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“I started prioritizing treatment over my dreams for the future”: Public testimony of a young woman diagnosed with thyroid cancer after Fukushima disaster 

by Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center · March 2, 2023

On January 27, 2022, a group of six young men and women from Fukushima Prefecture filed a class action lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), claiming that the thyroid cancer they had developed was linked to their exposure to radioactive contamination from the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011. The plaintiffs, who were aged 6 to 16 at the time of the disaster, are among the growing number of young people from Fukushima Prefecture who have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer or suspected thyroid cancer. According to the legal counsel, this rate of diagnosis—293 cases as of April 2022—is many tens of times higher than would be expected; pediatric thyroid cancer is very rare. Despite this, the Japanese government and TEPCO continue to deny the possibility of a causal connection between radiation exposure from the nuclear accident and rising cancer rates, instead claiming that an excess of cases has only been detected due to large-scale screening with advanced technology. For more detail and background on the 311 Children’s Thyroid Cancer Trial, read lead attorney Ido Kenichi’s statement here.

The first oral arguments were heard on March 26, 2022, at the Tokyo District Court. The following is the public testimony of one plaintiff, a young woman in her 20s, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer when she was in high school. She describes the sobering trajectory of her life after diagnosis, from traumatic surgery and treatment to interrupted dreams of college graduation and employment. A recording of her testimony (in Japanese) can be heard on the website of Our Planet TV here.

Translated by Elicia Cousins

“It was my middle school graduation ceremony that day. “This is it, isn’t it!” My friends and I sat around chatting and taking lots of pictures with our digital cameras. I think it was snowing a bit at that time.

When the earthquake hit, I was video chatting with another friend about the graduation ceremony. At first, we casually noted that an earthquake was happening, but then the shaking suddenly got stronger and a ballpoint pen fell onto my head from somewhere. “Oh no!” (Yabai!) I heard someone say, and the call dropped.

My house is going to get crushed, I thought. The shaking continued for what felt like a hellishly long time.

I became aware of the nuclear accident when the actual explosion happened. I heard a rumor that radiation would turn the sky pink, but because that didn’t happen, I didn’t develop a sense of crisis.

March 16 was the day that that high school entrance exam results were posted. The trains were stopped because of the earthquake, so I heard the results at my middle school instead. I walked to school, and after seeing the results, I stood outside talking to my friend for a long time before walking back home again. I had no idea that radiation levels were very high that day.

My thyroid cancer was detected through the prefectural health survey.

I still have a very clear memory of the moment I found out. That day, I was wearing new clothes and sandals. My mom drove me to the examination.

There were several doctors involved in the examination process. Did the exam take a long time? Or was it quick? Now I’m not so sure. I can’t be certain, but I think that the moment the doctor took the ultrasound scan of my neck, their face clouded a bit. The examination was extensive.

People who had been called up after me were already finished with their exams. “You’re the only one who took longer,” my mom said. “Maybe you have cancer,” she joked as we left the venue. In that moment, I never suspected that I’d need a more detailed follow-up examination.

There were a lot of people at the hospital where I got my next examination. This time, I started to feel a bit uneasy. I got a blood test and another ultrasound. Something was wrong after all. Even I had realized that much. It was then decided that I’d need to do a fine needle aspiration cytology test. At that point, I was pretty sure that I had thyroid cancer.

In my case, the cluster of cells that needed to be sampled had hardened, so it was difficult to extract the sample. The terror of having a long needle going into my neck only grew, as did the feeling of just wanting to get it all over with. It finally worked after the third try.

Ten days later, the examination results came out. The results from that cytology test. Once again, there were a lot of people at the hospital. I found out that I had thyroid cancer.

But the doctor didn’t actually say that I had thyroid cancer, and instead told me in a roundabout way by explaining that I’d need surgery. I’ll never forget the shock of being told, “If you don’t get surgery, you’ll only live until age 23.”

The night before the surgery, I couldn’t sleep at all. I was filled with worry, and even though I felt like crying, there were no tears. But I thought, if this is what it will take to heal… so I went ahead with the surgery.

Things were way worse after the surgery.

When I came to, I felt fatigued and feverish. The anesthesia didn’t work well for me, I often threw up in the middle of the night, and I felt sick and nauseous. To this day, I can clearly remember how excruciating that experience was. I sometimes have nightmares about the surgery, hospitalization, and treatment.

After the surgery, my voice was gone, and I could hardly speak for three months.

I ended up enrolling at a university in a neighboring prefecture rather than my top choice school in Tokyo, partly because my family was worried about my illness. But I couldn’t even go to that school for very long, because my thyroid cancer came back.

The recurrence was detected at the very first health checkup I had after enrolling in college, and I had no choice but to quit. I hadn’t healed after all. And the cancer has even metastasized to my lungs. The feelings were unbearable. I didn’t heal. I didn’t know where to channel my emotions. This time, I really might not be able to live much longer, I thought.

Since I now knew how difficult surgery was, I became depressed thinking about having to go through it all over again. The second surgery ended up taking longer than expected, and because the cancer had metastasized to my lymph nodes quite a bit, the cut on my neck got bigger.

Once again, the anesthesia didn’t sit well with me and I threw up in the middle of the night. Having to suction phlegm out of my chest was particularly painful. After the second surgery I lost all sensation around my clavicle, and it still feels strange whenever I touch that area.

I’ve had people say some shockingly heartless things about my surgical scars. Like when someone asked if they were the result of a suicide attempt. People have said things that never would have crossed my mind. These surgical scars will never go away. Now I always pick clothing that will cover them up.

After the surgery, I had to get isotope treatment for the lesions caused by the lung metastasis. This is a treatment where you take concentrated radioactive iodine pills in order to expose the cancer cells to radiation.

I did outpatient treatment for the first and second round. For this treatment, since you’re ingesting radioactive iodine, you end up becoming an exposure risk to the people around you. After I got my dosage at the hospital I’d go home and isolate myself, but I was worried about exposing my family to radiation. I drank the iodine twice, but the cancer didn’t go away.

