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I couldn’t tell anyone for 10 years

February 2, 2022
Six men and women between the ages of 17 and 27 who lived in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the accident filed a lawsuit against TEPCO on January 27, claiming they suffered from thyroid cancer due to radiation exposure from the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
They filed a lawsuit in the Tokyo District Court claiming a total of 616 million yen in damages. The main issue in the trial is expected to be whether or not there is a causal relationship between radiation exposure and thyroid cancer.

Lawyers and plaintiffs hold a press conference.
At the House of Representatives in Nagata-cho, Tokyo.

The six people in question, aged between 6 and 16 at the time of the accident, are high school students, temporary workers and employees living in the counties of Fukushima, Tokyo and Kanagawa. Two of them had a lobe of the thyroid removed, and the other four had to have the whole thyroid removed because of recurrence (in the case of one of them, metastasis had spread to the lungs). All of them had to stop their studies or their professional activity in order to undergo these surgical procedures and medical treatments. They live in fear and anxiety of a recurrence, and their daily lives have been curtailed due to fatigue and weakness caused by the disease.

The complaint points out that many of the thyroid cancers found in children in Fukushima County – including the six plaintiffs – are not hereditary and that the only possible trigger is radiation exposure. If there are other causes, it is up to TEPCO to prove it, she says.

Normally, the number of reported cases of thyroid cancer in children diagnosed is about 1 to 2 per 1 million. After the nuclear accident, a prefectural health survey in Fukushima Prefecture found about 300 people either suspected of having thyroid cancer or already diagnosed. But the expert commission appointed by the department said it “does not recognize for the moment” a causal relationship with radiation exposure.

For its part, the operator TEPCO announced that it would respond in good faith after learning more about the claims and allegations of the plaintiffs.


I want to change the situation by raising my voice

“We have spent the last ten years without telling anyone because we were afraid of being discriminated against if we revealed that we had thyroid cancer,” said one of the plaintiffs, 26, at a press conference in Tokyo on the afternoon of January 27. “But about 300 children have thyroid cancer,” she said, fighting back tears that choked her. “I want to improve the situation, if only a little, by raising my voice.

The woman from Nakadôri, in central Fukushima Prefecture, was a second-year university student when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2015 at the age of 19. The following year, after one of her thyroid lobes was removed, her physical strength decreased dramatically. As her health continued to deteriorate, she left the advertising agency where she was working in Tokyo after graduating from university after a year and a half. She is currently an office worker in Tokyo. She says, “I had to give up my dream job, and I am still struggling to do my job properly. I don’t have any dreams or hopes for the future.
Immediately after she was diagnosed with cancer, she felt very uncomfortable when the doctor told her that the disease had nothing to do with the nuclear accident.


That day, we were moving things…

The plaintiff at a press conference after her decision to sue TEPCO.
lawsuit against TEPCO.

The young woman’s mother, who was with her daughter when she was diagnosed, suddenly remembered what they were doing on March 14, 2011, the day of the hydrogen explosion in the No. 3 unit of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. They were outside their grandparents’ house, which was half destroyed by the earthquake, helping them move their belongings. At the end of the day, as soon as the mother heard about the explosion at the plant, she brought her daughter inside. “That day, I shouldn’t have asked you for a hand with the move,” the mother whispered as she drove home from the hospital. It was the only time she showed any remorse for forcing this moving chore on her daughter.

Before she was told she had cancer, the young woman had to travel back and forth between Fukushima and Tokyo for tests. However, the Fukushima county fully covers the medical expenses covered by the health insurance, but not the transportation expenses. So she took long-distance buses, which are cheaper than the high-speed train, but these trips became more and more physically demanding.
Surgery and medical examinations in Tokyo, a heavy financial burden

After the diagnosis, because of her distrust of the hospitals in Fukushima, she preferred to have surgery and medical examinations in Tokyo. Each time, her parents accompanied her. She had to pay the entire cost of the endoscopic surgery to minimize the scars on her neck out of her own pocket, as it was not covered by the prefectural aid at that time.

With all the demands of her treatment, she failed to apply for a renewal of her university scholarship, and by her third year of study, she had to pay her full tuition.

“When I heard my parents talking about taking a large amount of money out of their life insurance to fund my expenses, I felt depressed that I had caused them so much trouble,” she said.
Fear of recurrence: ‘I’m anxious about what comes next’.

After the surgery, she often caught colds, developed pneumonia, bronchitis and asthma. However, she can only receive assistance if the care is recognized as part of the treatment for thyroid cancer. The department has set up an annual budget, funded by a state grant, to cover medical expenses “for as long as possible,” according to the Department of Health Survey, but it’s unclear how long that will last. The young woman, who is still afraid of a recurrence, and feels very anxious about what will happen to her in the future, is therefore asking for more aid.

The article in Japanese in Tokyo Shimbun published on January 27, 2022

https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/156781

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

“I can’t think about marriage, childbirth or the future”

January 30, 2022
A 26-year-old woman with thyroid cancer and lung metastasis sues TEPCO.

Tokyo Shimbun, January 19, 2022

Six young people who developed thyroid cancer after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are seeking to establish the responsibility of TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) in court. They have strong doubts that, despite the discovery of thyroid cancer in about 300 people who were children at the time of the accident, no causal link with the accident has been recognized, especially since a reduction in the number of examinations is being considered. “I don’t want this to continue as if nothing happened,” said a 26-year-old woman who lives in the Nakadôri area of central Fukushima Prefecture and is worried about her future after learning that her cancer has spread to her lungs.


17 years old “Why me?”

“The doctor told me there was something suspicious in my neck in addition to the shadow detected on my lungs. I can’t think about marriage, having a child, or anything else in the future,” she says quietly at home that morning of November 11 before heading to her part-time job.

She goes to the hospital once every three months. Her heart sinks when she sees a young child in the waiting room. “The cancer was detected during a test when I was asymptomatic. Reducing the test[1] may not save lives.”

She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in March 2013, just before she started her third year of high school, at age 17. “I was told that if I didn’t have surgery, I might not live until I was 23. I tried to believe that everything was okay, even though I kept asking myself, Why me?”

The plaintiff, who underwent two operations to remove her thyroid gland and will have to take medication for the rest of her life. medication for the rest of her life,
is in Fukushima Prefecture.

Two surgeries, a room like a prison cell

Her 57-year-old mother held back tears as she heard the diagnosis along with her daughter. Her daughter entered high school in April 2011, just after the nuclear accident. At first, she wore a mask to protect herself from inhaling radioactive material, but she soon stopped wearing it. She walked 40 minutes each way to school, and participated in outdoor physical education classes. Her mother’s mind was filled with regret: “If only we had evacuated,” she said.

The girl wanted to go to university in Tokyo, but her mother, worried about her health, prevented her from doing so, and she went to university in the nearby prefecture. However, six months later, she began to feel lethargic, tired and had irregular periods. So she was retested.

“There is a recurrence on the remaining lobe of the thyroid gland. There was also a shadow on the lung,” the doctor told her. “I am not cured,” she said, breaking down in tears with her mother. She dropped out of college at age 19 to focus on her treatment.

The two surgeries and tests were difficult trials to endure. During one test, the deeper the needle went into her throat, the more painful it was. She had to undergo three sessions of iratherapy[2]. 2] She was placed in isolation in a cell-like room where she tried to cope by looking out a leaded window.


…but now I want to look forward.

On the day of the coming-of-age ceremony, her playful daughter told her father that she was happy to be able to wear a kimono. Her mother was shocked to learn that their daughter had contemplated death. “I have cancer, I won’t live long,” she repeated to herself, half-joking. This breaks her mother’s heart: “Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her.

Her cancer marker values are higher than before the operation. Because of fears of recurrence and metastasis, she has given up on the idea of a full-time job in her desired profession. But now she wants to look ahead. “If it wasn’t the accident, why are there so many children with thyroid cancer? Maybe there will be more in the future. I feel I have to do what I can now.

EDITOR’S NOTE
[1] Thyroid ultrasound examination of people living in Fukushima Prefecture who were under 18 years old at the time of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident is conducted by Fukushima Prefecture. The decrease in the number of examinations is under discussion; the examination would be a source of concern for the examinees, and these examinations possibly followed by surgery would be a source of overdiagnosis.
[2] Radioactive Iodine Treatment
https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/154986?fbclid=IwAR3kenQXIPf2itXHKTp8qU4t-uWy4o8hdjntp1bTmwIDdzpJuiNPBPLAYS8

January 31, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“I couldn’t tell anyone for ten years” – Six teenagers who developed thyroid cancer after the nuclear accident file lawsuit against TEPCO 

 

“””We’re scared to be discriminated against when we say we’ve got thyroid cancer, we’ve spent the last 10 years without telling anyone.”””

“But there are approximately 300 children suffering from thyroid cancer.”

“I want to change the situation for the better by raising my voice.”

