A Philosophical Inquiry into the Confusion over the Radiation Exposure Problem
The University of Tokyo
7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
In this paper, I discuss from a philosophical viewpoint the so-called radiation problem that resulted from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station accident after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. The starting point lies in the conceptual distinction between “damage due to radiation” and “damage caused by avoiding radiation.” We can recognize the direct “damage due to radiation” in Fukushima as not serious based on the empirical data so that I focus upon the problem of the “damage caused by avoiding radiation,” particularly the damage due to evacuation actions. Actually, evacuation actions caused more refugees to die of suicide and diseases than supposed. Obviously, there is a practical problem on whether the forceful and emergent evacuation was needed. In addition, I will point out that some people psychologically had negative feelings about the radiation problem altogether, for example, absurdity, discomfort, anxiety, or distrust, where some of them tend to twistedly solve those by giving moral censure to people and the product in affected areas. This brought about serious harm to people in Fukushima. I will interpret some people’s careless adoption of precautionary principle and their misunderstanding of the legal standard in radiation protection as being latent in this tragedy.
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