Things To Pack

Some of the items that can be useful on daily basis:

  • Disposable masks (aka surgical masks)
  • Hats, caps
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Raincoats, umbrellas
  • Bandaids
  • Geiger counter

In case of emergency (high radiation release):

  • Iodine tablets
  • All of above

3 itemsMasks: Even though radioactive rays can penetrate thin layers like masks, radiation is often carried on dust that fly in the air. Wearing a mask can prevent particles from getting into your body through inhaling dust. Bring disposable – it’s better that you don’t reuse the masks. They can be purchased at drug stores. In Japan, you can find disposable masks at almost every convenient store and drug store.

Hats, Caps: Covering your head can prevent from your hair to be exposed to radiation, also carried on dust. Carrying a bandana with you would be useful and it can be used as a mask too.

Long sleeve shirts: Make sure you carry some kind of long sleeve clothing even in warm weather. The less exposed your skin, the better.

Raincoats, Umbrellas: Use both raincoat and umbrella. Rain is the last thing you want to be exposed to, when radioactive particles are present in the air. Try not to go outdoors on rainy days, but if you must, use both of your raincoat and umbrella. Rain boots would be helpful, too.

Band-aids: If you get cuts or any skin breakouts, you want to cover it so it won’t get exposed to radiation, especially  in case of higher radiation exposure.

Geiger Counter: It is not an affordable thing to everyone, but if you are seriously concerned about radiation, you can buy them online. In case of emergency like any critical events at Fukushima Daiichi, it will be helpful to have one that you understand how to use. It is also helpful to know the daily level of radiation so that you can detect any changes. You can also rent one at places like city offices and some video rental stores.

Iodine Tablets: By taking iodine tablets, you can prevent from radioactive iodine to accumulate in your body. You need to take an appropriate dose within a few hours of radiation exposure.  Radioactive iodine has a half life of 7.5 days, so initial release of high-level iodine from March 2011 is mostly gone by now. But Fukushima plant is a ticking time-bomb and still releasing radioactive materials. Plus the spent-fuel pool of Unit #4 is in danger of another large-scale earthquake. (There have been many aftershock earthquake in Eastern Japan, sometimes in really large scale!) So it would be helpful to bring the tablets with you just in case. In the United States for example, the tablets are called “Potassium Iodide” and you can buy them in drug stores and health food stores.



  1. Umi Hagitani

    Geiger Counter suggestions: ST-Kagaku(エステー化学)’s Air Counter-S is probably one of the most handy model that could be purchased (about $40 ) in chain electronics stores in major cities, such as Bic Camera. Detecting gamma ray on daily basis will give you better ideas about hot spots. Carrying this cheap-ass model also helps others to compare than having expensive models.
    Airports do not sell any geiger counter unfortunately.

  2. Mikkai

    “Dosimeters distributed to children should be replaced by whole body spectrometers periodically transported in schools for controls. This gives a measure of the Cs-137 load. If the values are above 20 Bq/kg bodyweight, pectin courses may be necessary, and the contaminated food must be replaced by absolutely clean food and clean drinks.” Source:

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