May 24, 2012

Report regarding the number of deaths due to illnesses in "Fukushima children" Changes since the Fukushima accident based on the government’s vital statistics data.

By Seiichi Nakate,  Fukushima Network for Saving Children from Radiation

May 14, 2012

It has been over one year since the Fukushima nuclear accident.  However, the government has failed to make efforts to investigate the health effects from the radiation contamination.  The government has excluded Fukushima prefecture from the Patient Survey (*1), and the prefecture’s “Health Management Survey” considers pediatric thyroid cancer as the only health risk possible.  It seems that, without taking adequate measures to prevent damages from occurring, they are spreading a “radiation-is-safe myth” stating “this amount of radiation is not harmful” and trying to bring the children back to “everyday life” little by little.

On the other hand, we get information on the Internet such as “sudden deaths in high school students,” “abnormality such as thyroid cysts,” and “an increase in deaths in Fukushima,” making us worry if the health damages are already occurring.

This report contains changes in the number of deaths due to illnesses in Fukushima children, based on the vital statistics collected and made public by the government’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.  Vital statistics are the collection of births and deaths reported to local governments, and monthly data is available up to November, 2011.  It was determined that this data was reliable even after the earthquake/tsunami disaster and the nuclear accident,with the exception of some specific data (*2).

(*1) Patient Survey
It is a morbidity-related survey of patients in medical institutions in order  to obtain basic information for medical care administration, carried out nationwide, simultaneously, every three years.  Last year (2011) was the survey year, and if Fukushima prefecture hadn’t been excluded, it might have found changes from three years ago or any unusual phenomena  not seen in other prefectures.
(*2) some specific data
Part of data relating to accidental deaths and fetuses, newborns and infants.

The graphs shown below were created from the Fukushima prefecture data in the archival list of “the number of deaths by sex, age (in five-year age groups), and a simple classification of causes of deaths for each prefecture ( with 20 largest cities regrouped).”   This was found in the “monthly report” for 2010 and 2011, obtained from “Government statistics general site: vital statistics (”   Data from other prefectures and “annual” data prior to 2010 were also referred to when needed for consideration and comparison.

Comparison of the total number of pediatric deaths due to illnesses

This graph depicts the total number of pediatric deaths (ages 1 to 19) due to illnesses in March through November, 2011, compared to the same time period in 2010.

It has increased by a factor of 1.5 times, but pediatric deaths due to illnesses come in small numbers to begin with, so the absolute number is too small to determine if this is an “unusual phenomenon.”  Similar changes can be seen considerably in past statistics or other prefectures.

Total number of pediatric deaths (ages 1 to 19) due to illnesses in Fukushima,
from March through November of 2010 (blue)  vs. 2011 (pink)

(Source: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare Vital Statistics)

Thus the following graph was created to see the month-to-month changes.

Dynamic changes in the number of deaths due to illnesses

Month-to-month changes in the number of pediatric deaths (ages 1 to 19) in Fukushima from March through November of 2010 (blue) and 2011 (pink)

*The vertical bar graph indicates the number of death for the specific month in blue for 2010 and pink for 2011.
*The line graph indicates the cumulative number of death in blue for 2010 and pink for 2011.
(Source: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare Vital Statistics)

There is a big change in the number of deaths due to illnesses after July.

Ordinarily, there are more deaths due to illnesses in winter and spring; summer and fall tend to see fewer deaths nationwide both for adults and children.

However, in 2011 the number of deaths due to illnesses was large in summer and fall, and there is an almost linear increase in the cumulative number of deaths.

If this tendency were to continue in 2012, the number of pediatric deaths due to illnesses would increase at a fast enough pace to be “statistically significant.”  This type of phenomenon rarely happens in the whole country.  It is not something that is happening in Miyagi or Iwate prefectures.

I cannot help but suspect a possibility that abnormal phenomena have been happening to the health of  Fukushima children since last summer.

The number of deaths due to illnesses by the specific cause of deaths

The number of pediatric deaths (ages 1 to 19) due to illnesses classified by the specific cause of deaths in Fukushima from March through November of 2010 (blue) and 2011 (pink)
From left to right: cancer and leukemia
cardiovascular diseases
infectious diseases
(Source: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare Vital Statistics)

This graph depicts the number of pediatric deaths classified by the specific cause of deaths.

The number of deaths due to “cardiovascular diseases” has doubled.  (This number includes cardiovascular deaths of children with congenital heart abnormalities.)  This has not been seen in other prefectures which suffered damages from the earthquake/tsunami disaster.  There are also increases in infectious diseases, cancer and leukemia, and pneumonia.

