A health survey in Fukushima covered up by the Japanese Media? This is OurPlanet TV. I’m Hajime Shiralshi. Today’s “contAct” features the theme of “Radiation Causing Unusual Changes.” Transcript – It’s been four months since the accident of Fukushima-1 Nuke Plant and an increasing number of people are worrying about their health.
OurPlanet-TV asked the viewers to report any unusual changes in their health.
These are the reports from the viewers: This many.
Today we’re going to talk about whether these are related to radiation and also about what’s happening to children right now.
Today’s guest is Ms. Mika Noro, President of the NPO “The Bridge to Chernobyl.”
Ms.Noro was also instrumental in lauching “National Parent’s Network to Protect Children from Radiation.”
Thank you very much for joining us today. Thank you. You give talks all over the country.
And you have long been engaged in bringing children who are affected by the Chernobyl accident to Hokkaido.
What do you think of the accident of Fukushima-1?
Well, the Chernobyl children we have received were fed with contaminated food.
Since 3.11 in Japan, the symptoms similar to theirs started to be reported to our website.
So I came to suspect there might be more health damages than had been reported on TV.
I started investigating the issue and asked about it, and I felt the situation was really dangerous.
This was around the end of March. After the end of April, I started to get many requests from around the country to give talks.
Everywhere I go, I hear stories similar to the Chernobyl cases.
You and your group organized the first ever health consultation for children in Japan.
Could you tell me what the response from the parents were like?
Well…what shall I say…
Our initial plan was simply to offer parents an opportunity to talk with doctors who had examined the Chernobyl children so they could feel at ease.
However, our phones didn’t stop ringing.
We realized the number of doctors we had planned to invite would not be enough.
So we had to come up with more volunteer doctors very quickly.
Still, the response was so huge we had to say no to many people who wanted to come.
The health damages we are seeing haven’t been revealed in the mainstream media yet.
But you’ve got a lot of SOS.
We, too, have looked into what’s happening now.
For our report on the health consultation in Fukushima and our independent survey on the health problems, please take a look at this video.
Fukushima City in Fukushima Prefecture (about 60km from the nuke plant).
In mid June, the health consultation for children was held.
It was organized by the Health Protection Team of “Fukushima Network to Protect Children from Radiation.”
Originally it was for 150 children. But they were flooded with applications. In the end, 500 children came.
Members of “National Network of Pediatricians to Protect Children from Radiation’ checked the children.
What about here? OK? Let me see here… OK.
Doesn’t this hurt? OK?
There’s slight swelling under his chin.
You know, he’s affected by radiation. That’s why he has dark circles under his eye’s, pale face, and fatigue.
Generally speaking, I think he suffers from a weakened immune system.
Your son, Ryota, gets ill easily.
So I think it would be better for him to move to a place where he can live a healthy life.
I understand. Thank you very much.
One more thing. Whatever happens to him, please make a record of the symptoms here, such as fever, and keep this record.
And when he takes a medical test of any kind, he sure to get the test result.
Why did you come here today?
Because my baby got hives that don’t go away and I’ve been a little worried.
The doctor to me what I had vaguely suspected. That really helped me and strengthened my wish to move out of the prefecture.
At first, I didn’t know there were any radiation effects here.
So, for the first 2 or 3 days, I let my children go outside.
I even took them with me to get drinking water because water supply was cut off at the time.
I’m afraid they were exposed to quite a dose of radiation in those days. That’s why I came here.
Ms. Aya Marumori, in charge of organizing this health consultation: When “Fukushima Network to Protect Children from Radiation was launched on May 1, my utmost concern was the health effects. So I volunteered to become Leader of the Health Protection Team.
Then I started to get phone calls from mothers in the middle of the night and early morning.
They were worried and said, “This my not be related to radiation, but why does my child have health problems one after another?”
The problem these mothers have is, even when their children get ill and go to the hospital,
even when their children’s thyroid gland swells and he/she gets hospitalized, they can’t ask the doctors, “Is this caused by radiation?”
