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Japan's Policy on Nuclear Weapons

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 2284 words Published: 23rd Jul 2018

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In 1945, the United States launched two nuclear attacks on both Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The two attacks not only destroyed two cities, but also killed thousands of people. Although Japan was the only country that suffered from the devastating effects of nuclear attack in World War II, Japan did not give up using and developing this technology for other uses. Japan kept using the nuclear power and technology to provide a great amount of electricity and other resources to the country. This is because Japan is a country with only a small amount of natural resources, Japan needs to depend heavily on imports for their needs. However, relying heavily on imports brings a lot of stress because the costs of imported products are very high. Therefore, Japan has changed to rely heavily on the nuclear energy. The government believed that the peaceful use of nuclear power can help Japan to become a more powerful country and reduce its stress from imports.

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The use of nuclear energy provides many benefits to Japan’s society, but it also creates problems. Japan is a country that experiences frequent earthquakes and tsunamis that are caused by the high magnitude earthquake. In this case, it is very important for the Japanese government to consider the location of where to build nuclear power plants. But the Japanese government did not consider all factors carefully, which created huge disaster later. On March 11, 2011, a huge earthquake and tsunami caused extensive damage to the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, which resulted in nuclear meltdowns, releases of radioactive materials into the atmosphere and oceans. Because of the release of radioactive materials into the air and ocean, the radioactive level in the atmosphere and ocean could cause huge pollution that would cause danger to people and marine life. To be specific, since it polluted the ocean, it raises the possibility that marine life and freshwater could be affected. In this case, it causes concerns about the food safety because fish is the major ingredient of Japanese food and agriculture needs water for irrigation. If people keep eating these affected fishes and agricultural products, they might have greater possibilities of having cancers. In the end, people who lives in Japan, especially who lives near to this region, the radiation exposures could affect their health, both physically and psychologically. Therefore, it is clear that Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster brought great negative effects on society, which affects Japan’s environment, food safety and health.

The Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster has caused environmental problems to Japan. Due to the accident, a large amount of radioactive materials were discharged into the environment, which polluted air, ocean, and freshwater system in enormous volume. In fact, according to Yasuo Onishi, the radionuclides with 3×1017 Becquerel (Bq is the SI derived unit of radioactivity) emitted into the air, and polluted land and marine life later. Some directly contaminated the Pacific Ocean[1]. Clearly, the accident caused high level of radioactive materials directly polluted the environment. And if this problem continues to be exacerbating, sooner or later it might cause greater problems like natural environment deterioration. Moreover, after this accident, radioactive materials were not only emitted into the air and ocean, but also affected the whole ecosystem later. Ecosystem divided the world into several different regions, but every region is also closely connected in certain ways. For example, lake aquatic ecosystem could connect with the terrestrial ecosystem, and all parts of terrestrial ecosystems like soil, forests, are connected in a very effective way through the atmosphere. In this case, if the marine, freshwater system and air were contaminated, the ecosystem would also be affected. In fact, Christopher Eddy and Eriko Sase point out in 2015, “Fukushima nuclear disaster caused a catastrophic release of radiological hazards into the ecosystem. Extremely high levels of strontium, a bone-seeking radionuclide with a half-lefe of 28 years, are currently increasing in soil, groundwater, and ocean samples near the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.”[2] Clearly, this shows that this disaster brings terrible impacts to the environment, and the situation is getting worse and worse. Therefore, Japan should put more efforts on protecting environment and finding an effective solution of reducing the level of radioactive material in the ecosystem.

