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Psychosocial Impacts

The mission of the Psychosocial Impacts Working Group is to address the psychosocial impacts of the March 11 earthquake/tsunami & nuclear accident on health.

Working Group email address:  ***@***.***


Kathy Gilbeaux Maeryn Obley mdmcdonald Samuel Bendett

Email address for group

Shunned Japanese Fukushima Plant Workers Face Emotional Toll

submitted by Samuel Bendett

ABC News - by DR. TIFFANY CHAO and DR. SHARI BARNETT - August 15, 2012

The March 2011 earthquake that triggered plant explosions and a meltdown in a Japanese nuclear power plant caused a chain reaction in the psyche of the workers at this plant, making them more vulnerable to emotional stress from perceived discrimination shortly after the disaster, according to a new study.

Researchers behind the study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, administered a questionnaire to two sets of power plant workers in May and June of 2011. One group was from the Daiichi plant, where the major meltdown occurred, while the other was from the Daini nuclear power plant, which exhibited some damage but remained mostly intact.


JAMA - Psychological Distress in Workers at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plants

Antinuclear rally draws 170,000 people at central Tokyo park

Anti-nuclear protesters carry "No nukes" banners during a march in Tokyo, Monday, July 16, 2012. Image: Anti-nuclear protesters carry "No nukes" banners during a march in Tokyo, Monday, July 16, 2012. Tens of thousands of people gathered at a Tokyo park, demanding “Sayonara,” or goodbye, to nuclear power as Japan prepares to restart yet another reactor, and expressed outrage over a report that blamed culture on the Fukushima disaster. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara) - July 16th, 2012

An anti-nuclear power plant rally called for by a group led by Nobel literature laureate Kenzaburo Oe and other celebrities drew a crowd of around 170,000 people Monday at Tokyo's Yoyogi Park, according to organizers.

At the assembly held under a scorching sun, dubbed "100,000 People's Assembly to say Goodbye to Nuclear Power Plants," journalist Satoshi Kamata said at the opening event, "We want to bring an end to nuclear power plants immediately."

Health Uncertainties Torment Japanese in Nuke Zone

submitted by Samuel Bendett


Japan Chair Platform: Reflections on Health Reconstruction in Japan after 3-11

submitted by Linton Wells

By J. Stephen Morrison

Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS)

Dec 7, 2011



Youths of Fukushima Wonder Whether to Stay or Leave

by Christopher Johnson - The Washington Times - September 25, 2011

FUKUSHIMA, JapanKo Saito is in his final year of high school in Fukushima and sees a bleak future for his native province.

“I am very scared of the radiation,” the 18-year-old said while waiting with friends near the city’s train station. They discussed whether to stay or leave a region devastated by the meltdown of a nuclear power plant that was crippled by a killer tsunami six months ago.

“I want to be tested [for radiation levels] to know more about my true physical condition, but they are not doing that yet,” he said. “I want to go to Sendai, because I fear radiation levels in Fukushima are higher than they are saying.”

Mr. Saito reflects the fears of teenagers throughout Fukushima. They want to know more about the real risks of radiation in their home province and don’t always believe official statements about the situation at the reactors.

Stress Levels Rise in Rattled Japan

By the CNN Wire Staff
April 13, 2011 11:29 a.m. EDT

Tokyo (CNN) -- The words "Ganbaro Nippon" -- "Be strong, Japan" -- shine down on the nation's capital nightly from the soaring steel of the landmark Tokyo Tower.

But a society known worldwide for its culture of stoicism has been knocked a bit off balance by the one-two punch of a massive earthquake and a nuclear disaster, according to both ordinary residents and experts. Andrew Grimes, a clinical psychologist working in Japan, said the events and their literal and figurative aftershocks have had "a severe effect on people's sense of security."

"It's uncharted territory to some extent," Grimes said. "But I think the mental health aspect is already with us, and it's going to stay with us for a while."

And Junichi Onodera, the director of a badly damaged hospital in northern Japan, said the disaster's psychological scars will linger longer than the current crises.

Health Implications in the Aftermath of Japan’s Crisis: Mental Health, Radiation Risks, and the Importance of Continued Surveillance

Subject: RE: Japan Recovery: One Month Update


Dr. McDonald,
I work with Dr. Wells on the TIDES Project and have followed Japan-related discussion threads. Your arguments about mental health of the affected population are valid and timely. I have recently come across the following  information and thought it would be of use to you and your colleagues
Sam Bendett

Samuel Bendett
Center for Technology and National Security Policy
National Defense University

Video - Doctor Warns of 'Emotional Fallout' After Japan Disaster

BBC NEWS Asia - Pacific - April 7, 2011

An earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.1, has hit the north-east coast of Japan and put the region on high alert, triggering a tsunami warning which was lifted after 90 minutes.

A doctor has warned of a complicated "emotional fallout" for children following repeated aftershocks and problems at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Dr Unni Krishnan, from charity Plan International, said it is important that children and parents are provided with psychosocial care and emotional support. 

Japan Nuclear Crisis: Radiation Spike Detected Outside Evacuation Zone

March 31, 2011

Japanese officials are testing the soil contaminated by radiation from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to try to determine whether spring farming can begin as alarmingly high radiation levels were detected outside the evacuation zone today.

"As a ratio, it was about two times higher" than levels at which the agency recommends evacuations," International Atomic Energy Agency Official Elena Buglova said at a news conference.

Separately, the amount of iodine found in seawater near the plant has reached a new high; 4,385 times the legal limit. Officials said earlier this week that dangerous plutonium was found in soil near the reactors.

Residents within 12 miles of the nuclear plant were evacuated after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami knocked out the reactor's cooling system March 11.


Highly radioactive water leaks from Japanese nuclear plant

 Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:10am EDT

 TOKYO (Reuters) - Highly radioactive water has leaked from a reactor at Japan's crippled nuclear complex, the plant's operator said on Monday, while environmental group Greenpeace said it had detected high levels of radiation outside an exclusion zone.

 Reflecting growing unease about efforts to control the six-reactor Fukushima Daiichi complex, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (9501.T) (TEPCO) had appealed to French companies for help, the Kyodo news agency said.

The plant, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, was damaged in a March 11 earthquake and tsunami that left more than 28,000 people dead or missing across northeastern Japan.

Fires, explosions and radiation leaks have repeatedly forced engineers to suspend efforts to stabilize the plant, including on Sunday when radiation levels spiked to 100,000 times above normal in water inside reactor No. 2.


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