I think even a small amount of radiation may have some kind of effects on human body.
These are the emails from the viewers of OurPlanet-TV.
When we asked them to report any unusual changes in their health, we received nearly 500 emails in a week.
Torrential nosebleed. Continuing diarrhea. Irritation in the throat. Severe fatigue.
Not only children, but also quite a few people of wide range of ages are claiming similar symptoms.
Dr. Massamichi Nishio, Chief of Hokakidi Cancer Center: Diarrhea, fatigue, sore throat, nosebleed.
If this many people are having the same symptoms, I think doctors need to recognize them as new clinical symptoms of low-dose radiation exposure.
(email: “Stomatitis right after the accident”)
I don’t think they can simply dismiss them as symptoms of a mere cold.
CHERNOBYL: CONSEQUENCES OF THE CATASTROPHE FOR PEOPLE AND THE ENVIRONMENT.
This book was published by The New York Academy(of)Sciences in 2009.
The authors are three experts including Dr. Alexey V. Yablokov of Belarus, who was a scientific adviser to President Gorbachev in the former USSR.
They analyzed as many as 5,000 scientific papers published before 2004 and concludes one million people have died due to the effects of the accident.
This number is more than 20 times higher than the official dealth tolls of “4000 people” ICRP has announced.
Dr. Yablokov also warns nosebleed and swelling of lymph gland are the signs of considerable radiation exposure.
The number of Chernobyl victims has been officially announced as around 4000.
However, such reports come from the organizations which promote nuclear energy, such as ICRP.
It’s not clear which is accurate (ICRP or Yablokov), but one thing for sure is there’s a huge gap between the two.
Where did the gap come from?
Well. ICRP once established a committee to investigate internal radiation exposure, but they disbanded it.
It’s because such a committee had to submit a report once in every few years.
But if the report correctly revealed the truth, revealed the danger of internal radiation exposure, they wouldn’t be able to promote nuclear energy anymore.
If there are many people who suffer from internal radiation exposure, I think it is time to start considering the radiation effects on health including internal radiation.
As the video shows, it was discussed on the Internet that something unusual was happening even as early as in March.
But in those days, such stories tended to be dismissed as false, or some scientists were claiming from early on those unusual changes had nothing to do with radiation.
I think such an atmosphere prevented many people from speaking up or investigating the exact causes for those problems.
You have seen many cases through health consultations you’ve organized. And we, too, have received many reports from the viewers.
I’d like you to take a look at this chart…This is what we have aggregated from 550 reports.
As you see here, the most common symptom is trouble in the throat, most notably, irritation in the throat.
About one in three is claiming to have this problem.
The second is nosebleed. About 20 percent of them have it.
This in not only from children, but also from people in their thirties, forties, fifties, sixties, regardless of their ages.
The third most common is diarrhea. And then fatigue.
The causes of the symptoms have not been identified yet.
But I was sort of alarmed to see the reports of similar symptoms coming in everyday from 500 people.
What do you think of this result?
Well, these are the symptoms you frequently see among the Chernobyl children who live in contaminated areas.
So it doesn’t surprise me.
It shouldn’t be surprising because such a huge amount of radiation fell down on us.
Ordinary doctors in Japan are not familiar with radiation inhaled or ingested into the body.
So even when people notice unusual changes in their health and suspect the cause is radiation, and go to the hospital, doctors tend to tell them they are too nervous or wouldn’t listen to them.
That’s why those people have turned to the internet or to our website.
If you go to the hospital and if you are not convinced by the diagnosis, I think you had better suspect your problem may have something to do with radiation.
Not surprisingly, majority of the people who sent us emails have not visited hospitals.
You don’t usually go to the hospital, for a mere nosebleed, do you? Even if it’s a large amount.
Some of the people did go to the hospital for a severe diarrhea and were diagnosed as viral diarrhea.