Six men and women between the ages of 17 and 27 who were living in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the accident filed a lawsuit against TEPCO on April 27, claiming that they had thyroid cancer due to radiation exposure caused by the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. On the 27th, six men and women between the ages of 17 and 27, who were living in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the accident, filed a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court demanding a total of 616 million yen in damages including compensation from TEPCO. The biggest point of contention in the lawsuit is expected to be whether or not there is a causal relationship between radiation exposure and thyroid cancer.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers hold a press conference after filing a lawsuit against TEPCO for compensation for thyroid cancer caused by exposure to radiation from the nuclear power plant accident at the First Legislative Assembly Hall in the House of Representatives in Nagata-cho, Tokyo.

January 27, 2022
The six, who were between the ages of 6 and 16 at the time of the accident, are high school students, part-time workers, and office workers living in Fukushima Prefecture, Tokyo, and Kanagawa Prefecture. They were diagnosed with thyroid cancer in their teens, two had one side of their thyroid gland removed, four had it completely removed due to recurrence, and one had it spread to their lungs. They have had to quit college or work due to the surgery and treatment, and are also worried about the recurrence of the disease as their daily lives are restricted.
 The complaint points out that most of the thyroid cancers found in children in Fukushima Prefecture, including the six children, are not hereditary and that no cause other than radiation exposure is possible. It argues that if there are other causes, TEPCO needs to prove them.
 Normally, the number of cases of thyroid cancer in children that are diagnosed and reported is about one to two per one million people per year. After the nuclear accident, about 300 people were diagnosed with thyroid cancer or suspected of having thyroid cancer in Fukushima Prefecture through prefectural health surveys and other means, but the prefectural expert panel has stated that a causal relationship with radiation exposure is “not recognized at this time.

A plaintiff woman holds a press conference after filing a lawsuit against TEPCO.

I want to change the situation by raising my voice.
 On the afternoon of April 27, the plaintiff, 26, held a press conference in Tokyo after filing her lawsuit. In a press conference held in Tokyo after the lawsuit was filed, the plaintiff, 26, choked back tears as she made her appeal. There are still about 300 children suffering from thyroid cancer. I want to change the situation for the better by raising my voice, even if only a little.
 A woman from Nakadori in central Fukushima Prefecture was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2015, when she was a 19-year-old sophomore in college. After an operation to remove one side of her thyroid gland the following year, her physical strength dropped drastically. Her physical condition continued to deteriorate, and she left the advertising agency where she had worked after graduating from university in Tokyo after a year and a half. She is now working as an office worker in Tokyo. She said, “I had to give up my dream job, and it’s still hard for me to work properly. I no longer have any dreams or hopes for the future.
 Immediately after being informed of her cancer, she felt uncomfortable when the doctor told her that it had nothing to do with the nuclear accident.

She was moving outside that day…
 When her mother heard this with her, March 14, 2011, the day of the hydrogen explosion at the Unit 3 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, came to her mind. She was outside helping her grandparents move their belongings out of their house, which was half destroyed by the disaster. When I heard about the explosion in the evening, I immediately brought the woman inside. I wish I hadn’t let her help me move at that time,” she said. I wish I hadn’t let her help me move. This was the only time she showed any regret.
 The woman traveled back and forth between Fukushima and Tokyo many times for the tests before she was notified. The prefectural government provides full support for insured medical expenses, but does not include transportation costs. I took a long-distance bus, which is cheaper than the bullet train, but it became physically demanding.

Surgeries and examinations in Tokyo, a heavy burden
 Because of her distrust of hospitals in Fukushima, she underwent surgeries and tests in Tokyo after she was notified. Her parents traveled to Tokyo each time, and the endoscopic surgery she underwent to reduce the scar on her neck as much as possible was not covered by the prefectural government at the time, so she had to pay for it herself.
 As the treatment continued, the woman forgot to apply for a non-repayable scholarship from the university, and from her third year, she had to pay the full tuition. She said, “When I heard my parents asking for advice on reconfiguring their insurance, I felt depressed that I had caused them so much trouble.

Fear of recurrence: “I’m worried about what will happen next.
 After the surgery, she caught colds frequently and developed pneumonia, bronchitis, and asthma. However, unless it is recognized as treatment for thyroid cancer, he is not eligible for support. The prefectural government’s support for medical expenses is budgeted every year with the government’s subsidies as the source, and “will continue for as long as possible,” according to the prefectural government’s Civil Health Survey Division, but there is no telling how long it will last. However, there is no way to know how long the support will last. The woman said, “I am always afraid of a recurrence, and I am very anxious about what will happen to me in the future. (Natsuko Katayama)

https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/156781?fbclid=IwAR1W3fEvpnge1RiedoQw863o8vpHEYxJjkcpBAMjxjnGYQFcT31h5unzBI4

January 28, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

6 people to sue TEPCO over thyroid cancer after Fukushima nuclear disaster

How may Tepco use now the word “sincerely” when they have shown the whole world their dishonesty and their lack of sincerity repeatedly for the past 10 years?

Kenichi Ido, left, head of the legal team for a group of plaintiffs set to sue TEPCO over thyroid cancer, speaks during a press conference in Tokyo on Jan. 19, 2022. (Mainichi/Kazuhiro Toyama)

January 21, 2022 (Mainichi Japan)

TOKYO — A group of six young men and women is set to file a class action suit against Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (TEPCO) claiming that they developed thyroid cancer due to exposure to radiation emanating from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and demand the utility pay a total of 616 million yen (about $5.4 million) in compensation.

It will be the first group lawsuit in Japan by those who were minors at the time of the 2011 nuclear disaster and have since been diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

The plaintiffs, now aged between 17 and 27, were living in Fukushima Prefecture when the nuclear meltdowns occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in March 2011, and developed thyroid cancer after the disaster. They are filing the damages suit with the Tokyo District Court on Jan. 27, according to the legal counsel for the plaintiffs who revealed the plan at a press conference on Jan. 19.

An expert investigation committee set up by the Fukushima Prefectural Government has not recognized the causal relationship between radiation exposure from the Fukushima disaster and thyroid cancer, and whether there is such a correlation could be the focal issue in the lawsuit.

The six plaintiffs were aged between 6 and 16 at the time of the nuclear disaster. They were diagnosed with thyroid cancer between 2012 and 2018. Two of them had one side of their thyroid removed, while the other four had their thyroid fully extracted and need to take hormonal drugs for the rest of their lives. One of the patients had cancer spread to their lungs. Some of them currently reside in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture.

The Fukushima Prefectural Government has conducted a survey on thyroid glands covering some 380,000 people aged 18 or younger who were living in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the nuclear catastrophe. As of June 2021, 266 people had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer or suspected thyroid cancer. According to the legal team for the plaintiffs, five of the six complainants had their cancer detected in the prefectural survey. The remaining plaintiff found out about their cancer through testing at a hospital they voluntarily underwent.

According to the legal counsel, the cancer discovery rate in the Fukushima Prefecture survey stands several tens of times higher than usual. While the prefectural government points to the possibility of “overdiagnosis” through which many cancer cases requiring no treatment have been found, the plaintiffs’ cancer has actually progressed, the legal team asserted. The lawyers argue that none of the six plaintiffs’ cancer is hereditary, and that it is extremely highly likely that they developed their conditions due to the nuclear disaster.

In past pollution lawsuits including those over Minamata disease, there is a court precedent in which the company responsible for the pollution was ruled liable for compensation unless it could prove there was no causal relationship between the contamination and the plaintiffs’ diseases. The attorneys for the upcoming lawsuit claim that this decision could also be applied to nuclear plant accidents and that TEPCO should bear the burden of proving the absence of a causal link between radiation exposure and thyroid cancer.

Kenichi Ido, head of the legal counsel, commented, “Some plaintiffs have had difficulties advancing to higher education and finding jobs, and even given up on their dreams for their future.”

TEPCO released a comment saying, “We will respond to the case sincerely after hearing the content of their claims and their arguments in detail.”

(Japanese original by Kazuhiro Toyama, Tokyo City News Department)

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220121/p2a/00m/0na/018000c

January 24, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Tepco sued over thyroid cancer cases – 6 people aged 6-16 at time of Fukushima nuclear accident – Tokyo District Court

Kenichi Ido, a former judge and head of the legal team, pointed out that “the Japanese government is assuming that there is no health damage caused by the accident. Hiroyuki Kawai, a lawyer, said, “There is strong social pressure to believe that cancer is not caused by the accident, and it took a lot of courage for the six people to file the lawsuit, which is why the time has come.

Lawyers hold a press conference on the policy of filing lawsuits for six people who have developed thyroid cancer in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo on the afternoon of March 19.

January 19, 2022

Six people who were between the ages of 6 and 16 years old at the time of the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co. On April 19, it was learned that six people, aged 6-16 at the time of the accident and living in Fukushima Prefecture, will file a lawsuit against TEPCO in the Tokyo District Court, seeking a total of 616 million yen in damages. This is believed to be the first lawsuit in which residents are suing for damage caused by the nuclear accident on the grounds that they have developed thyroid cancer.

