Two Japanese tourists treated for high levels of radiation

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 March, 2011, 12:00am

Two Japanese tourists were treated at a Jiangsu hospital after airport checks found they showed severe levels of radiation on arrival from Tokyo, the mainland's safety watchdog said yesterday.

The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said the two travellers were treated at a specialised nuclear emergency treatment centre at the Second Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, in Suzhou , after arriving at Wuxi Sunan International Airport on Wednesday night.

'Experts believe they do not pose any radiation threat to other people,' it said, adding that the tourists were treated for radiation contamination and that their clothes and other possessions were 'handled appropriately'.

The administration said the pair were residents of Saitama and Nagano prefectures - between 200 and 350 kilometres from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant - and had not left their home counties since the earthquake hit on March 11.

A spokesman for the Japanese embassy in Beijing said staff were aware of the situation but did not believe there was any cause for concern. 'The two Japanese citizens were found to have excess levels of radiation during checks as they passed through immigration on March 23,' he said. 'They were admitted to hospital but discharged on the same day. We understand they have rejoined their tour group without incident.'

In an unrelated incident, the quarantine administration said a Japanese cargo ship was undergoing 'further processing' in Xiamen after customs found it had abnormal levels of radiation on Tuesday.

The Mitsui OSK Lines vessel Mol Presence - which passed through Tokyo's port on March 17 on its way from Oakland in the United States - arrived in the Fujian port on Monday night and docked in the early hours of the next morning.

Meanwhile, the first emergency manual aimed at easing public panic about potential nuclear radiation risks in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami will hit mainland bookstores this weekend.

'The panic buying of salt last week reminded us that the public needs some basic knowledge of nuclear radiation prevention,' Lu Jian, an editor at Guangdong Science and Technology Press, the publisher of the 112-page manual, said yesterday.

The manual, Q&A on Nuclear Radiation Prevention Knowledge, mainly focuses on steps people can take to prevent exposure to radiation. It also includes two pages explaining why eating salt will not help.

Researchers associated with China Earthquake Administration institutes said the government would start mapping the country's active fault lines, Xinhua reported.

They were also compiling a new seismic zoning map by this year, which marks regions in terms of their quake risk. Researchers said the government would release requirements for buildings and facilities across the country based on the new map.