Fukushima Voice original version   Fukushima Voice version 2 Japanese

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Letter Hand-delivered to the UN and UNSCEAR, Requesting Revision of UNSCEAR Report And a New UN Mandate for UNSCEAR

On October 24, 2014, at the Fourth Committee of the UN General Assembly being held in New York City, representatives from Physicians for Social Responsibility (USA) and Human Rights Now (Tokyo, Japan) hand-delivered a letter to the chairperson of the 4th Committee and the Secretary of UNSCEAR.  The letter, co-signed by 43 civil society groups from 9 countries, including 21 Japanese groups, requested revision of the 2014 UNSCEAR report on Fukushima accident as well as a new UN mandate for UNSCEAR.


Date: 24 October 2014

To:       Members of the Fourth Committee of the UN General Assembly 69th Session,
Members of UNSCEAR, and
Members of the UN General Assembly:


Re:       Civil Society groups request revision of the recent United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) Report: “Levels and effects of radiation exposure due to the nuclear accident after the 2011 Great East-Japan Earthquake and tsunami.”


      The 2011 Fukushima disaster made UN oversight of the adverse effects of ionizing radiation an issue of utmost global importance.  The goals and criteria of oversight should be the protection and promotion of the human right to health and well-being, which encompasses an environment as free from exposure to man-made ionizing radiation as possible.  We, the undersigned, urge the 4th Committee to examine critically both the scientific conclusions in the UNSCEAR report[i] and the scientific evidence omitted from the report.

     Physicians from 19 national affiliates of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), including Physicians for Social Responsibility (USA) and IPPNW Germany, have authored/issued/published a Critique of the UNSCEAR report[ii] which calls into question the presumptions and data used by UNSCEAR, and the consequent interpretations and conclusions.  This Critique demonstrates how UNSCEAR systematically underestimates and downplays the health effects of the Fukushima disaster.

     We appreciate the significant efforts made by UNSCEAR committee members to evaluate the extensive and complex data concerning the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.  However, their conclusion that there is “no discernable effect”, now or in the future, defies common sense and undermines the credibility of UNSCEAR.  The Critique notes that based on the UNSCEAR report itself, it can be expected that about 1,000 excess cases of thyroid cancer and between 4,300 and 16,800 other excess cancer cases would occur in Japan due to Fukushima radioactive fallout.  We believe that these are very discernable effects for the individuals, families and communities experiencing these cancers, as well as those individuals who will experience other form(s) of radiation induced illness.

     Furthermore, the conclusion by UNSCEAR of ‘no discernible health effect’ is misleading the Japanese government to not implement countermeasures for individuals to avoid additional exposure and to have thorough monitoring of health effects, thereby causing serious human rights violations. 

     This catastrophe was not a singular event that has come to an end, but rather it is an unfolding event with an unknown endpoint.  Radioactive elements continue to leak into the biosphere and individuals continue to be exposed to ionizing radiation because they live in contaminated areas, consume contaminated food and water and inhale contaminated air.  Additionally, most of the health effects from Fukushima will take decades or generations to be expressed.  Thus the UNSCEAR report at hand should be considered a preliminary or initial assessment of the health effects of Fukushima. Ongoing and improved monitoring and updating of the assessment is required for a long time to come.  The 2014 UNSCEAR report is a beginning, not an end.

     We ask that the Fourth Committee take two actions regarding the UNSCEAR report:

     1)  Return the report to UNSCEAR for revision based on the Critique, taking into consideration the points of concern raised in the Critique, and that UNSCEAR broaden the composition of the committee to include as full-fledged members scientists who are critical of nuclear activities.

     2) We also ask that the Fourth Committee urge the General Assembly to pass a new resolution reframing the 1955 UNSCEAR founding mandate to ensure that the UNSCEAR’s primary scientific mission is to promote and protect public health and the right to health of the most vulnerable individuals.  The Precautionary Principle should be employed to address the short-term and long-term effects of ionizing radiation upon present and future generations as well as the environment.  Likewise, the Precautionary Principle should be employed when determining exposure, cleanup and decontamination regulations and activities after a nuclear disaster, educational measures to minimize and mitigate the risk of individual exposure, and the long-term monitoring of contaminated sites.  A new UN mandate is critical for UNSCEAR Committee members to be able to fully utilize their expertise for the purpose of protecting the lives and health of the global community.


