Table of Contents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Volume 14, Issue 4 (April 2017)
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Cover Story (view full-size image) Six years ago, a massive earthquake and resultant tsunami struck the northeast area of Japan, [...] Read more. Six years ago, a massive earthquake and resultant tsunami struck the northeast area of Japan, causing serious damage to the Fukushima nuclear power plant. As a result, radioactive substances were discharged into the surrounding environment. Minamisoma City—located 10–40 km from the nuclear plant—was affected by the radiation plume, and launched the first voluntary internal radiation monitoring for a population in the city. The monitoring prevalence of adults aged ≥21 years was 30.2% in 2011–2012, and this decreased to 17.9% in 2013–2014. This monitoring is presently still in operation. Today, marginal internal contamination is evident. In contrast, the increasing burden of mental health problems may outweigh radiation risks. Japan is now at a crossroads: having to consider whether to terminate radiation monitoring, or to adopt the option of shifting its purpose from screening/dose assessment to anxiety reduction for radiation by utilizing the monitoring as a risk communication tool.