Fourth worker at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant dies

TOKYO —

A man in his 60s has become the fourth worker to die at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was crippled by the March 11 disaster. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the plant, said that the man died after collapsing on the job on Monday. 

According to the operator, the man was pouring concrete for a tank to hold radioactive materials, when he complained of sickness and later passed out before falling into a coma, TBS reported.

TEPCO claims the man’s death was due to an acute myocardial infarction and was not related to exposure to radiation.

Japan Today

  • 3

    oberst

    not surprising where they get their labor pool from

  • -5

    NetNinja

    You guys believe this?

    If YES, please contact me. I've got the World's First Pink Elephant. I'll give you a good deal on it. You can keep it in any room in your house. It' can fly too.

    TEPCO is cold blooded. Their lawyers must be the best Japan has to offer. Usually family members inform of a relative's death. Not the company. An autopsy by an 3rd party is in order.

    I wonder how much money the relatives received to keep this quiet. A good lawyer could get them quite a bit more if they could go the distance in court.

  • -3

    japan_cynic

    ZOMG eleventy!!!111 Its the radiations were all going to die of death!!!!

  • 9

    gyouza

    You guys believe this?

    You think he didn't die?

  • 3

    Rev Head

    He died alright, just what did he really die from??

  • 2

    Badge213

    Or he could of really died of a heart attack (acute myocardial infarction, fancy name for heart attack). Male over 60 years of age, operating machinery, concrete, there's a high percentage that he died of exactly that. Of course conspiracy theories can chime in as well.

  • -4

    kurisupisu

    Funny how people up in Fukushima keep dying and getting sick-must be something in the water........

  • 3

    supermonk7

    Of course it wasn't related to radiation. Nothing to see here.... now move along.

  • 8

    zichi

    stress, died from stress of working at the busted nuke plant..............

  • 10

    Dennis Bauer

    TEPCO claims the man’s death was due to an acute myocardial infarction and was not related to exposure to radiation.

    Sure, we believe what TEPCO says

  • 1

    tkoind2

    I have no way of knowning why this guy died. But if Tepco was smart (Yes I know they have proven otherwise time and again, but we can hope anyway....) they would provide a 3rd party evaluation so as to avoid any controversy and to dispel any concerns.

    They seriously need a good Corporate PR person. But guess that well paying job and the associated contact would have to be signed in blood and have small print regarding the submission of your soul upon death.

  • 1

    mikihouse

    myocardial infarction...heart attack in English. Try googling it and you will see that cardiovascular related diseases is the number 1 cause of death in the world. I doubt if it has anything to do with radiation. But yes its Fukushima so its reported on the news. Acute radiation...thats unlikely as it should have cause death to all people exposed in the same area at that time. Radiation related illness? unlikely as death by radiation usually induces cancer cells and well it will take years before you develop one.

  • 4

    Fadamor

    You guys believe this?

    That a guy in his 60's had a heart attack and died? Sure, because it happens all the time. It's amazing how some people will take conspiracy theories to such an extreme that they ignore basic biology. Guess what? People in Fukushima still die of causes unrelated to radiation sickness. TEPCO might still have some blame if they overworked the guy, but I have no problem believing an elderly man died of a heart attack.

  • 0

    theResident

    well said Fadamo: How many other men, over 60, dies at work yesterday in Japan of a heart attack? Probably more than we think. Only reported because at Fukushima.. Waiting for all the normal people to come out with conspiracy theories this morning :)

  • 5

    blackbagger

    Cancer is not the only thing radiation can cause. I'm not saying this man's death was caused by the radiation (how could I know?), but I do know that radiation can cause damage to the heart, so it could be possibly caused by it. As has been posted before, TEPCO needs to have a 3rd party medical team do the autopsy.

  • 2

    jforce

    Seriously. Why should anyone trust what TEPCO says. Just wait till more and more people start dying ... it may not be tomorrow, but it is surely going to happen. TEPCO will have been long taken over by then, the people will already have been paid-off, and there will be no one left to blame except the people who decided to stay in that area.