This request is supported by the following organizations:

Physicians for Social Responsibility, USA

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War – Germany, Germany

Human Rights Now, Tokyo, Japan

Peace Boat – US, USA

Niji to midori no kai, Japan

Greens Fukushima, Japan

Workers’ Executive Committee For Anti-nuclear Power Movements, Japan

Kai Fukushima Downwind, Japan

The Nature Conservation of Fukushima, Japan

Friends of the Earth Japan, Japan

Showa Shell Labour Union, Japan

Chernobyl Health Survey and Health-care Support for the Victims - Japan Women's Network, Japan

Nuclear Disaster Information Center, Japan

Japan International Volunteer Center, Japan

Campaign for Nuclear-free Japan, Japan

Fukushima Network for Denuclearization, Japan

Hairo Action Fukushima, Japan

Hairo Fukushima Women Against Nukes, Japan

People in Fukushima-NPP 30km area, Japan

Refugee Living with Fukushima in Niigata Prefecture, Japan

Shinshu 3.11 Network, Japan

National Network of Parents to Protect Children from Radiation, Japa

The Civil Forum on Nuclear Radiation Damages (CFNRD), Japan

Takagi School, Japan

Association de l'Education Environnementale pour les Futures Generations, Tunisia

NGO of “Ecolife”, Azerbaijan

Women in Europe for a Common Future International, Netherlands

Women in Europe for a Common Future, Germany

Women in Europe for a Common Future, France

Irish Doctors' Environmental Association (IDEA), Ireland

Nuclear Information and Resource Service, USA

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, USA

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, New York, USA

Nukewatch/The Progressive Foundation, USA

Nuclear Watch New Mexico, USA

Georgia WAND - Women's Actions for New Directions, USA

Physicians for Social Responsibility – Kansas City, USA

Gray Panthers, USA

Center for Safe Energy, USA

Nuclear Energy Information Service, USA

Shut Down Indian Point Now, USA

International Society of Doctors for the Environment, Switzerland

Beyond Nuclear, USA






[i]  UNSCEAR report “Levels and effects of radiation exposure due to the nuclear accident after the 2011 Great East-Japan Earthquake and tsunami” at:  http://www.unscear.org/docs/reports/2013/13-85418_Report_2013_Annex_A.pdf
[ii]  Critical Analysis of the UNSCEAR Report “Levels and effects of radiation exposure due to the nuclear accident after the 2011 Great East-Japan Earthquake and tsunami: www.fukushima-disaster.de/information-in-english/maximum-credible-accident.html

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Regional Distribution of Fukushima Thyroid Cancer Cases (Confirmed and Suspected) Analyzed by Citizen Scientists

The first round of thyroid examination concluded in March 2014, and its results are nearly complete, except for some of the secondary examination results which were still not available as of August 24, 2014. Fukushima Medical University denies any regional difference in the incidence of thyroid cancer amongst Fukushima children and considers it unlikely that the current incidence of cancer is related to radiation exposure.  Although it might not be possible to epidemiologically assess the radiation health effects until the second round of thyroid examination is finished at the end of March 2016, the currently available data could still be analyzed in more detail.

As the nature of Japanese language allows significant amounts of information to be shared in a tweet using 140 letters, there has been an active discussion going on regarding the thyroid examination results on Twitter. When the results are released by Fukushima Medical University, citizen scientists--some professionals and some concerned citizens--would closely examine and analyze them.

Some say it is all due to the screening effect, having nothing to do with radiation exposure, and they claim the thyroid examination is causing more harm by unearthing cancer that might have laid dormant until much later in life. Some go to the other extreme to claim all the cancer cases could be due to radiation exposure. And there are those who are somewhere in-between, calling for a careful data collection and analysis so as not to miss any cases which might potentially be related to radiation exposure.

Two of the Twitter users actively involved in the discussion, @pririn and @iPatrioticmom, analyzed the latest Fukushima thyroid ultrasound examination results, released n August 24, 2014. Rather than claiming definite radiation health effects, which at this point is difficult to do, they simply want to point out the need for proper analyses of data from the first round of examination. They admit that this analysis is not by any means a final one and that the data is not age adjusted.

