(Check Against Delivery)
Statement by Mr. Naoki Takahashi, Counsellor
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
At the Meeting of the Fourth Committee
68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
On agenda item 49:
Effects of atomic radiation
25 October 2013
Due to the nature of this very technical topic, I would like to make clear that my statement today is based on the instruction directly from our capital.
At the outset, I would like to extend my appreciation to you for your Excellency’s effective chairmanship in the Fourth Committee during the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Since its establishment by the General Assembly in 1955, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) has served the vital function of providing authoritative scientific review of the sources and effects of ionizing radiation. The work of the Committee has provided the world with scientific data for evaluating radiation risk and establishing radiation protection and safety standards.
As a country fully committed to the safety of nuclear technology, Japan has benefited from the work of the Committee. Through the personal, tragic experience of the nuclear accident caused by the massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011, Japan further enhances its strong commitment to nuclear safety and recognizes all the more the critical role played by UNSCEAR in this field.
The importance of ensuring the safety and security of human beings and the environment in the use of radiation and atomic energy cannot be overstated. It is as indispensable to promoting public health as the use of radiation for medical purposes.
UNSCEAR is the only organization that has been carrying out scientific assessment for more than two years regarding the levels of exposure and radiation risks attributable to the nuclear accident following the Great East-Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011. The result of assessment will definitely be useful for us to take appropriate measures to continue ensuring the safety of human beings and the environment. In this regard, we appreciate the commitment and active work of the Scientific Committee.
Allow me to mention that the Government of Japan has been attaching utmost importance to grasping the amount of exposure on workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station and residents in the region since the tragic accident.
To our chagrin, some articles were published based on misperceptions of the evaluation of internal exposure on workers at the Fukushima Daiichi power station in Japan right after UNSCEAR submitted its report to the Fourth Committee this month. Some Japanese media misunderstood and incorrectly wrote that UNSCEAR has come to the conclusion that the Government of Japan underestimated the amount of internal exposure of workers at the plant. We are aware that UNSCEAR understands there are factors of underestimation as well as overestimation in exposure estimation, but only underestimation of internal exposure is written in the report of UNSCEAR, which would possibly lead the public to misinterpret the message of the report. In this regard, Japan would like to kindly request UNSCEAR to give balance to the overall evaluation of internal exposure in the incoming assessment report. The Government of Japan is ready to submit the necessary evidence and data to UNSCEAR and would be most grateful if the Committee would take them into consideration.
As previously mentioned, I cannot exaggerate the importance of the role of the Scientific Committee. To conclude, I would like to reaffirm Japan’s continued commitment and support for the important work of UNSCEAR.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.