  • 1

    Elvensilvan

    Even if the man really died of a heart attack, why was he working in an environmentally unstable and dangerous area? Shouldn't he be in retirement already?

    Who handles the recruitment for the plant anyway?

  • 6

    gyouza

    Funny how people up in Fukushima keep dying and getting sick-must be something in the water........

    You are right, no one else anywhere in Japan is dying! I never connected that fact.

  • 0

    MaboDofuIsSpicy

    I bet he smoked a lot.

  • 2

    gogogo

    and we are going to believe Tepco on this? Where is the doctors report?

  • 2

    NetNinja

    @Fadamor Fair enough. You made your point and it's LOGICAL. But where are we? This is a country that touts it's longevity. They live longer here than anywhere else in the world.

    Hell even the oldest cat on the planet lives here. 10 lives if you live in Japan. Japan talks about how healthy everything here is.

    Fadamor, although you make a good point, I believe that Japanese, most of them, will make it to their 80s or longer. Grandparents STAY around. 60's in America and 60s in Japan are completely different. An American dies in his 60's, heart attack, yeah you could convince me easily that he had one too many Whoppers.

    60's in Japan, after eating a lifetime's supply of rice and fish, with tofu on the side. Then he had a heart attack? Possible but I wouldn't bet my money on it.

    Fadamor, listen...I'm not into conspiracy theories, okay. I'm a realist, a pragmatist, take your pick. I'm grounded by gravity itself. I'm talking about money here. Billions and billions of yen in damages and lawsuits. Enough damage to crush TEPCO a thousand times over. Pockets about to get so light they'll float off into space.

    I firmly believe that TEPCO will stop at nothing to avoid this. Only a crack team of the most diabolical lawyers and corrupt supporters could minimize the damage. If they could HALVE some of the monetary damage it would be a VICTORY for TEPCO.

    I got news for you Fadamor....The Devil himself is preparing a VIP area for these guys in Hell. I'm sure he's impressed with the way TEPCO is handling this. Lucifer's going to give these TEPCO chiefs a hero's welcome when they go down. Perhaps they'll get consulting positions when they get down there.

    For the next 50 years TEPCO will have inside men at every hospital in the area. Anybody who sees a doctor outside Tokyo or Tohoku will be denied in court.

    So Fadamor, you moving to Fukushima or do you just scream from the bleachers?

  • 0

    Ayler

    60's in Japan, after eating a lifetime's supply of rice and fish, with tofu on the side. Then he had a heart attack? Possible but I wouldn't bet my money on it.

    Since you're guessing I'll guess too. I guess he smoked 2 packs of cigarettes a day and didn't eat healthily. Sound too far-fetched for you?

  • 3

    Johannes Weber

    If he had incurred a high radiation dose, organ failure is always a possibility. Go to Hiroshima and Nagasaki and read the information offered in the museums, if You don't believe it. Since these are rather short term effects, they are not properly considered in the long term studies about radiation damages which only show cancers. Which is why You can't trust the studies.

    Nevertheless, at his age, the working conditions might have been too much for him. Heavy safety gear, only filtered air, hard labour in the cold winter. I would guess that it is a common case of KAROSHI. Still, nothing that can be allowed to happen in a civilised country. Why can't they simply disclose the data about this worker without mentioning his name? Show the dose readings of his employment period to the public and have an autopsy performed! Tranparency and TEPCO do not fit into the same sentence.

  • 1

    ambrosia

    Accurate radiation poisoning will usually result in a coma before death. Heart attacks often result in comas too. Japanese men have relatively low rates of heart disease when compared to men in other industrialized countries. Accurate radiation poisoning can cause heart failure which results in a coma. Japan requires some of the lowest rates of medical and forensic autopsies in industrialized world.

    It's easy enough to understand how a man in his 60's died of a heart attack, especially as he was working in a very stressful situation. It's also easy enough to understand how a man in his 60's working in a nuclear power plant when he was, suffered from acute radiation poisoning which resulted in a heart attack which resulted in a coma, natural or medically induced. The article doesn't clarify which type it was.

