Japan Government Covers Up Children’s Radiation Doses, Again

In a long list of bad actions by the Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters, that has been in charge of radiation dose information, yet another cover up has come out.

The government announced the levels to be “zero” but the National Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS) says that is not the case.

The government measured the hourly thyroid doses of 1,080 children under 16 years old in Fukushima Prefecture from March 24 to 30 last year, shortly after a disaster began to unfold at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on March 11. Five months later, the government’s Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters told the parents of 55 percent of the children that they had zero internal thyroid doses, which included doses below the detection limit of the testing equipment. A team of researchers led by Toshikazu Suzuki, a section head at the NIRS Research Center for Radiation Emergency Medicine, conducted an independent study of the same measurement data. The team estimated the lifetime thyroid doses of the 1,080 children at 12 millisieverts on average and 42 millisieverts at the maximum. The dose estimates were 30 millisieverts or more for four of the subjects. The children tested were from at least 10 municipalities, and the dose estimates tended to be higher for those from Iitate and Iwaki.

The government claims their unusual interpretation of the data is due to this.  “the objective was to find doses exceeding the reference level for taking stable iodine tablets.”
NIRS states the IAEA’s intervention level for iodine to be  50 mSv for  1 year old. IAEA states a vague intervention of 50 mGy (a different unit of measurement).

This newly stated excuse by the govt. that the testing of children was only to see who should have had protective iodine is now being used to justify not informing parents what children actually did have recorded thyroid exposure doses and as cover for declaring exposures as “zero”.

The NIRS study also found many of the children with “zero” according to the government actually had a lifetime equivalent dose. “Despite the government announcing more than half of the children had zero exposure, the independent study found that on average they did receive thyroid gland doses of internal radiation. Several children were judged to have received an equivalent lifetime dose to the thyroid.” 

This is not the first controversy or cover up with the government agency handling the thyroid scans. There was also an issue where they refused requests by the NSC to rescan children with higher doses on initial scans. This same agency posted and then quickly deleted off their website, the dose results of the scans citing privacy even though no personal data was included.
There was also an issue where the Fukushima prefecture government demanded a Hirosaki university cease a dose reconstruction study as it would cause panic. There have also been issues of thyroid nodule incidence in local children being misrepresented and downplayed by officials. At least one hospital in Tokyo has cited the government has instructed the to refuse radiation scans or similar treatment to the public. The mayor of Futaba, one of the towns closest to the Fukushima Daiichi disaster cited that residents have been refused radiation scans at hospitals at the request of Fukushima Medical University, the facility doing the radiation exposure work for the government. The mayor himself suffering from what could be radiation exposure symptoms was refused blood tests at a Tokyo hospital because he cited his concern that his symptoms may be radiation exposure.

Many parents are still not aware of their child’s actual dose and more still have never been tested. Evidence from Chernobyl has shown iodine exposure was drastically more widespread than assumed by officials. Even as far away as Poland, people who did not receive protective iodine have thyroid cancer at epidemic levels.

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