– Proper Health and Mental Support Called for Local Residents –
TOKYO, Sept. 11, 2014 / PRNewswire — The Nippon Foundation held an International Expert Symposium on September 8 and 9, 2014, in Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture, on the theme “Beyond Radiation and Health Risk – Toward Resilience and Recovery,” putting together a group of international and Japanese experts to examine the effects of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident on the health of local residents and to discuss recovery measures in the future.
Fukushima Medical University, which has conducted the Fukushima Health Management Survey, and international organizations present at the Symposium, including World Health Organization (WHO), agreed that no direct health effect from radiation has been seen. At the same time, they recognized the fact that local residents still suffer from lingering anxieties about radiation and, as a result of prolonged life in evacuation, that some suffer from secondary health and mental effects including obesity and depression.
The Symposium was co-organized by Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation and Fukushima Medical University with the cooperation of Nagasaki University. Experts from four international organizations – the WHO, the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) – participated as panelists.
The Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa said in an opening speech, “Through scientific discussions on the current state of Fukushima from multiple angles, we hope to identify measures that can strengthen the resilience and recovery of Fukushima.”
On Sept. 11, Sasakawa, along with international experts, met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his official residence to give him a set of recommendations formulated through the discussions at the two-day Symposium. The recommendations include the establishment of radiation protection criteria that possess the flexibility to address local circumstances and individual lives, as well as the creation of an infrastructure that will allow local residents to manage their own situations in accord with their individual radiological situations. The recommendations also requested strengthened support for health care providers and local care providers, and called for a large increase their numbers in order to promote the psychological and social welfare of people affected by the Fukushima nuclear accident.
The Nippon Foundation