    It's easy enough to go either way on this but that people are so willing to believe it was due to radiation is the fault of TEPCO for already lying so much about what went on during the - ongoing - disaster.

  • 0

    usedtobeanyr

    Very sad, but only the fourth worker to die??? I am not buying it at all.

    Stressful conditions, possibly a smoker(very likely), but still 60 even in the US is not all that old.

    How about this: http://japanfocus.org/-Gayle-Greene/3672

    Since 3/11 and having the sky fall on Japan I have been reading way too much - both pro and anti nuclear. How much cover is there?

    Anyone watched this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ujAG_Ofj4M

    Heard of Chernobyl Heart? Won't be surprised if my comments get removed!

  • 0

    LH10

    RIP... japan ...why did they do it T~T

  • 4

    ambrosia

    mikihouse:

    Acute radiation...thats unlikely as it should have cause death to all people exposed in the same area at that time.

    **No true. **

    "There is great individual variation in how people respond to radiation and the process is not fully understood.Among the cells that are most sensitive to radiation are those that have a high turnover such as cells which line the intestine (crypt cells), white blood cells that fight infection and the cells that make red and white blood cells. "

    Radiation related illness? unlikely as death by radiation usually induces cancer cells and well it will take years before you develop one.

    Not true.

    "Acute radiation syndrome has four clinical stages: prodrome, latent, manifest illness and recovery/ death. the prodromal stage is characterized by symptoms of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea which are dose-dependent. symptoms may begin just minutes after exposure, with episodes typically lasting no more than 48 hours. During the latent stage, which can last from a few hours to a few weeks, the individual may feel and appear healthy. however, critical cell populations such as leukocytes and platelets actually undergo critical depletion during this stage as a result of bone marrow insult. the duration of latency decreases as the radiation dose increases. During the stage of manifest illness, symptoms of overt illness emerge and last for weeks or months. this stage is characterized by intense immunosuppression, with symptoms depending upon the radiation dose and major organ system affected (bone marrow, gastrointestinal or neurovascular), as well as factors such as age and underlying health status. During the fourth and final clinical stage, the patient may recover; most patients who do not recover will die within months of exposure. the chance of survival decreases with increasing radiation dose."

  • 0

    ambrosia

    Sorry, I thought I'd corrected "No true" to "Not true" but must've hit submit too quickly

  • -2

    NetNinja

    Riddle me this bloggers. What was he doing there in the first place? This is Japan. Employees get health checks every year. IF they knew he had heart problems why would they keep him working in a hazardous environment?

    The guy was radiated. He worked in Fukushima. That is HOT zone at the moment.

    Which one of you is ready to say "There's no radiation" "It's all gone now".
    Which one of you is ready to say "You can be radiated and live a healthy life"
    Which one of you is ready to say "Radiation has no harmful effects"
    Which one of you is ready to live in Fukushima?

    At every turn and every death TEPCO must make every effort to make this radiation thing go away. They need this the tragic events to fade into oblivion. Especially in the minds of the Justice System.

    No proof, no witnesses, no claims......eventually equals no radiation. You can't see it with your eyes anyway so just pretend it doesn't exist.

    I will NEVER support TEPCO. I will always be on the side of those who now have the uphill battle of rebuilding their lives in the face of corporate tyranny. They even want to take their land for cheap.

  • 0

    Rev Head

    Maybe he was already seriously sick and decided to give himself rather than have someone with a young family do the job.. How about this theory?

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    "TEPCO claims the man’s death was due to an acute myocardial infarction and was not related to exposure to radiation."

    Seriously... how is it that TEPCO can always and immediately assess the cause of death and announce it to the media as opposed to the office that conducted the autopsy? And how do we know his death was not the result of complications suffered while being exposed to high levels of radiation? When people who worked there/lived in the area around the plant start developing cancer EN MASSE you're going to hear all sorts of euphemisms and excuses. A guy who dies from throat cancer will be reported to have died, "From pre-existing complications of the throat". A kid who went to school in the fallout zone getting cancer? Sorry -- that's "complications from previous illness".

