Monday, January 2, 2012

Report from Fukushima (2) Minami Soma: A Woman Speaks Out on Her Health Problems in Post-Accident Fukushima

(UPDATE 1/4/2011: Her name is Emiko Numauchi, and she says she will do on-camera interview with Yasumi Iwakami (independent journalist). It looks like she may testify in the Diet, also. See my latest post.)


Teeth and toenails falling off and clumps of hair coming off, she reports in her blog. She doesn't seem to care any more if people dismiss her as fabricating the story, and just tells as a matter of fact what's been happening to her and her husband, probably both in their early 40s. They live in Minami Soma City in Fukushima Prefecture, within 25 kilometers from the wrecked plant. The district she and husband live have somehow escaped the designation of any "evacuation zone", even though she says the radiation is just as high or higher. She was a high school teacher until 2 years ago, and now she teaches children at her home.

My Japanese blog readers sent me the link to her blog some time ago. I read the posts, researched the response to her blog from people I trust on the net. I have little reason to doubt this is a fake, she sounds sincere, though it is my personal judgment and I could be wrong.

There are many who have attacked her as rumor- and fear-mongering, to which she responds "Look at the reality. Study physics and think for yourselves. No point in getting emotional and wasting time."

She isn't claiming her conditions is due to the radiation exposure since the accident. She just describes her conditions and asks for rational explanations for the conditions, which haven't been forthcoming, as you can see in the very first post linked and translated below.

Well, all spring and summer last year, nosebleed, diarhhea and bruises were "baseless rumors". Meltdown was a baseless rumor, radiation contamination was a baseless rumor.

The following passages are from her blog, "Numayu no blog":

From the entry on 1/2/2012:

Went to see the dentist on duty for the holidays, as I just couldn't stand the pain of my "dens caninus" tooth which was all exposed to the nerve.

However, no matter how I explained to the dentist, he kept insisting that it would never go bad like this in such a short period of time (3 months).

When I told him that my dental treatment had been completed before March 11, he didn't believe it. He just said "It's not possible".

He said this could only happen if one didn't brush one's teeth for 2 to 3 years.

I simply lost interest in trying to explain. My husband was there, and he tried to tell him, but he shut up when the doctor said "I only accept objective data."

Until this summer, my teeth were healthy. My teeth were sturdy. Until this summer.

From the entry on 12/31/2011, on her friend's hair:

A very good friend of mine since high school just dropped by to say hello. We occasionally talked over the phone about my head (balding and hair falling off) and her condition. She's 42 years old.

She came wearing a wig. When she took it out, I had no words to say.

She evacuated [after the accident] to the inland area near the Fukushima-Miyagi border. But when the reactors were exploding and when the vent was being done, she was right near by [in Minami Soma].

With her permission, I'm sharing these sad photos.

She and I both started to lose hair in large quantities starting October. This is the head of a healthy, 42-year-old woman. She is quite active, and she works.

Can you believe it? In 3 months she has lost so much hair. Now you understand why I wanted to cut my hair short to 3 centimeters long. Right now, I have more hair than her, but if I had kept it long I would have lost much more hair.

When I saw her in October, she had her own hair in a bun.

What is it that's happening?

From the entry on 12/27/2011:

I went to see my doctor. The severe pain in the jaw is back, and it hurts like mad. My entire face below the nose hurts.

The doctor gave me two kinds of pain killer this time. Now I'm better.

He also drew blood for testing. We can't even begin to guess what it is, until we have the data.

My doctor is appalled at what has happened to me in the last month - my teeth, thinning hair, bleeding that doesn't stop, severe pain in the jaw, fingernails dropping off. He said, "It's just unbelievable".

Anyway, we will wait for the result of the blood test.

I said to him, "I have a wig, so it will be OK". Then he replied, "Yes, and you can have full dentures!"

Both my doctor and I are positive. So is my dentist. I'll never give up hope and live positively. I am living and learning, and remain positive.

