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UN Expert Urges Help for Japan’s Nuclear Victims via abc news

A United Nations expert who investigated the aftermath of Japan’s 2011 nuclear power plant disaster says the government and the operator of the facility should do more to help those affected by the catastrophe.

A report by special rapporteur Anand Grover, posted on the U.N. Human Rights Council’s website, says the government’s takeover of Tokyo Electric Power Co. allowed the utility to evade full responsibility for the nuclear disaster, the worst since Chernobyl.

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Over the weekend, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency reported a radiation leak at a research lab in the northern Japanese town of Tokaimura, where at least two previous radiation accidents have occurred.

Six researchers were confirmed to have been exposed to radiation and 24 others may have been, the JAEA said, with the highest radiation dose found so far being 1.7 millisieverts, or about the average annual background dose in Japan. Nuclear workers generally are limited to 100 millisieverts of exposure over five years.

No workers were hospitalized and the radiation was not thought to have escaped beyond the premises of the research facility.

The U.N. report cites a number of “serious challenges.” It urges the government to involve affected communities in decisions, provide accurate information to the public, and do more to protect and help vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant women, the disabled and the elderly.

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