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Fukushima children – physical and mental health issues

Kids’ safety key worry in Fukushima,Japan Times, Attendees of latest public hearing on energy fear low-level radiationBy NATSUKO FUKUE, 3 Aug 12, FUKUSHIMA — A year and half after the start of the nuclear crisis, many who attended the government’s latest public hearing on energy policy in Fukushima on Wednesday still expressed concern about the impact of radiation on their children……what concerns many parents in Fukushima is their children’s exposure to low levels of radiation…..

A 50-year-old woman living in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, told The Japan Times after the public hearing that she fears young people will be harmed by the radiation, and that discrimination against Fukushima residents will continue.

“I’ve tried to prepare myself mentally for the discrimination my son may face when he looks for a job or when he gets married, just because he was in Fukushima last March,” said the woman, who withheld her name.

Her son left the prefecture to enter a university in Niigata Prefecture in April 2011, a month after the crisis started, but that
hasn’t eased her worries. “I just hope my son will stay healthy,” she said in tears. A father of two university students in the city of Fukushima and one of the 30 speakers at the hearing also expressed misgivings.

“I’m deeply concerned about whether it is OK for my children to marry
and raise their kids in Fukushima,” the man, who only gave his
surname, Nogi, said. “Young people (in Fukushima) have to feel anxious
and fearful at such joyful moments in life. Can we accept society and
politics that are causing this situation? It’s time for us to think
seriously about this.”

He urged the government to abandon nuclear energy as soon as possible
so the people who live near reactors won’t be put at risk.

Many Fukushima residents remain evacuees from the radiation. According
to the Reconstruction Agency, as of last month there were still
100,096 evacuees inside the prefecture, while 61,548 lived
elsewhere.Residents of areas covered by the disaster relief law are
eligible for free public housing for up to three years if they
evacuate outside Fukushima Prefecture.

Pregnant women and children under 18 years old from 23 cities and
towns designated for evacuation can receive ¥600,000. Others get
¥80,000. Meanwhile, Tokyo Electric Power Co. will pay up to ¥120,000 a
month to those from an evacuation zone whose radius extends to 30 km.

But many struggle with the decision to live apart from their families
due to the costs, despite the compensation.

The woman from Koriyama said she decided to stay put.

“It’s not that I don’t care about radiation, but we have a mortgage
and send money to our son. So (my husband and I) thought it’s better
to save while our son is in university.” It would have been different
if she had a small child, she said……”All Fukushima people can
agree right now that we don’t need nuclear energy,” she

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August 3, 2012 - Posted by | Fukushima 2012, Japan, psychology - mental health, social effects

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