From the entry on 12/20/2011, responding to one of the trolls on her blog:

Just now, there was a comment from someone claiming to be a doctor in Minami Soma City, who said "There is no one with the condition like that". There was no link to that person's blog.

If he/she is really a doctor, he/she would neither confirm or deny.

Do you want to see the photo?

Treatment of the cavities was done by March 11. There was nothing wrong with my gum and my teeth. Just a normal set of teeth. But now it's like this.

Two front teeth are both artificial "ceramic". So are the white teeth in the back. But for the other tooth... Treatment just cannot keep up. My dentist managed to keep the roots to plant a post [for implants, probably].

And do you still say "there is no negative effect on heath"? People in the Japanese government, please give me a "logical" answer.

The photo is rather shocking. You can view it in her post here.

From the entry on 12/17/2011, about her hair and toenails:

It was really bad yesterday. I felt dizzy standing or sitting. Well it's the same today too.

Last night, I tried loosening up my hair with my fingers after shampooing. The hair came out in clumps. I was shocked.

I cut my hair short about 2 weeks ago, for I wanted to stop the hair loss. I wear a wig (long hair) when I go out. There is not much forelock either. I can clearly see the hairline. In 9 months I lost so much hair.

Something felt wrong on my feet after the bath, so I took a look at the nails. In almost all toenails part of the nails was missing. When I tried to cut the nails using a nail clipper, I couldn't believe my eyes. Toenails on the second toes of both feet were coming off. When I touched them, they did come off.

Went to the dentist today. The receptionist looked dead tired. She was such an energetic person. She was barely able to speak. Children are not cheerful. They are not as playful as before.

The Japanese government announced "a cold shutdown 'state'". There is no such word. It's "a cold shutdown" or not. It is just a sly sophistry from liberal arts graduates.

Ouch. She clearly teaches science or math.

Her blog contains more information than just health issues. In fact, health issues are minor compared to the other topics like radiation contamination in Fukushima, what happened in Minami Soma in the early days of the accident, what is happening in Fukushima right now among evacuees, etc. She writes in a very intelligent and feminine way.

She also worries about her husband who tires very easily these days; the soles of his feet remain numb. She says he was outside within 3.5 kilometers from the plant when the accident happened (that's where he worked) and he has been made to go to the company's office inside 3.5 kilometers multiple times to retrieve some documents since the accident. He is now working in Koriyama City, where the air radiation level is three times that of Minami Soma, she says.

I think I will pick out several more of her posts later.


no6ody said...

Even though the news is horrific, thank you for letting us non-Japanese speakers know what is going on. I want to know, even though I feel much sadder.

Sadder, but wiser.

CrisisMaven said...

The problem with (lower dose) radioactivity is that it affects those parts of the body most (at first), where there is growth, such as hair, as alluded to above. This is why it will endanger a fetus more than an old person and growing tissue or tissue that constantly renews itself more than other parts of the body. Since there are at least several hundred different nuclides across a spectrum of at least a few dozen elements (which determines how they are built into these tissues, e.g. iodine into the thyroid gland, cesium into bone material etc. others circulate in the blood stream) there is no telling who is affected in which way. One person eats venison, the other fish, another rice, another loves mushrooms. Ok, but then one person gets their mushrooms from abroadv(or from artificial cultures in underground basements), another collects them in a forest nearby etc. etc. So there is almost no realistic way to do epidemiological studies, seeing also that the radioactive material is unevenly scattered, cf. those "hot spots" and that people begin to migrate, that they change their eating habits etc. etc. So each single set of data can be critisized and downplayed as "anecdotal". The only remedy would be that the nuclear industry would be held accountable for even the slightest health problem and then reversely would have to prove its innocence in each case. Of course that would entail such cost as to render nuclear energy as unfeasible. It's either that way or suffer.

Atomfritz said...