The legal team representing the six revealed this at a press conference on the same day. The lawsuit is scheduled to be filed on the 27th.
 According to the lawyers, the six are currently residing in Tokyo, Kanagawa, and Fukushima prefectures. Four of them have had their thyroid glands surgically removed, and some have undergone multiple surgeries because of metastasis or recurrence.
 The Fukushima Prefectural Health Survey, which covers about 380,000 people who were under the age of 18 at the time of the accident, revealed 266 cases of cancer or suspected cancer in its report last October. In October last year, it was revealed that 266 people had cancer or suspected cancer. Some experts have pointed out the possibility of “over-diagnosis,” in which cancers that do not require treatment are found, but the lawyers are claiming that all six of the cases required surgery, and that this was due to the accident.
 On the other hand, the review committee for the prefectural health survey has stated that radiation is unlikely to be a factor in the development of thyroid cancer.
 Kenichi Ido, a former judge and head of the legal team, pointed out that “the Japanese government is assuming that there is no health damage caused by the accident. Hiroyuki Kawai, a lawyer, said, “There is strong social pressure to believe that cancer is not caused by the accident, and it took a lot of courage for the six people to file the lawsuit, which is why the time has come.
 TEPCO commented, “If the complaint is served, we will respond in good faith.
https://www.jiji.com/jc/article?k=2022011900881&g=soc&fbclid=IwAR0jA-AAx_XojY5Yngsp4n7eU8UrPgEU8A66AiSEXanInMIleC49saU_MWE

January 24, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Signatures submitted to Tokyo High Court for site inspection, totaling 10,195

Jan. 21, 2022

On the morning of January 21, in the cold wind, the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Criminal Litigation Support Group submitted the third round of signatures to the Tokyo High Court to demand that the presiding judge of the 10th Criminal Division of the Tokyo High Court, Keisuke Hosoda, decide on the on-site inspection and examination of witnesses.

 In the criminal trial of the three former TEPCO executives who were forcibly indicted, the appeal trial at the Tokyo High Court started in November last year, and the key is to realize the on-site verification by the judges who were not employed in the first trial.

 At the second trial on February 9 at 2:00 p.m., the decision on whether or not to hold the on-site inspection and witness examination will be made, and this will be a major turning point in the appeal trial.

 At 10:30 a.m. on the morning of the 21st, more than 100 citizens gathered in front of the Tokyo High Court, despite the bitter cold, and the leader of the support group and lawyers representing the victims, Kaito and Okawa, appealed to the Tokyo High Court to conduct on-site inspection and questioning of witnesses.

 A little after 11:00 a.m., the leader of the support group and other representatives of the group, including attorneys Kaito and Okawa, submitted their signatures to the Criminal Division 10 of the Tokyo High Court. A total of 10,195 signatures were submitted so far, including 2,151 for the third round.

 While taking measures against coronary infection, the participants once again confirmed that they would rally for the second trial on February 9 at 2:00 p.m., aiming for victory in the appeal trial of the Fukushima nuclear power plant criminal trial to hold TEPCO responsible for the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident.

https://skazuyoshi.exblog.jp/29816568/?fbclid=IwAR1eoQIEW3YpTVXKb40E1jjCU5WTc0jdY68se5UGvBVorywP8UEFMxB5ro0

January 24, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Six people to sue Tepco over thyroid cancer after Fukushima disaster

The No. 1 and No. 2 reactor buildings of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture

Jan 19, 2022

Six people are set to sue Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. over thyroid cancer that they claim they developed due to exposure to radioactive substances released from the 2011 triple reactor meltdown at its stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, their lawyers said Wednesday.

The plaintiffs, who were between the ages of 6 and 16 at the time of the nuclear disaster and lived in Fukushima Prefecture, home to the plant, will seek ¥616 million in total damages.

This is believed to be the first lawsuit involving Fukushima Prefecture residents suing Tepco over thyroid cancer in connection with the nuclear disaster.

The six plan to file the suit with Tokyo District Court on Jan. 27, the lawyers said during a news conference.

They currently live in Tokyo, Kanagawa Prefecture and Fukushima Prefecture. Four of them have had their entire thyroid glands removed, the lawyers said. Some have undergone multiple rounds of surgery because of cancer metastasis or recurrence, they said.

A health survey by the Fukushima prefectural government, which covered some 380,000 people age 18 or younger at the time of the disaster, showed in October last year that 266 people had cancer or suspected cancer.

Some experts have pointed out the possibility of overdiagnosis, or the discovery of cancers that do not require treatment. The lawyers claimed that the plaintiffs developed cancer due to the nuclear disaster and needed to undergo surgeries.

A review committee on the prefectural health survey has said that the thyroid cancer apparently has nothing to do with what happened at the Fukushima No. 1 plant in March 2011.

Kenichi Ido, a former judge who leads the lawyers, criticized the Japanese government for determining that there has been no health damage from the disaster.

Lawyer Hiroyuki Kawai said that “there is strong social pressure to believe that cancer is not caused by the accident, so it took a lot of courage for the six plaintiffs to file the lawsuit.”

January 20, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | 1 Comment

Six people who were children at the time of the accident are suing TEPCO, claiming that they developed thyroid cancer due to exposure to radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident.

A woman has decided to file a lawsuit against TEPCO. She will have to have her entire thyroid gland removed and continue taking the medication in her hand for the rest of her life in Fukushima Prefecture.

January 19, 2022
 Six men and women between the ages of 17 and 27 who were living in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the accident filed a lawsuit against TEPCO on January 27, claiming that they developed thyroid cancer due to radiation exposure caused by the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. On April 27, six men and women aged 17 to 27 who were living in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the accident filed a lawsuit against TEPCO in the Tokyo District Court, seeking a total of 616 million yen in damages. According to the lawyers, this is the first time that patients who developed thyroid cancer as children are suing TEPCO because of the nuclear accident. (Natsuko Katayama)
Defense: “We can’t think of any cause other than radiation exposure.
 The lawsuit is filed by four people who lived in Fukushima City and Koriyama City, and one each in the Aizu region in the western part of the prefecture and the Hamadori region in the eastern part of the prefecture. They were between the ages of 6 and 16 at the time of the accident, and are now high school students or working as office workers or part-time employees in the prefecture or in Tokyo.
 Two have had one side of their thyroid gland removed, four have had total thyroidectomy due to recurrence, and are undergoing or planning to undergo radiation therapy. Some have had four operations and others have metastasized to the lungs. Some have had four surgeries and others have had their lungs metastasized. The treatments and surgeries have forced them to give up their desired jobs, drop out of college, or retire. They are not only worried about relapse, but also about whether they will be able to get married or have children.
 The lawyers argued that most of the thyroid cancers found in the children, including the six, were papillary cancers, which were confirmed in children and young adults after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, and that they were not hereditary and could not be caused by anything other than radiation exposure. Kenichi Ido, the head of the legal team, said, “Many of the cancers have recurred, so it is hard to imagine overdiagnosis. TEPCO should admit that the cause of the cancer was the nuclear accident and provide relief as soon as possible.
The expert panel’s position is that a causal relationship cannot be established.
 With regard to the causal relationship between exposure to radiation from the nuclear power plant accident and thyroid cancer, the Fukushima prefectural government’s expert panel has taken the position that “no causal relationship can be recognized at this time.
 Since the nuclear accident, the prefecture has been conducting tests for thyroid cancer as a part of the prefectural health survey for a total of about 380,000 people who were under the age of 18 at the time of the accident and who were born before April 1, 2012 (including those who evacuated from the prefecture).
 Normally, the incidence of pediatric thyroid cancer is estimated to be about one to two cases per one million people per year, but according to the survey and other findings, by June last year, about 300 people had developed thyroid cancer or thyroid cancer-related diseases. By June last year, however, about 300 people had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer or suspected of having thyroid cancer. All the medical expenses are covered by the “Prefectural Health Care Fund” established with financial support from the government and compensation from TEPCO.
 The expert panel is continuing to investigate the results of the diagnoses, saying, “It has been pointed out that there is a possibility of over-diagnosis, finding cancers that do not need treatment in the future.
https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/154959?fbclid=IwAR06xqKA6vo3utW1-lfN3PIkFiBnS20b6BMD1WAXyzUo5yJKMzU3KU5elGs

January 19, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

The price of staying

akemi-shima-slider

March 9, 2020

Evacuation was not mandatory for these now suffering Fukushima victims

By Akemi Shima

This is a statement of opinion that I,  a resident of the city of Date, Fukushima Prefecture, presented to the Tokyo Regional Court as part of an on-going lawsuit.

We had the desire to raise our children in an environment close to nature and enriching. That’s why we moved from Fukushima City to buy land in the town of Date, where we currently live, to build a house. Loan repayments were heavy but, we lived simply and we were happy.

