In Canadian Medical Association Journal: Japanese Response to Fukushima Even Worse than Communist Russian Response to Chernobyl … “The Japanese Government Was Lying Through Its Teeth”, there are a lot of claims that the Fukushima dai-ichi incident is worse than the government claims, possibly too many to examine.

However, there's one claim that goes directly against what I'd heard and stated. It says

Ruff similarly charges that the government has mismanaged the file and provided the public with misinformation. As an example, he cites early reports that stable iodine had been distributed to children and had worked effectively, when, “in fact, iodine wasn’t given to anyone.”

Was stable iodine distributed to citizens of Japan likely to be affected by Fukushima dai-ichi?

  • If I remember correctly, Professor Jim Al-Khalili claimed that it was in his documentary Fukushima: Is Nuclear Power Safe? (part of the the BBC's well respected Horizon series).
    – Mark Booth
    Commented Jan 6, 2012 at 18:37
  • 1
    Iodine pills were [given to about 2000 workers at the plant]. I haven't seen anything official stating that pills were distributed to the public following the disaster, though there were a lot of "Japanese government plans to distribute Iodine Pills" stories.
    – John Lyon
    Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 6:38
  • Side note: communist mostly distributed Lugol's solution, not proper potassium iodine. Which is disputed to have done more harm than good in zones lesser affected by fallout.
    – vartec
    Commented Mar 13, 2012 at 10:45
  • I've dropped @jozza's link because Fortinet are currently reporting it as a malware source.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 16:25

1 Answer 1


Source: Report of Japanese Government to the IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety - The Accident at TEPCO's Fukushima Nuclear Power Stations -

on March 16, the Director-General of the Nuclear Emergency Response Local Headquarters instructed the Governor of Fukushima Prefecture and others to have residents take stable iodine when evacuating from within the 20 km radius of the nuclear power plant


But as a matter of fact no residents took stable iodine based on this instruction because the evacuation had already been completed at the time the instruction was issued.

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