RSF urges Japan to stop pressuring the media on Fukushima-related topics

In this picture taken on January 31, 2018 employees of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) stand near the company's reactor number 3 at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture. - The Fukushima nuclear power operator is hoping to use the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a springboard to double the number of visitors to its Tsunami-ravaged plant, as it seeks to clean up the region's image. A massive undersea earthquake on March 11, 2011 sent a tsunami barrelling into Japan's northeast coast, leaving more than 18,000 people dead or missing and sparking the Fukushima crisis, the worst such accident since Chernobyl in 1986. (Photo by Behrouz MEHRI / AFP) / TO GO WITH AFP STORY "JAPAN-NUCLEAR-FUKUSHIMA-DISASTER" BY SHINGO ITO
On Wednesday, March 11th, Japan will commemorate the 9th anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident, the worst atomic disaster after Chernobyl, caused by a tsunami and collectively resulting in 18,500 dead and missing, 160,000 evacuees and a continuous release of massive amounts of radioactive materials until today. Since the accident, the media have consistently encountered pressure and censorship attempts when trying to investigate the topic.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges the Japanese authorities to ensure that the media can freely report on the Fukushima-related topics and requests a full access for all journalists, including foreign correspondents and freelancers, to the contaminated sites and to all data available.

“It is essential for the public to access independent information on the accurate radiation levels,” says Cédric Alviani, RSF’s East Asia bureau head. “The government is currently encouraging the remaining evacuees to settle back to the contaminated areas, but it must be fully transparent on the health hazard residents would be exposed to.”