This graph may be no more than just a reference, but I decided to include it in this report along with the second graph showing the increase in the number of deaths since last summer.

There is no doubt that the number of pediatric deaths due to illnesses has increased since last summer.  It was omitted from this report, but there is data available that shows that the increase in the number of deaths was the greatest in late teens.  If this abnormal phenomenon continues on and the causality with radiation contamination were ever to be proven, the lost lives would not come back.

In health damage due to any type of pollution, there are many children who have illnesses or are not feeling well, besides those who died.  I think it is the responsibility of adults to act on preventing even a little bit of radiation damage.  We need to consider convalescence, relocation, protective measures and anything that can be possibly helpful.  In addition, we need to demand the early enforcement of “the alternative to the national Patient Survey” which has been promised by the government.

May 16, 2012

A case of papillary carcinoma of the thyroid gland in a woman from Fukushima

(From Dr. Shunichi Ono’s blog.  Dr. Ono is an internal medicine doctor who used to work as a TEPCO engineer.)

Note:  The woman’s statement is shown in blue.

A woman in her early 30's who evacuated from Kooriyama-city, Fukushima, to western Japan reports that she has been diagnosed with papillary carcinoma of the thyroid gland and scheduled for surgery soon.  With her permission, I would like to present her case on my blog.  Of course I understand that we cannot conclude this case is related to the Fukushima nuclear accident.  However, it is certain that we would have to carefully watch the situation from now on.

Personal history

March 11, 2011 to March 15, 2011, in Kooriyama-city.
I wore a mask when going outside.  I couldn’t get an N95 mask, so I used a regular mask.  Water supply had been stopped, and I had to line up outside to get water.  I didn’t open windows but I didn’t put weather stripping to seal around the windows, either.  I live in the first floor apartment.  On March 14, I took 10 mL of Isodine, iodine-containing gargling medicine.  The radioactive plume came over the Kanto region on March 15.  I left Kooriyama-city in the afternoon of March 15, driving towards Numazu, Shizuoka, in the rain, as if chasing after the plume.  The Tohoku Expressway was blocked, so it took me 15 hours.

March 16, 2011 to April 4, 2011, in Numazu, Shizuoka.
I led a normal life.  The second wave of the radioactive plume on March 21 came with the rain, so I didn’t go outside to avoid it.

April 5, 2011 to April 23, 2011, in Inawashiro, Fukushima, and Nasu, Tochigi.
My house was partially destroyed.  Also the ambient radiation level in Kooriyama-city at the time was 2 μSv/hr, so I didn’t think I would be able to return home even while I was staying in Shizuoka.

April 24, 2011 to September 2011, I moved to XX-cho, Aizu.
I couldn’t and didn’t want to quit work, so I moved to Aizu which had a lower radiation level.  It was 0.14 μSv/hr at the time.  However, I was commuting to Sendai and Tochigi on the Expressway for work everyday.  I didn’t work within the 80-km zone, but I was passing through Kooriyama, Fukushima, after all, going from Aizu to Sendai and Tochigi.

September 2011 to January 2012, moved to Numazu, Shizuoka.

January 2012 to present, moved to a place more west than Osaka.

I have been and still am extremely careful with choosing clean food and water.
The urine test by Riken, done on urine collected on February 21 to 22, 2012, showed no iodine and cesium, with the MDA of 0.073.

Medical history

July 2011, Hospital “A” in Aizuwakamatsu-city, Fukushima.
I had sore throat, sputum, unstoppable diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue and excessive sleepiness.  I wondered about a thyroid condition, so I went to see an endocrinologist.  Thyroid ultrasound revealed a 5-mm tumor.  I hadn’t noticed any nodule previously.  I had a biopsy, but it was undeterminable due to an insufficient sample size.  The doctor assured me that it was okay, however.  I told the doctor I was worried about the effect of radiation, but the doctor laughed at me saying radiation should not be affecting me.

Lab test items in Japanese as shown above (normal range in the second column):
Thyroglobulin 20.3
anti-thyroglobulin antibody 18.6
nonspecific Ig-E 24

Lab test items in Japanese as shown above (normal range in the second column) :
WBC 5500
RBC 514
Hemoglobin 14.9
Hematocrit 45.4
Platelets 22.6

December 2011,  Clinic “B” in Shizuoka.
I brought a referral letter to get thyroid ultrasound and blood test.  The tumor was 6 mm in size.  They told me they would only do a biopsy if it was over 7 mm.  Blood test was normal.  I was told to return in 6 months to a year.

