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Trip to Mali and Burkina Faso [2011年10月31日(Mon)]
Trip to Mali and Burkina Faso


I am leaving for Mali and Burkina Faso today.

It has been 25 years since we started the agricultural training program in Ghana and Sudan in 1986 triggered by the devastating famine in Ethiopia brought about by draught. We believed that the basic solution lie in the principle of “not giving fish but teaching how to fish” and with repeated trial and error we have come to be recognized as the only successful agricultural aid project in Africa today. We have come to a long way and now have entered a new stage with financial cooperation with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that has lead to attract attention of the whole world.

On this trip, I will be giving a keynote address at the 25th anniversary commemorative international conference. I am also looking forward to seeing the happy faces of the farmers on my visits to the field. I will also be having a meeting with President Touré of Mali and visiting the leprosy hospital to give encouragement to those in suffering

In Burkina Faso, I will hold a meeting with President Compaoré. I will also visit the leprosy hospital and attend the donation ceremony of our collection of “100 Books on Contemporary Japan” to the Polytechnic University of Bobo-Dioulasso.

I am scheduled to return on November 9th.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army and the Japanese Self Defense Forces [2011年10月28日(Fri)]


The Chinese People’s Liberation Army and the Japanese Self Defense Forces



The Sasakawa Japan-China Friendship Fund has been supporting the military exchange program between Japan and China over the years. This exchange program came to be well known as a program which is led by the private sector initiative, which was never interrupted even while intergovernmental exchange had been stalled. At times I hear criticisms such as “how dare they go on with such a program that is virtually playing into the hands of the Chinese while there are so many existing sensitive issues between the two countries, such as the Senkaku Islands issue.”

The following speech, given on the occasion of the reception in honor of the visiting delegation of the Chinese Liberation Army, is part of the answer to the above comment.

*****************


October 21, 2011
Hotel New Otani, Tokyo

I would like to heartily welcome the members of the 2011 Chinese Liberation Army trainees headed by Senior Colonel He Xinchong. The members of the Japanese Self Defense Forces are scheduled to visit Beijing next February. This program is not solely a military program, but is intended to further deepen the understanding of each other’s countries and their people.

I am not quite sure if we can say that this private sector initiative in the intervention of sensitive area of exchange of military delegations can go as far as to be a track two intermediary or not. Our program continued even during the period while the governments of the two countries military exchange had stopped. As a result, the program has been highly recognized not only among the Japanese defense authorities and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, but by the world community. 

The members of the Japanese Self Defense Forces who have visited China say that their impression was so different from what they had imagined or learned from television. I believe that the 20 members of the PLA who are visiting Japan will also see Japan that is different from what you have been imagining through your visits, not only to the military facilities, but also to agricultural and industrial premises, meeting and talking with people from different walks of life here in Japan.

I have already mentioned that this project is rated highly by the governments of the two countries as the program is very flexible because it is led by the private sector. Yet I always question myself whether this is really how it should be. No doubt we will do whatever we can to fulfill our roles and responsibility, but I am doubtful that it should continue to depend solely on private channel.

As you all know during the Second World War, Germany fought against the former Soviet Union through which the latter suffered great sacrifices. Yet the Soviet Union (Russia today) has the best bilateral relationship with Germany today that has been built through repeated dialogue between the two countries.

There are many sensitive issues that lie between China and Japan including the Senkaku Islands issue, but this sort of relationship is not unique to Japan and China. Everywhere in the world countries that share national borders are not necessarily always on good terms, and we may safely say that there are many countries that continue to experience long years of tension between them.

Today, China is our prime and foremost trading partner. Yet whenever a problem arises, there is nothing but fierce battle of adverse reproaches on both sides. I feel that nothing is worse than this situation for our relationship as neighbors, and honestly feel that it is very unfortunate as they only lead to instigation of anti-Japanese and anti-Chinese feelings.

Economic relationship between our two countries are very close, separated only by a narrow streak of water, but I would be very frank to say that heads of states, politicians or even the businessmen are still bound by formalities in the relationship between the two countries.