But then, the virus test turned out to be negative.
Quite a few people came home with the cause of their problems unidentified.
As has been the case with “A-bomb bura bura disease” and Chernobyl-related health problems, medical tests don’t reveal any abnormalities for such symptoms.
If you take a blood test, nothing abnormal is found.
But the medicine you got won’t stop your diarrhea.
So the doctor, not knowing what to do, keep giving you stronger medicines or antibiotics.
But if the cause is radiation, medicines are hardly effective and the medical tests don’t reveal any abnormalities.
Still, I think it’s important to go to the hospital and get diagnosis, for a record.
Ah, for a record.
Right. Even if you think the diagnosis is off the mark, the fact that it’s off the mark may later serve as an evidence of some kind.
The diagnosis can prove that a symptom similar to it did happen to you.
So I think you should go to the hospital.
I see, But I hear many mothers have had bad experiences with doctors.
That’s true. I know doctors have said various things to mothers, such as “overreacting,””too nervous,” or “that may be pollen allergy.”
But this is something Japanese doctors should learn as well from now on.
We, too, often had bad experiences with doctors in Chernobyl.
When they hear the words “radiation exposure,” they only think of cancers or leukemia.
However, the health problems of children living in the contaminated areas are relatively minor and cannot be diagnosed.
They have a whole range of such symptoms, which is called “a bouquet of symptoms.”
The Japanese doctors who went to Chernobyl as part of the relief effort didn’t examine such children.
They only treated children with more serious diseases.
But you know, the children who got cancer is just the tip of an iceberg.
Under the tip, there are innumerable children who have such minor symptoms as, say, fatigue.
Fatigue is a typical symptom of thyroid disorder.
Or eye swelling.
I frequently heard from mothers their children suffered from eye swelling after they fell in the contaminated places.
I hear there’s a similar case recently.
Yes. I often hear the story of how children fell in a sandpit with high radiation and their eyes get swollen the next day.
Sometimes swollen in purple.
Also, quite a few people claim that bruises have appeared, or that moles have appeared or disappeared, which seem to have nothing to do with stress or physical conditions.
Some women claim the menstrual period has stopped or the menstrual cycle is irregular.
Others are saying their allergy has gotten worse. Or their diseases have recurred.
These are the symptoms I noticed when looking at the emails.
Another problem right now is people are eating contaminated food, because the Japanese radiation safety limit for food was raised.
When contaminated food is ingested in the body, it weakens the immune system.
That’s why the allergy aggravates and the disease recur.
Some people claim their healed injury has started to ache again.
A weakened immune system also causes fatigue.
People with fatigue will probably become unable to extend themselves.
About two weeks ago when we showed this data to you, you said you’d like to see a breakdown of the number of the reports according to prefectures.
So we created a map to show which prefecture those emails came from.
And as you see here, most of them came from Tohoku and Kanto regions.
In other words, from contaminated regions.
We are a website station that anyone, anywhere in Japan can watch. Not a local TV station that can be viewed, for example, only in Kanto.
Considering this fact, I was half-shocked and half-unsurprised to see most of the reports came from Kanto and Tohoku.
This seems to be an evidence that the connection with radiation cannot be ignored.
Ideally, the government should be the first to conduct this kind of epidemiological research for the sake of the public health.
The last time I went to Fukushima, I heard a story of some children in kindergartens and nursery schools in Date City in Fukushima Prefecture.Who aggravated a cold that lead to pneumonia and were constantly in and out of hospital, because of a weakened immune system.
This was exactly what happened in Chernobyl and I was shocked to hear that.
I really wished that such things would never ever happen in Japan.
I’m very worried by the fact that the people have been eating contaminated food and various symptoms have already emerged.
Something most be done.
In Chernobly, nothing was done with children for the first 3 years, which led to the high rate of cancer among them.
I’d really like the Japanese government to do something about it as soon as possible.
