The Japanese Ministry of the Environment tonight announced that a comparison of thyroid
exams conducted on the children of Fukushima (to detect the occurrence of abnormalities
as a result of the nuclear accident) with thyroid exams conducted on children in other parts
of Japan show similar results. The Ministry has determined that it is “difficult to conclude”
that the results from Fukushima are attributable to the accident.
Because there is a possibility that the Iodine-131 released during the early stages of the
nuclear accident accumulated in the thyroid of some Fukushima children and could
eventually cause thyroid cancer, thyroid exams are being conducted on all Fukushima
residents who were under the age of 18 at the time. According to Fukushima Prefecture
and other sources, as of late January 2013, more than 133,000 Fukushima children had
been examined, and thyroid “indurations” (dense tissue areas, possible precursors of
cysts) of less than 5 millimeters in size were detected in 41.2%.
The Ministry of the Environment determined that the “indurations” found were nearly all
benign. Even so, the families of the children were worried that they were caused by the
nuclear accident. They raised their concerns, so the government decided to conduct the
same examinations for comparison in three cities not affected by the accident : Hirosaki
City (Aomori Prefecture, northern Japan), Kofu City, (Yamanashi Prefecture, central
Japan), and Nagasaki City (Nagasaki Prefecture, western Japan).
Of a total of 4,365 children (between 3 and 18 years old) examined, 56.6% showed signs
of “indurations” of less than 5 millimeters in size. The tendency therefore showed a similar
trend to that in Fukushima.
The Ministry said “We now know that it is difficult to conclude that thyroid indurations found
in Fukushima children were the result of the nuclear accident. We hope that these finding
will alleviate the anxieties of residents.”
Expert says “No need to worry too much”
An expert on the effects of radiation on the human body, Doctor Shigenobu Nagataki,
executive director of the Japan Radioisotope Association, says “the accuracy of modern
thyroid examinations is much higher than before. I had predicted that similar results would
be found outside Fukushima Prefecture based upon both national and international data.
These comparisons demonstrate the same trend both inside and outside of Fukushima,
and therefore show that it is almost impossible to conclude that indurations detected in
Fukushimaʼs children were the result of radiation. I believe that it is not necessary for the
children and their families to worry too much.”
Original Japanese web article : http://bit.ly/WP6U7A