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Thyroid cancer

Thyroid cancer cases rise near Fukushima as schoolchildren flee radiation

Thursday, May 01, 2014 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: thyroid cancer, Fukushima, schoolchildren

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(NaturalNews) Disillusioned by the government's questionable position on radiation dangers throughout the region, many Japanese families living in and around the Fukushima prefecture where a large nuclear power station sustained three full meltdowns back in 2011 are deciding to send their children away to greener, safer pastures.

Associated Press (AP) reporter Yuri Kageyama reports that many families living within the so-called "no-go zone," which covers a six-mile radius surrounding the plant, are not so sure that their children are safe there. At least 33 children throughout the region have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer since the Fukushima disaster, and many more are suffering from other symptoms possibly caused by radiation.

This is why Yukie Hashimoto and her husband decided to send their 12-year-old daughter 200 miles away to a resort town in central Japan. Concerned that the girl might eventually develop symptoms from perpetual exposure to low-dose radiation, the Hashimotos decided to take advantage of an offer by the town's mayor to take in, educate and care for young Fukushima refugees.

"The low-dose radiation is continuing," stated Hashimoto to reporters about the decision. "There is no precedent. We don't know what effect that will have on our children."

Local leader says radiation levels four times higher around Fukushima than after Chernobyl

And the Hashimotos aren't alone. The families of at least seven other children near Fukushima have reportedly decided to do the same thing to protect their children from long-term harm. This comes as local leader Katsutaka Idogawa, former mayor of Futaba, a town near Fukushima, recently issued a warning about radiation levels near Fukushima being four times higher than they were near Chernobyl.

"It is by no means safe, no matter what the government says," he is quoted saying to RT.com.

Many residents in the area feel the same way, having expressed concerns about the validity of government reassurances that radiation levels are too low to be harmful. If recent radiation readings are any indication, it is clear that things are hardly as rosy as the world is being led to believe.

"I didn't really believe things are as safe as the government is telling us," Hashimoto said to AP reporters. "We made our decision with her future, 10 years and 20 years later, in mind."

Thyroid-cancer-surgeon-turned-mayor to care for refugee children

In Matsumoto, the ski town where their daughter and a handful of others have now been sent, the children will receive an education and be cared for by local families. If complications should arise from earlier radiation exposure, the children will have access to the town's mayor, a medical doctor who previously performed more than 100 thyroid cancer surgeries following Chernobyl.

"If my fears turn out to be unfounded, nothing would be better news," stated Akira Sugenoya, the mayor in question, to the AP last fall when he first announced taking in refugee children living near Fukushima. "But if they become reality, then there is little time before it's too late."

For the Hashimotos, not everyone in the family is necessarily on board with this precautionary measure. The young girl's older brother and grandmother both think her relocation is extreme, and she herself is worried about her leaving her six-year-old brother behind, since he is too young to be accepted into the program. But at the end of the day, her parents are certain that the decision is sound.

"The bottom line is: No one knows for sure," stated Hiroshi Ueki, a former Fukushima resident who moved with his wife and two children to Matsumoto to lead the project. "What we do know is that the cases of cancer are up, and so naturally we are worried."

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