From “Black Rain” to “Fukushima”: The Urgency of Internal Exposure Studies via Japan Focus

Masuda Yoshinobu
Translated by Sakai Yasuyuki and Steve Leeper
Internal exposure has become a major public concern as a result of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster. Hiroshima’s “black rain” was the first event that revealed the significance of internal exposure. I began working on the black rain problem in 1985 after meeting Mr. Murakami Tsuneyuki, then Director General of Hiroshima “Black Rain” A-Bomb Sufferers Organization. But let me tell the story from the beginning.
On March 1, 1954, the US tested a hydrogen bomb on the Bikini Atoll with one thousand times the destructive power of the Hiroshima A-bomb. A Japanese tuna fishing boat, the Lucky Dragon # 5, was caught in the path of the fallout, and Kuboyama Aikichi, the radiotelegraph operator, died as a result. Meteorological researchers at that time found that pressure waves were recorded on barographs in meteorological observatories throughout Japan. They found that nuclear tests can be detected by analyzing the changes in pressure waves. That year, I contributed a paper to the journal of the Japan Meteorological Society, suggesting that a nuclear blast ejecting atomic dust high into the atmosphere could cause climate change. In fact, cold weather in June and July that year resulted in crop failure in northern Japan.

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