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Gov't says no to free medical care for children under 18 in Fukushima

75 Comments

Disaster Reconstruction Minister Tatsuo Hirano told Fukushima Gov Yuhei Sato on Saturday that the central government cannot afford to pay for free medical care for children aged 18 or younger in the prefecture.

Sato had made the request when he met Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Jan 8. At that time, Noda responded that the health and welfare of residents in the disaster-hit region was his government’s top priority.

Hirano told Sato that it would not be possible to change the nation's health care system to allow children in Fukushima Prefecture to be exempt from health insurance payments, NHK reported. He said that all prefectures have to be treated equally.

Hirano also said that it would be difficult over time to determine which injuries and illnesses were directly related to the nuclear accident.

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This stupid Japanese government is BEHIND the mess up there in Fukushima and now these same corrupt, lazy good for nothing PARASITES have the gall, have the nerve to tell the victims of Fukushima that they also have to pay for the stupidity of this idiotic government lack of vision to have closed down the Fukushima plants when they were told to close them down by nuclear experts more than 10 years ago??

25 ( +22 / -1 )

absolutely clueless on priority . Children are your future, helloooooooooooooooo ??

22 ( +20 / -0 )

I don't think the system would have to be changed so much. Charges would be assessed normally. When the child goes to pay, though, the bill should be sent to the appropriate fed office for payment. This would also allow the government to apologize in a real way for allowing the problems at Fukushima to occur, and continue to be a risk, under its watch. It would be a huge price to pay, but would have a potentially huge impact on restoring trust.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

After 20 years in this culture, I am totally NOT surprised by this story. Disgusted, yes.

19 ( +18 / -0 )

The Fukushima Prefectural government will pay for the medical care at a cost of 9 billion yen per year.

Moderator: That has not been decided yet.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ok, the govt has shirked responsibility - no shock there.

Now, set up a voluntary fund that has shares of contribution matching the amount of money the company, organisation, political party, consumer has benefited from nuclear energy, TEPCO ties, cheap electricity, here is the twist - set the rates and then any party who refuses must state its reasons, apply publicly to be exempt, meet with the families of the children etc.

that will allow to work out exactly which companies, organisations etc. to boycott in the future - name and shame them.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

The way it looks to me, The Japanese government is waiting for a whole lot of people to die before that actually make a positive move to improve peoples lives. It seems to me that the Japanese government is using the people in Fukushima as guinea pigs to see what the effects are from being contaminated my a daily dosage of radiation.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Thats surprising. I mean, they can pay for a ton of useless construction projects which I am sure cost much more than treating kids in Fukushima to 18 for free.

It seems to me that the Japanese government is using the people in Fukushima as guinea pigs to see what the effects are from being contaminated my a daily dosage of radiation.

Alladin - I would put money on this having been suggested in a government office in a meeting somewhere but it will never be proven - no minutes!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Excuses and bull$&;&...of course it would be possible to make the appropriate changes to the health system in order to administer it...and as farmboy says says it wouldn't be rocket science to make it so....It would however take a lot of money away that they otherwise could use for their buddie's white elephant project's , amakudari salaries and all the other stupid waste of public funds that continues to go on unabated even after . You guys said it - disgusting and another new low for J-politics...

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Yet another example of precisely how deeply the concept of Kizuna truly resonates in this society.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I myself live in Fukushima. I have no future in my life. So let it be.

0 ( +3 / -4 )

I am disgusted by this political decision, not because of Fukishima, but in what I passionately believe. That all children worldwide should be given free medical care and free education up until they reach 18. Children are the worlds future. Children need the love,care and protection of their parents,teachers,doctors,social workers and the laws that protect children "The rights of the child" We al(adults) fail the children time and again. The politicians,the rich and powerful and religion, they are the ones who can make this possible,they are the ones who should feel guilty. I've said enough, just that this article sparked an angry nerve.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

One of the richest countries in the world??? Shame on you.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

what an appalling statement. Please Japan, stand up for your suffering children.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

I realize the Japanese health insurance system is more like the USA than those in other countries with healthcare systems paid for by taxes. In other countries the decision to deny children healthcare is never made. I simply can't imagine

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Another slap in th face from government suits who clearly see themselves as superior to the general Japanese population. And what has been the indignant response? A handful of obaasans camping in front of MITI offices. Japanese have become so completely beaten down that I dare say North Koreans would muster more resistance to their masters.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

No free medical care means the government never takes responsibilities of the radiation leaks and possible in the future. As a result, such irresponsible Government and Power company should not have built nuclear power plants in the first place. it seems that they are not qualified to build such plants.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

And yet there's no end to the tax revenue the government is willing to throw at yet another failed Olympic bid. It's good to see it illustrated in such explicit terms - we, the people are held in utter contempt by our overlords.

