Only 35% of Fukushima Daiichi workers tested
NHK -- Mar 07
NHK has learned that only 35 percent of workers who responded to the March 2011 nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi plant have been checked for long-term effects of radiation.

A Japanese government-affiliated research organization began conducting the radiation-exposure screenings 4 years ago. Some 20,000 workers who entered the plant within 9 months of the accident are to undergo life-long monitoring that includes blood tests and thyroid exams.

During the nuclear crisis, many plant workers were exposed to radiation beyond the government limit of 100 millisieverts. The government then temporarily raised the limit to 250 millisieverts so that work could continue.

The Radiation Effects Research Foundation aims to conduct regular screenings on at least 80 percent of those workers. But it says that as of January this year, it has only been able to check about 7,000 people.

Of the workers who remain untested, 35 percent have ignored calls to take a screening, 17 percent have refused to comply, and 8.5 percent cannot be reached.

Several non-participants have told NHK they cannot take days off from work, or that there are too few clinics where they can be tested.

Some were skeptical about the screenings, saying they doubt a checkup would help keep them healthy.

Tomotaka Sobue, a professor at Osaka University, was a member of a government panel that assessed the screening program.

He says the government has a responsibility to confirm whether people who took part in emergency work are facing any health risks.

He says efforts must be made to inform workers about the program, and to make it easier for them to take the tests.

News source: NHK
Dec 18
Police believe an explosion at a Sapporo building that left 42 people injured on Sunday was caused by gas leaking from more than 100 deodorizer spray cans, intended for disposal, at a real estate agency. (Japan Times)
Dec 18
Japanese water is clean and readily available, as evidenced by drinkable tap water and a nearly 100 percent penetration rate. (Japan Times)
Dec 18
PayPay, a mobile payments company backed by SoftBank Group Corp., Yahoo Japan Corp. and India’s largest digital-payments company Paytm, said it’s updating its app to strengthen security after multiple complaints from users of wrongful charges. (Bloomberg)
Dec 18
Toyama Prefectural Police are investigating what is believed to have been a hit-and-run incident after the corpse of a man was found inside a smashed display window at a store in Toyama City, reports Sankei Sports (Dec. 15). (tokyoreporter.com)
Dec 17
More than 40 people were injured on Sunday when an explosion caused a fire at a commercial building housing a pub in Sapporo City on Japan's northern main island of Hokkaido. Police suspect a gas leak may be the cause. (NHK)
Dec 17
A famous hot spa resort is offering an online map showing "onsen" spots available for tattooed tourists traveling to the region for next year's Rugby World Cup in Japan. (Kyodo)
Dec 17
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has revealed that the government plans to open about 100 support centers for foreign workers across Japan. (NHK)
Dec 16
Rino Sashihara, a leading Japanese idol singer, will leave the all-girl musical group HKT48, an affiliate of the country's entertainment giant AKB48, next year, she said Saturday. (Kyodo)
Dec 16
The education ministry plans to include ¥1.52 trillion in its budget for fiscal 2019 to cover personnel costs for teachers at public elementary and junior high schools, it has been learned. (Japan Times)
Dec 15
Japan's central government is pushing ahead with a controversial plan to relocate an American military base within the southern prefecture of Okinawa. They've started full-scale land reclamation work despite strong local opposition. (NHK)