The Japanese nuclear regulators have raised the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant crisis level from 5 to 7 after testing has shown radiation leaks have contaminated the air, water, ocean, soil and vegetables. This raises the level set by the International Atomic Energy Agency to that of the Chernobyl plant in 1986 as a “major accident”.
Additional communities have been advised to evacuate beyond the 12-mile radius that has already been evacuated around the Fukushima plant. The government has banned the growing of rice and vegetables in many areas around the plant in a proactive move to reduce the potential of harm in the future. Officials have stated that the amount of radiation emitted from the Fukushima plant is 1/10 of what Chernobyl emitted, but they are acknowledging that this is a serious matter. “This reconfirms that this is an extremely major disaster. We are very sorry to the public, people living near the nuclear complex and the international community for causing such a serious accident,” said Yukio Edano, Chief Cabinet Secretary. He went on to say that, “The accident itself is really serious, but we have set our priority so as not to cause health damage.”
Prime Minister Naoto Kan addressed the nation and said, “Right now, the situation of the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima plant has been stabilizing step by step. The amount of radiation leaks is on the decline.” He went on to say, “We are not at the stage yet where we can let our guards down.”