Objective and History
The objective of the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF) is to conduct research and studies for peaceful purposes on medical effects of radiation and associated diseases in humans, with a view to contributing to maintenance of the health and welfare of the atomic bomb (A-bomb) survivors and to enhancement of the health of all humankind (Articles of Incorporation [PDF], Article 3, 2012).
RERF was established on 1 April 1975 as a nonprofit foundation under Japanese civil law, within the jurisdiction of the Japanese Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Health and Welfare, and in accordance with an agreement between the governments of Japan and the United States. RERF was preceded by the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC), which was established in 1947 by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) with funding from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. ABCC initiated extensive health studies on A-bomb survivors in cooperation with the Japanese National Institute of Health of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, which joined the research program in 1948. A comprehensive review of ABCC work by the Francis Committee in 1955 led to extensive revisions in research design and laid the foundation for the population-based studies that continue today.
When ABCC was reorganized to form RERF in 1975, it was deemed essential that research continue in full partnership between Japan and the U.S. Accordingly, RERF was managed by a binational Board of Directors, and its scientific research activities were guided by the annual recommendations of a binational Scientific Council. Funds for RERF’s operation continue to be provided by both governments, by Japan through the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, and by the U.S. through the Department of Energy.
For RERF’s transition to a Public Interest Incorporated Foundation, the Board of Councilors (decision-making entity for RERF’s operations) consisting of both U.S. and Japanese Councilors was newly established in 2011. The Scientific Council has undergone a name change to the Scientific Advisory Committee. On April 1, 2012, RERF completed its transition to a public interest incorporated foundation upon authorization by Japan’s Prime Minister.