Needless to say, we have seen many accidents and incidents developing into serious situations that have taken place in our history. We are aware that we are no exception to the same situation. Therefore I feel that it is of utmost importance that the heads of the two countries as well as the political leaders take the initiative to create as many opportunities as possible to talk frankly in an unofficial sphere to prevent more problems from arising. I have come to feel, having visited China close to one hundred times, that is so important, for our two countries.

Japan is protected by the US-Japan Security Treaty, but we cannot stay satisfied and complacent. It is very important that we explore mutual understanding and build deeper relationship with our neighbor, China, through frank exchange of ideas. This is what will make us both know where our real intentions and differences lie and to measure the distances that separate our two countries. Germany, while a major NATO country has established a relationship of trust with Russia through continuous dialogue, although their political and social systems differ totally. We Japanese need to understand why we cannot build such a relationship with China. It is so important for both countries to have a mutual understanding of where our differences of perception lie. When Japan and China continue to build on our frank and continuous dialogue, understand each other and consequently further develop our two nations, I believe that there is a possibility that both China and Japan can build a bilateral relationship that will contribute not only to Asia but to the world peace.

I would like to wish that the delegation headed by Senior Colonel He Xinchong will be able to come to understand the real image of Japan in the coming 11 days of your stay by asking various questions that might be on your mind to us Japanese. The Japanese Self Defense Forces and the private companies are all preparing and awaiting your visit. I wish you all a rich and fulfilling stay in Japan and we look forward to your warm hospitality when our delegation visits your country next February.

Every member of the delegation led by Senior Colonel He are people that all of us can talk frankly with. They are already the backbone of the Chinese Liberation Army and there are many members who are to become future chief officers of the CPL. Although time is short, I do hope that the members of the Japanese Self Defense Forces and the media would also benefit from this very rare opportunity to nurture mutual understanding, and consequently serve to cooperate in building a wonderful bilateral relationship by overcoming the differences that we experience in our two countries.
read more...
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Multilanguage information transmission site [nippon.com] [2011年10月26日(Wed)]

Japan after March 11



Multilanguage information transmission site [nippon.com]



The Multilanguage information site [nippon.com] has at last been launched from October. It is being favorably received, and I would like to express my appreciation to the efforts of all who have been involved.

I would like to take the liberty to explain briefly about how it all came about. Japan Echo, a general incorporated foundation had been publishing English public relation magazine, Japan Echo, mainly purchased by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has won fame among the intellectuals overseas.

However, it fell under the budget screening of the government, and as a result it was deemed that it might be difficult to continue its publication work with a budget cut. Mr. Joji Harano, the President of Japan Echo was worried for its future.

While on my part, I have been lamenting over the poor quality of information transmitted from Japan to overseas countries, and I have been appealing on many occasions that there was a need to improve this situation. It was at this time that a friend of mine, Mr. Tadamasa Fukiura, introduced me to Mr. Harano.

We came to an almost full agreement, and my longtime dream of transmitting information from Japan in the six UN official languages was to be realized. We arrived at a consensus that from October we will start with Japanese, English, Chinese, French, Spanish to be followed by Russian and Arabic sometime after next year, and we will gradually include other languages.

In order to erase the general image of “an organization with a strong influence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” I asked that the name of the site be changed from “Japan Echo” to “nippon.com”.
Mr. Harano gave up the name that he so cherished over the years for the general good, and agreed to accept the request.

Who then owns the “nippo.com” domain? After investigation we were very fortunate to discover that it was owned by Nippon Express America. Negotiations started between President Takeju Ogata of the Nippon Foundation, and the domain was handed over to the Nippon Foundation at no cost. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Nippon Express for its broad-minded generosity.

I would like to be spared of going into the detailed explanation as it could be superfluous. I would like you to first visit it and to spread the word far and wide while giving it your honest criticisms and guidance for it to win trust from the world and to become a credible web media representing Japan. I cannot but help to wish that it will become a tool for the people of the world to understand the real-life image of Japan.

The following languages are available at the moment.
Japanese
English
Chinese (Simplified Chinese)
Chinese (Traditional Chinese)
French
Spanish
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
Prime Minister Noda and Barber [2011年10月21日(Fri)]

The Sweet Smell of Showa Era


Prime Minister Noda and Barber


It was common in many men to part his hair either to the left or to the right in the ratio of 7:3. Of course, there were also coiffeur such as the long “all back” type of the desperado kind of men, that reached to the shoulders or a very unique “barcode” style of the former prime minister Nakasone who was decorated with the Grand Order of the Chrysanthemum.

