Japan’s nuclear evacuees denied Canadian refuge

Sunday, February 19, 2012
By Paul Martin

BY TOM GODFREY
TORONTO SUN
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2012

ORONTO – A Japanese woman who claimed exposure to radiation from damaged nuclear reactors has been denied refugee status in Canada almost one year after that nation was rocked by an earthquake and tsunami that left more than 100,000 people homeless.

The woman’s identity has not been released by an Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) since she’s seeking asylum in this country. She is among several dozen Japanese nationals who filed refugee claims to stay in Canada following the disaster and is one of the first decisions to be reached by the IRB.

“The claimant feared risks of exposure to radiation,” an IRB member said in a ruling. “She was not convinced by the Japanese government’s assurances of safety from radiation.”

The woman was one of hundreds of Japanese citizens who sought refuge in other countries following the March 11, 2011 catastrophe caused by a magnitude 9.0 quake and tsunami that left more than 15,000 dead and nearly 3300 missing.

The acts of nature crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant, leading to core meltdowns at three of its six reactors, and ongoing leaks of radioactive material.

A board member ruled the claimant “feared being a victim of hazards that emanated from a combined natural and man-made disaster.”

The member said the claimant’s risk “is characterized as being widespread and prevalent in Japan.”

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