Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority has called for expanding evacuation areas in case of nuclear disasters. It's also considering distribution of iodine tablets to people near nuclear power plants.
The agency on Wednesday presented a draft of revised guidelines for dealing with nuclear disasters.
It calls for expanding evacuation areas around nuclear plants from the current 10 kilometers to 30.
The number of municipalities covered by the guidelines is to increase from the current 45 in 15 prefectures to 135 in 21 prefectures. The municipalities are to reestablish by March 2013 their plans for handling nuclear disasters.
The plan calls for consideration of instructing people to stay home during nuclear disasters, and distributing iodine tablets to people within 50 kilometers of nuclear plants to protect them from radioactive plumes that could cause thyroid damage.
Since iodine tablets can have side effects, it would be necessary to explain their risks before distribution and to decide how to compensate for such effects.
The Japanese word "choju," meaning longevity, implies, with its kanji, joyous celebration of long life. Intrinsically, it is a joyful thing for people to live long. But if a society has many people who age in solitude, isolated from their families and local communities, it cannot be called choju. It should rather be called "roka shakai," or a society that weakens as it ages. (Yomiuri )
Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito has ended his official visit to Spain after a trip to a Christian pilgrimage site in the northwest. His visit marked the 400th anniversary of relations between the 2 countries. (NHK )