Why do men suffer so much from the thinning of hair to the extent that they all rush to buy hair tonics and hair transplants, I do understand that it is all part of well-gloomed men to have nice coiffeur. Hair transplant is like to tree planting. Every hair is “planted” in an orderly way like a tree and that in some people it is very obvious.

Baldness, I agree, might be a major problem, but it seems that it is an unnecessary worry. I have asked many women as to what they thought about being bald or not and have confirmed that it is not the most important condition for love. All the women speak in one voice that kind heart will make up for their physical appearance; they can be bald, fat and short. I tell you my fellow gentlemen, your worries are idle worries.

Times have changed. The traditional 7:3 hairstyle of a decade ago is no longer in the top priority. There are many young men who frequent beauty parlors and have very unique hairstyles. The only thing I ask is that the cleanliness and neatness never be forgotten.

More than 10 years ago, there was a high class barber called “Yonekura” in the basement of a 5 star hotel which catered to prime ministers and business men at a price of \10,000. I am not criticizing that people pay \10,000 for a haircut. A trip to a barber for a man is a get-away or a diversion, and for some a relaxation. One of my best friends actually starts the week by going to the barber every Monday morning.

It is said that Prime Minister Noda’s favorite is a \1000-for-10-mimute-barber where he gets just a simple haircut. But this does not mean that he is unpretentious and is close to the common man. It is only a matter of taste.

I dislike going to a barber. It is a worst of all the ordeals to have to sit in the seat. Therefore it has always been my wife who took care of my hair cut, but I have lost an extreme amount of hair with advance in age, and I have been ordered from her that I must go to a barber as it has become too difficult technically to cut my hair.

Our neighborhood barber was blessed (??) at one time with my 4 sons and the 5 sons of my elder brother, but these once boys have grown up into adults have each moved away from home and the neighborhood. The barber himself is getting old and operated his shop with his elderly wife and his son, but today it is only the son that is in charge of the customers. I have been there hoping to get a haircut, but there is always customers waiting for their turn, so I end up returning home in vain.

So I have no other alternative, but to beg my wife to once again be my barber.
“Your hair has thinned so much, dear” she says with a tone of slight contempt and readily starts to cut my hair.
“Why do you think I’m losing hair so much faster than my age? It’s due to you and the boys,” is almost ready to come out in retaliation, but I endure the humiliation silently and patiently.
“I’m done! I just chopped off a bit too much in some parts, but nobody would notice anyway!!”
I have successfully endured the “10-minute-barbar” spiced with malicious words.

Yet my wife was right.
There is absolutely no reaction to my haircut.
Or it could be that people have noticed, but are just giggling away.
It is of no concern. What is important is the blessing and the happiness of having lived to this day.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
International Experts Symposium on Radiation and Health Risks -6 [2011年10月19日(Wed)]

Recommendations presented to Minister Hosono in charge of handling nuclear crisis


International Experts Symposium on Radiation and Health Risks -6
―Conclusions and Recommendations―


The following are as of October 18 the final revisions of the conclusions and recommendations of the International Experts Symposium on Fukushima – Radiation and Health Risks. As the organizer, I had presented drafts of the documents on September 16 to the Honorable Goshi Hosono, Minister of State for the Corporation in support of Compensation for Nuclear Damage.

**************


Conclusions and Recommendations of the International Expert Symposium in Fukushima – Radiation and Health Risks –


The International Expert Symposium in Fukushima – Radiation and Health Risks met in Fukushima, Japan, on September 11 and 12, 2011. The purpose of the Symposium was for a group of international and Japanese experts in radiation and health-related fields to review the potential health effects of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear accident.

The Symposium was also attended by experts from relevant international, intergovernmental bodies including the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and by representatives of non-governmental organizations including the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP).

The participants expressed their gratitude to The Nippon Foundation, the Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation, and Fukushima Medical University for organizing the Symposium.

