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Call for a new epidemiological approach to disaster response
  1. Michio Murakami1,
  2. Shuhei Nomura2,3,
  3. Masaharu Tsubokura4,5
  1. 1 Department of Health Risk Communication, Fukushima Medical University School of Medicine, Fukushima, Japan
  2. 2 Department of Global Health Policy, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
  3. 3 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UK
  4. 4 Department of Radiation Protection, Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, Minamisoma, Japan
  5. 5 Department of Radiation Protection, Soma Central Hospital, Soma, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michio Murakami, Department of Health Risk Communication, Fukushima Medical University School of Medicine, Fukushima 960-1295, Japan; michio{at}

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Approximately 7 years has passed since Japan’s 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station accident, triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and the subsequent huge tsunami. This was the world’s worst nuclear accident since Ukraine’s 1986 Chernobyl accident. The radiation exposure attributable to the accident is limited to a lifetime effective dose of ~30 mSv.1 In Fukushima, as at Chernobyl and other nuclear disasters, radiological measures for individuals—whole-body counter (WBC) testing, personal dosimetry and thyroid examination testing—have been implemented, with different ‘nudge’ design in testing measures.2 For WBC testing, adults are voluntarily tested (opt-in; ‘not get tested’ is the default selection and ‘get tested’ is a choice). In contrast, thyroid ultrasound examination, offered in every school, is designed for children to participate as the default (opt-out; ‘get tested’ is the default selection and ‘not get tested’ is an option). Further, personal dosimetry, administered by local authorities, was initially required as the default …

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  • Contributor MM designed the study and drafted the article. All authors reviewed and edited the article.

  • Funding This work was supported by the Program of the network-type Joint Usage/Research Center for Radiation Disaster Medical Science of Hiroshima University, Nagasaki University and Fukushima Medical University.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.