For the third round I needed to take a larger amount of iodine, so I had to stay at the hospital. My room at the hospital was at the end of a long, white hallway and through several doors. There were yellow and red signs pasted everywhere, warning of radiation. It was a hazardous area despite being inside a hospital. As for the room itself, you can only bring in previously approved items. That’s because anything you bring in becomes contaminated.

Nurses don’t come into that hospital room. The doctor just comes in once a day to do an examination. I felt bad that the doctor had to come in knowing that they’d be exposed to radiation. I didn’t want anyone to have to sacrifice themselves because of me.

Two or three doctors came into my room with the medicine. The medicine was in a cylindrical plastic case.

Drinking the medicine was a race with time. One doctor took the white capsule out with tweezers, placed it in a paper cup, and handed it to me.

They then immediately left the room, closing the lead door behind them and then instructing me through the speakerphone to drink the medicine. I quickly gulped down the medicine with some water.

After I swallowed, they checked the inside of my mouth through the door. They then held a radiation-monitoring device over my stomach to confirm that the capsule got there, and then I was instructed to lay down on the bed. The doctor then told me over the speakerphone to change the orientation of my body every 15 minutes.

As for food, I was first shown a meal on the TV screen in order to make sure that I could eat all of it without leaving anything on my plate. They didn’t want to give me any more than I could eat, so as to minimize the amount of contaminated waste.

That night, a wave of nausea suddenly came over me. I felt so sick. The feeling wouldn’t go away so I panicked and pressed the button to call the nurse, but the nurse didn’t come. I thought I’d better not throw up on the bed, so I rushed to the bathroom.

When I later told the nurse that I’d thrown up, they just prescribed some anti-nausea medicine. By then it was already past 2am, and I couldn’t sleep very well.

The next day onward, I completely lost my appetite, and I usually had them bring me just medicine and not meals. I threw up once or twice on the second day too.

Until then, I’d almost never thrown up in my life. I ended up bursting a blood vessel in my eye because of the strain of throwing up, and my eye became bright red. Through the door, the nurse checked my condition, and prescribed some eye drops.

I felt sick for the rest of the time I spent in that room. I was just waiting for the time to pass.

In that room, there was a square radiation monitoring device attached to the wall near the ceiling. It looked like an air conditioner. On the bottom right of the device was a display window that would show the radiation measurement. When I stepped closer to it, the number would shoot up, and when I stepped away the number would go down again.

I spent three days like this, and finally it became time to leave. I had to throw away everything I’d been wearing, like my pajamas, into a garbage can made of lead. I changed into the clothes I’d stored in a locker, opened the lead door, and walked with the nurse down the long hallway and through multiple doors.

After this treatment, one of the side effects I had to deal with was that I couldn’t produce saliva normally. It became difficult to swallow food with a low water content, and my sense of taste changed.

That hospitalization experience was the harshest yet. I don’t want to have to go through it again.

I went through such a painful experience, and yet the treatment didn’t work that well. It didn’t do what it was supposed to, and I ended up feeling like it was all a waste. Before, I was motivated to get treatment with the assumption that it would cure me. Now, I just think, I hope this treatment at least slows down the progression of my illness.

After becoming ill, I’ve started prioritizing cancer treatment over my dreams for the future. Because of treatment, I’ve given up on everything—college, the studies I’d been focusing on in order to pursue the career I wanted, and even going to concerts I’d been so excited for.

Of course, I didn’t actually want to give up on college. I wanted to graduate. I wanted to graduate and start working in a field I’m good at. I wanted to do the job hunt process (shukatsu) as a new graduate. I wanted to be carefree and chat with my friends, asking each other, “how was shukatsu?” I wanted to experience college life. These are all dreams that didn’t come true, and it’s hard to let them go.

The friends I went to middle and high school with have already graduated college, started working, and are leading stable new lives. I can’t help but look at them with envy. It’s hard, because I don’t want to feel this sort of resentment toward them.

It’s painful to see medical students at the hospital who are about the same age as me. I end up thinking, I should be a college student too.

Every time I go to the hospital, I think, I hope the tumor marker value hasn’t gone up. But lately, the value is higher every time, and I get crushed—what did I do wrong? Why is the number higher?

My overall health has been declining, and I struggle with sore shoulders, lower back pain, fatigue, and hands and feet that quickly go numb. I’m not sure if it’s because of the excessive amount of medicine I have to take, but I sometimes get heart palpitations or feel like I’m suffocating. The area of my neck where I got surgery also cramps very easily, and when that happens, I have to just endure the pain until it subsides.

I feel bad whenever I think about how much I’ve burdened my family and how much I’ve made them worry because of my illness. I don’t want to cause them any more pain.

I want to return to my old body. But as much as I pray for that, I will never get it back.  Through this trial, I hope that thyroid cancer patients are able to get proper compensation.”



March 5, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , | Leave a comment

Plaintiffs’ Opinion Statement: “Recurrence is always in the back of my mind,” Defense Objects to Estimation of Radiation Exposure

Defense lawyers make an appeal in front of the Tokyo District Court before the opening of the trial.

January 26, 2023
On January 25, the fourth oral argument was held at the Tokyo District Court in a lawsuit filed by seven men and women aged 18-28 who lived in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the accident, claiming that they developed thyroid cancer as a result of the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Two of the plaintiffs, a man and a woman, made statements, claiming that the recurrence of the accident was always on their minds.

 The plaintiffs, a man in his 20s who was a junior high school student and a woman in her 20s who was an elementary school student at the time of the accident, made statements on the day. The man has repeatedly suffered recurrences of cancer and has undergone a total of four surgeries and isotope therapy, in which radioactive iodine is administered internally to destroy cancerous tissue when the cancer spreads.

