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No sign of harmful radiation in Tokyo, officials say

There's no evidence that residents of Tokyo and other large Japanese cities are being exposed to dangerous levels of radiation, U.N. and World Health Organization officials say.

March 18, 2011|By Rong-Gong Lin II | Los Angeles Times

There is no sign that harmful levels of radiation are drifting into Tokyo or other large cities in Japan, according to United Nations and World Health Organization officials.

"Dose rates in Tokyo and other cities remain far from levels which would require action; in other words, they are not dangerous to human health," Graham Andrew, an official with the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency, told reporters Friday, according to Reuters.

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World Health Organization officials in Switzerland gave a similar assessment a day earlier.

Outside a 19-mile radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, "there have been very low levels of radiation measured," Gregory Hartl, spokesman for the World Health Organization, told reporters at a briefing in Geneva.

Japanese officials have told anyone living less than 12 miles away from the stricken power plant to evacuate and those living from 12 to 19 miles away to stay indoors. U.S. officials, however, have directed U.S. citizens living less than 50 miles away from the power plant to leave.

"We understand, of course, the concern of people living outside the radius that they might be affected," he said. "But the evidence, so far, [is] that the radiation levels measured would [show] that there is little public health danger from the radiation there."

"So if you are living in Tokyo or Yokohoma metropolitan area, or farther afield, there is little public health risk," Hartl said.

ron.lin@latimes.com

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