FUKUSHIMA Lives on the Line

239chap.IVPatient Relief Activity Records [Essays and Research Publications]FUKUSHIMA: Lives on the LineEffects of the Nuclear Accident on the Community: Unique Aspects of the Fukushima Disasterpsychological aversion to contamination, and discrimination toward victims. Also, the aftereffects of the disaster appear to be long and harsh. So not to belittle the problem through the Japanese customary thinking that a disaster will pass as long as it is endured, or through the disposition of those in the Tohoku region to refrain from openly discussing matters, we must recast the burden of the disaster areas as a narrative. Moreover, the Japanese society must work in unison to reduce the impacts of the disaster, no matter how long it takes. Finally, it is crucial for us as individuals, (medical) organizations, communities, and a nation to sincerely reflect and learn from our actions. This will enable us to rebuild the rich forest and coastal areas where people have lived for generations with peace of mind, and prevent such accidents from re-occurring during the next extreme disaster.What has been brought to residents and communities by the nuclear power plant accident?Special and serious disaster relief procedure modificationafter the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in FukushimaKazunobuIshikawaAbstractAfter the catastrophic 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami which struck cities and towns on the Japanese Pacific coast, Fukushima has been the focus of special and serious disaster relief procedures modification regarding nuclear power plant accidents. To date, the Japanese government has repeatedly issued evacuation orders to more than 100,000 residents. Huge numbers of refugees are still uncertain if they can return home and re-cultivate their farm land. Ambiguous public announcements concerning the radiation risks seem to have aggravated feelings of insecurity, fear and the desire to escape, both at home and abroad. This disaster has seriously undermined trust internationally and locally in Fukushima. Harmful rumors added further difficulties. In response to this disaster, local government, medical institutions, care facilities, police, emergency services and the Self-Defense Forces continue to put their utmost effort into reconstruction. This seismic disaster has reminded us that supplies of water, electricity, gas, gasoline and telephone/communication facilities are essential prerequisites for reconstruction and daily life. Disaster and radiation medical association teams actively participated in the rescue efforts, and a number of organized medical teams cared for about 15,000 refugees in 100 shelters. We also visited homebound patients, who were unable to evacuate from the 20-30km inner evacuation area. In this relief role, we need to consider the following; (1) professionals, both healthcare and nuclear engineers, must always be prepared for unexpected circumstances, (2) the daily organic cooperation of individuals and units is closely linked to readiness against sudden risks, and (3) appropriate accountability is essential to assuage the fears of residents and refugees. A sincere learning process may benefit those innocent refugees who may be forced to abandon their homes permanently.Key words: 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, Fukushima, nuclear power plant accident, large-scale evacuation, professionalism(Nippon Ronen Igakkai Zasshi 2011;48:489-493)Center for Medical Education and Career Development, Fukushima Medical UniversityDepartment of Cardiology, Fukushima Medical University Hospital