FUKUSHIMA Lives on the Line

279The above gives a general outline of health care management efforts for Fukushima residents living with the effects of radiation exposure. There is a multitude of challenging obstacles, but it is crucial to ally ourselves with prefectural government efforts to improve public health and medical services, and build a framework for each resident to assess his or her radiation dose rate. Understanding radiation levels and radiation exposure, as well as regularly monitoring residents’ health conditions, are activities that will contribute toward the region’s rebirth and restoration. Going forward, we plan to build and maintain a medical support framework for residents to have easy access to consultations and health examinations.ConclusionAlthough one year has passed since its occurrence, the repercussions of the disaster are ongoing. Now, more than ever, we must work toward calmly and rationally promoting understanding of health hazards of radiation to meet the demands for reducing and preventing negative psychological and social impacts. It is easy to say “what is done is done,” but if we do not steadfastly accept the reality of the situation and work toward realizing our vision of recovery and rebirth, the associated pain and difficulty will be substantial. The entire nation needs to share this burden since “Japan cannot fully recover without the recovery of Fukushima and Tohoku.”Existing and Future Initiatives after the Great East Japan Earthquake1. Status of buildings, electricity, water and sewage, and ventilation systems●The university buildings did not sustain significant structural damage due to the earthquake in any of the wards because the buildings had been reinforced for earthquakes (designed in accordance with the 1981 Revised Building Standards Law).●As the hilly terrain (dynamited rock, embankments) on which the University’s buildings are constructed shakes in a manner different from flat ground, many of the connecting tunnels etc. (expansion joints) between campus buildings were destroyed or damaged during the earthquake. In addition, the floors of the medical school from the third floor and up, as well as the machine room on the roof of the hospital sustained surface cracks and detachment in the inner and outer walls as the tremors from the earthquake were the greatest in these areas.●The outdoor parking lot sustained damage in the form of sunken and cracked areas in the ground and several fallen concrete handrails.●Electricity in school buildings, telecommunications networks, water and sewage systems, and medical gas equipment in the University did not sustain significant damage; however, hot water heating pipes on the fourth and fifth floors of the medical school sustained damage and sprung leaks. Furthermore, steam and dust piping in the machine room on the roof of the building fell off. To prevent further damage resulting from the water leaking from these damaged pipes, the University shut off all hot water for heating and performed urgent inspection and repairs. Repairs to the hospital took a week while repairs to the school took two weeks.In addition, the University suspended the supply of cooling water to temperature/humidity controls in operating rooms and to radiation treatment equipment for a week in order to conduct repairs on the damaged water pipes.●While lifelines (electricity and municipal gas service) remained intact, telephone service remained inconsistent and water service was disrupted following the earthquake. In case of water outages, the University maintains water storage tanks containing one full day’s worth of fresh water (approximately 700 tons). However, due to concerns of a long-term water outage, the University shut off all water to the academic buildings and implemented every effort to conserve water (restrictions on shower and toilet usage and uses of water other than for drinking and medical irrigation purposes).In addition, the University received a combined total of 200 tons of fresh water from the municipal water utility, fire department, the Self-Defense Forces, and the cities of Yokohama and Nagasaki.●Water pipes were fully repaired by March 18, 2011, after a week of work from municipal water utility workers.●The University’s under-construction (Fukushima) Medical-Industry Liaison Facility, constructed with materials provided by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) with the support of the MEXT, sustained damage from the earthquake, such as some internal sections and outer wall paneling detaching or falling off.Status of Facilities and EquipmentGeneral Affairs Department