JAPAN | University of Tokyo professor blasts Diet over no policy on radioactive contamination

Posted on August 23, 2011

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JAPAN | MAINICHI | 23 August 2011

Tatsuhiko Kodama, head of the University of Tokyo Radioisotope Center, is seen at the University of Tokyo Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology in Meguro-ku, Tokyo. (Mainichi)

Tatsuhiko Kodama, head of the University of Tokyo Radioisotope Center, is seen at the University of Tokyo Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology in Meguro-ku, Tokyo. (Mainichi)

University of Tokyo professor Tatsuhiko Kodama, a sharp critic of the government’s response to the Fukushima nuclear crisis, called the Diet “dysfunctional” on Aug. 22 for failing to decide on a radioactive decontamination policy before moving to wrap up the current legislative session.

“I just cannot understand what the Diet is doing,” Kodama, 58, told reporters at a news conference at the University of Tokyo, where he is head of the school’s Radioisotope Center. “The Diet has become completely dysfunctional. The government is meant to work on behalf of the people of Japan.”

Kodama was particularly critical of the political class’ single-minded concentration on the coming Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) leadership race, even as policy on what to do with radioactive soil to be removed from areas around the stricken Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant remains up in the air.

“The choice of the next leader is certainly important,” the professor stated, “but the whole process is unfolding based on internal party conditions and without any reference to the radioactive contamination issue. I want someone who can to the best thing for the people of this country to become the next leader.

Kodama furthermore called for the creation of a committee of experts without any previous connection to the nuclear power industry to form policy on compensation systems for children and pregnant women from contaminated areas, as well as contamination countermeasures on a national scale.

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