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Not a happy New Year for Japan’s nuclear refugees

New Year despair for nuclear refugees Oman Daily Observer, 31 December 2011 By Shingo Ito – AS most of Japan prepares to ring in the New Year at the end of a traumatic 2011, refugees from the country’s nuclear crisis relocated far from home say they have nothing to celebrate. All over the country families will gather for a midnight trip to a shrine, many donning traditional kimono for the centrepiece of several days of celebration during one of Japan’s most important festivals.

But for the many tens of thousands of people forced to flee when reactors at Fukushima Daiichi began spewing radiation, festivities are a long way from their thoughts. Many of the 1,000 or so refugees holed-up in a 36-storey Tokyo tower block say their mood will be altogether downbeat, after a devastating year which saw their hometowns engulfed by the worst nuclear crisis.
“I can’t say a Happy New Year this year as I don’t feel happiness,” said Yuji Takahashi, who has been in the block since April. Takahashi was one of tens of thousands of people ordered to leave their homes after the 9 magnitude earthquake of March 11 sent a huge tsunami crashing into Fukushima Daiichi…….

Japan has said decommissioning the tsunami-wrecked reactors at Fukushima could take as long as 40 years, and some areas around the plant could be uninhabitable for decades……

Many families have also already decided that the unknown health risks of returning to their homes are not worth taking. ….http://main.omanobserver.om/node/77456

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December 31, 2011 - Posted by | general

1 Comment »

  1. Excellent article, disaster induced displacement is complicated problem

    So-called environmentally induced migration is multi-level problem. According to Essam El-Hinnawi definition form 1985 environmental refugees as those people who have been forced to leave their traditional habitat, temporarily or permanently, because of a marked environmental disruption (natural or triggered by people) that jeopardised their existence and/or seriously affected the quality of their life. The fundamental distinction between `environmental migrants` and `environmental refugees` is a standpoint of contemporsry studies in EDPs.

    According to Bogumil Terminski it seems reasonable to distinguish the general category of environmental migrants from the more specific (subordinate to it) category of environmental refugees.

    Environmental migrants, therefore, are persons making a short-lived, cyclical, or longerterm change of residence, of a voluntary or forced character, due to specific environmental factors. Environmental refugees form a specific type of environmental migrant.

    Environmental refugees, therefore, are persons compelled to spontaneous, short-lived, cyclical, or longer-term changes of residence due to sudden or gradually worsening changes in environmental factors important to their living, which may be of either a short-term or an irreversible character.

    Comment by Jennifer Doherty | January 11, 2012 | Reply


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