Thursday, February 23, 2012

Japanese Magazine "Sensationalizes": "Thyroid Cancer Suspected on Two Children Aged 4 and 7"

One of the major Japanese weekly magazine, Shukan Bunshun has a sensational article on its latest issue about thyroid "cancer" in children who evacuated from Fukushima. Let's see if the Japanese MSM and the government attack the publisher for "fear-mongering", just like they reflexively do for the "international" media.

The article on the magazine's 3/1/2012 issue is available only in print. The following is what little I gathered from tweets including the photo of the printed article in Japan:

Serious abnormalities found in 11 evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture
4-year-old and 7-year-old may have "thyroid cancer"
Medically impossible nodules and cysts...
Shunichi Yamashita, Vice President of Fukushima Medical University emailed "Do not test them." (Title of the Bunshun article)

Reporting by "Oshidori Maco", comedian who's been reporting on the Fukushima accident since last year, and particularly supporting people of Iitate-mura.

7-year old girl had 8 millimeter nodule on her thyroid. The nodule was found with microcalcifications [which may be a sign of cancer]. Her 2-year-old sister also had 2 millimeter nodule with microcalcifications. The doctor who examined them said "I've never seen anything like this."

7-year-old girl and 4-year-old boy both evacuated from Koriyama City in Fukushima.

7-year-old girl subsequently underwent the blood test, and the nodule was determined to be "benign".

2 children and 9 adults were tested in Sapporo, and thyroid cancer was suspected. One of them, an adult woman, has been confirmed to have thyroid cancer, and the surgery is already scheduled.

Orthodoxy by the Japanese researchers is that "it is impossible for children under the age of 6 to have nodules 5 millimeters or larger", but the doctor who examined them in Sapporo, Hokkaido says, "Whatever they say, this is the result."

In the case of Chernobyl, it took 4 years till the cases of thyroid cancer started to appear. The doctor in Sapporo is shocked by the quick onset.

The doctor was in close contact with Dr. Shunichi Yamashita of Fukushima Medical University to confirm how the thyroid echography was done. Dr. Yamashita emailed the doctor "I request that you refrain from testing [them] on your own."

The doctor used the same method of testing as Fukushima Medical University.

The magazine apparently didn't tell the doctor that the magazine was writing an article, and he held a press conference protesting against the magazine.

The doctor's press conference handout is here (PDF).

I watched his press conference, but 10 minutes into his rambling and spaced-out press conference all he said was there should be a system to continuously monitor the thyroids for Fukushima residents. So? What's his beef with the Bunshun article?

  • The reporter ("Oshidori Maco") didn't identify herself as the reporter for Shukan Bunshun. She didn't tell him that the article was about to be published. She apparently told one of the evacuees, who told the doctor.

  • The number of people tested was different.

  • Dr. Shunichi Yamashita didn't say such a thing.

  • He wanted to publish a paper, but now the story is out, and he's very unhappy about it.

So the reporter blew the doctor's chance for having his article published in a peer-review magazine. Apparently she snuck into one of the informational meetings that the doctor had with the Fukushima evacuees without telling him she was reporting for the magazine.

Kouta Kinoshita says in his blog that he and several others had known about it, and were trying to find a better way to disclose the information with the agreement of all the parties involved (parents, for one). He seems rather upset with the reporter. He also quotes an expert of the Chernobyl accident he consults with:


"At this stage, you can't tell whether it is a malignant tumor. I personally think the Bunshun article went overboard. What's known now is that they have some tumor of unknown nature. The growth is rapid, and no doubt it is a health damage from radioactive materials. I think it can be categorized as damage caused by radiation, even if the growth is benign, because before March 11 [accident], such growth was impossible in children."

Others say before the March 11, 2011 nuclear accident, no one tested children younger than 6 years old for thyroid problems, so there is no baseline data to begin with.

It looks like Shukan Bunshun blew things out of proportion and in the process blew the chance for the doctor to get published. (Not that I feel sorry for the doctor for his lost chance...)


Chibaguy said...

All I can say this was advertised on the train yesterday in big bold letters. Right under the advertisement they had pictures on Kan and Edano.

Anonymous said...

If these doctors are interested in real science, they would simply go to Okinawa or the west tip of Japan and start testing the Thyroids of the kids there. Than you have your baseline. This should have been easily possible within this year...

This leaves a lot of space for speculation as to why they chose not to do so...

Anonymous said...

Two words: Criminal negligence.

Here is some info I also posted elsewhere:

Here is a new blog on Fukushima in French. It’s associated with rue89, a popular source of information in France.

So far there are only three entries, but they look promising. The blog is written by a person with a Franco-Japanese name (probably French journalist married to a Japanese, or, less likely, with a Japanese parent).