Eight years after the construction of our house, on March 11, 2011 the accident of the power plant occurred, and our family life was turned upside down. My husband and I were 42 years old, my son was in elementary school 4th grade (12 years old) and my daughter was in elementary school 3rd grade (10 years old).

At that time, I had no knowledge about nuclear or radioactive substances. If I had had some knowledge in this area, by running away from it we probably could have avoided being irradiated. I am burdened by this regret. Without any financial leeway, with my sick children and my parents who are here, I could not resolve myself to get away from Date.

From the 11th of March all life lines were cut and I had to go to the water stations where I took the children. To find food we had to walk outside sometimes soaked in the rain. After several days as we still had no water, we had to go to the town hall to use the toilet, where the water was not cut. It was then that I saw a group of people dressed in white protective suits entering the town hall. We thought that they were probably coming to help the victims of the tsunami. But now, I understand that the radioactive pollution was such that protections were necessary and we, without suspecting anything, were exposed.

It was the time for the graduation ceremonies at the elementary school and we went there on foot. I think the information we were given was false and because of that we were irradiated. At the time I was convinced that if we were really in any danger, the state would warn us. I later learned that the doses of radioactivity in the air after the accident were 27 to 32 μSv (micro sieverts) per hour. There was no instruction about any restriction to go outdoors. And that is extremely serious.

In June 2011, I went to the funeral of my husband’s grandmother. I took my children with me. On the way we noticed that the radiation level was very high and that inside the car the dosimeter showed in some places 1.5 micro-sievert per hour. The officials of that area had asked the nearby residents to not cause problems even if the radioactivity was high. From what I heard, the reconstruction vehicles had to be able to continue to use that road. Likewise, the Shinkansen bullet train and the Tohoku highway were not to be closed for these reasons. Despite a level that exceeded the allowable dose limits, instead of being alerted to the dangers, we were assured that we were safe.

The risk of this exposure was not communicated to us. In June 2011 my son had so many heavy nosebleeds that his sheets were all red. The children with the same symptoms were so numerous that we received a notice containing recommendations through the school’s “health letter”. During a medical examination at the school, my son was found to have a heart abnormality and had to be monitored by a holter. My son, who was 12 at the time of the accident, was also suffering from atopic dermatitis. During the school spring break he had to be hospitalized after his symptoms worsened. Today we still cannot identify the symptoms that cause him to suffer.

One year after the accident, my daughter complained of pain in her right leg. In the hospital, an extra-osseous osteoma was diagnosed and she had to undergo bone excision the following year. In her first year of junior high school in the winter term, she could not get up in the morning. She had orthostatic dysfunction. In agreement with her we decided that she would go to school three times a week in a system with flexible hours.

My husband’s favorite hobby was fishing, but since the nuclear accident, it’s now out of question to go to the sea or to the river.

Before the accident, we were growing flowers in our garden and we also had a vegetable garden. In the summer, we had family barbecues and we would put up a tent so the kids could sleep outside. Now it’s absolutely impossible.

 

date-map-2Date is about 60 kilometers from the ruined Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors.

In this highly contaminated environment today, cell DNA would be severely damaged. In addition, the effects of exposure we have already experienced are indelible even if we move now. Whenever I think that children are particularly vulnerable to radiation, my heart is torn apart. As a parent, as an adult, it is heartbreaking and unbearable.

I am also concerned about the current situation of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. My daily routine is to watch out for natural disasters such as earthquakes and to check the condition of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Because today I will not hesitate to evacuate. I changed my job so I could get to my kids quickly if necessary. I had to give up a full time job and it is financially difficult, but the priority is to be able to leave quickly at any time. After verifying all sorts of information, I realized that the government’s announcements were different from reality.

Living in a radioactive environment requires you to be vigilant tirelessly, whether for shopping, eating, or drinking water, and evaluate the situation yourself to make choices. We had to make up our minds to accept an abnormal lifestyle so that we could continue to live on a daily basis.

Whatever I do, all pleasure has disappeared from my life. I discovered that there were some hotspots of more than 10 μSv per hour near my home on the way to my children’s school. I reported it to the town hall, but they did not do anything. The reason given is that there is no temporary storage to store it. I had to remove the contaminated soil myself and I stored it in my garden. The city of Date decided on its own decontamination policy and also introduced a standard of 5mSv per year at the end of 2011.

In my case I wanted to reduce the radioactive pollution as soon as possible and I decontaminated my garden myself. The city encouraged people to decontaminate on their own. I did it too. And that represented 144 bags. The following year I did again. The radioactive debris bags resulting from the decontamination until March 2014 remained in my garden for two years, and were then taken to the temporary storage area.

 

shima-gardenAkemi Shima had to decontaminate her own radioactive garden.

But since then, the other decontamination bags have not been accepted and are still in my garden. So we do not want to go there anymore. The contamination of our carport amounted to 520 000 Bq (becquerels) 5 years ago, with 5 μSv / h, but it did not fit the criteria required for cleaning. Decontamination only includes the ground around the home, but the roof and the gutters are not supported. As a result, we can not leave our Velux windows open.

Claiming to be concerned about the health of the inhabitants, the town of Date provided all residents with dosimeters. We were then invited to undergo examinations, during which our data was collected. Without the authorization of the residents, this data has been entrusted to external researchers who have written reports. These reports have been prepared on the basis of personal information obtained illegally, and furthermore falsification of the data is suspected.

Based on inaccurate data the report concluded that even at doses of 0.6 to 1 μSv / h per hour in the air, the individual dose received would be less than 1 mSv (millisievert) per year and therefore it was not necessary to decontaminate. This is an underestimation of exposure, and clearly a violation of human rights against the population. This case is still ongoing.

In this same region, leukaemias and rare cancers of the bile ducts are appearing. I cannot help thinking that before the accident it did not exist.

Even today, while the state of nuclear emergency is still official, this abnormal situation has become our daily life. I fear that the “reconstruction” advocated by the state, violates the fundamental rights of residents and that this unacceptable life is now considered normal. Our lives are at a standstill.

This suffering will continue. My deepest wish is that through this lawsuit, the responsibility of the State and Tepco that caused the accident be recognized.”

https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2020/03/09/the-price-of-staying/?fbclid=IwAR1wlw3RWVz9DZQLl6QAd5zo4q9U3oa2JoCk_KHE_eaa7SLPOt80Fwmd-bk

 

March 11, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , , | Leave a comment

The half lives of the abandoned

kids-slider

March 9, 2020

Daily life in Fukushima’s radioactive environment

By Cindy Folkers

Whatever I do, all pleasure has disappeared from my life…we are living with a narrow range of activities.” 

Akemi Shima was a resident of Date (duh-tay) City when the reactors at Fukushima exploded, spewing radioactive particles into the air, across the land, and into the waters. (She tells her story in her own words this week as well. See here.)

Her family had moved there years earlier to live closer to nature. It was supposed to be healthy. But for residents of Date City, still blanketed nine years later by radioactive contamination, the struggle for protection of health continues amid accusations of scientific error, betrayal and abandonment.

Shima, now 50, has been living through these accusations and her children’s health issues, while trying to keep her family safe in a contaminated land that has caused fractures within her community. Her experience is not only shared by other victims of Fukushima, but is a cautionary tale for any communities that have nuclear reactors in their midst. We share pieces of her story here for the first time in English.

The victims have been unable to talk about the damage. … I don’t want to cry. I don’t want to be dismissed… Let me say that something is wrong.”

Instead of establishing mandatory evacuation zones based on contamination level, the government of Japan limited mandatory evacuation to 20 km from the destroyed reactors. Date City had highly contaminated areas but was 60 km away. Therefore, the residents were left to their fate as the City, under direction from the national government, had decided to recommend specific “spots” for evacuation. “Spots” actually meant individual houses and the recommendation to evacuate was based on a number of inconsistent and confusing criteria. This caused division among residents because a “recommended spot” (house) was eligible for evacuation aid, while a house that was often next door received none.

 

fukuevacEvacuation map. Pink area denotes “difficult to return” zones, dots where evacuation orders have been lifted.

While only areas exceeding 20 mSv/year were under recommended evacuation and supposedly only for households with children, in reality exceptions were made. Shima’s family did not evacuate at first because they were not ordered to and she was told her house was safe. It was only later she realized that the workers who came to her town hall wearing white protective suits – while she and her children wore regular clothes and took no precautions – were shielding themselves from radioactivity.

Shima ultimately decided she couldn’t voluntarily relocate because of the medical and familial bonds she had in the community. For those who stayed – like Shima – little warning was given about the need to, or how to, protect against radioactivity. Even after measuring levels that were higher than normal, government officials told residents they were safe and they shouldn’t make trouble.

“…from fall to winter, one week out of every month, all the skin on [my son’s] body turned reddish black; he couldn’t move, and had to stay in bed.  He repeatedly experienced having his skin peel off, heal, [and] then peel off again. That continued for approximately 3 years [after the catastrophe began]. Sometimes, he ended up being hospitalized.”