The Symposium participants took note of the wide global experience available for assessing the consequences of major releases of radioactive substances into the environment, which have resulted from the international review of the aftermath of large accidents, such as the Chernobyl accident and reached the following conclusions and recommendations:

1) The Fukushima nuclear accident followed a massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated the northeast region of Japan. Countermeasures including evacuation, sheltering, and control of the food chain were implemented in a timely manner. To date there have been no acute radiation injuries from the nuclear accident. It is understood that stable iodine was not generally administered to the public, however. According to the reported monitoring results, the thyroid doses were low, not necessarily justifying the administration of stable iodine. Taking these factors into account, together with the magnitude of the reported levels of radioactive substances released into the atmosphere and the ocean, the radiation-related physical health impact on the general public, including evacuees, is likely to be limited and much lower than that from Chernobyl, where the only conclusive radiation-induced health effect was thyroid cancer from children drinking milk contaminated with high levels of radioactive iodines. However, the social, psychological, and economic impact of the Fukushima nuclear accident is expected to be considerable. Because of these impacts, continued monitoring and characterization of the levels of radioactivity in the environment are vital for obtaining the informed consent to the decisions on various issues such as the extent to which populations can return to their homes.

2) The Japanese medical profession needs the most up-to-date health and radiation information to provide the best possible help and care to the population of Fukushima. This requires continued health monitoring and work has begun to collect the necessary health and demographic information. Initial plans for the Fukushima Health Management Survey were presented at the Symposium and were welcomed under the recognition that there is a critical need to develop organized community participation to express the collective concerns of the population as a whole. In addition, the following points were noted:

a) The basic means and tools for obtaining the information necessary for health assessment include the Fukushima Health Management Survey, supplemented with the cancer registry which has been ongoing for the past two years in Fukushima. It is recommended to use the extensive experience available from Japanese scientists and at the international level to plan and implement this survey. It is only the residents of Fukushima who can provide the survey information, and a high level of participation is essential for valid results. This survey will provide information to permit an overall health assessment that will be of benefit to the entire population of Fukushima residents.
b) Participation in the survey is important for each individual, and will enable people to learn their exposure history. Exposure history requires knowing where each individual was since the accident. This assessment is expected to include both external and internal doses, and it is desirable to support such an assessment with individual radiation measurements where appropriate. With this history, individuals can consult with healthcare providers in order to obtain the best possible personal health care. To obtain the most useful information, data must be collected as soon as possible to provide accurate information necessary for further analysis and future reference.
c) Authorities should make it as easy as possible for the population to complete the survey. Those who have not yet completed the survey form are strongly encouraged to do so as soon as practicable. To facilitate the greatest response rate, repeated requests should be made through multiple channels.

3) Because of the long term support to persons exposed to radiation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki by Japanese medical doctors and scientists during the past 60 years, Japan has considerable expertise, probably the best in the world, in radiation related issues. This expertise should be called upon to help those affected by the Fukushima nuclear accident. At the same time it is important to recognize the responsibility of the authorities to learn as much as possible from the information obtained.

4) Although Japan has developed one of the most advanced radiation emergency medicine systems in the world, the nuclear accident occurred as a result of a multidimensional disaster due to the tsunami, the earthquake and human factors that combined to destroy the local infrastructure on which the system depended. Accordingly, adequate means of communication and adequate health care were not always available. Lessons are being identified and solutions suggested to address these problems.

5) Health professionals and scientists must seek to explain the possible effects or lack of detectable effects of radiation to the best of their ability to the people of Fukushima and other concerned individuals. Transparency in dose evaluation, risk assessment and decision-making is vital. At the same time, the scientific evidence and understanding must be provided to the public in a manner that can be readily understood.

6) Social and psychological support must also be integrated within all healthcare provisions.

7) International support by organizations including ICRP, WHO, IAEA and UNSCEAR is important in light of their extensive experience in radiation related matters. Collaborations among international organizations should be encouraged and strengthened.

