More than two million residents living in the region surrounding Japan's damaged nuclear power plant will undergo longterm health checks starting from this month.
The health of residents in Fukushima prefecture in northeast Japan will be monitored over the next 30 years in order to ease growing concerns surrounding radiation contamination.
The health checks will start at the end of the month, focusing firstly on 28,000 residents in the three communities currently nearest to the power plant – Iitake village, Kawamata and Namie – before expanding across the region.
Plans for the health checks were confirmed at a weekend meeting by Fukushima prefectural government authorities in response to growing local concern surrounding the health implications of the on-going nuclear crisis.
"Everyone is included in this and will be tested over a long-term period, for 30 years or longer," a spokesman for Fukushima prefectural government told the Telegraph. "We will start with 28,000 residents, looking at their daily behavioural patterns to determine risks levels."
The project is believed to be unprecedented in terms of the number of residents involved and the predicted time span of three decades during which their health will be monitored.