Shima’s son and daughter had eczema, a common skin condition for children in Japan. It worsened considerably soon after the catastrophe. Her son suffered symptoms associated with radiation exposure, including heavy nosebleeds. Nosebleeds were so widespread among Date City’s children that recommendations for treating them were featured in a school health newsletter.

Even though evacuation recommendations were lifted about one year later for certain areas in Date City, many people were hesitant to return to the contaminated zone. The issue of resettlement had not been resolved and studies of human health remained controversial.

Beginning in August 2012, residents in Date City were issued badges to measure their radiation doses and invited to undergo examinations. They were told this was because the town wanted to monitor their health. However, outside researchers published studies using residents’ badge data without their knowledge or permission – a violation of ethical guidelines for human subject research. These studies became mired in distrust, bad science and charges of scientific misconduct.

 

shin-ichi_kurokawaShin-ichi Kurokawa, professor emeritus of The High Energy Accelerator Research Organization.

Akemi Shima participated in the badge study, and noticed some scientifically questionable practices and assumptions that were later detailed in a paper she co-authored with Shin-ichi Kurokawa, Professor Emeritus of The High Energy Accelerator Research Organization.

In 2019, the University of Tokyo and Fukushima Medical University cleared their researchers — the authors of the controversial badge data studies — of scientific misconduct, a charge requiring intent. However, scientific inconsistencies, mathematical miscalculations and concerns over invalid conclusions remain.

During my [first] three years in Fukushima, I stopped accepting certain words… ‘Kizuna’, ‘Reconstruction’, and ‘Reputational damage’.  In the process of reconstruction and prevention of reputational damage, even the truth has become invisible, and what has happened is just as if it had never happened.” 

Kizuna or “ties that bind” is a phrase mobilized by the Japanese government from the earliest days of the disaster to claim that inquiries about radiation harm will hurt the community and therefore people should remain quiet, no matter the suffering.

To rebuild life in Date City, the prefectural government, at the urging of the national government and the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), attempted to enshrine the reckless notion of “rehabilitation” – the idea that one can live with radioactive contamination and that health and recovery responsibilities reside with individuals and communities, not industry or government. Adopting a “rehabilitation/recovery” regime mandates that residents’ concerns about health impacts and continuing exposure are downplayed or brushed aside altogether, even by institutions that should be trustworthy.

A year after the nuclear catastrophe began, Shima’s daughter, already under periodic heart monitoring for an unrelated childhood condition which had now passed, had a benign bone tumor removed from her leg. Her daughter had trouble getting up in the morning and was diagnosed with a condition related to chronic fatigue syndrome. At this time, Shima also had her children examined by Fukushima Prefecture as part of the Fukushima Health Management Survey established by Fukushima Medical University to track health after the catastrophe began. When the prefecture examined Shima’s 11-year old daughter she was told there were no abnormalities. However, after a second examination, doctors from a different clinic found two thyroid cysts. Her 13-year old son had one cyst detected by the prefecture, but upon the second screening, also at a different facility, two were found.

Other families tell of inconsistent test results between Fukushima Prefecture exams and those conducted at other institutions. Shima relates how examinations varied at the different institutions with the prefecture examination taking a few seconds to a few minutes while the second clinic took more than 10 minutes. Such a short time will miss lesions that could lead to cancers, according to a doctor at the clinic who performed the reexaminations. The prefectural clinics authorized by FMU to conduct exams refuse to hand over personal medical data to the patient without a cumbersome request system and payment for materials reproduction, further stoking mistrust among exposed inhabitants.

Additionally, prefecture experts claim that thyroid cancers after Chernobyl didn’t appear until four or five years after exposure. They therefore conclude the circumstances will be the same for Fukushima, despite what appear to be increases in metastatic thyroid cancers. Shima has noticed the appearance of other rare types of cancers as well that are not receiving the attention that thyroid cancer has.

Responsibility for the nuclear accident is neglected, and everything else is “self-responsibility”. “I know well…[t]he limits of decontamination.” 

Akemi Shima and other residents feel abandoned; first because they were told it was safe to stay; and now because they are largely left with responsibility for cleaning up TEPCO’s radioactive legacy. If Date City residents want levels lower than 5 mSv/year, they have to do the cleanup themselves; despite the ICRP recommended 1 mSv per year level; and despite levels below 4 mSv being associated with increases in childhood cancers and impairment of neural development during pregnancy.

Living in a radioactive environment requires you to be vigilant tirelessly, whether for shopping, eating, or drinking water, and evaluate the situation yourself to make choices. We had to make up our minds to accept an abnormal lifestyle so that we could continue to live our daily lives.”

Shima points out that even if short-lived radiocesium has completely decayed, the level of radioactivity is still 10 times what it was before the catastrophe. It will likely remain so for generations, as demonstrated by the radiological contamination from Chernobyl. Shima relates how even higher doses are dismissed by officials. They claim that those areas are passed through, not lived in. But these officials do not account for children playing in those areas.

I believe that we were tossed in all directions and set against one another, so that the victims themselves would be unable to discuss the harm.” “Our lives are at a standstill. This suffering will continue.”

International radiation committees and national regulatory bodies are establishing recommendations that will make living with increased radiation exposure from nuclear disasters seem okay. In Japan, staying silent is encouraged. In the wake of the ongoing Fukushima disaster, the government of Japan has raised the radiation exposure limit from the ICRP-recommended 1 mSv per year to 20mSv per year. Japan has also been cutting payments to Fukushima refugees in a bid to force them to resettle the contaminated areas they initially left; and ICRP has hosted dialogues across the country (one was held in Date City) encouraging residents to live with radiation rather than leave, claiming such action is “resilient” and community-minded (kizuna).

International radiation committees are claiming health examinations of children cause stress and should only be conducted for thyroid exposures at certain doses. These doses are higher than those associated with disease. Despite claiming that living in a radioactive environment is extremely difficult, ICRP still encourages it.

In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency has released guidance allowing much larger environmental doses of man-made radiation with very little assurance when the exposures will cease. Women and children are not spared.

Living with radioactive contamination divides communities into those that want to raise awareness of the danger radioactivity poses, and those who do not want to discuss it for fear of social discrimination and ostracization. Akemi Shima’s lived experience, and her public testimonies about it, should serve as a warning to anyone living with a nuclear reactor in their midst.

The author would like to thank Norma Field, professor emerita, University of Chicago, for help with content, translation and communication.

https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2020/03/09/the-half-lives-of-the-abandoned/?fbclid=IwAR1ESzZk5veIYXLquDDKpfEbcdVvMGeSAyTOUN-nd2YTbkqABkcYUFaWog4

March 11, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , | Leave a comment

Voices of Fukushima power plant disaster victims strengthens call to ban nuclear energy

ImageGen.ashx.jpg
Two IAEA experts examine recovery work on top of Unit 4 of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station on 17 April 2013 as part of a mission to review Japan’s plans to decommission the facility.
June 6, 2019
[ACNS, by Rachel Farmer] Japanese parish priests shared stories of suffering from victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster at an International Forum for a Nuclear-Free World held in Sendai, Japan, last week. A joint statement from the forum, due out next month, is expected to strengthen the call for a worldwide ban on nuclear energy and encourage churches to join in the campaign.
The forum, organised by the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK) – the Anglican Communion in Japan – follows the NSKKs General Synod resolution in 2012 calling for an end to nuclear power plants and activities to help the world go nuclear free.
The disaster in 2011 followed a massive earthquake and tsunami which caused a number of explosions in the town’s coastal nuclear power station and led to widespread radioactive contamination and serious health and environmental effects. The Chair of the forum’s organising committee, Kiyosumi Hasegawa, said: “We have yet to see an end to the damage done to the people and natural environment by the meltdown of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. I do think this man-made disaster will haunt countless people for years to come. We still see numerous people who wish to go back to their hometowns but are unable to. We also have people who have given up on ever going home.”
One pastor, Dr Naoya Kawakami, whose church was affected by the tsunami and is the General Secretary of the Sendai Christian Alliance Disaster Relief Network, Touhoku HELP, explained how he had supported sufferers in the aftermath and heard from priests supporting the survivors. He said: “I have been more than 700 times to meet with more than 180 mothers and about 20 fathers, all of whom have seen abnormalities in their children since 2011. . . Thyroid cancer has been found in more than 273 children and many mothers are in deep anxiety.
“The more the situation worsens, the more pastors become aware of their important role. The role is to witness . . . pastors who have stayed in Fukushima with the ‘voiceless survivors’ are showing us the church as the body of Jesus’s resurrection, with wounds and weakness . . . sufferers are usually in voiceless agony and most people never hear them.”
The forum was attended by bishops, clergy and lay representatives from each diocese, together with representatives from the US-based Episcopal Church, USPG, the Episcopal Church of the Philippines, the Diocese of Taiwan, the Anglican Church of Korea, and also ecumenical guests. International experts took part, along with local clergy who shared individual stories from those directly affected by the disaster.
Keynote lecturer Prof Dr Miranda Schreurs, from the Technische Universität München in Germany, launched the forum at Tohoku Diocese’s Cathedral, Sendai Christ Church. The professor currently serves as a member of the Ethic Commission for Safe Energy Supply and significantly influenced Germany’s nuclear free energy policy. Other speakers included the Bishop of Taiwan, David Jun Hsin Lai, and Amos Kim Kisuk from the Anglican Church of Korea.
During the week delegates from outside Japan visited sites and towns near the nuclear power plant. They also visited St John’s Church Isoyama and “Inori no Ie” (House of Prayer) in Shinchi, Fukushima, to offer prayers for all the victims of the disaster.
The NSKK Partners-in-Mission Secretary, Paul Tolhurst, said the visit to Fukushima had brought home the reality of the situation for local people. “Driving past the power station and seeing the ghost town around us as the Geiger counter reading kept going up is something I won’t forget”, he said. “It was like the town time forgot – they still seem to be living the incident, while the rest of Japan has moved on.”
Arguing for an end to nuclear power, NSKK priest John Makito Aizawa said: “Both religiously and ethically, we cannot allow nuclear power plants to continue running. They produce deadly waste, which we have no way of processing into something safe.
“More than 100,000 years are necessary for the radiation of such deadly waste to diminish to the level that it was in the original uranium. This alone is a strong enough reason to prohibit nuclear power plants. Insistence on restarting nuclear power plants seems to come from the insistence on getting more and more money and profit.”
He added: “I am no scientist or engineer of nuclear power generation. I am no expert. Still, as Christians, and to live as humans, I am certain this is an issue we cannot afford to ignore.”
The forum’s statement is expected to call for a goal of conversion to renewable sources of energy and set out ways to build a network to take forward denuclearization and how the church can play its part.