This is so sad. Many people suffering, and as CrisisMaven explained above, it is practically impossible to determine the cause with 100% certainty. Thank you, Ex-SKF, for translating this very interesting and saddening experiences of these few people who are speaking up instead of keeping their health consequences secret because of unjustified shame (like the hibakusha did).

OT: I read in a german website about Fukushima ( that NHK reported about a precursor accident in Fukushima 20 years ago. NHK removed the article already, but it is still in the google cache:

Fukushima plant's backup generator failed in 1991

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant failed to take preventive measures after a backup generator was inundated by a leaking pipe 20 years ago.

Former employees of the Tokyo Electric Power Company told NHK that the problem occurred in October 1991.

They said water leaked from a pipe and entered the basement of the Number 1 reactor's turbine building. This caused the failure of one of the two backup generators.

A former engineer at the Fukushima plant said he told his superiors that tsunami could damage the emergency generators in the basement, as the turbine buildings are close to the sea.

TEPCO installed doors to block water leaks in the rooms hosting the backup generators, but did not move them above ground to avoid tsunami damage.

The plant's reactor cooling system failed when the emergency generators in the basement were inundated by the March 11th tsunami. All power sources were lost.

Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission says it will revise the safety guidelines for designing nuclear plants and require the installation of additional power sources.

Thursday, December 29, 2011 13:18 +0900 (JST)

(to retrieve the text, enter this in google: )

So Tepco had been warned for at least 20 years that the Fuku-I plant was inadequately secured against tsunami and DID NOTHING.

Anonymous said...

A nail in the coffin, Atomfritz.

And people wonder where the image of the nuke industry holding guns to peoples' heads comes from ?

Anonymous said...

Hair loss, bleeding, nail loss and more. What happens next? By now, the victims are so tired, and ill –they don't have the energy to fight only to quietly “go away”. Probably the government plan all along.

The Japanese people are not happy.

Many realize a significant portion of Japanese soil is not suitable for habitation. Just last October a leaked Tepco documented indicated the total amount of plutonium and neptunium emitted from the plant. This stuff sticks around for millions of years...

If you haven't seen the dispersion maps for plutonium they are published here:

Anonymous said...

No cancer or physical symptoms are going to flag us "here, I'm from the radiation exposure you had." But clearly a healthy person does not lose nails, teeth, and clumps of hair in such short period in the way this blogger did or continue to suffer from unexplained rashes with water-filled blisters or suddern heavy nose bleeds. All together, radiation poisoning seems the cause, given the proximity of her location.

I've known her blog for several weeks and have no reason to doubt her. I tried to get the attention of an overseas doctors group (since her local doctors seem helpless or indifferent), but I don't know if they contacted her.

She is courageous and doing a great service in terms of documenting and letting people know of the voices of Fukushima victims. One day medical researchers would thank her for sharing the first hand experience. Thank you also to Ex-skf, for making her voice heard in English.

Anonymous said...

"I have little reason to doubt this is a fake,..."

Should say:
"I have little reason to think this is a fake,..."

I believe this story more than I'll ever believe anything that comes from official media sources or the government. They have already proven themselves to be major liars, and bad ones at that.

Anonymous said...

This is so sad. She is so objective and resigned to her situation.

Darth3/11 said...

Why isn't this receiving attention in Japan and worldwide? She can't be the only one...where are the others suffering from what is clearly radiation poisoning? WHere are the TV crews and international people unafraid of telling/Tweeting/YouTubing the truth directly from Minami Soma and victims in other places? Most of the world is hearing that everything is getting better (maybe). This is a concrete example to the contrary. Her doctors sound more stunned than indifferent. When are they going to start attracting attention to their patient's decline, before it is too late?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@Darth3/11, one Japanese doctor (or so he says) tweeted the other day that doctors cannot do much partly because there is no diagnostic code for insurance to put for illnesses that may be related to radiation exposure. If they cannot put the code, they won't get paid by the insurance (public, in Japan) so they don't want to deal with patients like her above.

Anonymous said...

