Sunday, February 19, 2012

Canada Denies Refugee Status to a Japanese Woman Seeking Asylum from Radiation Contamination in Japan

The article by Calgary Sun quoting Toronto Sun doesn't say why the immigration board declined the woman's petition. The article simply lists the woman's claims as:

  • “The claimant feared risks of exposure to radiation,”

  • “She was not convinced by the Japanese government’s assurances of safety from radiation.”

  • the claimant “feared being a victim of hazards that emanated from a combined natural and man-made disaster.”

  • the claimant’s risk “is characterized as being widespread and prevalent in Japan.”

Since the board must have denied the woman's petition for want of validity of her claims, the board's position could be:

  • There are no risks of exposure to radiation;

  • The Japanese government's assurances of safety from radiation are credible enough;

  • It was a natural disaster;

  • The radiation risk is not widespread and not prevalent in Japan.

The above are my guesses only, and I am probably guilty of sensationalizing.

The article says she is one of hundreds of Japanese seeking refuge in other countries since the March 11, 2011 disaster.

From Calgary Sun(2/18/2012):

Japan's nuclear evacuees denied Canadian refuge

By Tom Godfrey ,Toronto Sun

TORONTO - A Japanese woman who claimed exposure to radiation from damaged nuclear reactors has been denied refugee status in Canada almost one year after that nation was rocked by an earthquake and tsunami that left more than 100,000 people homeless.

The woman’s identity has not been released by an Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) since she’s seeking asylum in this country. She is among several dozen Japanese nationals who filed refugee claims to stay in Canada following the disaster and is one of the first decisions to be reached by the IRB.

“The claimant feared risks of exposure to radiation,” an IRB member said in a ruling. “She was not convinced by the Japanese government’s assurances of safety from radiation.”

The woman was one of hundreds of Japanese citizens who sought refuge in other countries following the March 11, 2011 catastrophe caused by a magnitude 9.0 quake and tsunami that left more than 15,000 dead and nearly 3300 missing.

The acts of nature crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant, leading to core meltdowns at three of its six reactors, and ongoing leaks of radioactive material.

A board member ruled the claimant “feared being a victim of hazards that emanated from a combined natural and man-made disaster.”

The member said the claimant’s risk “is characterized as being widespread and prevalent in Japan.”

The woman can still appeal her case to the Federal Court of Canada, and that decision can still be appealed.

She claimed her life was in danger from radioactive contaminants that spewed into the environment from the Fukushima plant.

More than 100,000 people were evacuated from their homes and businesses in a 20-km no-go zone around the plant.

The accident also raised fears of contamination in everything from fruit and vegetables to fish and water.

It took about nine months for the Japanese government to declare that the Fukushima plant was stable, although it will take about 40 years to decommission the plant.

Japan has since decided to lower its reliance on nuclear power, reversing its plans to boost it to 50 per cent by 2030. Most of its 54 reactors are currently off-line, most of them undergoing safety inspections.

"The acts of nature crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant"? I guess Toronto Sun doesn't know TEPCO and the Japanese government very well. The sentence is valid as long as man is part of nature.

In contrast, the Canadian Medical Association published an article last December lambasting the Japanese government for lying through their teeth to the citizens about the risks from the nuclear accident, with potentially dire health consequences:

A “culture of coverup” and inadequate cleanup efforts have combined to leave Japanese people exposed to “unconscionable” health risks nine months after last year’s meltdown of nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant, health experts say.

I'm sure the CMA exaggerated...


Anonymous said...

BTW, I have lived in 5 countries in Europe, 1 in North America, 2 in Asia and 2 in Africa. Many things are better in the "First world" (especially in most of Europe: education, health care, transportation).

BUT: There are some things which are better in many former Third World countries. Personally, although I was born and raised in Europe, I prefer living in "Asia" and "Africa" (nonsense 19th century colonial categories, but let's leave it at that.

For the rest, as posted elsewhere by me.

"Canada does not seem to be an option. This is mildly surprising to me, because they have an active immigration policy with quotas and points.

Europeans don’t really have that; fundamentally, their politicians and a large chunk of rightist population don’t want immigration. Sometimes that’s tragicomic, as when Geert Wilders, who is partially of Indonesian descent, rages against immigrants (talk about self-hatred!). Just like more than one Spanish inquisitioner was of Jewish or Muslim descent.

But let’s go to the practical side of this. Some people claim that this happened because Canada does not want refugees who would be expensive on the system because of their health care needs. I think this claim is largely nonsense.

Japanese applicants will not be accepted for the same reason that Americans fleeing the US army during the Bush years were not accepted. Politically, Canada supported the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, and it supports nuclear power. Accepting Japanese refugees would mean that they are criticizing nuclear power. Any healthcare issue is not even secondary; it's tertiary.

Now, the big question is, Australia and New Zealand. If they also close their door, most of Japanese refugees will have to go to different places in Latin America (including Brazil), parts of Africa or possibly Russia. Many will still get lucky, but I don’t expect that very large communities in the northern hemisphere will be possible.

All of that being said, as a former refugee I deeply hate anyone who would deny human rights to those in need."

Lord Metroid said...

There is always the option of entering and living undetected in a country. Shouldn't be too hard to live unnoticed if one is willing to sacrifice a little bit of comfort for the benefits of long term survival and health.

Anonymous said...

In our days, you can't last for too long in a country undetected. There are some exceptions, but you need an excellent network and job opportunities, as many Latinos in NYC do. That's actually much more difficult to accomplish than xenophobic populists ever realize.

Anonymous said...

i am ashamed to be canadian.

it is not that 'children shall lead', it is in fact that 'those with minds of children shall lead'. :(

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