Fukushima city assembly members lashed out at the leader of an environmental group who said people who live in radiation-affected areas should avoid marriage to prevent births of deformed babies.
The four assembly members, including Kazuyoshi Sato, told reporters on Aug. 29 that Hobun Ikeya’s remarks were "inappropriate and discriminatory” and should not be tolerated. They demanded Ikeya, president of the Ecosystem Conservation Society-Japan, retract his comments, which were made in a lecture in July on radiation contamination from the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
During the lecture in Tokyo, Ikeya, who is also a veterinarian, said Fukushima Prefecture and prefectures in the Kanto region had been affected by certain levels of radioactive pollution.
“People in areas over which the radioactive plumes passed should not marry,” he said, according to the conservation society.
“If they give birth to their children after getting married, the incidence of deformities will become way higher,” the society quoted him as saying.
An audio recording by the society that an Asahi Shimbun reporter listened to confirmed Ikeya’s remarks.
The Fukushima assembly members sent a letter to Ikeya, asking him to explain his comments. But they said Ikeya countered that his words had been twisted in an act of defamation.
Ikeya later told The Asahi Shimbun: “I offered my view in general terms. Discrimination was never my intention.”
The lecture, hosted by the conservation society, was attended by assembly members of municipalities across the country.
The Fukushima prefectural government is struggling to stamp out what it calls “harmful rumors” concerning the nuclear accident while trying to prevent a population decline.
On Aug. 29, the prefecture estimated that its population would decline by up to 38 percent by 2040 if the current outflow of people continues.
If all people who evacuated to other prefectures remain outside of Fukushima Prefecture, its population in 2040 would be 1,225,000, compared with 1,989,000 in October 2011, the prefectural government said.
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