Fukushima evacuation deaths surpass area's quake, tsunami toll

FUKUSHIMA, Japan, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Indirect deaths from Fukushima's 2011 nuclear plant meltdown exceed the number of prefecture deaths from the earthquake and tsunami, The Mainichi reported.

The Mainichi said statistics from Fukushima Prefecture as of Nov. 30 show 1,605 Fukushima residents died in the prolonged evacuation of the area, compared with 1,603 in the prefecture who died in the earthquake and tsunami.


Additionally, 878 indirect deaths were reported in Miyagi Prefecture and 428 in Iwate Prefecture, municipalities adjacent to Fukushima.

The evacuation deaths included those unable to obtain medical care in the confusion, as well as those who committed suicide or developed fatal illnesses, The Mainichi reported Tuesday.

Government officials acknowledged there are no clear standards for defining disaster-related deaths, and an unidentified government official from the town of Tomioka, in Fukushima Prefecture, admitted defining the deaths has become harder as time passes.

"We're seeing more and more diversification [in causes of death] and it's getting more complicated," he said.

Almost 16,000 people died across Japan in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

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