Lab test items in Japanese as shown above (normal range in the third column):
Thyrogloblin 20.2
Anti-thyroglobulin antibody 13
Anti-TPO antibody <5

Lab test items in Japanese as shown above (normal range in the third column):
Glucose 74
Sodium 141
Chloride 104
Total protein 6.8
Albumin 4.3
Urea nitrogen 13
Creatinine 0.59
Triglyceride 174
Potassium 4.1
Calcium 9.1
Phosphorus 3.3
WBC 6700
RBC 489

April 2012,  a free thyroid ultrasound event for the evacuees at Hospital “D.”
I was told the nodule was irregular in shape with a higher chance of being malignant.  I was told to get regular examinations.  This was the first time the shape of the nodule was mentioned to me.

Thyroid ultrasound report:
Thank you for participating in the thyroid ultrasound experience on April XX, 2012.  
You have a history of a tumor in the right lobe of thyroid gland and fine needle aspiration biopsy.
Our examination revealed a 5.1x3.8mm mass.  It is irregular and elongated, and the image suggests a possibility of thyroid cancer.
Thyroid cancer grows slowly in general, and it might not lead to subjective symptoms for many years in a lot of cases.
The most definitive diagnostic method is fine needle aspiration biopsy, just as you had before, but it might be difficult to collect cells when the size of the mass is small.  
We recommend that you repeat thyroid ultrasound every 6 months to watch the course of the mass, and repeat the fine needle aspiration biopsy if the mass shows a tendency to grow in size.

Thyroid ultrasound result:
3. There is a mass.  It is recommended that you go to a thyroid clinic for further testing.

April 2012, color doppler ultrasound, blood test, biopsy, EKG and urinalysis at Clinic “C.”
Biopsy result would be available in two weeks.  During the examination the first thing the doctor said to me was “Thyroid cancer is not fatal!!”  I think the doctor already had suspicion from the ultrasound result.  I had been ready to deal with the result since then.  My heart rate was only 50 and thyroid function was low.  There were many things that I could think might have been related to this, but I thought they were from the stress of moving and working.

Lab test items in Japanese as shown above (normal range in the third column):
Total cholesterol 174
Triglyceride 32
Arteriosclerotic index 0.9
Anti-thyroid peroxidase antibody <5.0
Anti-thyroglobulin antibody 10.8

May 2012, second visit to  Clinic “C.”
The biopsy result was questionable due to possible contamination.  It was decided to repeat biopsy with staining for definite determination.  The result was to be back in two weeks.

May 2012, third visit to Clinic “C.”
Even though they told me the second biopsy result would not be back for  two weeks, they called me four days later, asking me to come in since the result was in, which was ominous.  The diagnosis was a papillary adenocarcinoma.  It was 6 mm in size and in the right lobe of thyroid gland.  The doctor explained it to me, looking at the images of biopsy result.  I was told an inexperienced doctor might call it benign.  Dr. C. is dedicated to treat radiation-related illnesses and has experiences in Chernobyl.  He understands I was in Fukushima at the time of the accident and how that might have affected my condition

This was a very detailed record, and I reported it almost in whole.  This is all the information I have, and I won’t be able to answer any questions beyond what’s written.

However, considering the following points, we should be guarded about the development of any other cases in the future:
  • She took 10 mL of Isodine.
  • She evacuated from Kooriyama-city at a relatively early time.
  • Thyroglobulin is essentially normal.

In regards to thyroid cancers, Dr. Shunichi Yamashita is said to be the top specialist in Japan.  

He has lectured on the topic as below. 

Based on this graph, thyroid cancer incidence is not supposed to increase for three years after a nuclear accident.
Also, Japan Thyroid Association has sent the following letter to the thyroid specialists.

Dear Japan Thyroid Association members,

Fukushima prefecture is carrying out “Prefectural Resident Health Management Survey” for all residents for the purpose of long-term health management as part of the “health watch” project, in the face of radioactive contamination due to Tokyo Electric Company Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, which happened along with the Great East Japan Earthquake.
As part of this survey, we have begun the ultrasound examination of thyroid gland in all prefectural residents ages 0 to 18 at the time of the accident.  (Please refer to the explanation for the residents.)

So far, because we have carried out the examination on weekends and holidays at Fukushima Medical University Hospital since October 2011 and on weekdays at the outside areas since mid-November,  the first-stage examination has already been done on over 15,000 residents.