This place is a feudal kharzi.

6 ( +7 / -2 )

No medical care, no extended unemployment benefits, no, no, no

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Those kids should immigrate to Australia - they will get it free there. Has Japan become an American state?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

That all children worldwide should be given free medical care and free education up until they reach 18. Children are the worlds future.

I agree. But...

it would not be possible to change the nation's health care system to allow children in Fukushima Prefecture to be exempt from health insurance payments

I can understand that the national government cannot exempt Fukushima prefecture only. It's wrong to make boarder lines between prefectures toward radiation dispersion from Fukushima Daiichi plant. Some areas outside Fukushima prefecture (Tokatsu area in Chiba prefecture, for example) are more radiated than some areas in Fukushima prefecture. Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima, the radiation level is 0.05~0.15 microSV/h. Kashiwa, Chiba, the radiation level is 0.43~0.59 microSV/h. Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture is affected. Shizuoka prefecture is also affected. If the national government allow children in Fukushima prefecture to be exempt, it would be unfair to children in other prefectures.

Again, I think all children should be given free medical care in the first place.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

PS - you can rest assured the pampered children of the grubs of all parties sitting in the Diet have 100% coverage for all medical costs. A disgrace there is such a gap between the have and have-nots here - sadly even extending to children.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I thought the prefecture government had sated, following 3/11 nuclear disaster, that it would provide free medicals for 30 years to all those exposed to radiation?

Free health care for all children, not just in Fukushima.

Investing in children, is investing in the future.

12 ( +11 / -0 )

Worth 3min of your time About the children in the area

http://m.youtube.com/index?desktop_uri=%2F&gl=AU#/watch?v=r2dghS1otAw

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I thought it was already free kids up to 16! No?! So they can start providing 24 hour care for the old folks but nothing for these kids. Messed up priorities!!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I'm going to agree with the Govt on this one - so thanks in advance for all the negative votes :-)

Free medical care for all children - or even all people - sounds great in principle, but imagine how huge the demand would be. The current system here seems like a good compromise to me - it is usually easy to get medical care without much wait (compare to the "free" UK) and yet the prices are very modest compared to the USA. Yes, I have first-hand experience in all three countries. Of course you can find horror stories anywhere in the world.

And it's not like the negligible radiation threat changes the equation - it is well known that unnecessary testing has its own downsides, in the form of over-treatment, stress and worry, and a diversion of resources from where they would be better employed.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I actually agree with the government's decision and for the reasons stated. Giving all children in Fukushima free health care is certainly unfair because they would be able to claim free health care for hundreds of ailments that have nothing to do with the nuclear accident. A child who breaks his leg playing soccer, gets the flu, has a toothache and so on would be getting free health care, while millions of other children around Japan would not be able to.

Now if there were free health care for all children in Japan, that would be different.

-4 ( +2 / -7 )

thought it was already free kids up to 16! No?! So they can start providing 24 hour care for the old folks but nothing for these kids. Messed up priorities!!

Agree. According to Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry, the government spends 19 times more money on the elderly than on children.

thought the prefecture government had sated, following 3/11 nuclear disaster, that it would provide free medicals for 30 years to all those exposed to radiation?

I remember he said that. Maybe he meant he would ask the national government to provide free medicals. I don't understand this Fukushima governor. He is the one who asked PM Kan to increase the maximum radiation exposure for Fukushima school children from 1 millisievert/h to 20 millisievert/h. He received SPEEDI data in the evening of 3.11 through e-mail and fax, but he ignored it because he said there is no scientific proof. He is the one who approved plutonium-thermal reactors and received 6 billion yen nuclear fuel recycling grant, plus grant under power source siting laws... I can go on and on...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The government gives out, what is it, 10,000 yen a month in child benefit to each child in Japan. Great for me as a parent. BUT, I've just done my tax return and found that the govt. no longer gives tax relief for kids. So I've just lost in tax relief about the same amount that they give me every month. Wot? Havent explained this very well, but if they are going to rob every parent of a considerable amount of money (without informing us in advance, by the way) why dont they plough this money back into child-related benefits and use this money to pay for free healthcare of the child victims of fukushima.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The children of Fukushima are special Cases-Why isn't the Red Cross providing what is needed & What about ALL THAT MONEY!? A Kings Ransom by any means & I Am Pissed as is my family & freinds who All donated for the Victims Full Recovery & NOT Damned Whales or Anything Else!- Shame on You ALL!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Almost, how are they "robbing" you of anything?! As far as I'm concerned, that child bonus needs to be done away with. How many parents really need it?! Why not put it towards schools and free health care for kids rather than let than parents decide what to spend it on?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

cannot afford to pay for free medical care for children aged 18 or younger in the prefecture.

