Monday, November 05, 2012

The mothers and their children (part 2 of 6)

This morning I met Mrs. Shima.  She had invited several other mothers over to her home to share with me their situations and the thyroid test results for their children.  Mrs. Shima showed me the thyroid ultrasound for her daughter Shuri, 11.  The government-sponsored test revealed her daughter had NO thyroid cysts, but she went to a private hospital to seek a second opinion.  She was told her daughter in fact DOES have thyroid cysts.  In both tests, it was discovered that her son Kaito, 13, also has thyroid cysts.

The mothers showed me the results of the "glass badge" radiation monitors that their children wear around their necks.  The results are supposed to show the TOTAL monthly radiation exposure for each child.   However, the government  has SUBTRACTED from the total exposure rate the natural environment radiation levels.  In addition, Mrs. Kanno told me that when her daughter Mifuyu had an X-ray for an unrelated problem, she was told to REMOVE the "glass badge" radiation monitor.  Mrs. Kanno argued that the monitor should remain on her daughter so it could accurately reflect her TOTAL radiation exposure, but the hospital staff removed the monitor from around Mifuyu's neck.

Koutarou Sugano, 9, wears a mask and a "glass badge" radiation monitor last month.
After school ended, their children joined us.  It was a pleasure to meet and talk with the kids.  Like children in every country around the world, they have hopes and dreams and ambitions.  

"I want to be a train conductor!"
"I want to own a flower shop."
"I just want to be able to play outside again."

Mrs. Oyama worries for her son Yoshihiki, 11.  Her daughter Nozomi, 17, has been found to have thyroid cysts.

Mrs. Kanno's two children, daughter Yuika, 10, and son Naoki, 11, were both found to have no thyroid cysts in the government-sponsored test.  When she went to the private hospital Mrs. Shima recommended for a second opinion, she was told that the hospital had received a directive from the national government to stop providing tests for children it had deemed had no thyroid cysts.  Mrs. Kanno was refused a second thyroid test for her children.

Mrs. Shima's daughter Shuri, 11, has thyroid cysts.  Her son, Kaito, 13, was also found to have thyroid cysts.

Mrs. Tsuda's son Naoki, 11, has thyroid cysts.  Her daughter Yuika, 10, has so many thyroid cysts the doctor could not count them all (!).

We didn't only talk about thyroid cysts.  We laughed and joked around, had coffee and cake, told stories and the kids asked me lots of questions about America.  It was such a pleasure to meet these wonderful people!  And although it may sound strange under the circumstances, we actually had fun... which makes this all the more heart-breaking.


Anonymous said...

God bless them.. This is really sad. Shame on TEPCO.

Anonymous said...

Where do these families live inside Japan? Are they close to Fukushima? Far north? Far south?

I understand that Japanese families are very protective about what content is posted on the internet about them, but can you mention what region they are in?

Ian Thomas Ash said...

Anonymous, sorry for the confusion- I guess I should put the location in each of the parts rather than in just part one. This week I am working in Fuskushima City and Date City, roughly 50-60 km from the damaged nuclear power plant. It's outside the evacuation zone, but directly in the north-west path the radiation traveled after the explosion. Thank you for reading and for your comment- I'll try to make it more clear in each post so that people don't have to read them all in order for them to make sense.

Majia's Blog said...

Fantastic work.

Ian I am writing a book on Fukushima. I wonder whether I might use one of your photos, with your permission and with due credit.

I'm including a brief discussion of your work on the thyroid test results.

you can contact me at

Majia Nadesan

Anonymous said...

If i have the situation your in and iam since we also have Radiation here in canada from Fukushima i take 1/2 tp baking soda in a tall glass of water .i check my Ph level around 7 also here is another site

God bless

ayumi said...

why does the government won't allow the hospitals to give second opinions to the parents whos kids are sick??

is thyroid cyst curable???

God bless these kids.


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