At this time, the examination results are to be mailed to the residents after consultation with special committees in and outside the Medical University.  We are contacting the supporting association members to ask for understanding of how to deal with these results.

In the first-stage ultrasound examination, we have defined what needs the second-stage examination as nodules over 5.1 mm and cysts (non-solid but colloidal or liquid collection only) over 20.1 mm.  Thus, in addition to those with no abnormal findings, those with nodules smaller than 5 mm or cysts smaller than 20 mm have been decided not to be the subjects of further testing such as biopsies, or treatments.  We would imagine that you might receive a few inquiries or consultations from parents regarding these results.  Please explain to them well to make sure they understand that any further testing is not necessary before the next examination
unless symptoms appear.

Also, this examination will be carried out every two years until age 20 and every five years from then on, leading to a long-term thyroid examination project.  Coordination with base hospitals all over the nation will be essential, and the examination will be widely publicized to the residents from now on.

Your continued understanding and cooperation towards this examination will be appreciated.

January 16, 2012

Shunichi Yamashita, M.D.
Fukushima Medical University Radiological Resident Health Management Center Chief

Shinichi Suzuki、M.D,
Fukushima Medical University Radiological Resident Health Management Center
Clinical Department Vice Chair (in charge of thyroid examination)

Should we not reconsider how the thyroid ultrasound results are to be managed?

May 12, 2012

Insanity in Fukushima keeps getting revealed

1. Sports Meetings in Schools

Japanese schools have annual school sports meetings.  Fukushima children didn't get to do them last year.  Educators in Fukushima are determined to keep things "as usual" as possible for children, so they are resuming regular school events.

The Fukushima Prefecture Education Board has approved the use of outdoor swimming pools in all schools.  (Elementary school children have swim lessons at school during summer.)

Also, they are feeding Fukushima children "Fukushima produce" in school lunches.  Any children who leave out mushrooms or milk, as told by their parents, are told to just "finish them" by teachers.

These are some photos of children participating in a team game of throwing balls in a basket.
They were required to wear masks for this event because picking up balls off the ground will create a lot of dust.

2. Child Protector

There was an advertisement for this item in the Fukushima newspaper.

The description contained the following statement:

“It is the responsibility of parents to protect toddlers and infants from radioactive particles.”

When to use them

This will protect toddlers and children from radioactive particles.  

1. Please use this item when toddlers and children are doing outside activities in areas where the ambient radiation levels are constantly higher than the pre-nuclear accident levels.

2. When toddlers and children who temporarily evacuated due to the nuclear accident return to the original areas and do outside activities, please use this item when the ambient radiation levels are constantly higher than the pre-nuclear accident levels.

3. This item is recommended for your emergency kit in the areas near nuclear power plants throughout the country as a preventative measure for protecting toddlers and children in case of an accident.

Really.  What is true protection?  It would be better to get these children out of the areas that require protective suits such as these for simply being outside?

These are the news clips in videos and articles.

May 10, 2012

The Japanese government’s brainwashing radiation booklet for children and teachers

The current Japanese government has turned into an insane cult group.  They are spreading poison called radioactive material all over Japan, abandoning sick people to die, and brainwashing children in the educational settings to make them believe radiation is safe.  

This is in essence not different from the Sarin attack on the Tokyo subway by the Aum Shinrikyo.

In October 2011, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology publicized the booklet on basic knowledge of radiation.  It had been under plan even prior to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident and commissioned to the Japan Atomic Energy Relations Organization(JAERO) after it won the open competitive bidding on the project at 21,000,000 yen ($262,500) on March 9, 2011, two days before the Great East Japan Earthquake struck. After the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident, the operating expense was raised to 37,000,000 yen ($462,500) so that the content can take into consideration the effect of the accident.  However, they still commissioned JAERO to do the job, despite JAERO’s deep ties with the electric utility industry.  On top of it, the committee that actually created the booklet failed to record minutes of the proceedings, leading to the complete lack of transparency.  This committee consisted of 13 specialists and teachers and was headed by Tohoku University Professor Emeritus Takashi Nakamura, a nuclear engineer.  There seemed to be no physician member on the committee, intentionally or unintentionally.

The booklet comes in student and teacher editions.  Each comes in three versions with varying degrees of language and conceptual complexities:  elementary school, junior high school, and high school.  It was distributed nationwide as an educational aid, but it seems to be particularly read in Fukushima prefecture where the matter is more real for an obvious reason.