 After the second surgery, in which her thyroid gland was completely removed, she lost her voice and became anxious, even thinking that it might be easier to just die. He confessed that he had made up his mind to “value my own will from now on. I am prepared for a recurrence of cancer, but I want to look only forward. I want to see if my illness is recognized as an effect of radiation exposure.

 Two years ago, a health survey conducted by the Fukushima prefectural government found that she had thyroid cancer, and she underwent surgery. After the surgery, she became emotionally unstable, and she was “on the edge mentally” as she raised her voice to her family. If this continues, I will end up in a state of ambiguity for a long time. Why were we forced to stand (in court)? I hope you will understand at least that much.

 TEPCO claims that the plaintiffs were exposed to an estimated 10 millisieverts or less of radiation to the thyroid gland based on a report issued by a United Nations scientific panel, and that since the risk of developing thyroid cancer does not increase below 100 millisieverts, their cancer was not caused by the nuclear accident.

 In response, the defense submitted a written opinion by Professor Emeritus Shinichi Kurokawa of the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK), who analyzed data from monitoring posts in Fukushima City from March 15 to 16, 2011, and found that the thyroid exposure of a one-year-old child was approximately 60 millisieverts from breathing alone. He claimed that the Science Commission’s radiation exposure estimate was “a drastic underestimate and irrational.

 The next argument date is set for March 15. Two more plaintiffs are scheduled to present their opinions. (Tetsuya Kasai)

February 4, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , | Leave a comment

Cancer patients forced to testify anonymously in Fukushima nuclear disaster case

The plaintiffs are facing a backlash as they argue that the 2011 disaster is the cause of their ill health.

Screening of local children has revealed unusually high levels of thyroid cancer

29 May 2022

A court in Japan this week began hearings against the operator of a Fukushima power plant over cases of thyroid cancer in children allegedly linked to the 2011 nuclear disaster.

Six people are seeking Y616 million (£3.8 million) in damages from Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), claiming they were exposed to radiation after a massive tsunami destroyed the plant’s cooling systems and caused three of the six reactors to suffer meltdowns. 

The people – all aged between 6 and 16 at the time – have been living with the effects of that day ever since. 

Four had their thyroid removed entirely and will need to take hormone medication for the rest of their lives. The other two had portions of their thyroids removed. One of the plaintiffs said the cancer has spread to their lungs. 

“Because of the treatments, I could not attend university, or continue my studies for my future job, or go to a concert. I had to give up everything”, testified one woman who is now in her 20s. “I want to regain my healthy body, but that’s impossible no matter how hard I wish.”

Their stories are compelling, but the four women and two men are having to testify anonymously in the landmark case – in part because many people simply do not believe them. 

Doctors in Fukushima have screened hundreds of thousands of people for thyroid cancer in the years since the disaster

A culture of discrimination and misunderstanding around cancer in Japan that dates back to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings of 1945 has meant they have become the target of insidious online abuse.

Some have suggested they are exaggerating or making their illnesses up. Others have accused them of damaging the reputation of Fukushima, which has tried hard to rehabilitate its image since the disaster. 

One message posted on the site of a local Fukushima website said the plaintiffs’ parents were to blame because they failed to evacuate the children immediately after the disaster.  

Another message said the people “appear to be annoyed that they cannot live perfect lives”.

A third person said the case was being encouraged “by an anti-Japanese, leftist group”. 

The plaintiffs involved hope that this case will finally put all that to bed. 

Their lawyers will argue that screening of 380,000 local children since 2011 has identified around 300 cases of thyroid cancer. That incidence rate of 77 cases per 100,000 people is significantly higher than the typical one or two cases per million and can only be linked to radiation from the accident, they say. A similar pattern was seen among children following the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine.

Japanese police wear suits to protect them from radiation as they search for victims after the disaster

“The doctor told my father that the cancer was highly malignant and had spread widely. He said it appeared to be less than five years old,” one man told local media before the hearing.

TEPCO has always maintained that there is no link between the leak of radiation from the plant and the spike in cancer cases, adding that tests of 1,080 children from three cities around the plant showed no one received more than 50 millisieverts of radiation, the annual limit for nuclear workers.

Their lawyers are set to argue that the high rate of thyroid cancers in Fukushima is the result of overtesting. 

The company’s attempts to discredit them has added fuel to widespread hostility towards the plaintiffs.

“The people of Hiroshima were shunned by the rest of Japan after the atomic bombing of the city in 1945 because they did not understand about radiation and they feared they could catch it as a disease,” Chisato Kitanaka, an associate professor of sociology at Hiroshima University told The Telegraph. 

“We cannot say that people do not lack information on the Fukushima case, but these people are still being singled out. They attack because they prefer to believe TEPCO or because they support the government’s plan to restart the nation’s nuclear reactors.” 

In a separate case, earlier this year Japan’s Supreme Court upheld an order for TEPCO to pay damages of 1.4 billion yen (£9.5 million) to about 3,700 people whose lives were devastated by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, in the first decision of its kind.

June 5, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Cancer patients seek damages from Fukushima nuclear plant

Lawyer Kenichi Ido, second left, sitting among other lawyers representing plaintiffs who were children in Fukushima at the time of the 2011 nuclear disaster and later developed thyroid cancer, speaks during a news conference after a trial in Tokyo, Thursday, May 26, 2022. A Tokyo court began hearing a case Thursday seeking nearly $5 million in damages for six people who lived as children in Fukushima and developed thyroid cancer after its 2011 nuclear disaster. (AP Photo/Mari Yamaguchi)

By Mari Yamaguchi Associated Press

May 26, 2022

A Tokyo court has begun hearings in a lawsuit seeking nearly $5 million in damages for six people who were children in Fukushima at the time of its 2011 nuclear power plant disaster and later developed thyroid cancer

TOKYO — A Tokyo court began hearings Thursday in a lawsuit seeking nearly $5 million in damages for six people who were children in Fukushima at the time of its 2011 nuclear power plant disaster and later developed thyroid cancer.

