Overview of the Fukushima Health Management Survey
Presented at ‘The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster – One Year Later’ at Simon
Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada, on 10-11 March 2012.
Shunichi Yamashita, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, Radiation Medical Science Center
Seiji Yasumura, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Public Health
Vice Director, Radiation Medical Science Center
The accidents that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station after the Great East Japan Earthquake on 11 March 2011 have resulted in long-term, ongoing anxiety among the residents of Fukushima, Japan.
Soon after the disaster, Fukushima Prefecture launched the Fukushima Health Management Survey to investigate long-term low-dose radiation exposure caused by the accident. Fukushima Medical University took the lead in
planning and implementing this survey. The primary purpose of this survey is to monitor the long-term health of residents, promote their future well-being, and confirm whether long-term low-dose radiation exposure has health
The Fukushima Health Management Survey consists of the Basic Survey and four detailed surveys: the Thyroid Ultrasound Examination; Comprehensive Health Check; Mental Health and Lifestyle Survey; and Pregnancy and Birth Survey. The target population of the basic survey is about 2.05 million people. To be selected for the basic survey, individuals had to be either a registered resident of Fukushima Prefecture during the period of 11 March to 1 July (including those evacuated or transferred to residence registration in another prefecture); a resident of Fukushima Prefecture who was registered in another prefecture during the period of 11 March to 1 July; a resident of another prefecture who commuted to Fukushima Prefecture during the period of 11 March to 1 July; or a resident of another prefecture who temporarily stayed in Fukushima Prefecture during the period of 11 March to 25 March. The detailed surveys targeted selected people on the basis of the particular criteria used for each survey.
External exposure dose, as indicated on the basic survey, and information from the detailed surveys will be linked and maintained in the database for later analysis.
The Basic Survey is a questionnaire targeting roughly 2,050,000 residents of and visitors to Fukushima Prefecture as of 11 March 2011. Estimated external radiation doses were calculated based on recorded movements of respondents in the four months following the nuclear accident.
Four Detailed Surveys:
Thyroid Ultrasound Examination Survey: The examination covered roughly 360,000 residents aged 0 to 18 years at the time of the nuclear accident. The initial screening was performed within the first three years after the accident, followed by complete thyroid examinations from 2014 onward, and the residents will be monitored regularly thereafter.
Comprehensive Health Check: The program aims at early detection and treatment of diseases as well as prevention of lifestyle-related diseases. Its main target includes 210,000 former residents of evacuation zones whose lifestyle changed drastically after the accident. Additional tests such as differential leukocyte count are performed apart from the routine tests included in the general medical check-up at the workplace or by the local government.
Mental Health and Lifestyle Survey: The survey aims to provide adequate care mainly for evacuees who are at a higher risk of developing mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and stress.
Pregnancy and Birth Survey: The survey aids in providing appropriate medical care and support to mothers who were given a Maternal and Child Health Handbook between 1 August 2010 and 31 July 2011 and to their children.