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General News

Brave Japanese Doctors

By       Message carol wolman, MD     Permalink
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In December 2013, Japan passed a vaguely worded secrecy law, which made it illegal for anyone to reveal information that might be harmful to Japanese "security". This includes information about the ongoing health problems caused by radioactivity from Fukushima Daiichi, the nuclear reactor complex damaged by the March 2011 earthquake/tsunami. The new law carries stiff penalties, prison terms up to ten years. Mainly aimed at government officials and journalists, it can be applied to anyone, including physicians.

In January 2014, a secret agreement was made between the International Atomic Energy Commission and Fukushima Prefecture and University, that all health information pertaining to radiation illness would be kept "confidential". Japanese doctors have been ordered to cover up radiation sickness.

Imagine how difficult it is for a doctor to speak out in Japan!

Officially, there have been no illnesses and no deaths from the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi. So says the World Health Organization, in a study released in February 2013. The UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) also concluded, in October 2013, that there were no illnesses and no deaths, and the major adverse effect was on the mental health of the population. This study has been severely criticized by International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW)and their U.S. affiliate Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Still, these two reports, from highly respected UN bodies, have been widely quoted, and serve to bolster the Japanese government and the nuclear industry worldwide. Anyone who follows the Fukushima news knows that they are patently false.

Three obvious examples:

1) One hundred twelve sailors (at latest count, the number keeps increasing) from the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan are now suing TEPCO. They spent almost 3 months in Fukushima harbor helping victims of the earthquake/tsunami, Healthy young people, mostly in their 20's, they have come down with various cancers, bleeding disorders, and other varieties of radiation sickness, only three years after the disaster.

2)22) As of May 2014, 90 children in Fukushima Prefecture had thyroid cancer. This is about 300 cases per million- average Is 1-2 cases per million. Yet the authorities are saying it couldn't be due to Fukushima radiation, because it took FIVE years for children in Chernobyl to develop thyroid cancer, while in Fukushima, it's only been THREE years. To me, as a physician, this means that the exposure was more intense in Japan.

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3) Thousands of people in Japan report daily unstoppable nosebleeds, a symptom of radiation sickness. This problem has been published in the popular Japanese comic Oishinbo. The authors have been criticized for "spreading rumors", and Fukushima doctors are quoted by authorities as saying there is no relationship between nosebleeds and Fukushima.

Hiding the health consequences of radiation from Fukushima is serious, both for those suffering, who can't be properly treated, or compensated as victims, and for those at risk, who aren't being warned. Below are comments from two brave doctors, who have dared to speak out despite the state secrets law.

DR. TOSHIHIDE TSUDA, an epidemiologist and Okayama University professor was invited to speak at the Ministry of the Environment, which held an Expert Meeting Discussing Health Support After the Fukushima Nuclear Accident, on July 16th 2014.

Dr. Tsuda said:"Radioactive materials [being disseminated due to the Fukushima nuclear accident] are not thought to remain within borders of Fukushima Prefecture. We need to urgently figure out if there are any cases in non-Fukushima residents. [...] Fixating on dose assessments will delay countermeasures, worsening the damage [...] health checkups should be immediately carried out within and out of Fukushima Prefecture, in order to identify cases of thyroid cancer and other illnesses."

The committee dismissed his remarks, preferring to simply measure exposure of the population to radiation- an unreliable measure, as it doesn't take into account variations from place to place, ingestion of radioactive food and water, etc.

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The committee chair [said] "I don't want to discuss the issue."

A member of the expert meeting and a professor at Osaka University, Tomotaka Sobue, explained disadvantages of health checkups using the term, "overdiagnosis." This means [...]" discovery of cancer during health checkups could cause excessive anxiety and a psychological and physical burden due to surgery. "

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Carol S. Wolman, MD is a psychiatrist in Northern California. A lifelong peace activist, she is helping to distribute a Peace Plan for the Holy Land- email her for a copy. She also a film producer with Paradise Cove Productions.

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