Japan on Tuesday acknowledged the first possible casualty from radiation at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant, a worker who was diagnosed with cancer after the crisis broke out in 2011.
The health ministry’s recognition of radiation as a possible cause may set back efforts to recover from the disaster, as the government and the nuclear industry have been at pains to say that the health effects from radiation have been minimal.
It may also add to compensation payments that had reached more than 7 trillion yen ($59 billion) by July this year.
More than 160,000 people were forced from their homes after the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant following an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl 25 years earlier.
Hundreds of deaths have been attributed to the chaos of evacuations during the crisis and because of the hardship and mental trauma refugees have experienced since then, but the government had said that radiation was not a cause.