But they can afford to build roads that go nowhere, subsidies to farmers to produce inferior goods, and missions to hung whales?

This is all hogwash anyway. Politicians say they can't afford some really needed or important project to soften up the populace to accept tax increases.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Bartholomew Harte,

More than 90% of the international and national donations to the JRC have been paid to the survivors of the disasters. No JRC money was given for whaling.

Some of the funding allocated by the government for disaster reconstruction was given to whaling.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Hirano also said that it would be difficult over time to determine which injuries and illnesses were directly related to the nuclear accident.

What is difficult about it HIRANO.... medical team can tell you what is a related injuries and illnesses related to the nuke accident. Radiation caused illnesses are what you should focus in determining who should get free medical care. It's just a simple delagation of duties. I wished you're still the disaster reconstruction minister when malignant Cancer cells caused by TEPCO's nuke power plant melt down affects children in the years to come. Then you can eat your stupid reason of it would be difficult to determine.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

KIck the Noda Government out of office. They have the gall to spend $13 Billion of the tax payers money to bailout TEPCO, the company that is destroying Japan . The Government and their bureaucrats should be exiled to 'Siberia' for their callousness and treatment of the people of Fukushima. Children are the future of Japan, a country whose population is dwindling with each passing year. The DPJ party seems to be as bad as the LDP. Is there any hope for Japan? I wish politicians were an endangered species!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Government to the people of Fukushima: Drop dead quietly...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

MChS plane with rescue team already taking off from somewhere in the world to save lifes of kids... again.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Of course they can't afford it!! The money earmarked for relief is better spent protecting whalers in the Southern Ocean and building dams and other projects this government promised they would not do. Or hey, I know! let's use the money instead to build a new type of nuclear reactor that's been failing for years! Who cares about the children of this nation when you can line your own pockets, right?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Since the Noda government won't pay for medical costs, the Fukushima Prefectural government will have to pay instead.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Thursday told a news conference that his nation has contributed $1.3 billion to the Geneva-based Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

But J Govt is blind to Daiichi I guess No immediate threat they say But kids are turning up with thyroid problems already in Fukushima.

4 ( +4 / -1 )

"He {Hiroano} said that all prefectures have to be treated equally." The fact is that Fukushima is unequal to all prefectures as it is in a state of emergency and will remain so for decades to come. In a state of emergency extraordinary steps must be taken. One of those steps has to be free medical care for children, who are the most vulnerable to radiation sickness. That these children are also either in desperate financial states or at least face uncertain futures also needs to be taken into a account. Yes, broken legs should be fixed for free. A broken leg in Fukushima is not like a broken leg anywhere else in Japan.

Certainly the government can trim enough pork from its budget to take care of people who are suffering because of years of collaborative government-business stupidity with regards to nuclear power.

I fear that this is the first sign that the government is planning on abandoning the people of Fukushima as time goes by and their collective plight fades from public memory.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Jazz, you think noda quitting will change anything? Are you suggesting that the party who built these plants, ignored the safety standards and caused the economic issues of Japan would do a better job? Noda isn't perfect but he's certainly better than the other "options".

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Twenty years from now, when an unusually large number of people from Fukushima and surrounding areas are dead or dying from cancer and other illnesses, the government at that time (at the current going rate 20 prime ministers later) will talk about how the inaction of the government back then (ie. now) is 'regrettable', but that they cannot accept responsibility as it was not their government. They will not pay any money because, "it wasn't me". They will promise to deal with everything in a transparent manner, bow, apologize, say 'yoroshiku', ask for understanding, and then quickly run to the elevator, asking several months later why nothing was recorded in any meetings.

Japan will never change from within -- it does and always has need outside stimulus. China dominating in most fields in the near future will probably spur some motivation here, but not enough to save the nation.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

almostshat - One of the richest countries in the world??? Shame on you.