8) The Government of Japan and the international organizations should consider how best to benefit from the lessons learned and being learned so that they can effectively continue stronger coordinated cooperation in the long term. One possibility would be to convene a task force on the Fukushima nuclear accident, which should include participation of national and local governments, other stakeholders, public representatives of the affected communities, and the international organizations concerned. The mission of the task force would be to:

(a) encourage coordination of the advice given by various national and international organizations on the planned projects on Fukushima;
(b) generate, through a series of managerial and expert meetings, ‘authoritative consensual statements’ on the environmental consequences and health effects attributable to radiation exposure arising from the accident; and
(c) provide advice on environmental remediation and special health care programs, and to suggest areas in which further research is required.


September 30, 2011

Members of the Organizing Committee and Speakers
International Expert Symposium in Fukushima
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
Fukushima Nuclear Accident and Harmful Rumor [2011年10月17日(Mon)]

Ears of rice that bend heavily under the blue skies of Fukushima
Safety of rice has been confirmed, but….


Fukushima Nuclear Accident and Harmful Rumor



I have already reported on the “International Experts Symposium on Radiation and Health Risks” sponsored by the Nippon Foundation on September 11 and 12, in 5 series of my blogs.

The honest opinion of the experts who participated at this symposium was that the task facing the scientists today is to how to convey correct knowledge concerning radiation, not only to the people of Fukushima Prefecture and the Japanese citizens who are frightened with anxiety, but to the entire world in an easy to understand language.

“Is it necessary to go to that extent?” were the words of surprise uttered by many experts from overseas when they learned that the Fukushima prefectural government had started a full-scale and long-term health survey for all the 2 million inhabitants of the prefecture, as of August, as well as large-scale decontamination activities, and evaluated the government’s action very highly. Not only that, but it was also pointed out that the influence on the health of the people is kept to the minimum through the prompt action of evacuation and food control compared to the Chernobyl accident.

In my opening address, I mentioned that a strict verification must be carried out for the insincere attitude of the Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company. Furthermore, the news coverage, especially from some irresponsible comments made by the so-called “better informed” television commentators and specialists continued to provoke further anxieties concerning radiation health risks and magnified the harmful rumors.

Harmful rumors still continue to trouble the people of Fukushima prefecture even to this day, six months since the nuclear accident.

“The Gozan-no-okuribi”, more commonly known as “Daimonji”, an August festival in Kyoto in which five giant bonfires are lit on the mountains surrounding the city to send off the deceased family members back to the spiritual world after their return during the O-bon festival. The plan was to burn the pine trees of Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture, but it was suspended since some of the citizens protested saying that Lake Biwa will be contaminated. After some discussion, it was decided to go ahead with the original plan, but was stopped as soon as very small amount of radiation was detected.

More recently, many inquiries had come in from worried citizens for the annual fireworks display to be held in Nisshin City, Aichi Prefecture, saying that the fireworks of Fukushima pyrotechnists would be contaminated with radioactive materials, and the city authorities decided to cancel the display of fireworks from Fukushima.

On September 4, the guest panelist Professor Kunihiko Takeda of Chubu University on the nationwide TV opinion program, “Sokomade Itte Takajin Iinkai” answered to whom a fourth grader asked a question, “What would happen if we ate vegetables and beef from the Tohoku region?” “Throw them (vegetables and beef from Tohoku region) away as possible because it would be hazardous to health” was the answer from the professor which spurted a great commotion.

The people who turned their backs to the voices of many citizens that “Japan is united to support the disaster area” have amplified anxiety among the people. There are people who have made their existence known triumphantly winning fame feeding on the misfortune of others. These names must never be forgotten.

Yet there was a man, even in the depth of great sadness, who came to Japan recognizing the importance of the Symposium, despite having lost his two sons in a traffic accident just prior to his departure. He is Mr. Abel J. Gonzalez, the Vice-chair of Main Commission of International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). “We, mankind all live in a radioactive environment. There was a question whether 20 millisieverts is a dangerous amount of radiation or not, but there are places that have high radiation such as state of Kerala in India, a region in France and in Argentina where I live. The health risk from radioactive materials in Fukushima is at a level that should not be a matter of concern. However, it is necessary for Fukushima prefectural government to carry out health risk survey to liberate people from their anxiety. There is no simple solution as to how fear could be removed and it is therefore important that experts make the utmost effort to disseminate correct knowledge to the people. It is extremely dangerous that people hurt each other by exaggerating the impact of radiation through fear and lack of knowledge. The same thing is about to happen in Fukushima. Japan has taken good initiative to prevent serious damages.” These are the words of Mr. Gonzalez.