The translation was assisted by @sitesirius and @niigatamama.

Original analysis in an Excel file: Japanese and English.


Tab 1: Regional distribution of confirmed and suspected thyroid cancer cases in 
Fukushima Prefecture

Based on Table 8 of "Thyroid Examination (Initial Screening)" provisional results


FY2011 target municipalities
FY2012 target municipalities
FY2013 target municipalities

No.City, Town, VillageNumber of primary examination participantsNumber of confirmed or suspected cancerProportion of confirmed or suspected cancerIncidence per 100,000
1Minamisoma南相馬市1078920.02%19
2Date伊達市1060620.02%19
3Tamura田村市632730.05%47
4Kawamata川俣町222120.09%90
5Namie浪江町324920.06%62
6Hirono広野町83800.00%0
7Naraha楢葉町115300.00%0
8Tomioka富岡町230210.04%43
9Okuma大熊町197310.05%51
10Futaba双葉町94900.00%0
11Iitate飯舘村94300.00%0
12Kawauchi川内村28010.36%357
13Katsurao葛尾村18300.00%0
Subtotal41813140.03%33.5
14Fukushima福島市47336120.03%25
15Koori桑折町185700.00%0
16Kunimi国見町142900.00%0
Subtotal50622120.02%23.7
17Nihonmatsu二本松市884650.06%57
18Motomiya本宮市523330.06%57
19Koriyama郡山市53962230.04%43
20Shirakawa白河市1080560.06%56
21Miharu三春町271710.04%37
22Otama大玉村137220.15%146
23Ten-ei天栄村87800.00%0
24Nishigo西郷村361810.03%28
25Izumizaki泉崎村115610.09%87
Subtotal88587420.05%47.4
26Soma相馬市504600.00%0
27Shinchi新地町110500.00%0
Subtotal615100.00%0
28Iwakiいわき市47759190.04%40
Subtotal47759190.04%39.8
29Sukagawa須賀川市1153240.04%35
30Kagamiishi鏡石町194700.00%0
31Yabuki矢吹町245200.00%0
32Ishikawa石川町207810.05%48
33Yamatsuri矢祭町77400.00%0
34Asakawa浅川町106700.00%0
35Tanagura棚倉町225610.04%44
36Hanawa塙町121000.00%0
37Ono小野町131700.00%0
38Furudono古殿町79000.00%0
39Nakajima中島村80100.00%0
40Hirata平田村82410.12%121
41Samegawa鮫川村50300.00%0
42Tamakawa玉川村98400.00%0
Subtotal2853570.03%24.5
43Kitakata喜多方市571000.00%0
44Aizuwakamatsu会津若松市1463250.03%34
45Minamiaizu南会津町180300.00%0
46Kaneyama金山町13600.00%0
47Mishima三島町12900.00%0
48Shimogo下郷町68810.15%145
49Nishiaizu西会津町63800.00%0
50Tadami只見町49200.00%0
51Inawashiro猪苗代町187110.05%53
52Bandai磐梯町41300.00%0
53Aizumisato会津美里町254700.00%0
54Aizubange会津坂下町207410.05%48
55Yanaizu柳津町37500.00%0
56Hinoemata檜枝岐村6100.00%0
57Showa昭和村10100.00%0
58Kitashiobara北塩原村38200.00%0
59Yugawa湯川村50710.20%197
Subtotal3255990.03%27.6

Incidence rate in adjacent municipalities, grouped together so each group consists of about 10,000 to 20,000 primary examination participants (age group is not controlled)
(Groups are shown in gradations of the color--blue, yellow, or green--assigned to each fiscal year's target municipalities in the table above).



Regional differences--up to 5 times between the FY2012 and FY2013 target municipality groups as shown below:

FY2012 Nihonmatsu, Motomiya and Otama, 64.7 per 100,000 (shown in red)
FY2013 Northern Hamadori and Southern Nakadori, 13.0 per 100,000 (shown in green--top and bottom of the map)





*****

Shown below is the same table as above, except with each fiscal year's target municipalities color-coded according to the map immediately below. Names of the municipalities are shown in English and numbers are assigned corresponding to the numbers shown in the leftmost column.

