President of French Polynesia, Edouard Fritch, hires a Japanese specialist for a genetic study on the effects of nuclear testing

February 6, 2018


Edouard Fritch confie une étude génétique à une spécialiste japonaise, Tahiti Nui Télévision

This weekend the president of French Polynesia announced via Twitter that he had decided to hire a Japanese geneticist to carry out a scientific study on the consequences of nuclear testing.

The announcement could have gone unnoticed. Our colleagues at Radio I relayed the news that this weekend that the president chose to use a tweet to announce that he had hired the well-known Japanese specialist, Dr. Furitsu, to carry out the study.

The president explained via the social media service:

“Nuclear tests and thyroid cancer: rather than choosing between unfounded proposals and the legitimate concerns of Polynesians, I have made the choice to entrust the study to a Dr. Furitsu, a well-known Japanese geneticist.”

This announcement comes two weeks after several articles were published in media in France about the work of Dr. Christian Sueur. As former head of child psychiatry in Taaone, he led a study on child descendants of veterans of the CEP (Centre d’essais du Pacifique) [nuclear test veterans].

The report provoked many reactions, notably on the part of groups in Polynesia active in defending the veterans’ rights [speaking for civilian and military workers who worked on the tests, as well as for civilians affected by fallout.] The group Moruroa e Tatou once again asked for a study to be done.

According to Radio 1, the budget for the study will be meager—about 2 million French Polynesian francs (US$21,000).

Memorial of French Nuclear Testing, Papeete, French Polynesia

About Katsumi Furitsu (from

Katsumi Furitsu, born 1959, holds a PhD on medical genetics and radiation biology of the Osaka University, Japan and at present works in the department of genetics at the Hyogo College of Medicine.  Furitsu has been a member of IPPNW Japan since 2005. She got involved in peace and anti-nuclear-movement as a student activist in 1980 and continues the activities up to the present date as a member of “Campaign Against Radiation Exposure” and “Wakasa Solidarity Network” based in Osaka.

From 1986 to 2000, Furitsu was a member of the “Investigation committee of A-bomb survivors of Hannan Chuo Hospital” in Osaka. The committee carried out a questionnaire survey of 1200 A-bomb survivors regarding their health, living and mental situation.

She is one of the founders and executive members of the “Chernobyl Relief Group of Kansai” based in Osaka and visits Chernobyl affected areas in Belarus every year for exchange and cooperation with local people.

In 1992, Katsumi Furitsu was one of the witnesses at the “World Uranium Hearing” in Salzburg and gave testimony at the Permanent People’s Tribunal, Session on Chernobyl in Vienna in 1996.

Since 2004 Furitsu has been a member of the steering committee and science team of the “International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons” (ICBUW)

She visited several areas affected by the impacts of the “nuclear chain”, including uranium mine sites in the indigenous people’s land in the Southwest of the US, down-wind area of Nevada test site and Hanford nuclear facilities, as well as a former French nuclear test site in Algeria. Together with her colleagues, she is still struggling to do what she can do for the radiation victims in cooperation with the victims and to achieve a “nuclear free future”.

And more about Dr. Furitsu (from Nuclear-Free Future)

Under the Hippocratic oath physicians are obliged to offer medical help when they witness an accident or some other emergency. Katsumi Furitsu felt that obligation well before becoming a doctor. The moment the Vietnam War ended, she traveled to Vietnam as a teenager to help the victims of Agent Orange, the toxic defoliant the U.S. Military used from 1961 to 1971, which killed or maimed an estimated 400,000 people, and caused some 500,000 children to be born with birth defects. Katsumi hardly ever talks about this. You only learn about it after you have known her for some time. “That was a long time ago,” she will say. The modest doctor from Osaka has always been most dogged in her determination to alleviate the pain and suffering of others.

Dr. Furitsu has visited many of the crisis regions on the planet that have been contaminated with radioactivity, sharing information with doctors and helping to provide medical care to the victims. She went to the U.S. to audit the circumstances of the downwinders at the Nevada Test Site, and to spend time with the people living near the Hanford Plutonium Finishing Plant in Washington State. She treated Gulf War veterans suffering from the effects of depleted uranium (DU) ammunition, and after Chernobyl she traveled extensively and often throughout Russia, Belarus, and the Ukraine.

“It is important to monitor the health of the people exposed and to offer them health care for a long period of time; these are prerequisites for minimizing their health hazards industry.”

In the 1980s, while still a medical student, Katsumi Furitsu began educating herself about the radiation exposure of workers at Japanese nuclear power plants. Early on she also focused on the calamitous starting point of the nuclear chain – uranium mining and milling. At odds with the Japanese mainstream, she began to quantify the recklessness of the nuclear-industrial complex. Never one to be intimidated by the opinions of others. Dr. Furitsu has always followed the compass of her own conscience.

During recent months, Katsumi Furitsu has been traveling from her home town of Osaka to Fukushima for several days at a time to assist the doctors working in the disaster-stricken region. In Fukushima, she has witnessed firsthand the ongoing disinformation policy of the nuclear lobby and the Japanese government – the very people who vowed to mend their ways under the shock of the events of March 2011. TEPCO and the politicians are back to business as usual, which means they set the radiation level parameters to suit their own interests.

Dr, Furitsu wants to make sure her suffering fellow citizens, victims of an outdated technology, are not left alone with the consequences of the Fukushima catastrophe. “It is important to monitor the health of the people exposed and to offer them health care for a long period of time; these are prerequisites for minimizing their health hazards,” she says, adding that it is imperative “that people can understand and evaluate their situation in order to lend weight to their demand for adequate support and an end to the government’s pro-nuclear policy.”

Dr. Furitsu is currently engaged in aftercare and disease monitoring – the treatment of damaged organisms… and souls. The doctor is working for a better, healthier world. One that is nuclear-free.

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