The new edition of the best-selling Japanese dictionary “Kojien” to go on sale next month will be the first with nuclear power generation terms selected by a dedicated editor in its 62-year history, according to its publisher.

The dictionary covering some 240,000 words was first published in 1955 and is revised every 10 years or so. Its publisher, Iwanami Shoten, decided to have a particular editor for nuclear terms for the upcoming 7th edition as people have become more familiar with such terms since the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Some of the terms have been frequently used in the media and become quite common, but many of those already included in the dictionary’s current edition are defined using technical jargon.

Toru Kawahara, 46, at Iwanami Shoten proposed at a meeting just months after the Fukushima disaster that the publisher appoint an editor dedicated to reviewing and selecting nuclear terms.

He remembers telling the meeting, “Issues regarding nuclear plants are no longer restricted to experts in the field and people living near the plants.”

The proposal was accepted unanimously and Kawahara himself became the first to take the post.

He added about 20 new words to the upcoming edition including “hairo” meaning decommissioning of a reactor and “anzen-shinwa” (safety myth), describing the view once held by the government and power companies that nuclear power is undoubtedly safe.

One of the key factors behind his choice of new terms was “whether they will continue to be used” in years to come, he says.

Kawahara came up with 200 candidate words, including those he saw in print media and came across on the internet. He was surprised to learn that hairo had not been included.

He realized that people only paid attention to the building and operating of nuclear plants and cared far less about the fact that the work of scrapping aged reactors safely is an important part of nuclear power.

“Everyone, including myself, was so indifferent (about nuclear power),” he says.

While also adding “The Great East Japan Earthquake” in 2011 which triggered the Fukushima crisis, Kawahara revised descriptions for some of the already listed terms, such as radiation and breeder reactor, using words easier to understand.

He knew that some of the terms he chose to add are not widely used. Among such terms were “youso” (iodine) and “bento” (venting).

Iodine pills help to reduce radiation buildup in the thyroid in the event of a nuclear accident. “I think it is good to tell people how they work and how they should take them in an emergency,” he said.

Venting is one of the terms which became widely known after the Fukushima disaster. Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., the operator of the disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi complex, came under fire for its failed venting operation to deal with the pressure buildup at the reactors and causing hydrogen explosions which severely damaged the structures.

Since venting could cause radioactive materials to reach the environment, “I thought it is a term we must have as long as it concerns life-and-death situations people may encounter during evacuation,” Kawahara said.

He contemplated adding “difficult-to-return-to zone” near the Fukushima plant where radiation levels remain high. But he dropped it, concluding the term would no longer be used once the designation is lifted.

“I felt compelled to help people remember the reality of residents there who cannot return to their way of life before the disaster. It was not an easy decision.”

The new edition will go on sale Jan. 12.