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Top nuclear adviser to Japanese government quits over radiation limits

Toshiso Kosako claims the government ignored his advice on safety limits for radiation levels, which he says are too high for children in the area surrounding the Fukushima plant.

The exhaust stacks of the Fukushima Daiichi plant tower above woodland.
The exhaust stacks of the Fukushima Daiichi plant tower above woodland.
Image: AP Photo/Kyodo News

ONE OF THE JAPANESE government’s top nuclear advisers has quit his post in protest over the government’s handling of the Fukushima radiation crisis.

Toshiso Kosaka, a professor at Tokyo University, claims the government’s radiation limits for schools near the stricken plant are 20 times too high, Al Jazeera reports.

Kosaka said that the government ignored his advice on setting limits, particularly with regard to children, for whom he says the levels should be lowered. Prime Minister Naoto Kan appointed Kosaka after the 9.0 magnitude quake and tsunami struck the north-east of Japan and seriously damaged the Fukushima power plant.

Responding to the resignation, Kan defended the government’s response to the crisis and said he welcomed “different views among our advisers”.

Pressure on the Japanese prime minister has been mounting since the disasters struck last month. According to a new poll conducted in Japan, Kan’s approval rating continues to drop.

Seventy-six per cent of respondents said they do not believe Kan is showing sufficient leadership in handling the country’s crises which include the earthquake recovery and containment of the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The poll by Kyodo News showed that just over a fifth of respondents said they wanted Kan to resign immediately – an increase from 13.8 per cent in a survey conducted at the end of March.

- Additional reporting by the AP

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