The plaintiffs are suing the operator of the nuclear plant, saying radiation released in the accident caused their illnesses.

It is the first group lawsuit filed by Fukushima residents over health problems allegedly linked to the disaster, their lawyers say.

One plaintiff, identified only as a woman in her 20s, testified from behind a screen that she had to give up plans to attend university because of repeated operations and treatments.

“Because of the treatments, I could not attend university, or continue my studies for my future job, or go to a concert. I had to give up everything,” she said. “I want to regain my healthy body, but that’s impossible no matter how hard I wish.”

She and the five other plaintiffs are seeking a total of 616 million yen ($4.9 million) in damages from Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings for allegedly causing their cancers.

On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and massive tsunami destroyed the Fukushima plant’s cooling systems, causing three reactor cores to melt and release large amounts of radiation. Critics say the plant operator should have known that a large tsunami was possible at the site.

The plaintiffs, who were 6 to 16 years old at the time of the accident and lived in different parts of Fukushima, were diagnosed with thyroid cancer between 2012 and 2018, their lawyers said.

The plant operator told the court that they were not exposed to enough radiation to cause cancer, citing tests of 1,080 children from three cities around the plant that showed about 55% were not exposed and none received more than 50 millisieverts, the annual limit for nuclear workers.

An increase in thyroid cancer was found among children following the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine.

The Fukushima prefectural government tested 380,000 residents aged 18 or younger at the time of the accident for thyroid cancer. About 300 were diagnosed with cancer or suspected cancer.

That occurrence rate, about 77 per 100,000, is significantly higher than the usual 1-2 per million and can only be linked to radiation from the accident, the plaintiffs’ lawyers said.

Prefectural officials and experts have said the high level of thyroid cancer found in Fukushima is due to an overdiagnosis, which might have led to unnecessary treatment.

Kenichi Ido, one of the lawyers, said none of the cases involve an overdiagnosis and that the plant operator should be held accountable for radiation exposure unless it can prove otherwise.

The plaintiff who testified Thursday said she walked from home to her high school five days after the tsunami, just as the reactors were undergoing meltdowns.

Three other plaintiffs who attended the hearing were also behind a partition to protect their privacy because of criticism on social media accusing them of fabricating their illnesses and hurting the image of Fukushima, the lawyers said.

Ido said many people with health problems feel intimidated to speak out in Fukushima and that he hopes the lawsuit will prove a correlation between radiation and the plaintiffs’ cancers “so that we can have a society in which people can talk freely about their difficulties.”

The government was slow in responding to the crisis, and evacuations in many places were delayed due to a lack of disclosure of what was happening at the nuclear plant. Residents who fled in their cars clogged roads and were stranded for hours outside while radiation spread from the damaged reactors. Some residents headed to evacuation centers in the direction of the radiation flow.

May 29, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Class action lawsuit against the victims of thyroid cancer caused by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident begins

May 26, 2022
On May 26, a class action lawsuit began in which six people who were children at the time of the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant are seeking compensation from TEPCO for thyroid cancer they contracted as a result of the accident.

The six, who were between the ages of 6 and 16 when the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident occurred 11 years ago, claim that they were living in Fukushima Prefecture at the time and that they developed thyroid cancer as a result of radiation exposure from the nuclear accident.

After the accident, they were diagnosed with thyroid cancer in tests conducted by Fukushima Prefecture, and have been forced to have their thyroid glands removed and undergo lifelong hormone treatment.
The trial will begin on March 26 at the Tokyo District Court, and the plaintiffs’ lawyers have stated that, “According to statistics from a national research institute, the average number of thyroid cancer cases in children was only one to two per million people per year for the 10 years until 2007, but in Fukushima, at least 293 cases have been confirmed in the 10 years since the accident. In Fukushima, however, at least a total of 293 cases of cancer have been confirmed in the 10 years since the accident,” and that “the cancer is presumed to be caused by exposure to radiation from the accident.

A female plaintiff stated, “I prioritized treatment over my dreams for the future and had no choice but to quit my university studies. I hope that through the trial, relief for the patients will be realized,” she tearfully appealed.

According to the plaintiffs’ lawyers, this is the first class action lawsuit to hold TEPCO responsible for the health damage caused by radiation exposure from the nuclear power plant accident, and TEPCO has indicated that it will fight the case.

The next meeting will be held in September, and TEPCO is scheduled to make a rebuttal.
The Fukushima Prefecture’s expert panel and the UN scientific committee’s opinion is
The Fukushima Prefectural Expert Panel and the United Nations Scientific Committee have each expressed their opinions on whether the thyroid cancer diagnosed in some children living in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was caused by exposure to radiation from the nuclear power plant accident.

As part of its post-nuclear accident health survey, Fukushima Prefecture conducted a large-scale test using ultrasound equipment to check for thyroid cancer in approximately 380,000 people who were under the age of 18 at the time of the accident.

Fukushima Prefecture has established a committee of experts to analyze whether the cancers found were caused by radiation exposure.

Of these, 187 have been evaluated by 2019, and a report has been compiled stating that “no relationship between the thyroid cancers found and radiation exposure can be found”.

The reasons given were that the estimated radiation doses received by children in Fukushima Prefecture after the accident were much lower than those received in the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident, and that there was no statistical bias in the regional distribution of cancer patients and no trend indicating an association with radiation exposure.

The expert panel is still analyzing the remaining 87 people diagnosed after FY2016, and the results of the evaluation have not yet been presented.

On the other hand, the UN Scientific Committee, which evaluates the effects of radiation on humans and the environment, estimated radiation doses last year based on the type and amount of radioactive materials released by the accident and the evacuation behavior of the residents, and concluded that “it is unlikely that any health effects directly attributable to radiation exposure caused by the accident will be observed in the residents of Fukushima Prefecture in the future. The report states that “the likelihood of health effects directly caused by radiation exposure in Fukushima Prefecture in the future is low.