There were 10 reporters from NHK and 7 from Asahi Shimbun Newspaper that came to cover this international symposium. I do not expect them to agree wholly to what has been discussed at the symposium, but it is my utmost desire that the media cooperate with us to contribute to take away the anxiety of the people of Fukushima, even in the least, through their accurate coverage.

There are still 40 countries that ban partial or total import of Japanese food and agricultural products due to damage caused by unnecessary rumor that prevail not only in Japan but throughout the world. Let us all work together as citizens of Japan for the quick reconstruction of Fukushima and other victimized regions of our country with each of us understanding radiation correctly.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
International Experts Symposium on Radiation and Health Risks -5 [2011年10月14日(Fri)]


International Experts Symposium on Radiation and Health Risks -5
-Three-hour Press Briefing-



The first international experts symposium that took place in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident was simultaneously U-streamed in English and Japanese to the world. In this way, I believe we were able to establish the transparency and accountability of the conference.
Seventy-six journalists from 33 companies packed the press briefing. NHK, the Japanese national broadcasting station, sent 10 reporters, the Asahi Shimbun Newspaper 7, Yomiuri 4, Kyodo News 4, Jiji Press 3, Nikkei Shimbun 3. Other media such as Sankei and Mainichi Shimbuns were also represented. As reported earlier, due to the delayed preparation of the recommendations, the briefing began twenty minutes later than planned.

I believed that it was essential to have collaboration of the media in coping with the insecurities of the people, therefore I asked all 31 foreign experts to be present. All of them willingly consented despite their jet lag and the pressure of the two-day conference.

I opened the meeting stating that the commentators and self-proclaimed experts have added to fear of the people by providing analysis and explanations on radiation exposure not backed up by scientific evidence. This irresponsible and low-quality information had only confused citizens regarding the real situation. Therefore, there was an abject need for providing scientifically correct information by bringing together the wisdom of experts worldwide.

I promised that the press meeting would have no time limit, and remained committed until all questions were answered. Our overseas experts responded to every question kindly and thoroughly. By the time the last question was answered, the meeting had taken over 3 hours. It was rewarding for me as the organizer to have journalists on their feet to express with such enthusiasm.

It is very much to be hoped that all concerned will draw solid conclusions based on scientific data rather than simply passing on statements made by amateur commentators and ‘experts’ lacking knowledge.

While the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company should be held accountable for their poor response thus far, I urge that each of us should play a role in supporting the reconstruction of Fukushima, by for example choosing to purchase agricultural produce from Fukushima to counter the negative rumors.

The reconstruction of Fukushima is an obligation to be borne by all of us in Japan.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
International Experts Symposium-Radiation and Health Risks-4 [2011年10月12日(Wed)]

Experts continue their discussion at the reception


International Experts Symposium —Radiation and Health Risks-4
— Drafting Recommendations —


Hitherto, it has been customary for recommendations that are made following international conferences to be drafted in advance.

We distributed conference materials to supporting organizations such as the Cabinet Office, the Ministries of Justice; Foreign Affairs; Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; Health, Labour and Welfare; Economy, Trade and Industry; Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism; and the Environment. As expected, some of them had asked for main points of the recommendations to be given them in advance. We told them we were starting from scratch and recommendations would only be available at the conclusion of our meeting. Some of them may have doubted the authenticity of our conference because of the lack of recommendations at the start.

As the organizer of the conference, I did not allow recommendations to be made in advance. For one thing, lack of information regarding the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident and the insincere responses of the government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company have become a hotbed of uncertainties and unhappiness among people in Japan and around the world.
I wished to avoid any possibilities of our sincere intentions being misunderstood if the recommendations were published ahead of the meeting.

The drafting of the recommendations involving all experts that began at 3 p.m. on September 12, the last day of the conference, was indeed a difficult process. We had planned to have the recommendations ready for distribution at the press conference that was to start at 5:30 p.m. Dr. David Heymann, one of the members of the Organizing Committee, had been taking notes for the draft document during the conference, and Dr. Abel Gonzalez went through the document paragraph by paragraph, asking other experts for comments. Many hands went up from those wishing to contribute to the draft recommendations. By the time Dr. Gonzalez had finalized the recommendations, it was past the time when the press conference was supposed to have begun.
Therefore, we could only explain the gist of the recommendations to the press orally and promise to give them the final document later.