June 27, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Instead of compensating victims, TEPCO compete now into gas business

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Via Bruce Brinkman
 
“In a warm place, people gather.” TEPCO advertises its gas business to move against rival Tokyo Gas, which can also now compete to provide electricity following market liberalization. Instead of compensating victims, evacuees, and all those with radiologically contaminated property, *this* is how they use their taxpayer subsidies — in addition to enriching investors (who would have gone broke without state intervention).
Read also:
Japan’s power monopolies take first steps toward competition
Wed, 31 Oct 2012
 
Tokyo Gas takes aim at TEPCO with household electricity prices
December 25, 2015
 
Japan’s Power Monopolies Face Major Reform Jolt
March 31,2016
 
Which Tokyo Electric Company is Cheapest? (And How to Change Providers)
November 2, 2016
 
TEPCO Energy Partner to offer up to 8% cheaper gas rate from July
May 10, 2017

January 20, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima after six years and half: the forgotten victims

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In June 2011 I went to visit my daughter in Iwaki city, Fukushima prefecture, 3 months after the March 2011 disaster, worried about her situation there after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident. Iwaki city is located 43.35 km (26.94 miles) south of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. I stayed there one month.

Prior to my going to Iwaki, I stopped at the French embassy in Tokyo, to ask them some information about the situation in Fukushima and what measures I could take to protect myself from radiation.

The French embassy informed me that the situation was now under control, but that going there I should as a precaution take a 130 milligram potassium iodine tablet 4 hours before entering Fukushima prefecture.

The French embassy staff giving me one potassium iodine tablet from French army supplies. When I asked to them how long that tablet would protect me, telling them that I would stay there one month, they were out of words for a moment, then decided after all to give me 2 tablets. Somehow their words and their two tablets failed to reassure me.

The house of my relatives, closed to the seaside, had been hit by the Tsunami and had suffered heavy damages, causing them to relocate for the time being in another part of Iwaki city, more inland, at a relative house. Luckily no one had been injured by the tsunami as they were all away from home in town when the tsunami hit their house.

Unable to stay at the already overcrowded relative house, I had to look for an hotel where to stay. No easy, all the hotels in Iwaki city were occupied by Tepco technicians brought from outside Fukushima prefecture after the nuclear accident. I had hard time to find a vacant room. I finally found a small hotel with a vacant room. Everyday I would see the Tepco uniformed technicians returning to the hotel after their shift from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant exhausted, ashen faced and silent.

During that month talking with my relatives and others on location I learned that the people on location actually knew very little about what had happened inside the nuclear plant before and what was happening at that time. Tepco was giving very little information and the media wanting only to reassure was also not giving details about the nuclear accident.

Therefore the people directly affected and at risk knew practically nothing, as if an official wall of silence was withholding the needed informations from them, keeping them ignorant of the facts.

I also found that people were quite unaware of the consequences of radiation and the measures they should take to protect themselves. In that situation, I found that I was also myself quite ignorant about these things, as radiation and radioprotection were not part of the French school education program.

During my stay I avoided eating green leafy vegetables and seafood, following the advice given to me by the French embassy, therefore eating usually Fukushima beef, to learn later upon my return in France, that the beef had been also contaminated as those cows had been fed Fukushima contaminated hay.

Upon my return in France, I found that the French media were equally silent about the nuclear accident in Fukushima, pretending that the accident had already ended in March 2011 and that everything was back to normal and under control. Somehow I felt that in France too, information about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident was withhold, not surprising in a country so nuclearized, and where nuclear is not owned by a private company but by the State.

Faced with the lack of information, I decided to search on the internet about nuclear technology and its past nuclear accidents, about the consequences of exposure to radiation and possible remediations.

Though I had opened a Facebook account in 2008 I had never used it. End of June 2011 I started using Facebook to communicate about the ongoing Fukushima disaster, with three goals in mind:

1. To use this social network as a mean to break the wall of silence with which I had been confronted.

2. To provide to the people of Japan the information which was not been given to them by their government.

3. To raise awareness in the international community about the plight of the Fukushima people.

So as to reach as many people as possible and to be understood, it had to be done in English and not in French, my mother tongue.

I started in 2011 a Facebook group and a Facebook community page named Fukushima 311 Watchdogs, focused on the Fukushima disaster. The first year was very intense, as at the same time I was educating myself about nuclear, about the current situation in Fukushima day by day, and how to best use Facebook in reaching people. In that first year many of us got burned out and depressed, dealing everyday with the more bad news and the repeated lies coming from Tepco and the Japanese government.

In June 2012, I closed the Fukushima 311 Watchdogs Facebook group, to take a short break, then started a new Facebook group, The Rainbow Warriors, which would still deal about Fukushima and nuclear, but also about the other issues.


Rainbow Warriors is a proactive citizens group fighting against nuclear power and nuclear weapons and their production (the front and back end of the nuclear chain) and the widespread radiation that they produce and emit into the environment including the mining of uranium, and the dangerous unsafe storage of the nuclear waste they produce, actively networking, dedicated to creating a nuclear free world by working for the immediate shutdown of all nuclear power reactors and for an international ban of all nuclear weapons.
Committed to promoting the development and implementation of abundant, cost effective, safe energy from sun, wind, water, and geothermal sources, as well as instituting well-known methods of conservation and efficiency, which have been shown to be capable of meeting all our energy needs.
Additionally, members of this group are joining in the fight against anything that pollutes or that endangers our Earth and our lives by promoting clean alternative energy sources and healthful and natural practices in day to day living.
In this group, we address the burdens modern “civilization” is placing on us, as well as the earth and all its inhabitants. We are here on FB to share informations, but our main goal is to inspire our members to build their own local collective actions to fight the modern evils that we are adressing here, like some of us are doing, and to participate in such national and international actions.

First I encountered the lies of Tepco and the complicity of the Japanese media not bringing the facts out, soon replaced by a massive campaign of disinformation orchestrated by Dentsu (the largest advertising and public relations company in Japan) paid by the Japanese government to deny the existing health risks, always minimizing and twisting the facts, to reassure the population..

Most of the Japanese public, brainwashed to believe the repeated lies of the media lacks empathy and solidarity towards the Fukushima people; and Japanese antinuclear activists have been more focused on keeping the nuclear plants from being restarted than to organize concrete help for the Fukushima victims.

Antinuclear activists abroad are more concerned about closing nuclear plants at home than about the victims of the far-away Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant; interested in the Fukushima Daiichi disaster to the extent that it would serve their own local cause, the human tragedy taking place on location not their primary concern.

I believe that to focus on the technical aspects of the ongoing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster while ignoring the human tragedy is not to fully grasp the enormity of the situation. The nuclear plant technical aspects should never be our primary concern. We should not give all our attention to the guilty party to the detriment of its victims. We all do know that once started, this triple meltdown disaster will be ongoing for generations.

Especially as the Tepco drama is played out for us step by step under the guidance of Dentsu, a professional PR and advertising company, in a manner to render it more acceptable to the public. Tepco always gives us a sanitized version which leaves out the most essential details, details which come out only after time.

