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Report of Fukushima Discussions

Report of Fukushima Discussions

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Published by mukhtarparas
In the backdrop of Fukushima nuclear disaster, a conference of international delegates was convened to discuss the situation. The report identifies what options Japan has in the backdrop of nuclear concerns and requirements at home.
In the backdrop of Fukushima nuclear disaster, a conference of international delegates was convened to discuss the situation. The report identifies what options Japan has in the backdrop of nuclear concerns and requirements at home.

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Published by: mukhtarparas on Sep 17, 2011
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09/17/2011

 
1
Report
International Conference to review the Crisis at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plants inthe Aftermath of the Earthquake and Tsunami in JapanGRIPS, 17
th
March 2011
Introduction
The special mock session of the International Conference to review the crisis at Fukushimanuclear plants in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami which struck Japan on the 11
th
 of March, 2011, was held on 17th March, 2011. The Conference took place at NationalGraduate Institute for Policy Studies, Tokyo. Twenty-three representatives from 12 countriesparticipated in the conference, who were divided into eight groups. Please refer to Annexure 1for the list of participants. The meeting also acknowledged and appreciated ProfessorMasayuki Komatsu for his much needed guidance and advice.
Opening proceedings
A.
 
Opening statement by the Secretariat:Professor Masayuki Komatsu delivered the opening statement on behalf of theSecretariat. He expressed his gratitude for all the participants who gathered at a timeof great anxiety in the aftermath of the unprecedented natural disaster and the resultingcrisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plants. In the opening remarks, he brieflydescribed the damage to the nuclear power plants at Fukushima Prefecture caused bythe massive tsunami triggered by the earthquake and the steps being undertaken by thegovernment of Japan to deal with the possible threat of nuclear radiation from thedamaged plants. He also explained the special character of the meeting and clarifiedthe objectives of the session. He encouraged all participants to be fully involved in thedeliberations so as to make the session as fruitful as possible.B.
 
Election of Chairperson, Vice-chairperson and the Rapporteurs:The participants elected Mr. Mukhtar Paras from Pakistan as the Chairperson, Mr.Dorin Panfil from Moldova as Vice-chairperson and Mr. Muhammad TayyabAbdullah, Mr. Khalil-ur-Rehman along with Ms. Magdalena Rokosz from Pakistan,Bangladesh and Poland respectively as rapporteurs.
 
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C.
 
The Chairperson’s address:The Chairperson of the mock session thanked all participants for their readiness tocooperate and discuss the aftermath of the tragedy which hit Japan. He offered hisdeepest condolences to the people and government of Japan for the extensive loss of life and property on behalf of the representatives of the international communitygathered in the mock session. The Chairperson highlighted that the internationalcommunity stood ready to help Japanese people in the crisis and truly believed thatpeople of Japan will overcome this tragedy.D.
 
Adoption of agenda items:The Chairperson proposed three agenda points for discussion to the participants. Aftersome deliberations and slight amendments, the following three agenda points wereunanimously agreed upon:1.
 
Interaction with the embassies of the respective countries together with the viewpoints on the current situation in Tokyo2.
 
The possible ways and means of providing help to the affected population3.
 
The future of nuclear power plants
AGENDA ITEM 1: Interaction with the embassies of the respective countries togetherwith the view points on the current situation in Tokyo
The general statement regarding the current situation in Japan was made by the representativeof Bangladesh from Group H. He also stated that at first the government of Bangladeshthought of shifting its embassy from Tokyo to Osaka but later on decided against it.Representatives from Group G highlighted the difference between the reaction to the crisisamong the embassies of the respective countries. Some of them claimed that the steps takenby European countries were different from those taken by Asian countries. However,representatives from group C asserted that the difference in the procedures adopted by eachembassy varied from one country to another and there was no division between European andAsian behavior in this connection.
 
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Representatives of Group B pointed out that they were facing lack of information and wereconfronted with contradictory reports; the accounts of major western news channels didn’tconcur with the information provided by the Japanese government. Group A members addedthat they were not getting enough information from Japanese news channels in English. Theyproposed that English subtitles should be given for each of the important press conferences bythe Japanese authorities. The participants from Group E observed that this lack of informationwas leading towards panic in the foreigners who can’t understand Japanese. Group Femphasized the need for putting more concrete and detailed information by the Japanesegovernmental agencies online.Members of Group B maintained that despite assurance by the Japanese government that therewas no danger to population in Tokyo from radiation leakage in Fukushima, some Europeancountries like France have told their citizens to evacuate from there. This, they believedshowed that some countries were unwilling to fully trust the credibility of the informationprovided by the Japanese government. Finally, the representatives from Group D maintainedthat the decision to evacuate was based more on an over cautious approach rather than anyverifiable scientific data. The Japanese government was in a position to be best informedabout the ground situation and it had a very good track record of providing credibleinformation. Therefore, there was no reasonable ground for treating the facts and figuresprovided by the Japanese government with suspicion. They also suggested that a CrisisCommunication Cell should be established by the Japanese Foreign Ministry which shouldcirculate updated information regarding the situation at the power plants with particularemphasis on the levels of radiation in and around them to all the embassies on a regular basis.
AGENDA ITEM 2: Possible ways and means of providing assistance to the affectedpopulation
Professor Komatsu explained to the participants prior to the discussion on the agenda pointthat they should try to focus on both short term assistance like provision of food, medicalsupport etc. and long term assistance like reconstruction of damaged infrastructure.Group E initiated the discussion by stating that first of all the embassies of the respectivecountries should try to control panic among their citizens by appealing for calm. In this

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