Journal flags papers about radiation exposure following Fukushima disaster

Ryugo Hayano

A physicist and a radiation health expert have had two papers about people’s exposure to radiation following the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster subject to expressions of concern.

The authors of the two papers are Makoto Miyazaki, a of the department of radiation health management at Fukushima Medical University, and Ryugo Hayano, a professor of physics emeritus at the University of Tokyo. As the Asahi Shimbun put it last week, referring to one of the two papers:

The article, carried in the Journal of Radiological Protection’s online edition in July 2017, listed average radiation doses that were one-third of the actual levels for people in Date, a city around 60 kilometers northwest of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, [Hayano] said.

The newspaper also reported:

The two research papers were produced after the Date city government provided Hayano’s research team with data on radiation doses of about 59,000 residents.

But it has emerged that data for 27,000 citizens were provided without their consent.

Here’s the January 11 expression of concern for “Individual external dose monitoring of all citizens of Date City by passive dosimeter 5 to 51 months after the Fukushima NPP accident (series): 1. Comparison of individual dose with ambient dose rate monitored by aircraft surveys,” a paper that has been cited a dozen times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science:

It has been brought to our attention that some of the data used in the study reported in this article potentially were without appropriate consent. We have further been advised that this is currently under investigation. If required, the publication record will be corrected as soon as possible.

The paper had been subject to a correction in 2017.

The expression of concern for “Individual external dose monitoring of all citizens of Date City by passive dosimeter 5 to 51 months after the Fukushima NPP accident (series): II. Prediction of lifetime additional effective dose and evaluating the effect of decontamination on individual dose” — a paper cited twice — begins the same way, and adds:

In addition, this Expression of Concern highlights that the article, referenced herein, contains a methodological miscalculation underpinning the reported results. The miscalculation may affect the main conclusions of the article. The publication record will be corrected as soon as possible.

An spokesperson for the Institute of Physics (IOP), which publishes the journal, told Retraction Watch that the publisher is

seeking to establish the details surrounding the research behind these papers, though we have few facts at this stage.

We believe there is an ongoing investigation(s) external to this journal (in Japan) into whether or not some of the data used in the study reported in the papers potentially were without appropriate consent, and if so who is responsible for this. The outcome of this investigation(s) will determine our final course of action.

IOP first heard about the situation from “a third party” on December 28 of last year, and then again on January 7. According to the Asahi Shimbun, it was Shinichi Kurokawa, professor emeritus with the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization, who alerted the journal. IOP told Retraction Watch that in response to questions, on January 11

the authors responded to our query to confirm that an investigation(s) is underway in Japan. In this email, we were advised by the authors that a committee would meet to determine the facts in February 2019. Due to the unavoidable delay in us obtaining information relevant to take further action, we immediately issued an Expression of Concern to highlight the potential unconsented use of data.

The Expression of Concern relating to paper 2 of the series, Makoto Miyazaki and Ryugo Hayano 2017 J. Radiol. Prot. 37 623, also highlights a miscalculation within this paper. This miscalculation was spotted by a reader of the journal and a corrigendum was being pursued with the authors. However, a potential corrigendum is now on hold; due to the nature of the investigation(s) the authors would need to await the outcome prior to re-analysing the data to correct the mistake by way of a potential corrigendum.

Hayano has not responded to our request for comment. According to the Asahi Shimbun:

When Hayano and his colleague re-examined the figures, they found that they mistook a monthly dose recorded on a dosimeter as the figure for three months of exposure.

Hat tip: Lemonstoism, author of World Fluctuation Watch

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6 thoughts on “Journal flags papers about radiation exposure following Fukushima disaster”

  1. Shin-ichi Kurokawa, a nuclear physicist and professor emeritus at KEK, (1) attempted to replicate results of the study in question by Miyazaki & Hayano and found multiple significant errors that he reported in a letter that the journal, it seems, will not publish. (2) The errors Kurokawa found are additional to different errors being acknowledged by Hayano. (3)

    With no other platform to inform the scientific community of the other errors, Kurokawa posted his letter to (2) It should be noted that Kurokawa submitted his letter before Miyazaki & Hayano came out to acknowledge other errors while ignoring those Kurokawa raised last year.


  2. A public statement by Hayano was actually released on January 7 and references Kurokawa’s draft comment, which IOP Science has held as a draft without publishing since November. At the URL below, it is translated along with Kurokawa’s response, which describes several unethical practices Hayano admits in his statement. A full analysis of the ethical violations involved in this paper was published in the magazine Kagaku and will soon be translated into English.

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