    Anyway, I was not aware that this was the fourth death... I recall the first, but not the other two.

  • 3

    Wurthington

    Where there is smoke there is fire... 4 dead since the disaster. Agree with others. The IAEA should be commissioning autopsies on these people.

  • 4

    wanderlust

    @netninja - the casual labour used at most nuclear plants do not get annual health checks - they also rely on the sub-sub-sub contractors to employ them to monitor the radiation doses, away from the utilities responsibility. On many occasions they have falsified these books, under-reported doses, or just ignored the dose limits. They move from plant to plant under different names, as they know that once their radiation books show that they have accumulated a certain dose, they are no longer employable.

    These "nuclear gypsies" are recruited from lower levels of Japanese society, used and abuse, then discarded to die. The utilities who initially designed and built these nuclear power plants, knew that workers would be exposed to radiation in the operations, maintenance, repair and cleaning of the plants, but did nothing to minimise the risks. They preferred to employ workers, through layers of subcontractors, in conjunction with organised crime syndicates, so they could claim no responsibility.

    The workers themselves, were supervised by staff from Hitachi, Toshiba, etc., not even the utilities, another abrogation of responsibility. Few are really aware of the risks of radiation exposure, education programmes are minimal; they just know that they have to get up each day and earn money.

    This is the price Japan is paying for "cheap and clean" power...

  • -2

    j4p4nFTW

    NetNinja,

    Yes, I believe this 100%. The radiation leaked into the atmosphere has been a negligent amount, approaching nil. There is simply no proof that this person died from radiation poisoning.

  • 1

    Rick Kisa

    Those who live by the sword will die by the sword. If we decide to live by the nuclear energy from the reactors, we shall die by the nuclear energy. We should have learnt lessons from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If this gentleman had a history of cardiovascular disease, maybe the stressful working conditions (if not the radiation) worsened the medical condition. Whichever angle you look at it, it is evident he died by the nuclear reactor. No prizes for guessing if he would have lived much longer had he to be at his home in retirement. By the way is he among the Fukushima 50?

  • 1

    YuriOtani

    There is no such thing as a lack of radiation. The amount of radiation exposure to drop him dead would kill a lot more than just him. I was taught to think of radiation in REMS. So how many REMS per hour is it producing? People think of the area around Fukushima as "hot", yet it is nothing in relation to a nuke war.

  • 0

    japan_cynic

    There are really people who will build conspiracy theories around some old guy toppling over?

    Someone died at our workplace, too, and they didn't even test for radiation sickness.

    Was a few years ago now, mind. But still - can't be too careful.

  • 0

    theResident

    Ambrosia: Thank you very much for bringing some understanding and sense to this thread. An excellent post. Hopefully make the scaremongers like 'netninja' disappear back into Cyberworld to create yet more panic.

  • 1

    almxx

    There was a Japanese man who recently died, who was in both bombed cities in ww 2. When he told of his experience, many did not believe him. In America, medical scientists are reporting fourteen thousand more deaths than usual, in older folks and infants, related to nuclear fallout from Fukushima event. No big news outlets reporting this here.....NEVER put faith in Govt. or business reporting. There is a much higher than normal incidence of cancer death in young people living around nuclear power plants. You're not likely to hear that reported on t.v. news, either.

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    japan_cynic: "Someone died at our workplace, too, and they didn't even test for radiation sickness."

    Did FOUR die in less than a year?

  • 0

    cleo

    In America, medical scientists are reporting fourteen thousand more deaths than usual, in older folks and infants, related to nuclear fallout from Fukushima event. No big news outlets reporting this here.....

    According to the Scientific American, the data the 'medical scientists' worked with is 'critically flawed'. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2011/06/21/are-babies-dying-in-the-pacific-northwest-due-to-fukushima-a-look-at-the-numbers

    This is not to say that the radiation from Fukushima is not dangerous (it is), nor that we shouldn’t closely monitor its potential to spread (we should). But picking only the data that suits your analysis isn’t science—it’s politics. Beware those who would confuse the latter with the former.

