The Mitsui & Co. Environment Fund

Introduction to Grant Projects

Professor Kunihiko Nakai, Development and Environmental Medicine, Tohoku University School of Medicine

Risk assessment from exposure to chemical substances from tsunami contaminated sludge, and a regional regeneration project, understanding the state of chemical contamination from contaminated sludge, future predictions and proposals for soil repair.

Research grant

Project Description

As a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the Kesennuma area, which is situated on a saw-toothed, ria coastline was hit with massive tsunami damage, and a large volume of sludge was deposited on the coast. It is expected that this contaminated sludge includes a variety of contaminated materials, but in actual fact, it is not clear what type of contaminated materials are included. This investigation aims to 1, perform a comprehensive analysis of the chemical materials in the contaminated sludge and confirm their geographical spread. 2, investigate human exposure. 3, Investigate the contamination reduction effect of reconstruction and soil repair, and 4, propose future forecasts of contamination and reduction measures.

Marine resources/foodPreservation of surface soil and forests
Grant year
FY2011 Research Grants
Grant term
3 years and 4 months
June 2011 - September 2014
Grant amount
15,840,000 yen
Activity region
Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan
Image of sampling in the tsunami affected area of the Sanriku coast (March 3, 2012)

Overview of the Organization

Professor Kunihiko Nakai
Professor Kunihiko Nakai
Specialist field
Hygiene, environmental science
Affiliated academic societies
The Japanese Society for Hygiene, Japan Society for Environmental Chemistry, Japan Society of Public Health
In 1982, Graduated from the Veterinary Medicine Department, Hokkaido. In 1987, Graduated from the Faculty of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University (Doctor of Science). Became a Post Doctoral Fellow at Cornell University Medical College in 1987. In 1989, joined the Hokkaido Red Cross Blood Center, research Division, and in 1995, became an Assistant at the Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo. In 1997 took the post of Assistant at the Department of Environmental Health and Medicine, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine. In 1998 became a Lecturer at the Department of Environmental Health and Medicine, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine. In 1999, took the position of Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Health and Medicine, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine (Designated Associated Professor, 2007). In 2010 became Professor, Development and Environmental Medicine, Tohoku University School of Medicine.
Collaborating researchers
Daisuke Ueno, Lecturer, Faculty of Agriculture, Saga University / Haruhiko Nakada, Designated Associate Professor, Graduate School of Natural Science, Kumamoto University / Takashi Miyawaki, Senior Engineer, Health and Environment Research Center, Fukuoka Prefecture / Yukihiro Narasaki, Nozomi Tatsuta, Assistant, Tohoku University School of Medicine
Research record
  • (1) Tatsuta N, Nakai K, Murata K, Suzuki K, Iwai-Shimada M, Yaginuma-Sakurai K, Kurokawa N, Nakamura T, Hosokawa T, Satoh H. (2012) Prenatal exposures to environmental chemicals and birth order as risk factors for child behavior problems. Environ Res, 114:47-52.
  • (2) Asayama K, Staessen JA, Hayashi K, Hosaka M, Tatsuta N, Kurokawa N, Satoh M, Hashimoto T, Hirose T, Obara T, Metoki H, Inoue R, Kikuya M, Ohkubo T, Nakai K, Imai Y, Satoh H. Mother-offspring aggregation in home versus conventional blood pressure in the Tohoku Study of Child Development (TSCD). (2012) Acta Cardiol 67:449-456.
  • (3) Suzuki K, Nakai K, Sugawara T, Nakamura T, Ohba T, Shimada M, Hosokawa T, Okamura K, Sakai T, Kurokawa N, Murata K, Satoh C, Satoh H. (2010) Neurobehavioral effects of prenatal exposure to methylmercury and PCBs, and seafood intake: neonatal behavioral assessment scale results of Tohoku study of child development. Environ Res. 110:699-704.
  • (4) Yaginuma-Sakurai K, Shimada M, Ohba T, Nakai K, Kurokawa N, Kameo S, Satoh H. (2009) Assessment of exposure to methylmercury in pregnant Japanese women by FFQ. Public Health Nutr 6:1-7.