Some of her symptoms sound like they may be thyroid related. So they could be radiation exposure related but the lack of a functioning thyroid could be causing some of the symptoms. Hair loss, lethargy, easy bleeding, bruises, being dizzy can be symptoms of under active thyroid. My suggestion would be to find a good thyroid doctor that will do a wide range of tests to get an in depth look at thyroid function. Not just a T-4 test and be done. If there are thyroid patient support groups in Japan they should be able to suggest a competent doctor to do the testing.

Since so few adults received protective iodine it is possible they have thyroid damage. Iodine 131 is the same thing they use in hospitals to kill part of people's thyroid gland if it is over active. So having sort term onset like this isn't unreasonable to consider. Could someone who can write Japanese please forward this to her as a suggestion?

Anonymous said...

We may not be able to do epidemiological studies on the specific causes, but we can do full body counts and other tests to check for radiation in the body. This woman's story is vitally important. It should be getting more attention. Who knows how many more there are like her and her friend.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@Anon at 1:42PM, how about teeth falling off and sharp jaw pain? What could cause those?

@Anon 1:53PM, from scanning tweets and blogs since last year, the number of "anecdotal" (as doctors refuse to say or do anything, many refer them to psychologists, saying it's all in their heads) reports of nose bleed and diarrhea in children started about April and May, I think. Then during the summer more and more news of sudden deaths of otherwise healthy individuals in their 20s, 30s and 40s, and then reports of health problems in adults like hers since summer increased. Causes of some of the deaths are not even listed. The death certificates simply say "breathing stopped" or "heart stopped". And it is not just Fukushima. All annecdodal, probably until 10, 20, 30 years pass and the doctors can discuss statistics.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious about the sudden deaths. Do you have any more details?

Anonymous said...

We must be the witnesses. Only with the citizens of Japan coming forward like Numayu will the rest of humankind have any idea what has happened. Ob/Gyn Doctors won't report the statistics for the babies either.
They have equipment at the INL facility that was able to read the Americium 241 in a worker's lung following an accident last November. If everyone had that detailed scan there might be some real statistics for the doctors to discuss.
Numayu, thank you for your bravery and strength in this heartbreaking time.
arevamirpal, thank you for bringing her story out of Japan

Anonymous said...

"Sudden Deaths" reports:

Two sludge disposal facilities workers had sudden death within 2 weeks.

October 6, 2011: A third worker has died under suspicious circumstances. He complained of not being well at a morning meeting, was taken to a hospital and died the next day. Another worker died suddenly in August, TEPCO claimed the worker died of acute leukemia but that it was not due to radiation exposure.

A 60-year-old worker doing the decontamination experiment in Shimo-Oguni District of Date City, Fukushima Prefecture was found dead by his co-workers inside the company car at 1:00PM on December 12. An ambulance was called, but he was confirmed dead at 2PM.

In Tomitsu shi Chiba, a 13 years old student died suddenly on December 10, 2011. They suspect it was lung bleeding.

The city mayor of a hotspot had a sudden death of thoracic aortic aneurysm rhexis on December 4, 2011

Anonymous said...

More on the thyroid thing. There are some dental issues with thyroid problems, the ones tied to underactive or damaged thyroid were not very specific.

But there is a clear link between radioactive iodine therapy (iodine 131) and dental problems including tooth loss and decay.

So an iodine exposure might cause such symptoms? Since iodine therapy is a targeted dose of iodine 131 and iodine 131 was what was being released during the melt downs.

Anonymous said...

Irradiated food has shown up in South Korea. I found some radioactive seaweed from the East coast in my local supermarket.

(the top reading was around 0.76 to 0.808 uSv/hr, with a background of around 0.21 uSv/hr)

Anonymous said...

Measuring radioactive potassium, most likely.

Anonymous said...

