ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), Nov. 5, 2013: High thyroid cancer rates detected in Fukushima children [...] A prominent former thyroid surgeon, who is also a veteran of the Chernobyl disaster, has told the ABC’s Foreign Correspondent program that the number of cancer cases in Fukushima are emerging faster than expected. However, another cancer specialist says the high rate is simply a product of widespread, sensitive screening, and no-one should be alarmed.
AM with Tony Eastley, Nov. 5, 2013 (Transcript Excerpts):
TONY EASTLEY, Host: One of the terrible legacies of the radioactive fallout from the Russian disaster at Chernobyl is now being visited upon people in Japan. Researchers in Fukushima are uncovering higher than expected rates of thyroid cancer in children. [...]
MARK WILLACY, ABC’s North Asia correspondent: Before the nuclear meltdowns, health authorities estimated thyroid cancer rates among Fukushima’s children at between one and two cases in every million. Since the disaster [...] about 200,000 children tested, there have been 18 confirmed cases of thyroid cancer and 25 more suspected cases – an unexpectedly high rate.
AKIRA SUGENOYA, Mayor of Matsumoto City and thyroid surgeon who spent years treating children in Ukraine and Belarus after Chernobyl: When I look at Fukushima now the number of thyroid cancer cases in kids is quite high. The doctors in Fukushima say that it shouldn’t be emerging this fast, so they say it’s not related to the accident. But that’s very unscientific, and it’s not a reason that we can accept. [...]
GERALDINE THOMAS, Imperial College London: Following Fukushima I doubt that there will be any rise in thyroid cancers in Japan. [...] If you look for a problem, especially if you use an incredibly sensitive technique, which is what the Japanese are actually doing, you will find something.
WILLACY: [...] But as Foreign Correspondent discovered, Fukushima’s health authorities are acting almost in secret, even refusing our request for a simple age breakdown of the thyroid cancer victims, citing privacy reasons. This refusal to share basic data has aroused the suspicions of thyroid specialist Akira Sugenoya.
SUGENOYA: I’m still very angry. I think they have this data, so it’s very strange why they won’t release it.
WILLACY: And it’s not just the thyroid data that has been kept secret, so too were the initial meetings of the Fukushima panel charged with screening the region’s children. For parents like Tomoko Koike, who are worried about the effect of the fallout on their young children, it smells like a cover up.
TOMOKO KOIKE: I do not think they’re telling us everything. I cannot trust what they say. [...]
Published: November 4th, 2013 at 11:21 pm ET