  • 0

    Tom DeMicke

    Japan no longer holds the "longest life" of its citizens, not even here on Okinawa. Okay, maybe the cat. More and more junk food is being introduced and these young people will about as long as westerners. Okay, time for my cheeseburger now! As for the TEPCO employee, it's just hard to say what really happen. None of us will ever really know.

  • -1

    NetNinja

    @theResident Scaremongers?? Just to set the record straight. I don't get a kick out of this. I wish none of it had ever happened. If I'm wrong, I'll gladly admit with relief that I'm wrong. What would hurt the most is if I'm right.
    I've got some chinks in my armor and I'm predictable. Whatever the topic is I always look at the money trail.
    Money is the root of all evil for me. I believe TEPCO is motivated by greed.

    You can find me fighting against TEPCO at Yokohama Pacifico tomorrow when we talk about Nuclear Energy and I have a chance to meet some people from Fukushima who were affected directly. I'll be there all day for the people of Fukushima.

    No more need to die cause of this radiation. If I'm wrong and I do hope I am........your beer is on me.

  • 0

    miyazawa3

    Come out with the truth... whole world want to know the truth

  • 1

    Blair Herron

    Tomohiko Suzuki, the author of Yakuza and The Nuclear Industry:Diary of An Undercover Reporter Working at the Fukushima Plant, said in his book that at the plant, there are various kinds of masks to protect them from radiation exposure. There are good ones and bad ones. Good ones are very light and easy to put on and take off. So whenever they are in a safe place, they take them off and breathe easily. Bad ones are very heavy and difficult to put on without other people's help. So the workers who got the bad ones are wearing the masks all the time and that would cause severe health hazard because it's very hot and difficult to breathe. Who gets the good one? TEPCO employees? Who gets the bad ones? Those debtors sent by Yakuza?

    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2011/12/yakuza-and-nuclear-mafia-nationalization-looms-tepco/46803/

  • 0

    Fadamor

    @NetNinja,

    This is a country that touts it's longevity. They live longer here than anywhere else in the world.

    Was that BEFORE or AFTER they found out last year that a large number of supposed centegenarians had actually been dead for a while? ;-) If you keep dead people on the books as "living", OF COURSE the population's longevity is going to seem better. I wonder what the ACTUAL numbers are?

    60's in Japan, after eating a lifetime's supply of rice and fish, with tofu on the side. Then he had a heart attack? Possible but I wouldn't bet my money on it.

    Maybe you remember Jim Fixx, author of "The Complete Book of Running" back in the 70's? He's the one who popularized running and jogging as a good aerobic exercise. Fixx died at the age of 52 of a fulminant heart attack. The autopsy revealed that atherosclerosis had blocked one coronary artery 95%, a second 85%, and a third 70%.

    This is not a guy who is likely to be feasting on Whoppers, and was in excellent physical shape, yet died in his early 50's (not 60's) of a heart attack. Turns out he was genetically predisposed to atherosclerosis. Diet is only PART of the risk grid.

  • 2

    kchoze

    There are theories that radiation may attack organs temporarily when they are exposed to strong radiation. Radiation sickness is what happens when someone is very strongly radiated, and what happens is a degradation of organ tissues due to the radiation. However, radiation sickness has been observed only at very high doses of radiation, far higher than what workers can be exposed to. However, some studies have found statistical links between the likelihood of heart attacks and exposure to radiation in nuclear workers. It's not enough to establish a causation link, as all factors weren't accounted for, but there is the possibility.

    That being said, I think the more likely cause for the four deaths that occurred is that workers at the plant tend to be older and they have to wear protective masks and equipment that are likely not comfortable to use for long periods. This may put more of a strain on them and increase the likelihood of heart attacks, which generally strike when people are doing exhausting work.

  • -1

    smithinjapan

    NetNinja: "This is a country that touts it's longevity. They live longer here than anywhere else in the world."

