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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Not everybody wants to return

April 4, 2013



Schoolchildren who evacuated from Minamisoma reluctant to return



MINAMISOMA, Fukushima -- Many schoolchildren who have evacuated from this city hit hard by the nuclear disaster have still not returned due largely to their parents' concerns about radiation contamination, a local education board said.

The Minamisoma Municipal Board of Education has vowed to step up efforts to help schoolchildren taking shelter outside the city return home.

"I think this is because schoolchildren have got used to their life at schools in areas where they are taking shelter. However, we're determined to continue our efforts to create an environment in which children can study in the city without concern," said an education board official.

Of 3,603 children who are supposed to attend municipal elementary schools in Minamisoma this academic year, only 2,020, or 56 percent, are expected to be actually enrolled in these schools as of April 8, according to a survey conducted by the municipal board of education. At junior high schools, 1,259 of 1,873 students, or 67 percent, are estimated to be attending the institutions.

In total, 3,279 of 5,476 schoolchildren will be attending municipal elementary and junior high schools. The other students are attending schools in areas where they are taking shelter although they are registered as Minamisoma residents.

The retention rates were 30 percent at municipal elementary schools and 43 percent at city-run junior high schools as of April 22, 2011, shortly after the outbreak of the nuclear crisis. The figures rose to 50 percent and 64 percent at elementary and junior high schools, respectively, at the beginning of the academic year for 2012.

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