Professor Kunihiko Takeda of Chubu University is a nuclear scientist known these days as one of the "nuclear sceptics" in Japan (he has been a "global warming sceptic", too), though he was a proponent of nuclear energy until mid 2000s when the government loosened the safety standards.
He has been highly critical of the government response to the Fukushima crises - Fukushima I Nuke Plant and radioactive contamination of air, water, soil, and ocean.
He's particularly angry, as any decent human being would, about the Japanese government's strange, bureaucratic willingness and insistence on exposing small children to the high level of radiation (20 millisieverts/year).
Here's his blog post on May 14 on the topic. I don't know and I haven't checked the factual basis for his comments, and the opinion expressed is his. (It's my quick translation, not necessarily literal. the original Japanese post is here.)
Kindergartens, primary schools turned into the places to receive radiation
I am calling out to teachers again.
Do you think your job is to teach children according to the daily curriculum?
Your duty is not "to teach according to the daily curriculum" but to educate children in the true sense of the word and help them grow healthy. And first and foremost in today's Fukushima, Kanto, and Miyagi, your duty is to protect children from radiation exposure.
Pay attention not to the provisional instruction from the Ministry of Education but to the law (that says 1 millisievert per year, and children are 3 times as sensitive to radiation as adults). You are in the position to protect children's health.
I hear that they use "cabbage, bean sprouts, cucumber, asparagus and beef from Fukushima" in school lunch in Yokohama City [in Kanagawa Prefecture].
What are they thinking?
It is good to help farmers in Fukushima, but that does not mean children should be forced to eat "contaminated vegetables". There should be other ways to help farmers.
People in charge of school lunch would say "it is safe", but that simply means "it is under the safety limit". If there is a bunch of spinach grown in Fukushima, and another bunch grown in Akita displayed side by side in a supermarket, would a mother pick Fukushima spinach?
Adults can choose what they eat, but children cannot. People in charge of school lunch should protect children like mothers would.
Use of school yard:
On April 14 in Kanagawa, iodine-131 was detected at 48,000 becquerels/square meters, and cesium-134 and cesium-137 were detected at 53,000 becquerels/square meters each on the surface of the soil with small gravels.
One month from the accident, radioactive materials had fallen on the ground, on the grass, and in the dust in the air as the soil gets kicked up.
Children are shorter in height than adults, and they play on the school yards. External radiation from the yards, and internal radiation from the dust they inhale. Children's radiation exposure is much bigger than that of adults.
But schools don't stop the use of the school yards.
They have school gyms. They could wash the floor and the walls of the gym clean to drastically reduce the radiation.
Why do school teachers want to expose children to radiation?
An increasing number of schools are going to places with even higher radiation levels for school athletic events, extracurricular activities, and school trips.
It is only natural for parents at this time not to want to have their children go to places with high radiation. Teachers should worry about the children's health instead of worrying about "breach of contract", "it had been planned before the accident" or "Ministry of Education would be upset if we cancel the event".
"If we cancel the event, it will inconvenience the other party", they may say. But which is more important, the inconvenience of the other party or the reduction of radiation exposure for children?
As usual, just like last year, the school athletic event will be held. As usual, just like last year, children will clean the school's swimming pool.
It looks like "as usual, just like last year", but there is one big difference.
That is, school yards and the water in the swimming pools weren't contaminated with radioactive materials last year. For children, radioactive materials are a poison.
Why do you take children to a poison? "We can't see a poison" say schools, but that's not what grown-ups should be saying.
Children doing push-ups on the dusty school yards. Their lips almost touch the dirt that has radioactive materials. If you are a teacher seeing this and if you don't think there's anything wrong with it, you'd better quit right away. You do not have aptitude to be a teacher.
After the Chernobyl accident, Germany disposed of cows [?] as beef that contained cesium-137 would not be fit for consumption and the half-life [of cesium-137] was 30 years even if the meat was burned.
In Switzerland, which was further away from Chernobyl than Germany, they fed cows and sheep with hays from the previous year, and moved sheep to the uncontaminated western state of Fribourg.
In Japan, they moved cows from near the Fukushima Nuke Plant to all over Japan, to 24 different prefectures. Germany and Switzerland adhered to 1 millisieverts per year. Japan is saying "you have to put up with radiation".
[Contaminated] milk is dangerous. In Chernobyl, thyroid cancer in children was caused largely by drinking milk tainted with radioactive materials.
Many mothers are suffering.
Schools that say "mothers are overreacting" are violating the law. Teachers, please study the law on radiation protection, and "clearance level". 20 millisieverts [per year] is in violation of the law.
Children in Kanto and southern Tohoku has already suffered a serious internal radiation exposure in March. They need a break [from radiation], even for a short while.
Please, they need a break!
It is said that there is no longer a primary school, or secondary school in Japan, where teachers are kind-hearted, straight-forward, and respected like they used to.
The society has changed, and parents do not respect teachers. Certain activities of the Teachers' Union may have something to do with it.
And now, schools are organized like a military organization with the Ministry of Education at the top commanding the schools and the schools receiving the orders.
But all these are the "adults' problems", and children should not suffer the consequence.
No matter how crooked the society is, no matter how harsh the treatment one receives, it is the human spirit that rise against it.
(Speaking of the Teachers Union, the incumbent Minister of Education, Yoshiaki Takagi, is a former union activist at Mitsubishi Heavy Industry's Nagasaki Shipyard.)