As the first article below shows, Doctors in Japan are being prevented from reporting radiation-related illnesses. Fukushima Daiichi, the nuclear reactor complex wrecked by the earthquake/tsunami of March 2011, continues to spew radioactivity into the air and groundwater- the rate has increased by an order of magnitude since the recent typhoons. What are the health consequences to the Japanese people? We don’t know, because, as the first article below says, Japanese doctors are prevented from reporting radiation-related diseases.
Despite the danger to his license, Dr. Mita Shigeru continues to publish his experiences. He moved his clinic out of Tokyo last spring because of the radiation, and recently published the second article below, which gives specifics on radiation levels and illnesses.
Given the suppression of information, which will intensify when the Japanese state secrets law goes into effect in December 2014http://thediplomat.com/2014/
Peace, Carol Wolman, MD
We think of radiation as a cancer causing thing, but it also causes many other ailments. Much higher incidences of a whole range of illnesses than they had in 2010, the year before the accident… We’re also working with doctors in Japan, and some brave doctors are saying that they’ve been threatened — that their hospital rights have been threatened — if you tell your patient this illness is radiation related you’ll lose your right to practice and things like that. So there’s enormous pressure on the medical community to tell the patients that what they’re experiencing is not at all related to radiation. The key is statistics, and the question is when will the statistics be released for mortality, morbidity, and general illnesses… We’re not seeing the data. The medical community now has to file every report that it writes with the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, before it’s issued. So if you’re a hospital, and you’ve got mortality data, you’re not allowed to issue that to the public until those reports have been cleared by the IAEA. Well, Article II of the IAEA charter is to promote nuclear power. So even if the hospital was conscientious — there’s a lot of political pressure not to be — but even if it was conscientious, there’s another step in the process, and they’ve got to clear an IAEA hurdle before those numbers are released. It’s truly frightening, the pressure the medical community is undergoing in Japan. Very few of them are willing to tell the truth.
Arnie Gundersen, nuclear engineer, Oct. 20, 2014 (at 15:00 in): There’s experts out there like me – independent experts – who are saying that as many as a million cancers may result.
It is clear that Eastern Japan and Metropolitan Tokyo have been contaminated with radiation.
Contamination of the soil can be shown by measuring Bq/kg. Within the 23 districts of Metropolitan Tokyo, contamination in the east part is 1000-4000 Bq/kg and the west part is 300-1000 Bq/kg. The contamination of Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine, is 500 Bq/kg (Ce137 only). West Germany after the Chernobyl accident has 90 Bq/kg, Italy has 100 and France has 30 Bq/kg on average. Many cases of health problems have been reported in Germany and Italy. Shinjuku, the location of the Tokyo municipal government, was measured at 0.5-1.5 Bq/kg before 2011. Kodaira currently has 200-300 Bq/kg contamination.
I recommend all of you to watch the NHK program, “ETV special: Chernobyl nuclear accident: Report from a contaminated land”, which is available on Internet. I think it is important to acknowledge what people who visited Belarus and Ukraine, and heard the stories of the locals, have seen and felt there, and listen to those who served in rescue operations in Chernobyl in the past more than 20 years.
Their experience tells them that Tokyo should no longer be inhabited, and that those who insist on living in Tokyo must take regular breaks in safer areas.
Issues such as depopulation and state decline continue to burden the lives of second and third generation Ukrainians and Belarusians today, and I fear that this may be the future of Eastern Japan.
Since December 2011, I have conducted thyroid ultrasound examinations, thyroid function tests, general blood tests and biochemical tests on about 2000 people, mostly families in the Tokyo metropolitan area expressing concerns on the effects of radiation. I have observed that white blood cells, especially neutrophils, are decreasing among children under the age of 10. There are cases of significant decline in the number of neutrophils in 0-1 year-olds born after the earthquake (<1000). In both cases, conditions tend to improve by moving to Western Japan (Neutrophils 0–>4500). Patients report nosebleed, hair loss, lack of energy, subcutaneous bleeding, visible urinary hemorrhage, skin inflammations, coughs and various other non-specific symptoms.
Kodaira, in western Tokyo, is one of the least-contaminated areas in Kanto; however, we began to notice changes in children’s blood test results around mid-2013 even in this area. Contamination in Tokyo is progressing, and further worsened by urban radiation concentration, or the effect by which urban sanitation systems such as the sewage system, garbage collection and incineration condense radiation, because contaminated waste is gathered and compressed. Data measured by citizens’ groups showed that radiation levels on the riverbeds of Kawabori River in Higashiyamato and Higashimurayama in Tokyo have increased drastically in the last 1-2 years.
Other concerns I have include symptoms reported by general patients, such as persistent asthma and sinusitis. The patients show notable improvement once they move away.
I also observe high occurrences of rheumatic polymyalgia characterized by complaints such as “difficulty turning over,” “inability to dress and undress,” and “inability to stand up” among my middle-aged and older patients. Could these be the same symptoms of muscle rheumatism that were recorded in Chernobyl?
Changes are also noticeable in the manifestation of contagious diseases such as influenza, hand-foot-and-mouth disease and shingles.
Many patients report experiencing unfamiliar symptoms or sensing unusual changes in their bodies. Perhaps they feel comfortable speaking to me, knowing that my clinic posted signs informing of possible radiation-related symptoms immediately after the nuclear accident. Many young couples with small children and women worried about their grandchildren visit my clinic and earnestly engage in the discussion, and there is not a single patient who resists my critical views on the impacts of radiation.
Ever since 3.11, everybody living in Eastern Japan including Tokyo is a victim, and everybody is involved.
We discovered that our knowledge from the discipline of radiology was completely useless in the face of a nuclear disaster. The keyword here is “long-term low-level internal irradiation.” This differs greatly from medical irradiation or simple external exposure to radiation. I do not want to get involved in political issues; nonetheless, I must state that the policies of the WHO, the IAEA or the Japanese government cannot be trusted. They are simply far too distanced from the harsh realities that people in Chernobyl still face today.
The patients from Eastern Japan that I see here in Okayama have confirmed the feelings that I have had for a long time, since I was based in Tokyo. People are truly suffering from this utter lack of support. Since 3.11, mothers have researched frantically on radiation to protect their children. They studied in the midst of their hostile surroundings in Tokyo, where they could no longer trust either government offices or their children’s schools. Family doctors were willing to listen about other symptoms, but their faces turned red at the slightest mention of radiation and ignored the mothers’ questions. Mothers could not even talk openly to friends anymore as the atmosphere in Tokyo became more and more stifled.
I believe that it is our duty as medical doctors to instruct and increase awareness among the Japanese public. This is our role as experts, having knowledge of health that the general public does not possess. Three years have quickly passed since the disaster. No medical schools or books elaborate on radiation sickness. Nevertheless, if the power to save our citizens and future generations exists somewhere, it does not lie within the government or any academic association, but in the hands of individual clinical doctors ourselves.
Residents of Tokyo are unfortunately not in the position to pity the affected regions of Tohoku because they are victims themselves. Time is running short. I took an earlier step forward and evacuated to the west. My fellow doctors of medicine, I am waiting for you here. And to the people in Eastern Japan still hesitating, all my support goes to facilitating and enabling your evacuation, relocation, or a temporary relief in Western Japan.