The Minister is not too happy about Koriyama City removing the radioactive surface soil from the school yards to reduce radiation for the kids.
The public officials in Koriyama City in Fukushima are doing something to proactively protect children by removing the big source of radiation (soil in the school yards) that could harm them gravely. A very rational and compassionate thing to do, though it's just too bad that Fukushima I Nuke Plant continues to spew out radioactive plume far and wide and Koriyama's effort may be in vain in short order.
But it still seems infinitely better than letting the children play outdoors based on an arbitrary number (3.8 micro-sieverts/hr) picked by the national government for this emergency.
But what does the Minister of Education say about this effort? He effectively says to Koriyama officials "Don't be ridiculous. We've told you it is safe at 3.8 micro-sieverts/hr. You're overreacting, and you're making me look bad by implying 3.8 micro-sieverts/hr is not safe for small children!"
From NHK News Japanese (4/28/2011; now my more formal translation):
Japan's Minister of Education and Science Takagi commented on the effort by Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture to remove the surface soil in the school yards in the city's public schools in response to the TEPCO Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident, and said "Outdoor activities are possible without replacing the soil and sand," and called for a calm and rational response [to the crisis, the radiation level?].
福島第一原発の事故を受けて、福島県内の一部の学校で屋外での活動を取りやめているなか、郡山市で は、これまでの調査で放射線量が比較的高かった小中学校と保育所の合わせて２８か所で、校庭などの表面の土を取り除く作業を行うことにしています。これに ついて、高木文部科学大臣は閣議のあとの記者会見で、「郡山市の独自の判断だが、土や砂を入れ替えなくても、政府が目安として示した１時間当たり３．８マ イクロシーベルト未満の放射線量なら通常の屋外活動ができる。３．８を若干超えても、１日１時間に収めれば屋外活動ができる」と述べました。そのうえで、 高木大臣は「大事なのは継続的に放射線量の測定をしっかりやることだ。学校の先生に線量計を持ってもらい、安全性の確保を心していくことが重要だ」と述 べ、冷静な対応を呼びかけました。
Some schools in Fukushima Prefecture have stopped outdoor school activities. Koriyama City is planning to remove the surface soil from the school yards of 28 elementary schools, middle schools, and nursery schools that have had relatively high levels of radiation. Minister Takagi said in the press conference after the cabinet meeting, "It is Koriyama City's own decision. However, as long as the radiation level is below 3.8 micro-sieverts/hour which is the guideline provided by the government [his Ministry, actually], children can engage in the normal outdoor activities. Even if the radiation level slightly exceeds 3.8 micro-sieverts/hr, they can engage in the outdoor activities as long as the activities are limited to 1 hour per day." Takagi added, "What is more important is to continuously measure the radiation level. School teachers should be fitted with dosimeters, and they should secure the safety [of the pupils]", calling for a calm and rational response [from Koriyama City].