The report also stated that the cases diagnosed in Fukushima Prefecture “are not the result of radiation exposure, but rather the result of highly sensitive ultrasound examinations that are likely to have diagnosed cancers that would not normally be detected,” and expressed a negative opinion on the causal relationship between thyroid cancer and the cases.
TEPCO “will listen to the plaintiffs’ claims in detail and respond appropriately.

TEPCO said, “We will listen to the plaintiffs’ claims and the details of their claims in detail and respond appropriately. TEPCO once again expresses its sincere apology to the people of Fukushima Prefecture and the wider community for the inconvenience and concern caused by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
The plaintiff, a woman in her 20s, said
The six young people who filed the lawsuit claim that they were diagnosed with cancer and that it has affected the future they had envisioned.

One of the plaintiffs, a woman in her 20s from Nakadori, Fukushima Prefecture, was a junior high school student when the nuclear accident occurred.

It was in the spring, about four years after the accident, that she felt a change in her health.

She had just left her family in Fukushima and started living alone when she entered university.

Her body was swollen all over, her menstrual period came once every two weeks, her skin became rough, and she began to feel a strong discomfort in her throat and body pain.

After consulting with her family, she underwent an examination as part of the prefectural health survey conducted by Fukushima Prefecture after the nuclear power plant accident, and was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

The woman recalls her feelings at the time, “I had hoped that the surgery would improve my health, but even after the surgery, I continued to feel ill easily, and I became increasingly worried that the cancer might recur or spread.

However, her health did not improve as expected, and she had no choice but to leave the company after about a year and a half in order to prioritize her treatment.

Even now, regular visits to the hospital and medication are essential for her. “I had longed to be a career woman who worked hard, but I now have to prioritize my health in everything I do,” she said. I am worried that it will affect my future choices of marriage and childbirth,” she confides.

Regarding the relationship between exposure to radiation from the nuclear accident and thyroid cancer, the Fukushima prefectural government’s expert panel has so far stated that “no relationship has been found.

All of the plaintiffs, including the woman, are going to trial without revealing their faces or names publicly, as some have criticized them for claiming health problems caused by exposure to radiation as Fukushima is making progress toward recovery.

The woman said, “I was afraid that I would be discriminated against if people knew that I was from Fukushima Prefecture and had thyroid cancer, so I could hardly tell anyone until now,” adding, “I thought there were many people who suffered from cancer as well and had to give up their dreams such as higher education and employment, or who could not speak up for fear of discrimination and prejudice, and I became an adult first. I decided that I would be the one to show courage. I would like to clarify the facts through the trial and seek redress for the damage.

May 29, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Thyroid cancer surgery 4 times “I want to know the causal relationship

A man who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the age of 19 in Tokyo said, “More than anything, I want to know the causal relationship between the nuclear power plant accident and my thyroid cancer.

May 25, 2022
Thyroid cancer has been confirmed in approximately 300 children who were in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The question is, “Is there a causal relationship between the accident and thyroid cancer? A man, 25, who was in the second year of junior high school at the time of the accident, had undergone four surgeries and was fearful that the cancer would recur, so he filed a lawsuit to find the answer. The first oral argument in the lawsuit by the man and six other young people demanding compensation from TEPCO will be held at the Tokyo District Court on March 26. (The first oral argument of the lawsuit will be held at the Tokyo District Court on April 26.)
◆”I am always concerned about the recurrence and metastasis of cancer.
 I live my life knowing that one day the cancer will recur and affect my health,” said a man from Nakadori, Fukushima Prefecture. The man is from Nakadori in central Fukushima Prefecture and works for a company in Tokyo. Although he has to take medication for the rest of his life, he says his health is good and his work is fulfilling.
 However, the fear of recurrence or metastasis always haunts him. What if I lose my voice or my health deteriorates to the point where I can no longer work? I can’t think about the future,” he says. At first, she was not positive about the trial, but now she hopes that she can help other children suffering from thyroid cancer by preserving a record of the facts of the trial.
 He was 19 years old when he found out he had thyroid cancer while attending a university in Tokyo. His father did not tell him that the doctor had told him that the cancer was highly malignant, had metastasized extensively, and that he might not live five years.
 Another doctor told him that it was “the same as what was seen in Chernobyl” and that it was “probably related to the nuclear accident. The father said, “When I told my son that he had cancer, he accepted it without hesitation. I cried inside. I shouldn’t have stayed in Fukushima,” he said. He still feels regret over not evacuating.
 At the age of 20, the man had one thyroid gland partially removed. Six months later, he had the entire thyroid removed, but it had spread to his lymph nodes, and the surgery lasted six hours. Because he was in the same position for a long time, he could not sleep after the surgery due to severe bedsore pain. Unable to speak or even complain about the pain, he endured it while connected to a tube. His heart sank, and he could not respond to his family’s words. She thought about death for the first time, saying, “It might be easier to die.
Shocked by the document “Contraception for 6 months
 At the age of 21, he underwent a third surgery for metastasis to the lymph nodes, and at the age of 24, the disease recurred. During radiation treatment after the surgery, he received a document that said, “Use contraception for six months. The man, who is married and wants to have children, was shocked that this might affect his children. The man said, “For the first time, I understood why fathers were angry about the nuclear accident and desperate to find a hospital for their children.
 The government and the Fukushima prefectural government have taken the position that a causal relationship between the thyroid cancers found in Fukushima Prefecture and the nuclear accident “cannot be recognized at this time. Since filing the lawsuit, the father has also sensed an atmosphere of discrimination directed toward the men and the other plaintiffs. Some people said, “Don’t put a damper on the good progress Fukushima is making,” and some of their acquaintances left them.
 After the nuclear accident, 301 young people were found to have thyroid cancer in surveys conducted by Fukushima Prefecture and other organizations. The plaintiffs’ lawyers claim that the incidence of childhood thyroid cancer is dozens of times higher than usual and that a causal link to the nuclear accident is clear.
 The men say. If it wasn’t the nuclear accident, then what was it? If we don’t say anything, it will be assumed that nothing happened, and the facts will be buried. I want to make this a valuable trial.”

