February 25, 2022

The Reconstruction Agency has distributed flyers to schools across Japan asking for their understanding of the increasing release of treated water containing tritium and other radioactive materials from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

From December to January of last year, the Reconstruction Agency distributed flyers to junior high schools and high schools across the country explaining about the treated water containing tritium and other radioactive materials.

The fliers stated that “tritium is all around us” and “there is no concern about the effects on your health”, etc. The government distributed the fliers in the hope that people would have a correct understanding based on scientific evidence and not be misled by false information.

However, while there are deep-rooted voices against the release of tritium and other treated water into the ocean, such as those from the fishing industry, there are many confused voices from the educational field.

The principal of a junior high school in Hamadori said, “To be honest, I was puzzled by the handling of the flyers. Treated water is a delicate issue, and since Hamadori is the site itself, we have to be more sensitive to it,” he said, and decided not to distribute the flyers to students.

In addition, some school boards around the country have voiced their discomfort with the contents of the flyer, saying, “We would like to carefully judge whether it is appropriate to use this flyer in radiation education,” and “The government should check the contents more before distributing it.

Mr. Nishimei, the Minister of Reconstruction, said, “We did not anticipate that there would be confusion when we distributed the leaflets. I had no idea that something like this would happen in the field.

On the other hand, Shinobu Goto, an associate professor at Fukushima University’s Graduate School of Symbiotic Systems Science and Engineering, who is an expert on radiation education, said, “In the field of education, it is especially important to enable discussion from multiple perspectives. It is necessary to discuss together with those who oppose the release of radiation, including the reasons why they oppose it,” he said, pointing out the importance of providing opportunities to learn about diverse opinions in the field of education.