Don’t Test? No Problem! More Strategic Denial At The Expense Of Fukushima’s Children

This is a pattern we have seen both in and outside of Japan since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis began. If you don’t test for radiation you can pretend no problem exists.

Only this time it is over proper additional thyroid screening for exposed children in Fukushima.  Japan’s NSC told the Emergency Response Headquarters, the group managing the health screenings at Fukushima University, to do additional screening on any children found to be near exposure limits. Initial thyroid testing was done with basic equipment. Some children were found to have higher levels. One child had  a .1 microsievert thyroid reading. The NSC expected that child to be additionally screened and instructed the ERS to do so.

Instead of following the request of the NSC the emergency headquarters made a series of excuses why they didn’t do the test.
“the difficulty of transporting a 1-ton thyroid monitor,”
“requiring the child to travel long distances for tests,”
“risk of spreading extreme panic and making the child, the child’s family and their local community targets of unwarranted discrimination”

Transporting the thyroid monitor to screen one person would be understandable why they wouldn’t do that. Driving a child to whatever city currently houses the scanner? That certainly doesn’t sound like an unreasonable request and probably the best way to complete the task. Most hospitals, universities and governments have vehicles available for staff use if the family didn’t have access to transportation at the time. The last excuse seems to hint at the real reason they didn’t do the scan. Not wanting to “panic” anyone. Like people are not already worried? So denying someone proper health screening is better than admitting there might be a problem among the population exposed to the nuclear disaster.

This is appearing to be the new problem and governmental failure. Doctors in Minamisoma complained they don’t have enough equipment to scan children in the area, many are suspected of having significant exposures. People in Fukushima in general are having problems accessing diagnostic tests to determine their exposure levels. This appears to be more governmental do nothing and hope the problem goes away, at least long enough for it to be someone else’s problem.

Only yesterday officials were declaring there to be no exposure problem based on questionnaires used to estimate what a small group of  people’s exposure might be.

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