May 29, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Thyroid-Cancer Victims Take TEPCO to Court

March 2, 2022

PRESS CONFERENCE: Fukushima Thyroid-Cancer Victims Take TEPCO to Court

Kenichi Ido, Attorney, Lead Counsel for the 3.11 Children’s Thyroid Cancer Lawsuit

Hiroyuki Kawai, Attorney, Co-counsel for the 3.11 Children’s Thyroid Cancer Lawsuit

March 3, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Disaster’s Impact on Health Will Be Challenged in Court 

By Thisanka Siripala

February 17, 2022

A link between radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster and cancer will be the focal point of the civil court case against operator TEPCO.

Almost 11 years have passed since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant catastrophe. But even as Fukushima prefecture gets ready to launch a new revitalization slogan – “Making Fukushima’s reconstruction a reality one step at a time” – it is still struggling to overcome the lingering aftereffects of the accident. Earlier this month, a group of six men and women diagnosed with thyroid cancer as children filed a class action case against Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), seeking $5.4 million in compensation.

Eastern Japan was hit by a massive magnitude 9.1 earthquake and 15-meter tsunami on March 11, 2011. The disaster shut off power and cooling to three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, triggering the release of radiation for up to six days.

The plaintiffs, who are aged between 17 and 27, are seeking to hold TEPCO responsible for the thyroid cancer they developed. Two have had one side of their thyroid removed and four others have had a complete thyroidectomy and are planning or undergoing radiation therapy. The treatment has forced them to drop out of school or college and give up on their dreams. The plaintiffs argue that their thyroid cancer has created barriers to their education and employment as well as marriage and starting a family.

The Fukushima Daiichi meltdown was the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986, which was followed by a spike in cancer cases in the region. In Japan a health survey conducted by the Fukushima prefecture found 266 cases of cancer among the 380,000 people aged under 18 at the time of the accident. The lawyers representing the plaintiffs argue that pediatric thyroid cancer is extremely rare, with an annual incident rate of two cases in one million people.

The plaintiffs added that in the past decade they have been forced to stay silent due to social pressure and the risk of public outrage over speaking out about the connection between the Fukushima nuclear accident and their thyroid cancer.

The Federation of Promotion of Zero-Nuclear Power and Renewable Energy, a civic group that includes five former Japanese prime ministers, sent a letter to the EU urging the elimination of nuclear power. In the letter, they stated that many children are suffering from thyroid cancer as a result of the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident.

However, the Japanese government believes there is no causal link between exposure to radiation from the accident and the children developing thyroid cancer. Prime Minister Kishida Fumio said at a House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting that “it is not appropriate to spread false information that children from Fukushima are suffering from health problems.”

At a press conference Takaichi Sanae, chairperson of the ruling LDP’s Policy Research Council refuted the letter sent by the federation. She stressed the government’s position that the cases of childhood thyroid cancer have been assessed by experts who have determined the accident is unlikely to have caused cancer.

Fukushima prefecture’s expert panel say there could be the possibility of “over-diagnosis” due to increased vigilance after the disaster, suggesting that some patients diagnosed with cancer did not need treatment. They say they are continuing to investigate the nature of each diagnosis. The Ministry of Environment also said they will continue to disseminate knowledge based on scientific findings to dispel rumors about the health effects of radiation.

Last week, the Fukushima reconstruction and revitalization council met to discuss the “diverse needs of the prefecture” and a long term response to support evacuees. Governor of Fukushima Uchibori Masao acknowledged that the prefecture is “facing many difficulties including the reconstruction and rehabilitation of evacuated areas and rebuilding the lives of evacuees and victims of the disaster.” There are also plans to establish a new national research and education organization in Fukushima that will devise measures to prevent and dispel rumors fueling discrimination toward evacuees and Fukushima food.

Taiwan recently lifted its blanket food import ban on Fukushima produce introduced in the wake of the disaster but there are 14 countries and regions that still maintain import restrictions. Additionally, Japan’s decision to discharge more than one million tonnes of low-level radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea is another issue attracting negative publicity abroad.

February 20, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Thyroid Cancer in Kids – Epidemiologist Joseph Mangano – NH #556

  • Joseph Mangano is Executive director of Radiation and Public Health Project.  He is an epidemiologist – one who searches for the cause of disease, identifies people who are at risk, determines how to control or stop the spread, or prevent it from happening again. Joe has over 30 years of experience working with nuclear numbers and comes from a history of teasing out health information from data.  We spoke on Friday, February 11, 2022.

February 17, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Five successive prime ministers saying that “many children suffer from thyroid cancer”

February 4, 2022

Environment Minister Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi has complained about five successive prime ministers saying that “many children suffer from thyroid cancer.” However, pediatric thyroid cancer is a rare disease that only occurs in one million people, but after the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, 266 people (10 years) have been diagnosed out of 38,000 people. Why don’t you say a lot of this?” (Attorney Takayuki Fujioka)

We received a letter of protest from Mr. Yamaguchi, Minister of the Environment, regarding the joint statement by five former prime ministers compiled and released by JAERI. In response to this, JAERI has released a rebuttal and questions. In this video, Hiroyuki Kawai, the secretary general of JAERI, talks about the issues involved. Click here for the full text of the rebuttal and questions

February 7, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Release] Protest against the condemnation of the letter of the five former prime ministers

Protest Statement

Feb. 4, 2022

311 Children’s Thyroid Cancer Trial Lawyers: Kenichi Ido, Chief of the Defense Team, Hiroyuki Kawai, Vice-Chairman, Yuichi Kaiwata

