"There is so much sickness and death that it cannot be considered simply as 'caused by stress'” : An emigrant from Kagamiishi takes notes about health problems.
Mrs. Junko Honda migrated from her native Kagamiishi, Fukushima prefecture, to Sapporo, Hokkaido, after 3.11. Although she was a successful beauty salon owner who ran two salons in Kagamiishi, she closed down the businesses in 2012 and moved to Sapporo with her husband and two children. Honda took a number of unusual health problems that had happened to her family members, including her teenage daughter, as a serious warning sign for radiation effect on health, and decided to leave everything behind to protect herself and her family. Everything literally means all she had: her successful business, her community ties, circles of relatives and friends. After struggling with emotional and economical difficulties, Mrs. Honda opened a new beauty salon in Sapporo in 2013. She has also been advocating for rights of disaster evacuees and immigrants in her new community.
She recently shared a note on Facebook, in which she had collected unusual symptoms that she had heard about, over the past three years. The nature of her profession as a hairdresser, who deals with many customers and has talks with them, sometimes leads up to issues on health and well-being. Thus she has had opportunities to hear personal stories that otherwise are rarely heard.
Honda says these stories are only some of the stories she has heard, but they are the ones whose veracity she has been able to ascertain.
WNSRC translated Mrs. Honda’s note to show how an ordinary citizen happened to face a series of health problems in Fukushima since the nuclear accident. The municipal and national governments have meanwhile advocated for the safety of living in Fukushima and encouraged former residents to go home.
Record of cases on health problems after the nuclear accident in March, 2011
Before the nuclear accident, I had never heard of so much sickness and death in such a short period of time. Are they caused by psychological stress? It’s too easy to say so and such a word is insulting for the people who passed away.
I spotted insect-bite-like reddish eczema on my daughter’s face. They stayed until we evacuated to Hokkaido.
I felt strange feeling in my lymph nodes around the neck. The salon staff also felt the same.
The hair of our pets, a dog and a cat, become uneven because of hair loss to an unusual degree.
1. Kagamiishi: My friend’s father died with a tumor in the lymph glands.
2. Kagamiishi: A man in his 60s died all of sudden.
3. Koriyama: A gynecologist mentioned there was an increase of lymph tumors.
4. Koriyama: A customer in her 40s got ill with a disease that cannot renew blood.
5. Izumizaki: A woman in her 30s died from cardiac arrest after recovering from uterus cancer surgery.
6. Koriyama: A hairdresser friend and her sister have suffered dermatologic eczema since the accident.
7. One of my relatives got infected with herpes zoster for the first time and experienced big weight loss. Coughing started after the accident but the cause cannot be determined.
8. A child of an evacuee from Shirakawa had nosebleeds very often after the accident. The child reported that there are many others at school who had nose bleeding.
9. Yabuki-town: Five customers who visited a beauty salon in Yabuki town owned by my friend , experienced funerals of close family members during very short period (from the end of the year 2011 to spring in 2012). Three of the deceased were in their 50s.
10. Izumizaki village: A man in his 30s died suddenly.
11. One of my family members has shadows under her eyes and coughs do not stop. Her child had hives for the first time, and got infected with Influenza A and B, one after the other.
12. All the fingernails of a child evacuee from Sugakawa fell off after the accident. They grew back later. Another child had had headaches and nausea since the accident. Their mother experienced hair loss and since then she had sparser hair for a while.
13. Kagamiishi: One of my relatives died suddenly of subarachnoid hemorrhage. He was in his 30s.
14. Two classmate of my daughter visited us in Hokkaido. Both of them had shadows under eyes and had colorless cheeks.
15. One of my relatives, a child, came to Hokkaido. Her skin was dark and she had colorless cheeks, and her eyes looked as if they were lightly covered by a membrane. After 3 weeks stay in Sapporo, her eyes brightened, her skin gained its natural color and the cheeks became pinkish.
16. Kagamiishi: A woman in her 40s started to suffer with her already existing illness. She recently had breast cancer operation.
17. Grandmother of an evacuee from Tenei village, Fukushima, had had throat irritation but after she came to Hokkaido the irritation had gone.
A carpenter in Tenei village died suddenly.
18. Kagamiishi: A resident in his 30s developed a tumor.
19. Tenei village: A resident in her 40s developed a tumor and died a year later.
20. Sugakawa: A friend of an evacuee’s friend from Sugakawa died suddenly. The friend was in his (her) 40s.
21. Koriyama: Parents of an evacuee from Koriyama decided to take full-medical examinations because their friend, a medical doctor, suggested them to do so, mentioning that his friends have been dying with cancer one after another. Her younger sister, who was a resident of Tokyo, did a blood test and the leukocyte count showed some abnormality.
22. Sugakawa: A child of an evacuee from Sugakawa underwent unsubsidized thyroid examination and the doctor told her that the thymus gland was swollen. Several children who have fled from Fukushima show same symptoms.
23. Fukushima: A friend of an evacuee gave birth to a polydactyl child.
24. Iwaki: A younger friend of an evacuee from Koriyama got ill with cancer.
25. Tokyo: A child of an evacuee had an unsubsidized thyroid examination. Nothing was found last year, but this year they found many cysts.
26. Kagamiishi: A female customer, who was in her mid 30s, of an evacuee from Kagamiishi, developed thyroid cancer.
A neighbor of the evacuee in his 60s had several incidents of convulsion, being taken to emergency room, but doctors couldn’t determine the cause. The last convulsion eventually killed him.
27. Sugakawa: A male friend of an evacuee from Kagamiishi was working as decontamination worker and he died suddenly.
28. My friend in her 40s had surgery for removal of an ovarian cyst. Her doctor said if the discovery of they cyst had been any later, it would have developed into cancer.
29. Sugakawa: A friend of an evacuee, in her 30s, had thyroid surgery.
30. One of my relatives, a middle school student, got ill with rheumatism. Medicine doesn’t work effectively.
Read an open letter written by Mrs. Honda HERE.
The note was originally published on the Facebook page of Mrs. Honda. Translated into English by WNSCR team.