The World Health Organization (WHO) Radiation Emergency Medical Preparedness and Assistance Network (REMPAN) convened a two-day seminar at Würzburg University, a REMPAN Collaborating Center, June 16-17, 2016. Fukushima Medical University, a REMPAN Liaison Institution, sent Dr. Shinichi Suzuki and Dr. Atsushi Kumagai to Würzburg as delegates and speakers. Würzburg University has been especially involved in thyroid cancer treatment following the nuclear accident in Chernobyl. As the seminar’s secretariat, Würzburg University was an outstanding venue for information sharing about health effects attributed to Chernobyl and Fukushima. FMU’s Dr. Suzuki presented the latest thyroid ultrasound screening results of children and adolescents in Fukushima. Dr. Kumagai reported 5 years of comprehensive health management for Fukushima residents of all ages, the current status of radiation risk perception, and various challenges residents face. Other speakers from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Japan, France, Germany, Switzerland and the United States provided deep insights into post-Chernobyl and post-Fukushima disaster remediation, along with broadly applicable epidemiological theory and risk-mediation measures.
The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) held 12 Dialogue Seminars for Fukushima Prefecture residents, with other domestic and international participants, from November 2011 to September 2015. These are reported at the ICRP site.
An international workshop on this Dialog Initiative convened in Date City, Fukushima, on 12-13 December 2015, as reported at here.
Most recently, a follow-up study tour and Dialogue Seminar convened in Iitate Village, Fukushima, 9-10 July 2016.
The First day:
International and Japanese experts visited the farm land and homesteads of several residents who have made continuous efforts to restore their pre-3.11 lives and work..
The Second day:
International and Japanese stakeholders, including a local youth, made presentations and had a panel discussion. The participants expressed their views about (1) the many things to do for reconstruction of the village; (2) many evacuees who would not return to the village, especially young people; (3) employment opportunities needed to enable evacuees to return to the village; (4) further decontamination of forest and mountain areas to reassure inhabitants; (5) perception gaps between the government and residents on the situation of the village; (6) diverging views, even among experts, on residual radiation; (7) how restrictions by the government can impede reconstruction; and (8) how new agricultural approaches including farming without soil, and expanding farms would be promising.
A delegation of traumatic stress experts of Korean institutions including Daegu University, Kyung Hee University and others visited Fukushima Medical University on 20 June 2016, as part of their 19-22 June International Workshop on Prospects of Disaster Mental Health Services. Convening in various locations, this travelling workshop allowed them to research psychological distress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following the Great East Japan Earthquake. FMU’s Department of Disaster Psychiatry and Office of International Cooperation co-organized the visit to our main campus, offering presentations and a facility tour. Representatives of the Fukushima Center for Disaster Mental Health also attended, to discuss their service to residents, whether affected by the earthquake, tsunami, nuclear power plant crisis, or any combination of these. In exchange, we sought the insights of our distinguished Korean colleagues, and benefitted from a healthy dialog over morning, lunch, and afternoon sessions.
IAEA announced a completion of its STS (Science, Technology and Society）Handbook at the meeting in Singapore about STS perspectives on nuclear science, radiation, and human health on June 23-24.