TEPCO and the decommissioning authorities reported on the ongoing delays at Fukushima Daiichi, that units 1-3 have each run into challenges that have further delayed work towards stabilization.

Various delays will push much of the major work until after the Olympic games in Tokyo. There is speculation this is by design for political reasons.

in March 2015, the chief of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, Akira Ono admitted that the technology needed to decommission three melted-down reactors does not exist, and he had no idea how it will be developed.

In a stark reminder of the challenge facing the Japanese authorities, Akira Ono conceded that the stated goal of decommissioning the plant by 2051 may be impossible without a giant technological leap.

For me the victims on location, those forced to live with the consequences of that ongoing disaster should always be our primary concern. Their voices should be heard by all, as only their testimonies will reveal to us the full extent of the human tragedy caused by a nuclear disaster, a disaster sparing no one and touching every aspect of their lives. Only they can teach us what could happen to us tomorrow should a similar event occur in our own backyard, especially as most people continue to believe the fallacy that it could never happen to them: the lies, the shallow excuses, the media manipulations of public opinion, the nuclear plant owner and the government only intent on minimizing their financial liabilities, and an international nuclear lobby always active to deny and minimize the severity of the disaster, how the local people will be largely left alone to shoulder the burden while the others manipulated by the media will ignore the reality of their plight.

I only feel disgust and anger towards those who sensationalize the Fukushima tragedy into fear porn on Youtube, blogs and Facebook just to grab attention for personal glory and/or financial gains.

Why is our attention so diverted from the most essential: the victims on location. Why is that information so minimized as to be almost non-existent?

My main purpose in sharing information about Fukushima, was to draw the attention of the public at large about the plight of the Fukushima nuclear disaster victims, to help as I can make their voices heard, to raise international sympathy and possible support for them.

6 years and half later, I feel that I have failed. General lack of empathy prevails. As long as we will not learn from the nuclear victims themselves and let their voices be heard, the game of let’s pretend and deny will continue, and we will fail to end nuclear, and more nuclear disasters will continue to occur.

I have therefore decided to step back, to begin a new chapter in my life.

Before to turn the page, I would like to give thanks to all those I have been fortunate enough to meet, to work with, to get to know, those who have consistently shown dedication and humility, those of you who have had always the Fukushima people’s welfare at heart.

Best wishes,

D’un Renard (Hervé Courtois)

October 5, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | 3 Comments

Fukushima dad finds remains of daughter, but no closure for 3/11

My deep respect for this father courage and perseverance to search for his child beyond his pain and the tragedy. It must be awful to search for the remains of your beloved daughter like he did for 6 years. I have been repeatedly hearing about his relentless search over and over again during these past 6 years. I am happy for him that he finally found her.

My own daughter was very lucky, at the time the tsunami hit the place where they lived on the north-east coast of Iwaki city, right by the sea, they were all in town, far from their house and the seashore. They lost their house but no life.

 

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Yuna Kimura was 7 years old when the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck.

 

OKUMA, Fukushima Prefecture–A man’s painstaking search over nearly six years has finally uncovered remains of his 7-year-old daughter who disappeared in the 2011 tsunami.

But the discovery has not brought closure for the father, Norio Kimura, who plans to keep sifting through the debris on the coast of this town in the shadow of the ruined Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

I am glad, but only small parts of her have been recovered,” said Kimura, 51. “I will continue my search until I find everything.”

A breakthrough in his private search for daughter Yuna came on Dec. 9, when a volunteer found a scarf she was wearing on the day the tsunami struck. It was near the coast only a few hundred meters from where Kimura’s home once stood in Okuma.

A further search of the area uncovered parts of neck and jaw bones among the tsunami debris.

A DNA test conducted by Fukushima prefectural police showed the remains were of Yuna. Kimura was informed of the test result on Dec. 22.

However, he said he still has no intention of submitting a document to officially certify her death until the rest of her body is found.

Yuna was the last resident of Okuma officially listed as missing.

Kimura’s house was located about 4 kilometers south of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and 100 meters from the coast. The tsunami spawned by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, destroyed the home and swept away Yuna, Kimura’s wife, Miyuki, then 37, and his father, Wataro, then 77.

The bodies of Miyuki and Wataro were recovered that year. But Yuna remained missing.

The meltdowns at the nuclear plant forced Kimura to evacuate from Okuma and halt his search for Yuna.

Although the Self-Defense Forces, firefighters, police and volunteers conducted searches along the coast of the Tohoku region, radioactive fallout prevented extensive checks around Okuma in the early days of the recovery effort.

Most parts of the town are still located in the government-designated “difficult-to-return zone” because of high radiation levels. Access is limited to former residents, but only for short periods.

Kimura resumed his personal search for Yuna at the end of 2011, when the government allowed those limited-period returns to Okuma.

After settling in Hakuba, Nagano Prefecture, with his mother and surviving daughter, Kimura frequently made round trips of about 1,000 kilometers in his search for Yuna. He often wore protective clothing against radiation in his endeavor.

Yuna’s remains were found in an area where Kimura discovered a shoe in June 2012 that his daughter was wearing on the day of the disaster.

Kimura said he intends to increase his trips to Okuma and focus his search on the area where Yuna’s bones were discovered.

I do hold anger toward TEPCO, which caused the nuclear crisis, and the government, which was not committed enough to the body-recovery effort,” Kimura said. “I am mortified that it took nearly six years to find her.”

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201612260050.html

 

December 26, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Disaster’s Victims

I decided to translate this particular article because this article for a change talks about the Fukushima disaster victims and in details how their everyday lives have been affected.
In most of the Fukushima related articles from websites and mainstream media, the writers usually focus on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and its technical failures, about its continuous leaking into the Pacific ocean etc. but somehow they almost always forget to talk about the plight of the victims, the victims who are at the forefront of this tragedy.

August 12, 2016

Article written by Evelyne Genoulaz, from a lecture given by Kurumi Sugita,

translated by Dun Renard.

Source : Fukushima Blog de Pierre Fetet http://www.fukushima-blog.com/2016/08/fukushima-les-vies-sinistrees.html

March 11, 2016, Kurumi Sugita, social anthropologist researcher and founding president of the association “Our Far Neighbors 3.11”, gave a lecture entitled “Fukushima disaster’s lives” in the Nature and Environment House (MNEI) in Grenoble, Isere, an inaugural lecture for the commemoration of the “Chernobyl, Fukushima disasters”.

The speaker outlined the concrete and current situation of the victims of the Fukushima disaster, particularly on health issues. Attached to Japan, committed, Kurumi monitored the situation of 60 affected people, for several years, visiting each once a year to collect field data for her associative actions. It is the project “DILEM”, “Displaced and Undecided Left to Themselves”, from the nuclear accident in Japan – the life course and geographical trajectory of the victims outside of the official evacuation zone.

I offer a written return of this conference, courtesy of Kurumi who also was kind enough to add data to date on her return from Japan in June 2016.
Evelyne Genoulaz

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I. The contaminated territories

After the disaster the authorities declared a state of emergency and to this day Japan is still “under that declaration of a nuclear emergency state (genshiryoku kinkyu Jitai sengen).” But over time, the zoning of the contaminated territories has been increasingly reduced by the authorities, as shows the chronological overview on these maps (METI).

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II. The return policy

Starting this month of March 2016, in fact, many areas were “open”. The return to TOMIOKA is programmed by authorities after April 2017; OKUMA partially in 2018. Only FUTABA is labeled “no projection”. Do note that zoning maps were delineated at the beginning of the disaster zoning by concentric circles, while the radioactivity is deposited in “leopard spots” and today, programmed to be returned to areas are gradually getting geographically closer to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant even though these areas are dangerous!

The government is preparing to lift the evacuation order at 20 mSv / year, and areas from 20 to 50 mSv / year will enter the opening schedule after spring 2017 establishing strategic points for reconstruction ( fukkô Kyoten).

To speak only of Iitate, which was the most beautiful village in Japan, its mayor is in favor of return, but today the situation there is poignant: it was decontaminated up to 20 meters of the houses, but as it is surrounded by mountains and forests, the radioactivity will remain dangerous …

Measures delegated to individuals

The control measurement of environmental radioactivity will now be based on the individual rather than on space. Thus, everyone is invited to measure himself or herself, to measure what is consumed, so that if the individual is contaminated it will only be blamed upon his or her own negligence!

The absurd and arbitrary at work in the calculation of dose rates

Official figures on the geographical contamination, dose rates displayed, are using a biased calculation.

Usually to measure in the field a dose rate, we get a figure in mSv / h then multiply it by 24 (hours) x 365 (days) to obtain the annual rate. But this is not the calculation undertaken by the authorities.

The authorities makes first a difference between the level of contamination on one hand inside the housing, and on the other hand on the outside. They decided to consider that an individual spends only 8 hours outside. It is also estimated (official rules) that “the radiation inside a building is reduced to 40% of the radiation reading outside.”

