Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Non disclosure: a couple of perspectives

In re the realities in Fukushima


It seems that a pall of suspicion has lingered in the air, over whether TEPCO and/or the Japanese government has been forthcoming about the parameters of the after-effects of the Fukushima meltdown.  Some attention has focused, perhaps even more, in the recent months, on Cesium in the Ocean off the West Coast.   The pall of mistrust still lingers---who is telling the truth?

Comparing  Disclosure of Cancer to patients in the US and Japan

I recall from readings in Medical Anthropology a distinction in the way cancer is handled in Japan and in Western cultures.  In Japan, the patient is less likely to be informed, while the family is informed of the diagnosis of Cancer.  This holds true for Adolescents as well.  One recent article calls attention to possible anomalies in the incidence of recent cases of Thyroid cancer in children, and assertations by the goverment that the cases are likely unrelated to exposure to radiation at Fukushima:

“It is likely (the 44 children) developed tumors or lumps before the nuclear accident,” the Japanese daily cites a Fukushima prefectural government official as saying.
Further information from that article:

However, Christopher Busby from the European Committee on Radiation Risks (ECRR) wrote for RT that “the 2005 Japanese national incidence rate for thyroid cancer in the age bracket 0-18 is given in a recent peer reviewed report as 0.0 per 100,000.”

Busby argues that based on the ECRR’s scientific model, there could be “some 200,000 extra cancers in roughly 10 million of the population in the 200km radius of the site in the next 10 years, and 400,000 over 50 years.”

He further notes that the risk model currently employed by the Japanese government predicts “no detectable cancers will be seen as a result of the ‘very low doses’ received by the population.”
He has said their model, the International Commission of Radiological Protection, has produced results which can only be characterized as “nonsense.”

Local residents have been highly critical of the prefectural government’s alleged downplaying of the risk of radiation exposure, the accuracy of its thyroid testing and the means by which information is disclosed.

It occurs to me that the appalling tendency toward lack of accurate information may be conditioned by the same cultural features that incline family members in Japan to not inform a cancer patient of her diagnosis.

Just thinking aloud.  To think further about this would require one to stand aside from his own cultural biases.  This is a very difficult thing to do.  Very.

More reason to reassess, or to fear?

 From another article: Is this a conspiracy or a plan?

Tokyo Shimbun, December 31, 2013, with translation by Fukushima Voice (version 2e), published Jan. 6, 2014: It was discovered that the memorandum of cooperation between the IAEA and Fukushima as well as Fukui Prefectures contain a confidentiality clause [...] critics say “it could be preempting the State Secrecy Protection Law.” [...] In Fukushima Prefecture, it was the prefectural government that entered into an agreement with IAEA in the area of decontamination and radioactive waste management, whereas Fukushima Medical University entered into an agreement with IAEA in the area of the survey of radiological effect on human health. [...] “The Parties will ensure the confidentiality of information classified by the other Party as restricted or confidential.” [...] if either the prefectures or IAEA decide to classify information for “they contribute to worsening of the residents’ anxiety,” there is a possibility that such information as the accident information, as well as radiation measurement data and thyroid cancer information may not be publicized. [...] IAEA has published reports, after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, stating “there were no health effects due to radiation exposure.” [...]

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