Five former prime ministers who are truly concerned about the future of Japan (Junichiro Koizumi, Morihiro Hosokawa, Naoto Kan, Yukio Hatoyama, and Tomiichi Murayama) sent a letter to the President of the European Commission on January 27, 2022. In a letter dated January 27, 2022, five former prime ministers (Ichiro Koizumi, Morihiro Hosokawa, Naoto Kan, Yukio Hatoyama, and Tomiichi Murayama) wrote to the President of the European Commission entitled “Nuclear and Carbon Free: Excluding Nuclear Power from the EU Taxonomy is Possible. -In the letter, he talks about the current situation in Fukushima. In response to the passage in the letter that “many children are suffering from thyroid cancer”, Goshi Hosono, a member of the Diet, tweeted about the current situation in Fukushima, So Yamaguchi, Minister of the Environment, wrote a letter to five former prime ministers, Takaichi Takai, Chairman of the General Affairs Committee of the Liberal Democratic Party, expressed his protest, Uchibori, Governor of Fukushima Prefecture, made an appeal, and Kishida, Prime Minister of Japan, responded to the Budget Committee. The LDP Fukushima prefectural federation has sent a letter of protest, and the government and the LDP have attacked and condemned each other. The reasons for this are that the above passage is “erroneous information” (Minister of Environment, Prime Minister Kishida), “erroneous content” (Chairman of the General Affairs Council Koichi), “contrary to scientific facts” (Hosono Rep.), “encourages unwarranted discrimination and prejudice” (Minister of Environment, Prime Minister Kishida), “brings anxiety to the youth of Fukushima” (Hosono Rep.), and “causes (Hosono), and “spreading rumors based on false information” (Takaichi, Chairman of the Board of Governors).

However, it is an undeniable fact that pediatric thyroid cancer, which was said to occur in only one or two children per million people per year before the Fukushima nuclear accident, has increased in Fukushima Prefecture in the 11 years since the accident, with 266 cases in the Fukushima Prefectural Health Survey and 27 cases in other surveys, for a total of at least 293 cases.

The above accusation by the Liberal Democratic Party may be an attempt to say that radiation exposure is not the cause of the high incidence of childhood thyroid cancer, but this is not a scientifically settled issue and their statement is “inaccurate information. The Fukushima Prefectural Citizens’ Health Study Review Committee and UNSCEAR (United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation) UNSCEAR (United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation) deny the existence of a cause-and-effect relationship, it does not mean that these organizations have the authority to determine the existence of a cause-and-effect relationship. On the other hand, there are many experts who argue that a causal relationship should be recognized.

In this regard, the Ministry of the Environment seems to be based on the so-called over-diagnosis theory that the screening of the Fukushima Prefectural Health Survey only finds a large number of latent cancers that do not progress even if left untreated, but the over-diagnosis theory is not a proven theory. However, the over-diagnosis theory is not a proven theory. On the contrary, the scheme of the Fukushima Prefectural Health Survey was carefully designed to avoid over-diagnosis and over-treatment while fully recognizing the existence of latent cancers among thyroid cancers. When a cancer is found, it is not removed in a hasty manner. Rather, the progress of the cancer is assessed and its invasion into the surrounding tissues and metastasis to the surrounding lymph nodes are carefully investigated, and surgery is performed only in cases that meet the indications for surgery stipulated in the thyroid treatment guidelines. The thyroid surgeon who performed the removal of pediatric thyroid cancer in Fukushima Prefecture has clearly denied that he overdiagnosed the disease.

Pediatric thyroid cancer is said to progress more rapidly than thyroid cancer in adults. Although Fukushima Prefecture has not disclosed the total number of cases, it appears that a significant number of children have had recurrences after surgery. Of the six pediatric thyroid cancer patients who filed a claim for damages against TEPCO on January 27, four of them had their cancers recur after surgery. Is the Ministry of the Environment saying that these cases are also overdiagnosed?

All of the children in Fukushima Prefecture were exposed to a certain amount of radiation. It is natural for children who suffer from extremely rare diseases caused by exposure to radiation to suspect that exposure is the cause. According to a survey conducted by the NPO 3.11 Thyroid Cancer Children’s Fund, the number of children and adolescents suffering from thyroid cancer has been increasing. According to a survey conducted by the NPO 3.11 Children’s Fund for Thyroid Cancer, about 60% of children and their families affected by thyroid cancer believe that the cause of the disease is exposure to radiation. However, lawsuits claiming compensation for damages by pediatric thyroid cancer patients have only just been filed. One of the plaintiffs stated at the press conference for the lawsuit that he could not even tell that he had thyroid cancer. I strongly fear that this series of bashing will make it harder than ever for pediatric thyroid cancer patients and their families to speak out about their feelings and questions. They should be aware that their comments are the ones that “promote discrimination and prejudice” and cause secondary damage to the young people and their families in Fukushima.

What the government and the administration should do is to conduct a thorough investigation into whether or not the high incidence of thyroid cancer in children is caused by exposure to radiation, make the data public, have open discussions with the public, and if a cause-and-effect relationship cannot be denied, have TEPCO promptly compensate the victims. We also need to establish a permanent support system to relieve the suffering of the young people in Fukushima. Rather than suppressing the anxiety of pediatric thyroid cancer patients and their families and silencing them, the role of the government should be to eliminate any discrimination and prejudice that may be caused by the revelation of the facts.

The cause of the high incidence of pediatric thyroid cancer in Fukushima Prefecture must continue to be investigated in order to reach a scientific conclusion. The lawsuit filed by patients against TEPCO has just started. The Lawyers Committee strongly protests against this series of unjustified bashing of the five former prime ministers by the government and the Liberal Democratic Party.

That is all.

Source: Support Network 311: Children with Thyroid Cancer

February 4, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Environment Minister Yamaguchi flirts with five former prime ministers: “Thyroid cancer has nothing to do with the nuclear accident.

National Diet of Japan, House of Representatives, Budget Committee, General Questions, Environment Minister Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi

February 2, 2022

Environment Minister Sou Yamaguchi announced on Wednesday that he had sent letters of protest to five former prime ministers, including Junichiro Koizumi and Morihiro Hosokawa, for spreading false information about the health effects of radiation on children in Fukushima Prefecture.

