Health Exams for Victims of Nuclear Power Plant Disaster
Need for continuous health support


The Japanese Red Cross Society has been conducting medical examinations of the people from Namie Town staying in Iwaki City. This is part of the day-to-day support it is providing for the victims who have been evacuated from the area of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. These examinations have revealed that many of the evacuees have health problems such as high blood pressure and sleeping difficulty caused by stress resulting from the change in living circumstances.

The health examinations started in October 2012 upon the request of the Namie Town officials. A nurse from the Red Cross Hospital and a nursing officer from the Japanese Red Cross Nursing College paired up and visited the devastated area. They have been providing mental care support as well identifying the various health problems.

As of March 31 of this year, 248 of the 1044 households that evacuated from Namie Town to Iwaki City had been visited. Including fact-finding by phone, 649 of the households have been surveyed.

Most of the evacuated families live in rental apartments. This means that they have few opportunities to get together, which makes it difficult for them to build a community. There are many cases in which families live apart from other evacuated families, so they don’t have anyone with whom they can easily talk. They are worried about child-care and education and face such problems as isolation in child-rearing and refusal-to-go-to-school syndrome. The change in their everyday circumstances has resulted in a decrease in physical exercise, leading to weight increase and high blood pressure. A number of evacuees suffer from depression and sleeping difficulty due to stress.

The Japanese Red Cross Society will continue providing health support to these evacuees until September of this year. Between the regular health exams, fact-finding is conducted on the spot. These casual conversations are another way of providing mental care support.