The survey examined more than 38,000 local children, and found that more than 13,000 had thyroid cysts or nodules, a rate that is much higher than the average population, where an estimated 0.5-1.0% of children have thyroid cysts. According to Japanese authorities, while they don't know that the radiation exposure is the cause, they will be monitoring the effects on the area's children in upcoming years.
According to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper in Japan, an independent National Institute of Radiological Sciences study reported in the summer of 2012 that they found "lifetime thyroid doses of radiation in Fukushima children."
The Japanese authorities' downplaying of the risks to children is controversial, and is being covered by the English-language Fukushima Voice website, the Fukushima Voice site. Of particular interest is their coverage of the various disagreements over the assessments of these thyroid findings, and subsequent recommendations for the region's affected children.
The Japanese meltdown was considered to be on par with the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident, where toxic radiation exposure was a known cause of thousands of cases of thyroid problems and thyroid cancer in people in the region.