    Don't state this in the present tense as though it's an unchanging fact. Most centenarians have seen their children buried, and some, and they are quite sad stories, have seen their grandchildren die of diseases that did not EVER exist in their family history (namely diabetes and heart/liver disease). The people who make up Japanese long lifespan average now will die out in the next couple of decades, and Japan will drop to a level that is on par with most Western nations, if not lower (given suicides and what not). Diet, stress, dissatisfaction.... things here are not at all the same as they were when the current centenarians were in their prime and critical years.

    As for this guy dropping of a heart attack suddenly... again, for those who say it was natural I ask is it natural for four people to die suddenly at a workplace within a year? Worse yet where on earth is it normal to allow all these deaths to pass by so quietly based on the words of a company who CLEARLY has its own best interests at heart in relation to said deaths? Sure, if someone keels over suddenly you might not think much of it... but if four people keel over and die working at an asbestos cleaning site (for example) within a few months you can bet there are going to be questions, and rightly so. And what do you think others would say when the asbestos or construction companies suddenly say: "(s)he died of respiratory complications that preceded the asbestos cleaning"?

  • 0

    Darren Brannan

    Well the whole incident is very sus. Apparently the Tepco clinic 'worked on him' for two hours before he even got to a hospital (already dead). Then an autopsy was performed. My own heart attack left me a 95% blocked artery. I found out after than my RCA tapers of very narrow.

  • 1

    Nicky Washida

    @kchoze - excellent and reasonable post!

    @ambrosia - while your cut and paste is very interesting and indeed factual when it comes to acute radiation poisoning, I seriously doubt it was actually the case for this guy. For starters, had he been in a stage of manifest illness, he almost certainly wouldnt have been able to do the heavy work he was doing at the time, and would have been highly symptomatic (for example loss of hair, bleeding from various orifices, nausea, extreme fatigue).

    I distrust TEPCO as much as anyone, but I really do think in this case from the little info we have been given, the signs DO point to a heart attack. BUT the question remains whether this has been caused by poor diet and lifestyle, genetics, or ENVIRONMENT - and I am certain that working at the plant is surely not the healthiest, most stress-free job on the planet. My guess would be a combo of all, and probably the environment was the tipping point for the infarction. But I dont think this is any more likely to happen than, say, taking a 65 year old ojiisan with an undiagnosed heart condition and setting him to work on a construction site doing heavy manual labour.

    Based on data we have been given (and yes, Im well aware that this data cannot be verified independantly) no workers I am aware of have been exposed to the kind of levels that would induce radition sickness leading to death. BUT - I would put money on the mortality of Fukushima workers being pretty high compared to statistical averages over the next 20 years or so.

    Does anyone know what the other 3 died from? I remember one case, but I cant remember the cause of death.

  • 1

    Nicky Washida

    Well the whole incident is very sus. Apparently the Tepco clinic 'worked on him' for two hours before he even got to a hospital (already dead).

    Sorry just to add - I dont see what is so sus about this to be honest - if they have a clinic there, and someone has a heart attack, I would absolutely expect them to work on him as best they can before transporting him to a hospital?

  • -2

    tmarie

    So he complained about not feeling well but still worked? No shockers here. i don't doubt he died of a heart attack. Take a 60 year old who probably had a very hard life, may have been homeless, no decent access to health care and nutrition... no shockers. Though I doubt TEPCO will release any details about where they found this guy, who hired him...

  • 0

    ambrosia

    Nicky Washida: I have no idea what the case was for the guy and wasn't trying to suggest it was anything other than a heart attack. The "cut and paste" was simply in response to some clearly incorrect information on radiation poisoning given by another poster and should be read no other way. No interpretation, subtle or otherwise, is needed.

  • 0

    amerijap

    TEPCO doesn't care about what will happen to the workers who died unless the cause of their deaths is related to radiation poisoning. They don’t even know for sure that they are responsible for putting the workers and volunteers into an excessively hazardous environment for over 10 months that will seriously affect human health. I wonder if they pay condolence to the families who lost their loved ones in the plant.

  • 0

    theResident

    tmarie: No - They won't release the name OR details of this guy. Its called privacy.

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