August 20, 2015

Official data from Fukushima show that nearly 2,000 people died from the effects of evacuations necessary to avoid high radiation exposures from the disaster.

The uprooting to unfamiliar areas, cutting of family ties, loss of social support networks, disruption, exhaustion, poor physical conditions and disorientation can and do result in many people, in particular older people, dying.

Increased suicide has occurred among younger and older people following the Fukushima evacuations, but the trends are unclear.

A Japanese Cabinet Office report stated that, between March 2011 and July 2014, 56 suicides in Fukushima Prefecture were linked to the nuclear accident. This should be taken as a minimum, rather than a maximum, figure.

Mental health consequences

It is necessary to include the mental health consequences of radiation exposures and evacuations. For example, Becky Martin has stated her PhD research at Southampton University in the UK shows that “the most significant impacts of radiation emergencies are often in our minds.”

She adds: “Imagine that you’ve been informed that your land, your water, the air that you have breathed may have been polluted by a deadly and invisible contaminant. Something with the capacity to take away your fertility, or affect your unborn children.

“Even the most resilient of us would be concerned … many thousands of radiation emergency survivors have subsequently gone on to develop Post-Trauma Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety disorders as a result of their experiences and the uncertainty surrounding their health.”

It is likely that these fears, anxieties, and stresses will act to magnify the effects of evacuations, resulting in even more old people dying or people committing suicide.

Such considerations should not be taken as arguments against evacuations, however. They are an important, life-saving strategy. But, as argued by Becky Martin,

“We need to provide greatly improved social support following resettlement and extensive long-term psychological care to all radiation emergency survivors, to improve their health outcomes and preserve their futures.”

Untoward pregnancy outcomes

Dr Alfred Körblein from Nuremburg in Germany recently noticed and reported on a 15% drop (statistically speaking, highly significant) in the numbers of live births in Fukushima Prefecture in December 2011, nine months after the accident.

This might point to higher rates of early spontaneous abortions. He also observed a (statistically significant) 20% increase in the infant mortality rate in 2012, relative to the long-term trend in Fukushima Prefecture plus six surrounding prefectures, which he attributes to the consumption of radioactive food:

“The fact that infant mortality peaks in May 2012, more than one year after the Fukushima accident, suggests that the increase is an effect of internal rather than external radiation exposure.

“In Germany [after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster] perinatal mortality peaks followed peaks of cesium burden in pregnant women with a time-lag of seven months. May 2012 minus seven months is October 2011, the end of the harvesting season. Thus, consumption of contaminated foodstuff during autumn 2011 could be an explanation for the excess of infant mortality in the Fukushima region in 2012.”

These are indicative rather than definitive findings and need to be verified by further studies. Unfortunately, such studies are notable by their absence.


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By Broc West| 6 Comments | Featured, News


  1. The total absence of any government studies on the ongoing and worsening effects of Fukushima speaks true volumes. In that absence, the truth can be seen.

    • The Japanese Govt has made it illegal to spread ‘negative or misleading’ news about Fukushima. The rest of the world has turned a blind eye. This mess is far from over. Stay tuned.

  2. I work in radiation physics in cancer care(medical), I’ve been to Fukushima (taken private measurements) and talked with many people concerning the disaster. There is no the doubt that the greatest health concern is PTSD that is directly affecting the lives of many. The govt’ is trying to regain the trust of the public but the cynicism runs pretty strong leading to more stress and the public choosing what is fact or not.

    I’ve seen the anti-nuclear crowd use this opportunity to mislead the facts for their cause, in effect creating more stress on an already stressed public health concern. The biggest misconception is the uptick in thyroid malignancies in children. The biggest exposures during the explosions in 11′ were close to a full body CT scan. Nonetheless, whatever the exposure, it’s far too early to determine what thyroid effects are. We have plenty of data from Chernobyl, nuclear bomb fallout and early American medicine (with FAR HIGHER exposure levels). Incidents in the 1-5 year range is extremely rare while mean post-exposure incidence has a mean of ~30 yrs. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1356259/

    In addition, they never talk about the “screening effect”. Many people (even children) have undetectable benign thyroid lesions that are often not symptomatic will never be an issue in their lifetime. Now with mandatory screenings on children, they have increased findings just because they screen (with no correlation to nuclear fallout) and are actually creating more chronic stress issues.

    “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

  3. American Navy personnel were affected by this tragedy as well .You never hear anything,they sailed right through the cloud and were left on that contaminated ship for 6 mnths. They weren’t allowed into port anywhere! Those boys were in hell! No one is studying them what they inhaled. Some who were up top got sick right away the others are just waiting?

  4. “These are indicative rather than definitive findings and need to be verified by further studies. Unfortunately, such studies are notable by their absence.”

    These studies are probably absent as no actual evidence can be found to back up the initial views.

    Stress is generally the major cause of health problems after any major national disaster. In the case of any accident involving radioactivity this stress is multiplied by the fear mongering of the anti nuclear brigade.

    The responsibility for a significant number of the deaths above rests with people like Chris Busby and Arne Gunderson

    Best regards


  5. Thyroid is not a simple issue. My son has thyroid cancer and i know how it feels. Little children there exposed to these radiations have a high risk of thyroid disorders. Hope everything turns out well. Prayers for everyone.

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