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Okinawa a refuge for Fukushima evacuees fleeing radiation

text ionisingrisks are several times higher for children and even higher for
fetuses, and may not appear for years.

flag-japanJapanese flee Fukushima in fear of nuclear radiation, Mail and Guardian,
22 DEC 2012   – YURI KAGEYAMA, Okinawa is about as far away as one
can get from Fukushima without leaving Japan, and that is why Minaho
Kubota is here.Petrified of the radiation spewing from the Fukushima
Dai-ichi nuclear plant that went into multiple meltdowns last year,
Kubota grabbed her children, left her sceptical husband and moved to
the small southwestern island.

More than 1 000 people from the disaster zone have done the same
thing. “I thought I would lose my mind,” Kubota told The Associated
Press in a recent interview.

“I felt I would have no answer for my children if, after they grew up,
they ever asked me, ‘Mama, why didn’t you leave?'”

Experts and the government say there have been no visible health
effects from the radioactive contamination from Fukushima Dai-ichi so

But they also warn that even low-dose radiation carries some risk of
cancer and other diseases, and exposure should be avoided as much as
possible, especially the intake of contaminated food and water.

Such risks are several times higher for children and even higher for
fetuses, and may not appear for years. Okinawa has welcomed the people
from Fukushima and other northeastern prefectures (states) affected by
the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that set off the nuclear

Okinawa is offering 60 000 yen ($750) a month to help relocating
families of three or four pay the rent, and lower amounts for smaller
families. “We hope they feel better, maybe refreshed,” said Okinawan
official Masakazu Gunji.

Other prefectures have offered similar aid, but Okinawa’s help is
relatively generous and is being extended an extra year to three years
for anyone applying by the end of this year. Relocations
Most people displaced by the disaster have relocated within or near
Fukushima, but Okinawa, the only tropical island in Japan, is the most
popular area for those who have chosen prefectures far from the
nuclear disaster.

An escape to Okinawa underlines a determination to get away from
radiation and, for some, distrust toward Tokyo Electric Power Co., the
utility that operates Fukushima Dai-ichi…….


December 24, 2012 - Posted by | Japan, social effects

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