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Comprehensive Health Risk Management after the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Accident.


Five years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake and the subsequent Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident on 11 March 2011. Countermeasures aimed at human protection during the emergency period, including evacuation, sheltering and control of the food chain were implemented in a timely manner by the Japanese Government. However, there is an apparent need for improvement, especially in the areas of nuclear safety and protection, and also in the management of radiation health risk during and even after the accident. Continuous monitoring and characterisation of the levels of radioactivity in the environment and foods in Fukushima are now essential for obtaining informed consent to the decisions on living in the radio-contaminated areas and also on returning back to the evacuated areas once re-entry is allowed; it is also important to carry out a realistic assessment of the radiation doses on the basis of measurements. Until now, various types of radiation health risk management projects and research have been implemented in Fukushima, among which the Fukushima Health Management Survey is the largest health monitoring project. It includes the Basic Survey for the estimation of external radiation doses received during the first 4 months after the accident and four detailed surveys: thyroid ultrasound examination, comprehensive health check-up, mental health and lifestyle survey, and survey on pregnant women and nursing mothers, with the aim to prospectively take care of the health of all the residents of Fukushima Prefecture for a long time. In particular, among evacuees of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident, concern about radiation risk is associated with psychological stresses. Here, ongoing health risk management will be reviewed, focusing on the difficult challenge of post-disaster recovery and resilience in Fukushima.