Appeal from the Primate Society of Japan on the monitoring of the effect of exposure to radioactive substances to wild Japanese macaques

We, the Primate Society of Japan, held the 33rd annual meeting of our society at Fukushima city, one of the regions affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Even though six years have passed since the disaster, many people are still suffering from its damage, including the exposure to radioactive substances emitted from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Many researchers, including members of our society, have investigated the effect of radioactive substances on wild Japanese macaques. Non-human primates are not included in the ‘reference animals and plants’ designated by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). However, non-human primates are longer-lived and more closely-related to humans than the referenced animals, such as rats, thus are an important model to learn possible effects to humans. Wild non-human primates are not distributed in other areas where disastrous radioactive exposure has occurred, consequently these kinds of studies are only possible in Japan. As well as reference animals and plants, long-term monitoring of Japanese macaques is necessary. We declare that we support research and conservation of the animals living in the devastated areas, disseminate knowledge obtained through studying these animals, and request support from related governmental agencies concerning long-term monitoring of Japanese macaques on their exposure to radioactive substance.

Masayuki Nakamichi

President, Primate Society of Japan

July 16, 2017