The thing is, with this woman's story we can move from "anecdotal" to actual, verifiable cause and effect (or something very close to it). This isn't a leukemia patient or some 60-year old guy with a heart anyeurism, this is someone who was healthy and has documented her decline in health. She should really have a full body scan, and urinalysis. Its easy to dismiss a nosebleed, but having all of your teeth rot in your mouth in three months is something too bizarre to ignore.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous in South Korea... background of 0.21, wow that sounds mighty high. That's almost 3x the background of where I'm at in Tokyo.

Anonymous said...

It has been reported that, after Chernobyl, some of the children affected by radiation poisoning were able to have their effects reduced significantly by consumption of Spirulina (kind of like Chlorella). If anyone in Japan can get a hold of uncontaminated sources of Spirulina (preferably organic), taking 5g per day was the dose given to the children of Chernobyl.

This information is available on the Internet.

Anonymous said...

I would ask if this woman or her friend were taking osteoporosis drugs such as Fosamax. Side effects from this drug causes "dead jaw", or "osteonecrosis" of the jaw. Some people on the drug also reported peeling nails and hair falling out, and even nosebleeds. Regardless of what is causing this poor woman's problems, it sure does sound like poisoning of some sort.

Anonymous said...

Osteoporosis drug at the age of 42? I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

In Japan its quite possible.

Anonymous said...

"In Japan its quite possible."

Actually, one would be surprised to learn that the Asian people, while consuming fewer dairy products, have better calcium balance on the whole. The high fat, high protein, and high sugar diet of the West is what contributes to developing osteoporosis, not the lack of dairy products consumed. Acidic body causes calcium to be leached from bones. More fruits and vegetables turn the body more alkaline.

Anonymous said...


Spirulina is also said to be an excellent protein source, and this commenter is definitel suggesting replacing dairy and seafood in Japan with that Spirulina.

just saw this on enews,

China Finds 100,000 SQ Miles of Radiation In Pacific Ocean

jmdesp said...

Well, in her current state what she urgently needs is not some Internet guys making uninformed wild guesses, but a full examination by a high level medical staff, including a full body scan to determine whether or not she suffered of irradiation. This can be done very precisely, even if it's not free.

And in any case, whatever the result of these examination is, of course she needs some treatment for her ailments by real specialists for will look for what the root cause can be.

If you're looking for anything to throw against nuclear&radiation this probably makes a great story. But if you're looking for the truth whatever it is ? Is this radiation disease ? Never heard of a case where it gives such an effect, but only a real specialist could tell for sure. Is this poisoning ? There are some case that look much more similar.
So if you want to scare people, this case is great. But if you want to take action, to cure people, say people have received this level of radiation need to undergo this treatment, or to evacuate in this zone, or must stop eating this specific food, it brings nothing.

What is disconcerting, to say the least, is why can't she go to an university hospital and get a *real* *expertise* of what is happening to her ? Is a country like Japan putting *nothing* in place so that she can do that ? Then that's the real scandal.

Anonymous said...

Very sad to become a new year with these news ... poor lady, poor cat, poor mankind.

We are ready to say NO, STOP and to do the revolution NOW ! "They" kill us and we have just to suffer... that's enough !

Sympathy from France

Anonymous said...

They might be living near a local radiation hotspot or their own bodies may have absorbed radioactive substances. They might want to get a Geiger counter and look for areas where the radiation is higher than normal, assuming they know how to use one. While a doctor may be able to diagnose their symptoms, there's not much they can do if their patients are being exposed to high levels of radiation somewhere.

Arcadia said...

I have been following the disasters of 311 as much as any non-Japanese speaking person can...Thank you for sharing this!!! Peace and strength to Japan and the world!!!

Anonymous said...

I have several neurologist friends in both Koriyama and Minamisoma. I specifically asked them independently about this a few months ago, and none of them reported any cases of the sort with frequency higher than the average prior to the tsunami. Have any of the patients here seen doctors at Fukushima Medical College?

Anonymous said...

@anon at 2:14AM, Fukushima Medical University probably wouldn't be the choice for many people, with Dr. Yamashita in charge.

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