FUKUSHIMA Lives on the Line

257chap.VConveying to PosterityFUKUSHIMA: Lives on the Line*Shun-ichi Yamashita Born 1952 in Nagasaki Prefecture. Graduated from Nagasaki University in 1978. After the Fukushima nuclear accident, he resigned from his post as president of the Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences to become the vice president of FMU and the head of FMU’s Radiation Medical Science Center for the Fukushima Health Management Survey. He is also the chairman for the Fukushima Health Management Survey Review Committee and director general of the Japan Thyroid Association. He is a second-generation atomic bomb survivor.Inside the Swirling Tempest of Misunderstanding, Misinterpretation, and MisconstrualOne year has passed since the unprecedented Great East Japan Earthquake. I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the many disaster victims who are still in the midst of suffering and pain.Since the earthquake, I have relocated from Nagasaki to Fukushima to dedicate my limited yet earnest efforts toward radiation health risk management. I work in collaboration with my new compatriots from Fukushima Medical University’s (FMU) medical radiation team and the Radiation Medical Science Center for the Fukushima Health Management Survey. With the kind support of Nagasaki University, which was the base of my activities until now, I have endeavored to contribute to Fukushima’s recovery and revival.The health care professionals who have lived through this nuclear disaster are being challenged with the regular treatment involving radiation exposure and the ensuing health risks—that is, the new probabilistic (stochastic) reality of radiation-induced cancers.The connections between and the status quo of medical professionals vis-à-vis nuclear accidents are also being questioned for the first time as a result of this incident. At present, efforts are on-going to improve (decontaminate) Fukushima’s environment such that the normal, annual cumulative radiation dose rate drops to 1 mSv. However, it is necessary to call for calm deliberation over the cost benefits of these efforts, their relative priority, and their effects on lowering the individual radiation dose rate.There have been a multitude of incorrect news reports in the past year. In particular, tabloids and magazines contributed to an “information disaster” with a swirling tempest of baseless reports, misinformation, and misinterpretation. To rationally handle the challenges presented by this disaster, understanding the international standards of radiation protection is vital.Furthermore, the merits of a finely executed epidemiological study, that is, a scientific approach that addresses a calamity such as this, must be given due weight and consideration. Also, that society is based on social contracts must not be forgotten in the process. This holds true for the recent catastrophe, which was a complex amalgam of natural and man-made disasters.Finally, this article introduces the importance of systematized protection standards and epidemiological surveys for medical risk management. Further, it entreats for the understanding of health care professionals across the nation with regard to the Health Management Survey being implemented in Fukushima Prefecture.Epidemiological Study is Crucial for Showing Causality RelationshipsThe impacts of radiation exposure revealed by previous scientific studies can be divided into two groups. The first group entails clear and certain effects, which is acute radiation damage from massive, single-dose radiation exposure (1000 mSv or above), as seen in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The second group entails probabilistic effects, which means carcinogenic risk that Fukushima Health Management SurveyWorking toward Recovery and RevivalShun-ichi Yamashita*Vice President of Fukushima Medical UniversityJapan Medical Journal No. 4584 (March 3, 2012) Fukushima Report, Part 5