Japan is not a rich country! It is a stingy and selfish country with the world's largest debt and action like this just proves it!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Yeah the children of Japan are way too expensive, but Japan sure can afford to spend tons of money on helping Europe with its bail outs..... stupid.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I heretofore suggest that the Politics section of this site and Crime section be combined.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

wtf! why?! nothings free anymore...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wouldn't providing free health care in Fukushima encourage people to stay there because it's "cheaper" for the kids? Or heaven forbid people move there to have kids so they benefit from free health care? I for one wouldn't want my child staying there, no matter what was free. I do sincerely hope any children and their families that develop illnesses are well looked after financially but that might be a bit far fetched considering how much of a pain in the bum the gov has been. Terrible situation for any families to be in really :(

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Another truly regrettable decision.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

it would not be possible to change the nation’s health care system to allow children in Fukushima Prefecture to be exempt from health insurance payments,

Not possible ? And it's possible to paid the debts of TEPCO ? Well resign if you are a useless incompetent minister.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Gov't says no to free medical care for children under 18 in Fukushima

Gov't says they don'r care for the medical care for children under 18 in Fukushima

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Gov't says no to free medical care for children under 18 in Fukushima

Totally Inhumane...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Cos: "Well resign if you are a useless incompetent minister."

It would only be the second time in less than three years he had to quit his position.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

He said that all prefectures have to be treated equally.

The kids of Fukushima weren't treated equally when they got a big dose of radiation dumped on them...

I have only one word for the people who have made this decision and it begins with c.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Perhaps I'm the only one but I actually agree with the government here. Why should a perfectly healthy kid in Fukushima get priority over a sickly kid in, say, Miyagi? Of course extra funds should be earmarked for radiation-related illnesses and be allocated as and when they rear their ugly heads but this is a step too far. People need to think with their heads. I'd like to see this government start to honour some of their election promises before giving away free cash like this. People knock the government's use of taxpayer money to bailout TEPCO, but who would they cry to when their electric bills start to go through the roof?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Mr. T. Hirano, sorry, there is no room for bureaucrat like you -- Mr. Minister of...Disaster Reconstruction (?).. Suggest to those minors (< 19 years old ) to self proclaimed to be adopted by other countries where they do provide medical care for minors in any case.. Not to mention the case of victims of a major disaster..

Fukushima's children are Japanese, aren't they ?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My sincere sympathies go out to any families living in Fukushima. The Federal Governments stance on this issue lacks any compassion at all, not only for the families of Fukushima but also neighbouring Miyagi and Ibaraki as well. The key issue is here is that the Fukushima Government is trying to push all it can to get financial aid from the Federal Government. The Federal Government is on the verge of a financial crisis in the next few years much like Greece or Spain if it does not service its debts and loans. At the moment it just does not have the funds to cover its costs (Pensions, Health insurance, etc) and this is why we hear of talk about raising consumption tax to 15-20%. All public servants are taking a 7% reduction in wages this year as one example of the government trying to save costs.

So if a boy living in Fukushima breaks his leg or hospitalised with tonsillitis should he receive free medial treatment? NO

Should all children under 18 years of age receive scheduled free medical testing for radiation exposure? YES Children are Japan's future and not providing support to children for free radiation tests and medical support to those exposed to radiation is down right pathetic and cold hearted.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Of course extra funds should be earmarked for radiation-related illnesses and be allocated as and when they rear their ugly heads but this is a step too far.

But what they said was no special treatment, no extra funds, no compassion...and if they do get sick and wish to complain to a politician who...has 400 million just under a cushion or perhaps gold bars under the floor...well a stout spanking and Banishment from the group. These politicians didn't get where they are by being concerned about the plebes, particularly those who will probably never mature to voting age.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Half of the wards of Tokyo give free medical care to kids up to 18 - Fukushima doesn't for the same reason it had nuclear plants. It is not a well off prefecture.

Those nuclear plants were put there at the behest of the Japanese government, not TEPCO.

The government is asking them to bear the burden of the reactors, to store all the contaminated waste, to remain in irradiated cities without evacuation, and now is asking them to pay for the health of the children who may or may not end up suffering long term side effects from this accident.

Am I the only one reminded of the government's response to the Minamata incident here?

Just more proof that Noda and Kan are Finance Ministry stooges, and why the DPJ since they came in is no different at all to the LDP. What a complete and utter embarrassment and failure of a government. I feel like an idiot hoping that they might help to establish political control over policy making.

