Japanese Government Admits Fukushima Worker Has Cancer

Health Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki at news conference

Yesterday, the Japanese Health Ministry made its first admission that a worker at the Fukushima nuclear plant developed cancer as a decontamination worker after the 2011 disaster.

The man, unnamed by the ministry, worked at the damaged plant for over a year, during which time he was exposed to 19.8 millisieverts of radiation, four times the exposure limit the Japanese government sets as safe. The worker has contracted from leukemia.

A Fukushima Daiichi engineer, Masao Yoshida, also contracted esophageal cancer after the disaster and died in 2013 – but TEPCO refused to accept responsibility, insisting that the cancer developed too quickly.

Three other Fukushima workers have also contracted cancer but have yet to have their cases assessed.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster followed the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. Three of the reactors on the site melted down sending clouds of deadly radiation into the atmosphere following a hydrogen explosion.  Inspections have found nuclear fuel  melted through the steel reactor vessels and sunk into the concrete foundations.

Charles Gannon and Dallas Brincrest

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