Earthquakes. Tsunami. Nuclear Emergency. The chilling set of dominoes that dropped in March 2011 and devastated northern Japan have now largely coalesced into one word - Fukushima. First, the intimidating power of the earth’s natural forces that lifted ships and deposited them inland, that swept and crushed entire towns and communities and that took thousands of lives. Then the intimidating, destructive power of a ruptured, crippled nuclear plant, tainting the sea and land and rendering swathes of heavily populated areas, uninhabitable. For North Asia Correspondent Mark Willacy it’s been a dominant and defining story. Now - as he visits the hot-zone one last time - a new and disturbing development.
In a private children’s hospital well away from the no-go-zone, parents are holding on tight to their little sons and daughters hoping doctors won’t find what they’re looking for.
Tests commissioned by the local authorities have discerned an alarming spike in the incidence of thyroid cancer in Fukushima children and while specialists and experts are reluctant to draw a definitive link between the tumours and the nuclear radiation that erupted from the stricken power station, they’re nonetheless deeply concerned.
“The doctors in Fukushima say that it shouldn’t be coming out so soon, so it can’t be related to the nuclear accident. But that’s very unscientific, and it’s not a reason we can accept.” AKIRA SUGENOYA Former Thyroid Surgeon & Chernobyl Volunteer
From the day the waves came, to the now concluding days of his posting, North Asia Correspondent Mark Willacy has covered every corner of this epic, unfolding drama. Among his reporting some very powerful work for Foreign Correspondent including the award winning ‘The Boy On The Bike’ and 'The Fukushima Syndrome'.
Mark’s book ‘Fukushima’ is also a finalist in this year’s Walkley Awards.
Now he returns a final time to investigate worrying new claims a cancer cluster has developed around the radiation zone and the
victims are children.
Reporter: Mark Willacy, ABC Australia