|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
The link between cancer and nuclear power stations
Shukan Playboy 11/22 By Takeshi Ito
“The number of cancer patients seems to be increasing in an area facing Wakasa Bay.”
Based on this piece of second-hand information and the fact that this area north of Kyoto hosts as many as 15 nuclear reactors in operation,Shukan Playboy probes the link between nuclear power generation plants and local residents ailing health.
The report,the first in a series based on an extensive on-site survey conducted by the magazine's special investigative team, opens with what one local informant told a freelance journalist who visited Tsuriga City,Fukui Prefecture,earlier this year:“For the last few years,we have seen a prominent rise in the number of people who fall victim to thyroid cancer and leukemia in our Reinan region,a part of Fukui Prefecture facing Wakasa Bay.
I have heard many rumors.
In fact,three of my superiors at work had operations to treat thyroid cancer during the last six months.
“Many people who live around here know at least one or two people among their immediate family,friends or neighbors who have died of leukemia.
There are also many children who suffer Down Syndrome around here.
These are serious issues but the media has chosen to ignore the claims.”
Determined to be the first one to cover the alleged high cancer rate, Shukan Playboy takes a cautious approach to this alarming problem and devotes a fair proportion of the first installment to see how it can prove something is amiss.
The first method,the magazine tries in vain,is an interview with a doctor who told the aforementioned informant that the number of new leukemia patients in 68,000-resident Tsuruga City equals that in 1,170,000-resident Fukui Prefecture per year.
Unable to even identify this doctor,Shukan Playboy studies an entirely different source - population statistics compiled by the Health and Welfare Ministry.
According to this data,the rate of leukemia occurrence in the Reinan region including Tsuruga City was 1.51 times the national average last year.
This figure seems to suggest something,notes Shukan Playboy,but it is far from sufficient proof.
The magazine then visits Fukui Medical School where the majority of leukemia patients in Fukui Prefecture are sent for treatment.
In the magazine's interview with a local medical specialist, Professor Toru Nakamura says as a matter-of-factly,“In the Reinan region, I get the impression we may have a few leukemia patients more than the average.”
But he adds,“we have no data to support the impression.”
Encouraged by Nakamura's comment,the Shukan Playboy team decides to visit all the 1,141 households located within a radius of 10 kilometers of the oldest reactor in the region to gather health-related data firsthand.
The first installment ends there ,saying that the magazine will report its frightening results in the following issue.
This report may appear a little thin on substance.
But it was arousing enough for Fukui Gov.Yukio Kurita.
He demanded that the magazine run a correction soon after the edition hit stores last week.(TI)