FY2011 target municipalities
FY2012 target municipalities
FY2013 target municipalities


No.City, Town, VillageNumber of primary examination participantsNumber of confirmed or suspected cancerProportion of confirmed or suspected cancerIncidence per 100,000
1Minamisoma南相馬市1078920.02%19
2Date伊達市1060620.02%19
3Tamura田村市632730.05%47
4Kawamata川俣町222120.09%90
5Namie浪江町324920.06%62
6Hirono広野町83800.00%0
7Naraha楢葉町115300.00%0
8Tomioka富岡町230210.04%43
9Okuma大熊町197310.05%51
10Futaba双葉町94900.00%0
11Iitate飯舘村94300.00%0
12Kawauchi川内村28010.36%357
13Katsurao葛尾村18300.00%0
Subtotal41813140.03%33.5
14Fukushima福島市47336120.03%25
15Koori桑折町185700.00%0
16Kunimi国見町142900.00%0
Subtotal50622120.02%23.7
17Nihonmatsu二本松市884650.06%57
18Motomiya本宮市523330.06%57
19Koriyama郡山市53962230.04%43
20Shirakawa白河市1080560.06%56
21Miharu三春町271710.04%37
22Otama大玉村137220.15%146
23Ten-ei天栄村87800.00%0
24Nishigo西郷村361810.03%28
25Izumizaki泉崎村115610.09%87
Subtotal88587420.05%47.4
26Soma相馬市504600.00%0
27Shinchi新地町110500.00%0
Subtotal615100.00%0
28Iwakiいわき市47759190.04%40
Subtotal47759190.04%39.8
29Sukagawa須賀川市1153240.04%35
30Kagamiishi鏡石町194700.00%0
31Yabuki矢吹町245200.00%0
32Ishikawa石川町207810.05%48
33Yamatsuri矢祭町77400.00%0
34Asakawa浅川町106700.00%0
35Tanagura棚倉町225610.04%44
36Hanawa塙町121000.00%0
37Ono小野町131700.00%0
38Furudono古殿町79000.00%0
39Nakajima中島村80100.00%0
40Hirata平田村82410.12%121
41Samegawa鮫川村50300.00%0
42Tamakawa玉川村98400.00%0
Subtotal2853570.03%24.5
43Kitakata喜多方市571000.00%0
44Aizuwakamatsu会津若松市1463250.03%34
45Minamiaizu南会津町180300.00%0
46Kaneyama金山町13600.00%0
47Mishima三島町12900.00%0
48Shimogo下郷町68810.15%145
49Nishiaizu西会津町63800.00%0
50Tadami只見町49200.00%0
51Inawashiro猪苗代町187110.05%53
52Bandai磐梯町41300.00%0
53Aizumisato会津美里町254700.00%0
54Aizubange会津坂下町207410.05%48
55Yanaizu柳津町37500.00%0
56Hinoemata檜枝岐村6100.00%0
57Showa昭和村10100.00%0
58Kitashiobara北塩原村38200.00%0
59Yugawa湯川村50710.20%197
Subtotal3255990.03%27.6


Tab 2: Incidence by municipality and March 15th plume

Incidence rate of each municipality and plume flow on March 15, 2011 analyzed by JAEA

Incidence rate per 100,000 (in red) in municipalities with more than 1,000 primary examination participants, superimposed on maps showing contaminated regions due to the March 15-16 radioactive plume, analyzed by JAEA

Sources: 
① Table 8 of "Thyroid Examination (Initial Screening) provisional results"
② "Formation of contaminated areas from the morning of March 15 to the afternoon of March 16" on page 16 of "Diffusion of Radioactive Iodine in the Environment: Based on the Model Calculation Results" by Masamichi Kayano, JAEA"

<Plume flow 1: March 15, 2011 from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm>


<Plume flow 2: March 15, 2011 from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm>


<Plume flow 3: From 9:00 pm on March 15 to 6.00 am on March 16>




<Plume flow 1 to 3>


Tab 3: Incidence by municipality and soil contamination

Incidence rate of each municipality and soil contamination

Incidence rate per 100,000 (in red) in municipalities with more than 1,000 primary examination participants, superimposed on a map of radioactive cesium concentration in agricultural land