On April 19th, 2011, the Japanese government raised the allowable annual radiation exposure limit from 1 mSV (millisievert) to 20 mSV.
The decision was heavily criticized by experts inside and outside Japan, as it is applied to children who are more susceptible to radiation, and this limit does not take internal radiation dosage into consideration.
Japan’s education ministry says it is sorry that it initially set the radiation exposure limit for schoolchildren at a level which is now admittedly too high, and drew parents’ concerns.
The ministry says its initial announcement gave parents the mistaken impression that it was condoning exposure, and that it failed to respond seriously to their concerns.
At the time, the ministry said it was following recommendations by the International Commission on Radiological Protection, which advises limiting people’s exposure in a post-emergency phase to between one and 20 millisieverts per year.
After parents objected to the ministry’s adoption of the higher-end limit, one month later officials lowered the threshold to one millisievert per year.
20 mSV is the yearly average of what is allowed for Japanese nuclear plant workers under normal circumstances.
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