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Thyroid Cancer in Fukushima Children: When the Language and Information Gaps Mislead

With the year 2016 marking the passage of five years since the Fukushima nuclear accident, many writings—articles, editorials, academic papers—have been released reflecting on the first five years after the accident. Some of the writings address a psychosocial aspect of the accident such as “problems” caused by the stress of evacuation and the “unwarranted” fear of radiation, dismissing the potential health effects of radiation exposure, even ignoring the science. Others focus on the alleged withholding of medical data by authorities, speculating on the health effects of the Fukushima accident reaching even the United States. 

Official data and information available in English are often limited and biased. Transparency and impartiality of such information, released by the government and international agencies, can be influenced by ulterior motives other than public health protection. However, without a fluency in Japanese and an ability to navigate through and comprehend the mass of of…

Fukushima Thyroid Examination Fact Sheet: March 2016

Fukushima Thyroid Examination Fact Sheet:  March 2016

This fact sheet was compiled mostly from the official documents and data, some available only in Japanese, for the purpose of reviewing the first four and a half years of the post-accident thyroid ultrasound screening in Fukushima Prefecture. It is intended as a common knowledge base of the history, basic principle and current status of the largest thyroid ultrasound screening undertaken with controversial results. (For the shorter version of the fact sheet, please refer to this).
March 2016 Fukushima Thyroid Examination Fact Sheet by Yuri Hiranuma


On October 9, 2011, Fukushima Prefecture began the Thyroid Ultrasound Examination (TUE) on about 360,000 residents who were age 18 or younger at the time of the triple disaster of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident on March 11, 2011. As the exposure to radioactive iodine dramatically increased the incidence of pediatric thyroid cancer cases after the 1986 Chernobyl nu…

Fukushima Thyroid Examination February 2016: 51 Cases Suspicious or Confirmed of Thyroid Cancer in the Second Round Screening

116 Thyroid cancer cases confirmed in Fukushima as of December 2015--100 in the first round and 16 in the second round (Total of 166 cases with malignancy or suspicion of malignancy--115 in the first round and 51 in the second round).

The 22nd Prefectural Oversight Committee for Fukushima Health Management Survey convened in Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture, on Monday, February 15, 2016. 

(For the unofficial English translation of the most recent official information, only available in Japanese, on surgical and pathological details of some of the thyroid cancer cases, see this post).

Among other information, the Oversight Committee released the latest results (as of December 31, 2015) of the ongoing Full-Scale thyroid examination, or the second round screening, which is being conducted over a two-year period from April 2014 to March 2016. Although the so-called "final" results of Initial Screening, or the first round screening, were released at the last Oversight Committee …