Roche to attend Fukushima disaster ceremony

A group of Japanese businessmen have invited the founder of Chernobyl Children International, Adi Roche, to take part in high-profile ceremonies to mark the anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Ms Roche is the only representative from a Chernobyl-related organisation to be asked to travel to Japan for the anniversary.

She will attend commemoration ceremonies on the perimeter of the exclusion zone Saturday week. She will also enter the contaminated zones and visit the Hiroshima and Nagasaki memorial sites.

During her two week visit the Corkwoman will also meet with a number of evacuees of Fukushima, including a small number of “double survivors” of the Fukushima and Hiroshima/Nagasaki disasters, and deliver a number of keynote addresses on her experience of the Chernobyl fallout.

The Fukushima plant suffered major damage from the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on Mar 11 last year, leading to radiation leaks which meant a 30km zone around the plant had to be evacuated. A month later, a 20km zone around the reactors was declared a “no go” area without government supervision.

Speaking ahead of the trip, Ms Roche said “I am privileged to have been asked to go to Japan for the first anniversary and have been really taken aback by the number of invitations I have received for meetings during my stay there, not least the Japanese environment minister Goshi Hosono. Minister Hosono holds one of the most important roles in one of the world’s largest economies”.

“I will certainly be making the most of the opportunity and outlining my grave concerns regarding nuclear power. I will also be making it clear to him the need for strong central government in Japan to deal with the fallout from Fukushima.

“The reality is that one year on from Fukushima, no one knows the extent of the fallout yet.

“Over 100,000 people were evacuated and that’s the most obvious fallout so far but we haven’t begun to understand or find out the depth of the long-term health implications.

“The more light we shed on Fukushima at an international level the better as it will ensure the affected areas get the focus and specialist attention they need.”

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