりするんですね。

国務大臣(菅義偉君) 総理の約束は政府の約束でありますから、そこはもちろんしっかりと責任を持って対応するのは当然のことであります。

山本太郎君 次に、食品の安全基準について質問をさせていただきたいんですけれども、現在の日本の食品中の放射性物質の基準値というものがありますよね。

国務大臣(森まさこ君/内閣府特命担当大臣(少子化対策・消費者及び食品安全・男女共同参画)) 食品の基準値につきましては厚生労働大臣が担当でございますけれども、御質問でございますので、食品の安全について申し上げますと、食品の安全については、国民の健康の保護が最も重要であると認識の下、科学的な知見に基づき必要な措置が講じられなければならないと思っております。

山本太郎君 環境放射線データベースというものがありまして、事故前の数値、これ調べてみると、全国的におおむね一キロ当たり〇・一ベクレル以下というのが水準だったんですよね。

政府参考人(新村和哉君/厚生労働省 医薬食品局食品安全部長) お答えいたします。

山本太郎君 ありがとうございます。

政府参考人(半田有通君/厚生労働省 安全衛生部長) 東電福島第一原発の作業員の皆さんにつきましては、御指摘のとおり、放射線量の高い環境で作業をしていただいております。

山本太郎君 そうなんですよね。

政府参考人(半田有通君 先生の御指摘でございますけれども、御案内のとおり、福島第一原発で緊急作業に従事された方々、こういった方々に関しましては、御案内のとおり、ステップ2完了時までは私ども被曝線量限度を二百五十ミリシーベルトまで引き上げてございました。


山本太郎君 ありがとうございます。

政府参考人(糟谷敏秀君/経済産業省 総括審議官) 廃炉汚染水問題への対処におきましては、厳しい状況の中、作業員の方々が安全に安心して働ける環境を整備することは不可欠だと考えております。

山本太郎君 本当にこの国のために、この国がこの先も続けられるように命を削りながら作業をしてくださっている皆さんです。


○山本太郎君 そうなんですよね。

委員長(水岡俊一君) いやいや、終わりますか。

山本太郎君 いいんですか。

委員長(水岡俊一君) まとめてくださいね。

山本太郎君 秘密保護法、ここのライン引き、余りにもざっくりし過ぎていて分かりづらい。