The dead bodies in the exclusion zone of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident and their treatment: ずくなしの冷や水


The dead bodies in the exclusion zone of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident and their treatment

The original blogpost has been largely shortened by the translator. For more information please refer to the article in Japanese 「東京電力福島第一原子力発電所災害に係る避難指示区域内の御遺体の取扱について」. Translated by W. Crane.

June 11, 2016

An article published by Kyodo News on March 31, 2011 immediately raised a lot of attention at the time. It was titled Hundreds to up to a thousand dead bodies within the 20 km radius evacuation zone in Fukushima. “May have been contaminated after death” say police.

Some articles in English followed, such as this one by the Rediff News on the same day:

Japan: Radiation fears leaves bodies rotting, PM for scrapping N-plant

The fear of being affected by radiation has prevented authorities from collecting around 1,000 bodies of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami victims from within the 20-kilometer-radius evacuation zone near the troubled Fukushima nuclear plant.

The Kyodo news agency quoted a local police source as saying that said bodies had been ''Exposed to high levels of radiation after death.'' On Sunday, high levels of radiation were detected on a body found in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, about 5 km from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

The authorities are now reportedly trying to figure out other ways to collect the bodies over fears that police officers, doctors and even family members may be exposed to radiation in their attempt to recover the dead bodies.

They also raised concerns that even after handing over the bodies to relatives, the cremation process could spread further radioactive materials. High levels of radiation detected on the Okuma town victim last Sunday had forced local police to give up on retrieving the body.

''''Measures that can be taken vary depending on the level of radiation, so there need to be professionals who can control radiation. One option is to take decontamination vehicles there and decontaminate the bodies one by one,'''' an expert on treating people exposed to radiation said.

Or this article in the Japan Times on April 1, 2016:

Hundreds of corpses believed irradiated, inaccessible

Radiation is preventing the retrieval of hundreds of bodies from inside the 20-km evacuation zone around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, police sources said Thursday.

Based on initial reports after the March 11 catastrophe, the number of bodies is estimated at between a few hundred and 1,000, one of the sources said, adding that high radiation is now hampering full-scale searches.

That view was supported by the Sunday find of high radiation levels on a body found in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, 5 km from the plant.

The rescuers are now in a bind. Even if they retrieve the bodies, anyone who comes into contact with them risks being irradiated, too, whether they’re in the evacuation zone or not.

And if the bodies are cremated, the smoke could spread radioactive materials as well, the sources said. Even burial poses a problem. When the bodies decompose, they might contaminate the soil with radioactive materials.

Authorities are considering decontaminating and inspecting the bodies where they are found, but the sources said cleansing the decomposing bodies could damage them further.

A follow up article was published on May 20 in the Kahoku Shinpo reporting that the above mentioned body was finally collected on April 1 and sent to Minamisoma city where it was diagnosed to have died of illness. No external wound was found on the body. The tsunami is ruled out of cause here completely.

The body found in Okuma

Google Earth as of 2011/3/19

In the original article in Japanese by Kyodo News, it is described that the contamination of the body that was found in Okuma was over the detection limit of the dosimeter, which is 100.000 cpm.

In an official letter discussing what to do with all the contaminated bodies (the title of this blog post comes from this letter) the Nuclear Safety Commission says that the air dose rate of 10 μSv/h at 1 m distance from the body could be considered the equivalent of a surface contamination of 100.000 cpm. It also says that in that case the clothes have to be removed from the body before treating it because such a surface contamination is enough to cause secondary irradiation to the treating person.

If the clothes have been contaminated by a plume then the inside of the lungs must have been contaminated as well.

And this area was indeed hit by such a dense plume. The spot where the body was found was hit by a plume above 10 μSv/h first on March 13, followed by waves far higher than this (up to almost 100μSv/h, nearly 300 times the US army’s evacuation limit) on March 14 and 15. Just imagine breathing the air that was so radioactive that it contaminated the clothes so much as to cause secondary radiation.


In the case of the people in Okuma town it would appear most likely that they died from inhaling the radiation, most probably iodine gas that was released first. But the industry, the regulators and the scientists mysteriously remain quiet about the fatal dose of when one is exposed to radiation internally. Otherwise what can be the explanation for the sudden deaths of several hundred people in a sparsely populated area? When even official sources state they were not earthquake or tsunami victims?

Maybe I am the only one but I cannot help thinking that these people whose bodies ended up being cremated and buried without identification are crying out silently that it is time to clear the real cause of their deaths. May their souls rest in peace.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 22:52| Comment(5) | 福島原発事故
Posted by な か む at 2016年07月12日 00:14
はい ありがとうございます。訳者がとても苦労して仕上げてくれました。元記事よりずっと分かりやすくなっています。
Posted by ずくなし at 2016年07月12日 00:35
Posted by な か む at 2016年07月13日 00:57
訳者 W.Crane.さんは、ほかの記事も訳してくれています。書いたものの感じが似てきているとしたら、訳者が喜ぶか、がっくり来るか、うーん、分かりません。
Posted by ずくなし at 2016年07月13日 01:12
Posted by FukushimaWatch at 2016年08月10日 19:18
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