Peace

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The people in this world have to stop expecting their governments to do whats right. They are too big and as corrupt as ever. Get the government out of health care all together and countless other departments. Wake up! they arent efficient. They dont have money because they waste it. Japans debt is double the GDP. Can`t people figure this out? Where did the money go?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Obviously the Fukushima area is now a "special case", as are the other areas that received high levels of radiation, so it is NOT unfair to treat them differently as far as medical care for the children goes... This is just plain common sense, not rocket science!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This month the level of radiation from the Fukushima plant has increased from 60 million to 70 million becquerels per hour, that's 24/7. From next month, radioactive pollen from tens of thousands of cedar trees will start to be released.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I don't want to even imagine how contaminated that pollen is or how far it's going to travel and the Daiichi plant is Hot and getting Hotter. I thought the TEPCO folks were hollering cold shutdown LIKE state but if the radiation levels are increasing by 10mil bq a month then there is something seriously wrong going down in Daiichi

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To Utrack ,

""Former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Thursday told a news conference that his nation has contributed $1.3 billion to the Geneva-based Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.""

This is a slap in the face of Japanese voters. I wonder if these bureaucrats DPJ are ever really japanese.(no-da,kan-hatoyama,ozawa) Those bastards have money to spare to help other countries in asia,IMF,etc,etc........ but there is no human feeling of compassion with their countrymen, this is really unbelievable! I think these animals are not human.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Utrack,

no, the radiation level has increased 10 million becquerels per hour, 24/7, not 10mil bq a month!

The radiation level per month is 50,400,000,000 becquerels.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

When the illnesses come there will be an uprising of the people against the criminals responsible for this. The Japan will not forgive or forget this. There will be nowhere to run from the rage that is coming.

Unfortunately though, the people were too late. They should have done so BEFORE these poorly engineered boiling water reactors were even built on their land. Sadly the people were not strong enough to prevent it. This will not be allowed again.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Good Gravy Zichi, that is way worse than I thought. WTH is TEPCO doing about this. The people in the area need more than Medical Care they also need to get evacuated way way way past 20km.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I guess J Govt don't want to treat the Babies, ssway the J Govt will not let the revolution be televised. Divide and Conquer seems to be what they are trying to do with the media blackouts.

Local Paper: Now 1,143 Fukushima children with lumps on thyroid gland, not 26 — Nearly 1 in every 3 kids tested — “Gov’t has decided they are benign”

http://enenews.com/1143-fukushima-children-lumps-thyroid-gland-26-1-every-3-kids-tested

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 1143 Children (Over 30%) of 3765 Tested for Thyroid Abnormalities in Fukushima Had Lumps or Cysts (Updated)

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/01/1117-children-over-30-of-3739-tested.html

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think this all comes down to, that in a politicians mind paying for the health care of all children in Fukushima equals admitting guilt/responsibility for an increase in health problems among said children.

Utrack, regarding the Thyroid lumps and cysts. I hope to see some more data on this soon, but this is not unexpected. Thyroid lumps and cysts normally have a quite low malignancy rate (I think). But this small snippet from Wikipedias 'Thyroid nodule' article section about malignancy indicates that much higher numbers can be expected if the lumps are related to radiation exposure.

Children living near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant during the catastrophe of 1986 have experienced a 60-fold increase in the incidence of thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancer arising in the background of radiation is often multifocal with a high incidence of lymph node metastasis and has a poor prognosis.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Why isn't TEPCO paying for any illnesses related to this?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Hey, they don't have the money! Too many useless construction projects that have to be paid for first!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I guess it's a very common trait for the Japanese government agencies and officials to be so short-sighted. The diet wants to oppose tax increase, spend entire sessions on how NK won a soccer game and a lot of totally irrelevant issues, donating billions of yen for health care, whaling security ... but isn't willing to provide health care for children who may be affected with radiation?

As SquidBert already stated, thyroid cancer is one of the few ailments that can be associated with radiation poisoning. Why not put in a medical coverage exception for all people (not only children) who are afflicted by this? Other medical fees can be retained as is.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wouldn't you think that a country with so much angst about falling birth rates would have free health care for kids anyway? Anything to encourage breeding!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

A person I know has about 6 different pieces of machinery to measure radiation. The data he gets DOES NOT match the data from the government because measures plume far above our heads. Ground data at his kids school was DANGEROUS so hes leaving Japan. We're being misled.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

PS. His schools children have higher incidents of nosebleeds and stimachaches.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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