The head of the Japan Chemical Industry Association (JCIA), which represents the nation’s chemical makers, warned on Monday that the nation is on the brink of “irreparable damage” from Fukushima.
The JCIA said the potential fallout from the accident could be as much as 15 times higher than previously thought.
It cited studies suggesting that the number of cancers could double or even triple within a decade, and that the damage to the health of Japan’s population could be so extensive that it would require a national mobilization.
In the US, the National Institutes of Health is leading the international search for the cause of cancers linked to radiation exposure, which could result in up to $1.8 trillion in medical bills.
US health authorities have said that more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed with cancer related to radiation, and the number is expected to double in the coming decades.
The JCIA, a group of Japan Chemical Manufacturers, said it would release a draft report on the Fukushima disaster in June.
“The risks are high and irreversible.
The Japanese government should take steps to safeguard the safety of the public,” JCIA chief Hiroshi Nakamura said in a statement.
Japan’s economy has been in recession since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.