You can find all of them here. (in Japanese)

The contents cover the basic information about radiation, radioactivity, and radioactive material.  Different units and ways of measuring radioactivity are explained.  It also explains how “useful” radiation is in our lives in such fields as medicine, science, agriculture, manufacturing industry, archeology, etc.  

Although some basic information is legitimate and informative, there were a few points that were quite misleading.  Many Japanese have become quite knowledgeable about radiation, by necessity, since the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident.  We have found the public often have more information than the government officials.  Such misleading information might not have been recognized by the public before the accident.  The government is insulting people’s intelligence by circulating gross inaccuracies.  

The least we could do for the children, who are forced to inherit the nuclear mess created, is to provide them with accurate information so that they can protect themselves and go on with their lives.  We cannot help but think the booklet is telling children to simply accept the use of radiation because it is useful and relatively harmless.  This is brainwashing.

The common messages in all three versions in both student and teacher editions included the following:

  • There is no clear proof that illnesses such as cancer occurred solely from radiation as a cause when a human was exposed to one-time radiation dose less than 100 mSv.  However, cancers might originate from a combination of various causes.  Thus it is important to minimize the radiation exposure.

  • Radioactive materials will fall on the ground with time, thus decreasing in the air, allowing for the use of air conditioners and exhaust fans.  You will also no longer be required to wear masks for protection.  Thus you will no longer be required to keep taking protective measures as the accident is brought to an end.

This statement is misleading on several levels.  First of all, the Fukushima accident has not been brought to an end.  It is an ongoing problem with the tattered buildings unable to contain the radioactive emissions.  In addition, the statement makes it sound like once out of the air and on the ground, the radioactive material is harmless.  Radioactive materials falling on the ground contaminate everything in the biosphere including soil, plants, trees, vegetables, water sources, animals, and of course humans.  Just because the ambient level is low, it doesn’t mean it’s gone.  In fact, the ambient radiation level is higher closer to the ground.  In some cities in Fukushima, the ambient radiation levels are routinely over 0.5 microsievert per hour,  and it might be over 1.0 microsievert per hour right on the ground.  The more accurate way of assessing the contamination is to test the soil for radionuclides.  Moreover, once in the soil, a radionuclide such as radioactive cesium will get into wild mushrooms and vegetables, bioaccumulating in species that eat contaminated produce.  

Some excerpts of the student edition have been translated into English here.  If you have common sense knowledge of radiation, radioactivity and radioactive material, it should be easy to see how the statements are wrong or misleading.

This is an explanation of half-lives in the elementary school student version:
  • Here it talks about the changes seen in radioactive material with a half-life of one month.  Pink dots represent the original radioactive material and blue dots are defined as “something else” that came from the original radioactive material after it emitted radiation.  This “something else” is assumed not to emit radiation, which is quite misleading.  Their attempt might have been to simplify the issue by showing the halving of the numbers, but in reality it is not that simple.  Even elementary school children could appreciate the matter has inherent complexities.

Junior high school student edition has additional information:

  • Human beings always existed and evolved in the environment containing radiation.  We are exposed to radiation in our daily lives.  (Note: This is true in terms of naturally occurring radiation, yet it does not validate exposure to an excessive, uncontrolled amount of artificial, manmade radiation resulting from nuclear reactor fission products.)
  • Both natural radiation and man-made radiation will have the same effects on human bodies if they are in the same amount.  

High school student edition has additional information:
  • One of the effects of radiation on human bodies is physical effects seen in those exposed to radiation.  They are divided into categories such as acute radiation injury, fetal damage, and delayed radiation injury.  In addition, there have been researches on hereditary effects seen in the offspring of the exposed individuals in the absence of their own symptoms, but so far no proof has been reported of such hereditary effects in humans.

The table below is in all versions of the teacher edition, showing the relative risk for developing cancer from various causes.  Rough translation is shown below.

Cause                Relative risk for cancer
Radiation exposure to 1,000 to 2,000 mSv 1.8 times
Smoking and drinking         1.6 times
Emancipation             1.29 times
Obesity 1.22 times
Radiation exposure to 200 to 500 mSv 1.19 times
Lack of physical exercise 1.15 to 1.19 times
High salt intake 1.11 to 1.15 times
Radiation exposure to 100 to 200 mSv 1.08 times
Lack of vegetable consumption 1.06 times

Note: The radiation exposure data is from the one-time exposure due to atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and only includes solid malignant tumors.  It does not reflect the effect of long-term radiation exposure.
Note: The data was based on Japanese people who were 40 to 69 years of age.

