Communicating Radiation Risk to the Population of Fukushima

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Abstract

Radiological specialists from Nagasaki University have served on the medical relief team organized at Fukushima Medical University Hospital (Fukushima City) ever since the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. Furthermore, we have conducted the radiation crisis communication efforts by spreading correct information on the health effects of radiation as ‘advisors on radiation health risk control’. Nagasaki University has been assisting the reconstruction efforts of Kawauchi Village in Fukushima Prefecture, which was the first village to declare that residents could safely return to their homes because radiation doses were found to be at comparatively low levels. In April 2013, Nagasaki University and the Kawauchi government office concluded an agreement concerning comprehensive cooperation toward reconstruction of the village. As a result, we established a satellite facility of the university in the village. In conclusion, training of specialists who can take responsibility for long-term risk communication regarding the health effects of radiation as well as crisis communication in the initial phase of the accident is an essential component of all such recovery efforts. Establishment of a training system for such specialists will be very important both for Japan and other countries worldwide.

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