February 28, 2013
Today, the Citizen-Expert Committee on Radiation Exposure and Health Management submitted urgent requests to Japan's Ministry of the Environment, Reconstruction Agency, Fukushima Prefectural Government, and Nuclear Regulation Authority.
The Committee, comprised of experts, doctors, lawyers, and citizens, called for urgent improvements in the Fukushima Health Management Survey, and for enhanced medical care and health inspection systems, including an increase in staffing for these purposes. The requests aim at immediate measures for increasing the number of items covered in health inspections, elaborating current items such as thyroid examinations, and expanding the target population to cover areas outside Fukushima.
The document refers to recent study results in which three persons were diagnosed with thyroid cancer and seven were strongly suspected of having it, among 38,114 young persons under the age of 18 years in 13 municipalities near the Fukushima nuclear power plant (As of September 30th 2013, 58 persons were diagnosed with or strongly suspected of having thyroid cancer among 225,537 targets in 34 municipalities in Fukushima). It claims that these findings do not agree scientifically with the position of the Fukushima Medical University, which denies any causal relationship between the study results and the nuclear power plant accident. The committee calls for improvements in medical care and examination systems, for the immediate implementation of examinations that cover more items in wider target areas.
The proposal is based on the following points:
·The purpose of the Fukushima Health Management Survey is to reduce anxiety of the residents.
·Detailed health examinations have been implemented only for residents from the evacuation area.
·The items currently covered in health examinations cannot detect reductions in thyroid gland functions and some other diseases.
Thus, in the proposal the Committee demanded the following:
1) That the national government be responsible for establishment of a health management system based on the principles of “Nuclear Disaster Victims’ Support Act”
2) Expansion of coverage to include areas outside of Fukushima Prefecture
3) Increase in the number of items covered in health checkups in order to better ascertain health conditions
4) Placing the management of data management under the responsibility of the national government, and ensuring the reliability of data through oversight by third party organizations
5) As an interim measure, enabling voluntary thyroid examinations, and offering financial assistance or apply health insurance for medical checkups.
To the Nuclear Regulation Authority, the Committee demanded the following:
·Conduct objective discussions about the Fukushima Health Management Survey and the health management of residents, with an independent perspective, by reestablishing the study team
·For those discussions, include direct interviews with victims, including Fukushima parents, and with experts even if they have critical views
·Investigation from both the epidemiological and medical perspectives
Kanna Mitsuta and Eri Watanabe, Friends of the Earth Japan
TEL: (+81)3-6907-7217 FAX: (+81)3-6907-7219
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