The description of the table is self-explanatory in terms of why this data doesn’t make sense.  Clearly, the radiation exposure from the Fukushima accident is long term and different from Hiroshima/Nagasaki.  It also includes only the solid malignant tumors.  It does NOT include leukemia.  The data was also based on people over 40 years of age.  Children have faster rates of cell divisions as they are growing, which means their cells have higher chances of transmitting genetic code errors caused by radiation.

All versions of the teacher edition of the booklet are also full of “instructional pointers” that tell them what to teach children.  Translated excerpts are shown in bold letters.
  • Make the students understand that there are various causes that might lead to diseases such as cancer and there are certain things to consider in leading healthy lives.
  • It is known that an exposure to a massive one-time radiation dose causes cancer in human, but there is no obvious proof that radiation could be a causative factor in increased cancer deaths when the one-time exposure dose is less than 100 mSv, including children.  However, it is the international consensus to decrease the amount of radiation exposure in order to avoid any possibility of developing cancer.
  • In addition, radioactive material emitted into the air will fall on the nearby ground, especially attached to rain.  What didn’t fall on the ground will rise higher into the sky, transported far by the wind, eventually falling onto the ground and the surface of ocean.  The radioactive material that fall on the ground will attach themselves to the soil, minimizing the possibility of being blown up into the air by the wind.
  • Permissible levels of radioactive material in the food defined by the Ministry of Health and Labor are defined on the premise it will not have harmful health effects even after daily consumption of everything for a whole year.  These levels have been set up with considerable built-in safety net.

Instructional pointers:

Make them understand there is no obvious proof in the relationship between low radiation level of below 100 mSv and illnesses.

Make them understand there are various causes in the occurrences of cancer.
  • Effects of radiation on human bodies vary depending on the type and amount of radiation.  It is known that a large amount of radiation causes symptoms in human bodies.  However, the same total radiation dose is more harmful in one-time dose as opposed to cumulative doses.  This is because human bodies have recovery function.
  • There is no obvious proof that one-time exposure to less than 100 mSv of radiation leads to an increased cancer death rate.
  • Moreover, both natural radiation and man-made radiation will have the same effect regardless of the source if the type and the amount of radiation are the same.

Instructional pointers:
Make students understand that when a certain time period passes after the accident, the radioactive material will fall on the ground and earlier protective measures will no longer be necessary.

Annual exposure dose of 20 mSv as a limit used in recommendation for evacuation:
  1. Acute phase: Make sure the exposure dose from the accident does not exceed 20 to 100 mSv annually. At this stage, reduce the amount of radiation exposure by evacuating to far, safe places and conducting thorough radiation measurements of drinking water and food.
  2. Recovery period after the accident resolves: Try not to exceed 1 to 20 mSv annually.  At this stage, reduce the amount of radiation exposure by removing contaminated soil around schools and houses and keeping a watch to make sure no food exceeding the legal limit is distributed.

The limit on radiation exposure in our country is set up according to the ICRP recommendations.  Radiation exposure to the public has been decided not to exceed 1 mSv annually by defining the radiation level limit within the working zones such as nuclear power plants, hospitals and factories.  This radiation limit is regulated under approved conditions with appropriate facility designs and protective plans.  It is not the limit that suggests the border between safety and danger where health effects will appear if exposed to a higher dose.

Radiation exposure from radioactive material emitted into the environment, as seen in the Tokyo Electric Company Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant accident, is different from radiation exposure to controlled radiation sources in planned irradiation.  In this case it is impossible to plan protection.  Thus the mentioned annual limit of 1 mSv is not applied, and the protection is based on limits called reference levels in the acute phase and the recovery phase after the accident comes to an end.  Reference levels are defined as limits that will always be accompanied by protective measures for reducing the radiation levels such as evacuation and decontamination.  However, according to ICRP, these protective measures should not require an excessive amount of expense and personnel but rather should be done within the practical limits, financially and socially.

Not much needs to be explained about the excerpts from the teacher edition.  Not only are they full of inaccuracies but they contain information inconsistent with what the government actually did, for instance, “conducting thorough radiation measurements of drinking water and food.”

Educational settings such as schools should not be the place to distribute inaccurate information.  Sadly, it seems that some teachers actually believe the contents of the booklet.  Most parents, if they are knowledgeable about the true danger of radiation, are upset about the booklet.  There also seems to be a movement amongst some teachers to demand revamping of the booklet.