TEPCO, the owners of the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, just announced that they found contamination levels 100 to 1,000 times higher than normal in sediment from the Fukushima coast.

TEPCO did the sediment testing late last week — in areas Greenpeace identified for testing in our research plan — after we were denied permission to research inside Japan’s 12 mile territorial waters.

The buzz around Japanese Twitter has been saying that Greenpeace is the reason why the authorities have actually done this research.

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Following this announcement, Greenpeace Japan Executive Director Junichi Sato said:

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Our flag ship the Rainbow Warrior is already doing what it can to monitor marine contamination  based on the very limited permission granted by the Government for areas outside the 12 mile territorial limit. We had previously identified the newly declared contaminated areas as areas at risk, and stand ready to assist within the 12 mile limit to provide independent monitoring and advice to the Japanese public.

It has been noted by many that the authorities only surveyed the area as a result of our request and the pressure that accompanied it. This is no way to go about protecting public health. The prime ministers office should now immediately grant the Rainbow Warrior access to Japan’s territorial waters to conduct its proposed radiation survey. It has nothing to lose and everything to gain from independent assessment and public information.

Here in the United States, even the Nuclear Regulatory Commission agrees that the public deserves to receive more information to keep them safe.

In testimony on Capitol Hill and other public statements, chairman of the regulatory commission, Mr. Jaczko has avoided criticizing his Japanese counterparts. But on Monday he said that “if we had a similar type of event in the U.S., we certainly would like to be providing a lot more information to the public.”

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It’s important that the Japanese government reverses its decision to block our research and allow us to provide clear, independent information to the people for whom help is needed.