You went to Belarus 7 years after the Chernobyl accident and saw the situation there.
We’re going to show some photos from the visit soon…How was it?
Yes, when you visited Belarus…the photo is shown now.
Well, they said there were no healthy children.
If there were 100 children at school, 98 of them had some kind of health problems.
They said those children got ill when their immune systems weakened because of stress or shocking event.
In other words, they were in the gray zone between “healthy” and “ill.”
Most of the children were like ticking bombs that could explode at any minute.
And the class length at school was shortened to something like 25 minutes, instead of 45 minutes.
You mean they couldn’t go through a normal 45-minute class…
Yes, because they easily got tired.
Did those health problems in children sometimes lead the families to leave the area?
Yes, the educated class was the first to escape.
The families that remained were either farmers, families with disabled members, or families with many children.
In other words, families who couldn’t sustain themselves in other places.
You’ve also been to Fukushima and measured radiation level there.
So you’ve seen both: Chernobyl and Fukushima.
What do you think when you compare the two?
Radiation level in Fukushima is way too high.
It’s crazy… That’s what everyone involved in Chernobyl is saying.
So-called “hot spots” in Kanto region is like the radiation level in Belarus.
In Chernobyl, people are not allowed to live in the area with more than 1 microsievert (per hour).
April 23, 1994 Belarus No Entry Zone (30km from the plant) 0.232 microsievert
On the other hand, many people are allowed to live in such dangerous areas as Fukushima City, Koriyama City, Nihonmatsu City, and Date City in Fukushima Prefecture.
I can’t believe it. I don’t WANT to believe it.
I can’t understand that people are treated in such an inhumane way in my own country.
But sadly that’s how it is, and the provisional radiation exposure limit of 20 millisievert/yr for school yards hasn’t been retracted yet.
Well, they say they’ll make efforts to lower the actual exposure level to as close to 1 millisievert as possible, but the regulation itself hasn’t been retracted.
And children are still playing cheerfully in cities with very high radiation, such as Fukushima City, Koriyama City, and Nihonmatsu City.
Based on your experience with the Chernobyl children, what do you think should be done now?
Children must be evacuated immediately.
Adults might not be able to get out due to financial reasons, but that has nothing to do with children.
Evacuate them in units of classes, for example. At least for a month.
Or, considering the level of radiation there, they shouldn’t return for a while.
Otherwise they would have to face really serious consequences.
The government of Belarus eventually took the responsibility to establish programs to separate children from radiation.
For example, sending them overseas so they can rest their bodies, and sending them to sanatoriums.
In case of Fukushima, the current radiation level is so high I’m afraid such measures may not be enough.
After all, they have eaten produce from local sources.
Fukushima is “Forbidden Forest” of Belarus, so to speak. Forest so dangerous no one can enter.
Still, many people including children are allowed to live in the “Forest.” I cannot permit this.
And such unusual changes in health do not happen in Fukushima alone.
I think this issue should be addressed in a more comprehensive manner.
Indeed, there are many areas with high radiation in Kanto where children should be evacuated out.
In Belarus, in the areas where the radiation level simply exceeds 0.1 microsievert, children did get ill, though you can’t simply compare those areas to Kanto because they’re self-sufficient.
But there are actually people in Kanto who claim to have nosebleed and diarrhea.
As Dr. Hida (expert in internal radiation exposure) pointed out, if you see both nosebleed and diarrhea, that’s a clear sign of internal radiation exposure.
I think it’s OK for us to be overly nervous.
The most important thing we need to do now is to protect children.
It’s better to overreact now and be criticized for the overreaction later than not doing anything.
As we have seen today, various problems are happening one after another.
Those who can escape should do so.
And we have to remember the importance of keeping a record if any unusual change in health happens to us.
Ms. Noro, thank you very much.
We will end our program with the forecast of the dispersion of radioactive particles by the German Weather Services over the next three days.
Please watch out for the weather and the wind direction when you go out during this weekend.
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