The negative effect of the Fukushima nuclear disaster for the environment is clear, but more importantly, it raises concern about food safety. Firstly, the food safety concerns caused by the pollution to agriculture. To explain that, this disaster caused high level of radioactive materials to directly contaminate environment, which caused great pollution to agriculture. In order to test the radioactive material contamination in agriculture, experts took some biological samples from different region to test the level of contamination. In fact, they found that in a small town in Fukushima prefecture, by testing samples from 10 rice fields, the contamination level are from 400 Bq per kilogram to 4,000 Bq per kilogram. Moreover, the result of some samples from the area named ‘Iitatemura’ (20 to 30 km distant from the power plant) was very high, up to 15,031 Bq per kilogram[3]. Clearly, it demonstrates that this disaster has great negative effects on agriculture, which cause high level of contamination to agricultural products. In addition to the high level of contamination to agriculture, it also affected marine life. Japan is known as one of the biggest seafood consumers in the world. Seafood is often referred to as the main ingredient of Japanese food. Thus, if the marine life was contaminated by radioactive materials that have been directly discharged into the ocean, it would cause great concern about safety of fishery products. According to a report done by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) on August 1, 2012, in some fat greenlings samples from Ota Rive which is located in the north 20 km away from the nuclear power plant, the level of radioactive materials was 25,800 Bq per kilogram, which is significantly high[4]. This result proved that the Fukushima accident has greatly affected fishery products. Therefore, the Fukushima nuclear accident creates the food safety problems to Japan’s society.

In addition to the negative effects of Fukushima nuclear accident to environment and food safety, it also affects people’s health. After the Fukushima accident, the local governments had evacuated all people who lived in or close to the Fukushima prefecture. Thousands of people were forced to leave their homes and some of them might never come back. Many people who experienced this disaster have developed psychological problems later on because the increased fear of death from radioactive diseases and social disruption. In fact, according to Claire Leppold and her colleagues, for those people whose lives were suddenly changed, they would have greater risks of having poor health conditions, which lead them to social isolation, psychosocial stress and have higher possibility of having diseases that is not infectious, such as high blood glucose levels and diseases related to high level of lipid in the blood. As may be expected, in Fukushima, they found the number of noncmmunicable diseases increased[5]. Clearly, it demonstrates that people’s health is greatly affected by the accident, both mentally and physically. Although it seems that this disaster has greater effects on people’s physical health rather than mental health because they have greater chances of having serious diseases, people actually have more severe mental problems later. According to a research done by Kotaro Imamura and his colleagues in 2016, mothers with small children who lived near to the power plant have higher levels of depression. Moreover, due to the extremely fear of radiation exposure, some people were very likely to experience chronic depression and anxiety, which have great chance of affecting their normal life activities[6]. It clearly shows that the disaster affected people’s mental health, and their illness was being aggravated due to the extreme fear of radiation exposure. Therefore, it is clear that the nuclear accident affects public health.


[1] Yasuo Onishi, “Fukushima and Chernobyl Nuclear Accidents’ Environmental Assessments and U.S. Hanford Site’s Waste Management,” Procedia IUTAM 10, no. Mechanics for the World: Proceedings of the 23rd International Congress of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (January 1, 2014): 375. ScienceDirect, EBSCOhost, accessed March 12, 2017.


[2] Christopher Eddy and Eriko Sase, “Implications of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster:Man-made Hazards, Vulnerability Factors, and Risk to Environmental Health,” Journalof Environmental Health 78, no.1 (July 2015):29. General Science Full Text (H.W.Wilson), EBSCOhost, accessed March 12, 2017.


[3] Hrabrin Bachev and Ito Fusao, “Impacts of Fukushima Nuclear Disaster on Agri-Food Chains in Japan,” IUP Journal of Supply Chain Management 10, no. 4 (December 2013): 10. EBSCOhost. Accessed February 13, 2017.


[4] Kaoru Nakata and Hiroya Sugisaki, The Impacts of Fukushima NuclearAccident onFish andFishingGround, (SpringerOpen, 2015), (accessed February 13, 2017), 178.


[5] Claire Leppold, Tetsuya Tanimoto, Masaharu Tsubokura, “Public Health after a Nuclear Disaster: Beyond Radiation Risks,” Bulletin of the World HealthOrganization 94, no. 11 (November 2016): 859. General Science Full Text(H.W. Wilson), EBSCOhost, accessed February 13, 2017.


[6] Imamura Kotaro et al., “The Effect of a Behavioral Activation Program on Improving Mental and Physical Health Complaints Associated with Radiation Stress among Mothers in Fukushima: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” BMCPublic Health 16 (November 8, 2016): 2. Academic Search Complete,EBSCOhost, accessed February 13, 2017.



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