Nov 2017

Healy 427: 12:30pm–1:30pm

Human Rights and Environmental Health: The Great East Japan Earthquake, Tsunami, and the Fukushima Nuclear Accident

A series of explosions occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, triggered by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in March, 2011. The evacuees counted 164,865 at the peak in May, 2012. Now - almost 7 years after - the areas near the Nuclear Power Plant are designated as no-entry zone and 81,866 persons still cannot return home.

As a principal investigator, Dr. Sase led an empirical study commissioned by the Japan Medical Association to examine the key elements of a human rights based approach (availability, accessibility, acceptability, quality of healthcare services, accountability, and participation). She conducted focus group discussions (with Fukushima mothers) and interviews (with officials from the central/local governments, health institutions, and civil society).

Dr. Sase will present the situations of the ‘right to health’ (one of the fundamental rights) in post-disaster Fukushima, drawing from material from her book chapter published by Oxford University Press (below), ongoing research projects, and her multiple visits to meet with the Fukushima victims. Her presentation will include: (a) evidence that the Japanese universal healthcare system was partially maintained or recovered by a relatively rapid speed, (b) observed disparities e.g., in healthcare services, radiation protection, and participation to decision-making processes among the Fukushima disaster victims, and (c) the wavering states and hopes of the victims.

Eriko Sase received a Ph.D. (Health Science) from the University of Tokyo, Japan, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard T.H, Chan School of Public Health. She was the inaugural Director of the Global Health Systems Program in Wright State University. She is a member of the Honor Society for International Scholars in Washington, D.C. Dr. Sase is currently a board of directors at the Global Health Research Center of Japan and an adjunct faculty in the Graduate School of Medicine at the University of Tokyo. She graduated from the McLean High School, VA.

Her 60-plus publications include the articles from the Lancet (‘01 & ‘04) and “The right to health in Japan: Challenges of a super-aging society and implications from its 2011 public health emergency,” in Gostin L.O. et al (eds.) Advancing the Human Right to Health from the Oxford University Press (‘13). She specializes in health and human rights, global and public health (infectious disease control, disaster management), and healthcare policy (e.g., end-of- life care).

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