Drafting the recommendations with the participation of all the experts was certainly rare if not unprecedented, and this was met with great appreciation. I marveled at the adept way in which Dr. Heymann and Gonzalez addressed each suggestion.

The fruits of our labor, the Conclusion and the Recommendations, will be submitted to the government.
Their contents will be shared with you in my blog later on.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
Appointments in Czech Republic and Finland [2011年10月07日(Fri)]
Appointments in Czech Republic and Finland


I will be on my way to Prague and Helsinki tomorrow.

The main purpose of this trip is to be at the 15th international conference “Forum 2000” that the former President Vacalv Havel and I established together in 1997. This year’s theme is Democracy and the Rule of Law.

In the Asian Panel, Professor Kiichi Fujiwara of the University of Tokyo will be present. At the Sasakawa Peace Foundation Panel, the Foundation’s Chairman and Board of Directors Jiro Hanyu will be present, with Dean Motoshige Ito, Graduate School of the University of Tokyo giving a Keynote Speech.

From the Middle East Forum established in Jordan the year before last, H.R.H. Prince El Hassan bin Talal plans to present a report centering on the Arab Spring at the panel session. We expect the conference to attract keen attention.

In Helsinki, I will attend the 20th anniversary ceremony of Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (Sylff) established in the University of Helsinki, and visit the National Achieves of Finland.

I plan to return on October 16.
I look forward to give you a report on the proceedings of the conference.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(1)
International Expert Symposium on Radiation and Health Risks –3 [2011年10月07日(Fri)]

Abel Julio Gonzalez, Vice-chair, International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP)


International Expert Symposium on Radiation and Health Risks – 3
The world’s wisdom collected to deliberate on the future of Fukushima


Thirty-one experts from 14 countries and international organizations, including International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), European Organization for Nuclear Research, United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCER), National Cancer Institute (U.S.), Health Protection Agency (U.K.), National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine, Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Russian, Chernobyl Tissue Bank, Dalton Nuclear Institute, Ukrainian Research Institute of Endocrinology and Metabolism, World Health Organization, German Federal Office for Radiation Protection and 15 experts from Japan participated and presented their reports. The symposium was also attended by approximately 200 Japanese researchers, scholars and representatives of the news media in the two-day symposium that took place on September 11 and 12 during which heated deliberation continued.

Director General Margaret Chan of the World Health Organization stated in her video message that it is important as one of the best means to use the international professional knowledge and technology in order to draw out appropriate and acceptable evidenced-based outcome as regards the health risks concerning emergency situation.

Abel Julio Gonzalez, Vice-chair of the International Commission on Radiological Protection had lost his two sons in a traffic accident prior to his departure for Japan. He came in spite of his deep sorrow because of the importance of the conference. He commended the consistency of the measures taken to protect citizens from radiation in the aftermath of the nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima. On the other hand, he noted that there was a misunderstanding going around concerning the danger of internal exposure more than necessary. “The lessons learned at Fukushima should certainly be incorporated in the international standards in the future.”

John Boice Jr. from International Epidemiology Institute emphasized, “Poison is the dose, not the exposure to radiation. Fukushima is not Chernobyl. The risk is small given the appropriate measures taken for evacuation and food examination.”

Professor Evelyn Bromet from Stony Brook University pointed out the need of carefully observing the soundness of mind as well as the health of the body of the citizens.

Executive Director Makoto Akashi of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences emphasized, “Citizens are confused without knowing the correct information. The consistent information based on the scientific knowledge should be disseminated.”

David Heyman, Senior Fellow at the Chatham House Centre on Global Health Security (U.K.) summed up, “Health management must include psychological impact and provide multi-faceted care to residents in and around the radiation effected area.”

Participants were positively surprised to learn that the Fukushima prefectural government has effected health management survey covering all its two million residents.

I felt the real need of scientists going to the effected communities to talk with citizens their fears in layman’s language, not just a cursory official explanation.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
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