More than radiation at Fukushima
Last year's Fukushima nuclear disaster has not led to any deaths or illnesses from radiation so far, but has caused social and psychological problems, UN radiation experts say in Vienna.
Cancer rates would not rise significantly in Japan, according to interim findings by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR).
"The add-on effect of this radiation will be low and will not be observable scientifically," said Wolfgang Weiss, the German government radiation expert who heads the panel of scientists.
Thyroid cancers among children were unlikely to rise, because of relatively quick evacuations.
In contrast, social effects like depression, higher suicide rates and discrimination against people from the Fukushima region were much more serious.
Young women from the region believe that they can no longer bear children and potential marriage partners are staying away, Weiss told dpa.
"Other women say that they have to have abortions now," he said.
UNSCEAR plans to issue a full report next year, based on Japanese government data that the experts comparing with findings from independent sources.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization said in a report that most people in Japan have been exposed to radiation levels that are not considered hazardous to human health.
Among the 20,000 workers who have been deployed in Fukushima after the accident since March last year, 167 were exposed to radiation doses above 100 millisieverts, the maximum UN-recommended level for nuclear emergency workers.