Yet, in Minamisoma for example, studies have shown that the contamination inside was at best 10% lower than the outside, sometimes even worse inside!

That is to say that the authorities uses a biased calculation that ultimately determines if we take an example, a dose rate of 20 mSv / year whereas the actually measured dose rate is 33 mSv / year!

Residents who did not evacuate are distressed because they now know fear, for example those of Naraha who no longer recognize their city because it has changed since the disaster: vandalism, insecurity soon as night falls, since it is now black in the streets, some girls were abused …

Furthermore, Naraha is a coastal town with a seaside road and all night – especially at night – they hear the noise of the incessant and disturbing road traffic of the trucks loaded with radioactive waste, without knowing precisely what is carried …

What motivates the return policy? According to Kurumi Sugita, in view of the Olympic Games coming to Japan in 2020, the government pursues a staistics dependent objective: it comes to lowering the numbers! If the evacuees or the self-evacuees leave the “assisted housing”, they are no longer counted as “evacuees”….

III. Works and Waste

The whole territory of Fukushima Prefecture today is littered with waste bags. Everywhere, at the turn of any road you’ll encounters mountains of waste bags, sometimes piled up so high! It is a sorry sight for the residents. And space lacks where to store them, so much that the authorities have even created dumps that they call “temporary intermediary storage areas! “

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A “temporary intermediary storage area” in Iitate

A row of uncontaminated sandbags is added around the perimeter of the “square” of the most contaminated bags, so as to reduce the number of the dose rate!

As of March 2016, there were no less than 10 million bags and 128,000 temporary dumpsites in Fukushima Prefecture. Waste bags are omnipresent, despite the residents’ distress; near schools, and even in people’s gardens.

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Contaminated waste bags at someone’s house

Short of sufficient storage space, the authorities are forcing residents to an intolerable alternative: if the resident does not want to store the waste on his property, it is his right. But in this case it will not be decontaminated! The resident requesting “decontamination intervention” must keep the waste on his property! This is why we see here and there, everywhere in fact, bags near buildings or in private homes.

Waste incineration

According to the “Nuclear Reactor Regulation Law” (Genshiro tô kiseihô), the recycling threshold of “nuclear waste” is 100 Bq / kg. However, on June 30, 2016, the Ministry of Environment has officially decided to “reuse” waste below 8000 Bq / kg (1).

In practical terms, this waste will be used in public works, covered by cement and land in order to lower the ambient radioactivity.

In order to “reduce the volume” of waste, “temporary incinerators” were built to incinerate nuclear waste and to “vaporize” cesium.

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Map of Fukushima prefecture showing the nuclear waste processing establishments locations (shizai-ka center) – Legend: the icons differentiate the various incinerators; red = in operation – blue = under construction – gray / yellow = planned – gray = operation completed

Everywhere on village outskirts there are incinerators of which people know nothing! They often operate at night for two to three months and then everything stops. People wonder what is being burned… Not to mention a rumor about a secret experimentation center where much more contaminated waste would be burned…

Even more frightening, waste processing plants …

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At the “Environmental Design Centre”, a poster about the revolving furnace” which decontaminates waste, debris, soil, etc, transforming them into cement”.

For example, the Warabidaira waste processing plant located in the village of Iitate or the Environment Creation Center (Kankyô Sôzô Center) opened in July 2016 in the town of Miharu, treat contaminated waste (ashes above 100 000 Bq/kg) and contaminated soil coming from land decontamination work.

Now these last two categories are not covered by the Waste Management Law (1) so they have no constraints associated with their treatment… To reduce their volume and to make them … “recyclable”!

In addition, these establishments are registered as “research institutes” and, as such, they are exempt from the building permit application commonly mandated in the framework of the waste management law!

We see inconsistencies and even contradictions between laws. We have already seen the contradiction between the limit of 100 Bq / kg set by the Nuclear Reactor Regulation Law and the 8000 Bq / kg recently adopted by the Ministry of Environment.

IV. Residents, displaced and returned

Citizen radiation measuring. Mothers, and also dads, explore the everyday environment to identify hot spots so as to modify if necessary the route recommended for children, for example “the way to school” (as in Japan all children walk single file).

For that purpose associations use “hot spot finders”. Well aware of the health risk to which children are exposed, they attach sensors connected to GPS on their strollers to walk routes and the way to school or to explore parks.

That system is well thought out: it is a vertical rod 1 meter long that leaves the ground and consists of a measuring device at 10 cm from the ground, another one at 50 cm, and a third at 1 meter to take into account the different sizes of children. If a hot spot is located, others are warned of its location and the children are required to change their route, and authorities are asked to decontaminate. For parents, this work is endless …

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Hot spot finders

People organize citizen actions thru Internet. These independent citizen online databases are many,

and one of them is even translated into English since November 2014. It is the “Minna no Data”: ambient radioactivity measures, soil measurements, food analyzes (2).

http://en.minnanods.net/

Some associations’ logos:

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V. Protest actions

The trial against the three former TEPCO executives which began in spring 2016 is the first criminal trial to take place; it could last ten years …

However, in Fukushima Prefecture, there are many other trials at different levels also taking place. For example, in March 2016, a lawsuit was initiated by 200 parents brought against the Fukushima Prefecture, to “get children out of contaminated areas.” People protest to have the “thresholds” lowered. In their opinion the issue of “thresholds” go beyond the strict framework of Japan. They fear that the thresholds of Japan will end up being generalized overseas, which is highlighted in some of the maps captions eg “against the generalization and the externalization of the 20 mSv / year threshold”. Some victims require, as after Hiroshima, “an irradiation book” (personal records) to be used for their access to treatment.

Radiation free health holiday

To send children on a health holiday is now more and more difficult, because people tend to believe that the disaster is already over therefore requests for help have become complicated.

In the city of Fukushima, for example, referring to the nuclear disaster is now taboo …

VI. Social and family catastrophe

It causes “conflicts” among neighbors (one example, one person’s place is decontaminated while its adjoining neighbor’s place is not), between beneficiaries and others, between the displaced and the residents of the hosting location (there are misunderstandings on the issue of compensations; the self-evacuated are not receiving any compensation, but the hosting city locals think they are).

So today many prefer to return their evacuated Fukushima resident card and acquire the resident card of their hosting town (in Japon you are résident of the village from which you keep the residence card) so as to “turn the page” because they can no longer bear to be called “evacuees”. They want to integrate into the community where they moved. Only older people remain unswervingly committed to their original residence; it is mostly the elderly who intend to return.

In many families of the Fukushima Prefecture men stayed by necessity to keep their jobs to provide for their families, while mothers with children evacuated to put them out of danger; but as time has passed, more than five years already, many families have disintegrated… The father visiting the family rarely, often for lack of resources, the marriage falling apart, resulting in many divorces and suicides.

Women are showing remarkable energy, they are on all fronts, openly, and even heavily involved in actions and trials, so that even the articles of the so-called “feminine” press today are often dealing with topics related to the nuclear disaster. Young women in particular are very active in the protests and rallies. This is a significant change in Japanese society.

 (1) Waste Management and Public Cleansing Law, Haikibutsu no shori oyobi seisô ni kansuru hôritsu, law N°137 from 1970, last amendment in 2001 https://www.env.go.jp/en/laws/recycle/01.pdf

Nuclear Reactor Regulation Law (Genshiro tô kiseihô).

“Act on the Regulation of Nuclear Source Material, Nuclear Fuel Material and Reactors” (kakugenryô busshitsu,kakunenryô busshitsu oyobi genshiro no kisei ni kansuru hôritsu)

law N°166 from 1957(2) –

English translation of Nuclear Reactor Regulation Law.

http://www.japaneselawtranslation.go.jp/law/detail/?id=1941&vm=03&re=01

(2) – Minna no Data Site (MDS)http://en.minnanods.net/

_____________________

After his lecture, I asked a simple question to Kurumi Sugita:

Why has she founded the association « Nos Voisins Lointains 3.11 » (“Our Distant Neighbors 3.11”)? …

In France, where lives Kurumi, several Japanese associations exchange about the disaster.

But Kurumi Sugita founded on January 8, 2013 in Lyon, the association « Nos voisins lointains 3-11 » also to inform the French and francophones who do not read Japanese.

The website of the association publishes valuable and moving testimonies, translated into French.

Thanks to donations, the association helps concretely, as much as possible, some affected families in Japan. 

 

To know more

The website of Kurumi Sugita’s association:

http://nosvoisins311.wix.com/voisins311-france

You may find the victims testimonies on her Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/Nos-Voisins-Lointains-311_Les-paroles-des-sinistr%C3%A9s-nucl%C3%A9aires-1610794892522102/

And general informations on the Fukushima nuclear disaster:

https://www.facebook.com/Nos-Voisins-Lointains-311-555557711144167/

August 16, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment