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

The sense of loss of evacuees

March 15, 2013


Fukushima evacuees ask lawmakers for more assistance




A handful of evacuees from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant crisis gathered on March 14 in Tokyo and called on the central government to do more to help children and others displaced by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

The hearing at the Upper House members' office building in Nagatacho was organized by a cross-partisan group of lawmakers, lawyers and activists who argue that the law enacted in June to assist the victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster is merely an expression of ideals and contains no effective punch.

Chika Shishido, who evacuated from Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, to Sapporo, said she organized a group of unmarried women, including herself, who were caught in a "sense of loss."

"The government did not defend us," the 29-year-old said.

Shishido said that care should be carefully provided to disaster survivors on an individual basis according to their different circumstances of life. Some of them may have lost loved ones to the tsunami, she said, while others may be raising their children amid high radiation levels.

Sachiko Sawagami, who was forced to leave her home in an exclusion zone in Futaba to Matsuyama, called for assistance to those who evacuated, unlike herself, on a voluntary basis.

"They are questioning and agonizing over their decisions (to leave), which they reached after giving it a lot of thought," Sawagami, 37, said. "The borderline drawn by the government is deepening a divide."

Tomoko Furuyama said she commutes to a company in Fukushima Prefecture from Shiroishi in neighboring Miyagi Prefecture, where she raises her three children. She said that after the onset of the nuclear disaster she set up an advocacy group in her community to protect children. The group has been measuring radiation levels on an independent basis. Furuyama, 40, said radiation levels remain high in some locations.

"Measures should be taken on the basis of actual radiation levels and real-life circumstances," she said.

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