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Japan's victims return to nuclear-hit hometown

03-05-2012 13:54 BJT

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Nearly a year on from the earthquake and tsunami that crippled parts of north-east Japan and the Fukushima nuclear plant, continuing radiation means tens of thousands of people still cannot return to homes that are otherwise undamaged. But residents have been allowed back into the nuclear exclusion zone for a third time as the anniversary approaches.

The Fukushima Daiichi Plant was wrecked by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, triggering reactor meltdowns and radiation leaks that caused mass evacuations and widespread contamination.

FILE PHOTO: A worker is given a radiation screening as he enters the emergency
operation centre at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in
Japan on February 20.

Nearly 11,000 residents of the town, and nearly 80,000 people across the prefecture, still cannot return. Despite nearly a year passing, for the residents of Okuma town in Fukushima, radiation is a real, invisible and present danger.

Returning to move cabinets from her home, 74-year-old Miyoko Takeda says she has been unable to function properly since being forced to leave everything behind.

Returning to move cabinets from her home, 74-year-old Miyoko Takeda says she has been
unable to function properly since being forced to leave everything behind.

Miyoko Takeda said, "It’s like I have depression, I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I lost 8 kilograms and when I went to the doctor I threw up everything I took. Now I can’t sleep without medicine."

While Takeda took cabinets and objects she thought unlikely to absorb radioactive particles, she left behind the kimonos that she used to wear when she was a traditional dancer in Tokyo.

Fighting back tears as she remembers the feeling of standing on stage, Takeda tries on the kimonos one last time before their three-hour window to return closes and they are once again forced out of the exclusion zone.

Other people use their precious few hours to visit family graves and repair the damage the earthquake caused.

With headstones overturned and weeds encroaching on ancient graves, 59-year-old Minoru Fukuo and his wife tidy up areas of the cemetery. Minoru Fukuo said, "We just pray that we can come back soon, and clean up the grave properly. So we just ask them to wait until then."

The government announced a roadmap for decommissioning the nuclear plant last December and say it will take 30-40 years. With such a long timescale, the one year anniversary may be the first of many.


Editor:Zhang Dan |Source: CNTV.CN

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