Thu

16

May

2013

Fewer Fukushima children receive thyroid screening: Iitate finds way to attract more children

Fukushima Minyu 18/04/2013
Iitate teens holding stamp cards (photo from Fukushima Minyu Newspaper

The number of Fukushima children under 18 who went through thyroid gland screening was 150,000, against a total of 360,000 who were asked to take the test as of end January 2013, according to Fukushima prefectural government.  This means only 42% of the children who are supposed to be tested have actually undergone the screening.

     At Iitate village in Fukushima, whose entire population of about 6,000 had to evacuate right after the nuclear accident, 84% (917 persons) of the 1,090 children under 18 had taken the test in 2011.  In the following year, however, that percentage dropped to 48% (280 persons).  

 

The reason behind this may be that people are actually starting to believe the safety propaganda that says: "there are no health problems caused by radiation."  Or maybe they are going to other places to receive the test, or they just don't trust the government, but nothing is really certain. 

 

In order to get more children to submit to the test, Iitate has started a system where they distribute a stamp card to each child, which will be stamped once every time the child undergoes the thyroid test.  After collecting a certain amount of stamps, the stamp card can be exchanged for a book coupon worth 10,000 yen for children who stay at the place where the entire village is evacuated, and 5,000 yen for children whose family have evacuated individually to other places.   Since the people of Iitate are still unable to return to their village, the village government want to encourage as many children as possible to go to the designated schools so that the village population can remain together.


That is why they decided to give coupons of different value to the children, depending on how they are evacuated.  As for the results on internal exposure tests, Fukushima Prefecture does not have the data for the entire cities, towns and villages.

 

WNSCR team, based on Fukushima Minyu Aitcle issude in 18/04/2013

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