Another article about views on nuclear waste in the French countryside by locals (unfortunately not global thinkers, but that might change):

enoughalready45 said...

Dear EX-SKF Blogger,

Someone posted a comment in Japanese on the ENENews website. The google translation of it is confusing. Could you translate it? It is short but I feel this person is trying to say someting of some urgency. Here is the link to the comment.
Thanks if you can translate, understand if you are too busy with your own site.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

I haven't a clue what this person is writing about. It uses Japanese characters but it is totally incomprehensible as Japanese. No Japanese would write like that. The original must be English that went through google translation and morphed into strange Japanese. If you google translate back it becomes the translation that the 2nd post from this strange post mentions.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

By the way, that ENENEWS article supposedly quoting Gendai Net is rather misleading. The original Gendai article clearly says the highest radioactivity was measured on the pile of dead leaves, not the soil.

Atomfritz said...

Now the health consequences of the accident can finally no longer be denied.

I could imagine that it's well in the interest of some leading powers in Japan to ridicule these effects of the radiation by any means.

Now, as these bad news are being burnt by sensationalistic press, so people might only listen superficially when the true details and the true extent will come to light in the near future.

Cui bono?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

>I could imagine that it's well in the interest of some leading powers in Japan to ridicule these effects of the radiation by any means.

Atomfritz, I am afraid this reporter for Shukan Bunshun did a great disservice by doing what she did.

Anonymous said...

Actually the enews article quotes Fukushima diary and that did not mention soil or leaves.
Then it shows a google translation of Gendai which says "it was the highest concentration of CESIUM SOIL at the entrance of 'Sha bird watching', the fallen leaves". Highest concentration of cesium soil?
Also, both Fukushima Diary and Gendai seem to compare the levels to Chernobyl which is based on soil contamination, no?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Google translation is not famous for accurate translation.


Cesium concentration of soil and fallen leaves at the entrance of the bird watching house was the highest.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

See my latest post for soil/leaves cesium level in Mizumoto Park in Tokyo.

kintaman said...


You have been performing an honorable task with this blog for us all (even before 3.11). If you do not mind me asking, do you have any plan or ideas to leave Japan? Is this something you would consider given the spread of contamination (food, water, air, etc) and the deceit by the government and media?

Anonymous said...

You might be interested in this article written in the past by our man Shunichi Yamashita:

Summary and conclusion

Today, 20 years after the Chernobyl accident, the large increase in thyroid cancer incidence among those exposed in childhood and adolescence continues. In contrast, no clearly demonstrated increase in the incidence of other cancers can be attributed to radiation exposure from the accident (28). Although radiation-induced thyroid cancer is a well-recognized medical phenomenon based on wide-ranged epidemiological studies, molecular signature(s) and other details of papillary thyroid cancer remain to be further clarified to pinpoint differential diagnostic criteria not only in childhood and adult thyroid cancers but also in radiation-induced and sporadic cancers (29). The latest study in Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb survivors in Japan has indicated that a biological effect from a single brief external exposure to ionizing radiation nearly 60 years in the past still occurs and can be detected (30). In childhood, once exposed even to low doses of ionizing radiation, either externally or internally, the cancer-prone cell damage within the thyroid gland can be preserved for a long time. Today, special attention should be paid to a high risk group of individuals who have been exposed to radioactive iodines just after the Chernobyl accident and who are now 20 to 30 year-old. Elucidation of the molecular mechanisms of radiation-induced thyroid cancer is expected to contribute to the disease prevention and treatment in the coming future.

Anonymous said...

It is totally unacceptable and outmost shocking that Dr. Damashita tries to hide these and even goes so far as to complain. The public should ask for his head to be cut with dramatic anger, and so does the press. This is really similar to auswitch and the german trying to hide it. I feel really disgusted by it, but also by the "everything as usual" by the Japanese. North Korean could accept something like this.

Anonymous said...

How about YOU stick your head in a wood chipper and die instead.

Anonymous said...

In three months, my daughter received enough low-level radiation from Chernobyl to have thyroid cancer in her late 20's. Its outside the thyroid, and was considered VERY large tumor at over 4mm in size. NOW, I read about a 8MM tumor in a child. This is tragic! Life is not normal after the thyroid is removed! And because so few children in the 4-7 yr age HAVE thyroid cancer, the knowledge of HOW to treat them with replacement thryiod medications is a problem. The children can get very over-weight, and growth may be affected, as well as the ability to have children. If treated with radioactive materials to determine the spread of the disease, they could be at risk simply because they have already had high levels of radiation. My heart goes out the victims, both the children and the families. Will Japan/TEPCO pay for the long time care these children will need. The count could be in the millions of radiated people, children!

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

I've just exercised my duty as site admin to remove an all-cap troll. Let me know if any of you for any reason want him/her back.

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