 Koizumi and Hosokawa, as well as Naoto Kan, Yukio Hatoyama and Tomiichi Murayama, are opposed to the European Commission’s decision to include nuclear power plants as a “green” investment that contributes to decarbonization, as many children are suffering from thyroid cancer due to the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co. He had sent a statement to the chairman of the committee dated last month 27. In his letter, Mr. Yamaguchi complained that the wording of the statement by the former prime minister and others “may lead to discrimination and prejudice and is not appropriate.

February 4, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

[Urgent Release] Examining the Significantly Reduced “Oral” Thyroid Radiation Exposure in the UNSCEAR 2020 Report

February 3, 2022

In a letter sent by five former prime ministers, including Junichiro Koizumi and Naoto Kan, to the European Commission, they stated that “many children are suffering from thyroid cancer” due to the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida responded at the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives on February 2 that the letter was inappropriate because it could spread false information that children in Fukushima Prefecture are suffering from health problems caused by radiation and promote unwarranted discrimination and prejudice. He responded. The governor of Fukushima Prefecture, Masao Uchibori, also wrote a letter to the former prime minister and others urging them to disseminate objective information based on “scientific findings,” saying that according to the opinions of experts, no causal relationship with radiation exposure has been recognized.

The basis for the current denial of thyroid cancer by the national and prefectural governments is that the thyroid exposure associated with the Fukushima nuclear accident is much lower than that of Chernobyl. However, the exact thyroid absorbed dose from the Fukushima nuclear accident has not been measured. All the figures currently being produced are merely estimates based on simulations and other data.

The same is true for the 2020 report of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), which the government places particular emphasis on. In particular, the 2020 report released in March last year is based on the same estimates as the agency’s 201 In particular, the 2020 report, which was released in March last year, is characterized by a significant decrease in the estimated radiation doses to the public compared to the report released in 2013. In the 2013 Report, the thyroid exposure from oral intake (infants (1 year old)) was uniformly 32.79 mGy in Fukushima Prefecture, but in the 2013 Report, it was significantly reduced from 1 to several mGy.

OurPlanetTV obtained 15,000 pieces of radioactive measurement data and meeting minutes from the Nuclear Regulation Authority and Fukushima Prefecture in the early stages of the accident. We added our own coverage and published the article in September last year.
Free release of Iwanami “Science” articles.

In response to the fact that the national government and the prefectural government have expressed the view that they deny the existence of thyroid cancer patients despite the fact that there are as many as 300 thyroid cancer patients, Iwanami Shoten will release the September 2021 issue of Science, which reports on the contamination of food immediately after the accident, in digital format free of charge.

February 4, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima governor refutes ex-PMs’ anti-nuclear letter to EU

February 3, 2022

The governor of Fukushima has sent a written protest to five former Japanese prime ministers for saying that many children in the prefecture are suffering from thyroid cancer as a result of the 2011 nuclear accident.

Governor Uchibori Masao has taken issue with a letter the ex-leaders sent to the European Union last month calling on the bloc to pursue a nuclear-free society.

He wrote to the leaders on Wednesday, saying they should present objective information based on scientific evidence.

The letter dated January 27 and signed by Koizumi Junichiro, Hosokawa Morihiro, Kan Naoto, Hatoyama Yukio and Murayama Tomiichi, was a reaction to the EU’s plan to label some nuclear power plants as green investments.

Koizumi is an advisor to a private organization that promotes zero nuclear power and renewable energy.

The letter refers to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant that was triggered by the 2011 quake and tsunami. The leaders say, “What we have witnessed in Fukushima over the last decade is an indescribable tragedy and contamination on an unprecedented scale.” They add, “many children are suffering from thyroid cancer.”

In Fukushima Prefecture, a survey has found 266 cases of confirmed or suspected thyroid cancer in people aged 18 years or younger at the time of the nuclear accident.

But a panel of experts commissioned by the prefecture says that no links have been established so far between the thyroid cancer cases and radiation exposure.

In his complaint to the ex-leaders, Governor Uchibori says providing accurate information based on scientific knowledge is crucial for the rebuilding of Fukushima.

He urged that when they refer to the current state of the prefecture, they should use objective information that is based on the prefecture’s views and reports by international scientific organizations.

Speaking at a Diet committee on Wednesday, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio called the letter by his predecessors inappropriate. Kishida said the letter spreads incorrect information that children in Fukushima are suffering health damage from radiation. He said it also raises concerns of promoting unreasonable discrimination and prejudice.

Last month, six people who were 6 to 16 years old and living in Fukushima at the time of the nuclear accident filed a lawsuit demanding that the plant operator pay damages for their thyroid cancer.

Their lawyers say this is the first time a group of residents has filed a lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power Company over health problems they claim were caused by radiation from the nuclear accident.

The lawyers say the plaintiffs have had all or parts of their thyroid glands removed and some need lifetime hormonal treatment.

February 4, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Open letter from five former Prime Ministers of Japan to the EU on nuclear power

February 2, 2022

Five former prime ministers of Japan wrote an open letter on 27 January to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen asking her to review the proposal to consider nuclear energy as a possible alternative to fossil fuels.

The reasons for this demand lie in the consideration that nuclear energy is dangerous and uncontrollable, as the Three Mile Island disaster in the United States, Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union and the TEPCO plant in Fukushima have dramatically demonstrated.

This taxonomy also promotes the misconception that nuclear energy is a possible alternative to climate-altering sources when in fact the unresolved problem of nuclear waste and the danger inherent in nuclear power plants poses a risk to the environment and the very survival of mankind.

In the same letter, the German government’s decision to abandon nuclear energy, motivated in part by the Fukushima disaster itself, is considered courageous, and the European Union is urged to show the same courage by favouring only renewable sources among its energy conversion choices.

The letter in full

February 4, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | 1 Comment