FUKUSHIMA–Worries about health problems stemming from radiation leaked from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant have not eased among residents in Fukushima Prefecture.Although the Fukushima prefectural government has decided to carry out health checks on all of the about 2 million residents in the prefecture, some experts have questioned whether exact radiation exposure can be tested four months after the crisis broke out.

The prefectural government also plans to closely examine internal radiation levels taken in through food, targeting about 200,000 people from evacuation areas. However, it is likely that very little radioactive material will be detected, according to experts.

In addition to the fact that ingested radioactive material is carried out of the body in urine, radioactive iodine has a half-life of just eight days.

Makoto Akashi, executive director of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences, said: “I don’t think radioactive iodine will be detected. It’s likely that [prefectural] residents were not exposed to high levels of radiation, but I don’t think it’s possible to make a precise estimate of their radiation exposure.”

via Radiation survey meets skepticism / Fukushima Pref. residents asked to recall diet, activities from 4 months ago : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE The Daily Yomiuri.

So is this too little, too late? Or is it just whitewash, to show that the government “is doing something”? Or is it genuinely a good idea? And who will pay for all this?

“What? Do I have to write in this much detail?” asked Makiko Kowata, 37. Kowata has been taking shelter in the city of Fukushima after evacuating from Namiemachi, located within the no-entry zone around the crippled nuclear power plant…. Kowata has to write what she did for the two weeks after the disaster minute-by-minute. She also has to write the amount of vegetables, fruits and milk she consumed through the end of March.

“I don’t remember what I did four months ago. If the government planned to conduct this research, it should’ve told us earlier. Then I would have recorded [what I ate and where I went],” she complained.

Although she said the health check is necessary for children, “I wonder if precise radiation exposure can be estimated through this kind of questionnaire.”