Japanese kids speak with officials to share nuclear crises fears

Posted Aug 21, 2011 by Kim I. Hartman
Children from Fukushima Prefecture have met with government officials to voice their concerns about the ongoing nuclear crises that's affecting their region and their worries about the unsafe levels of radiation in places where they live, swim and play.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) looks on as US President Barack Obama (R) lays a wreath durin...
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) looks on as US President Barack Obama (R) lays a wreath during a visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima on May 27, 2016
Jim Watson, AFP
In a recent meeting with officials in Tokyo, organized by the Fukushima Network for Saving Children from Radiation, four children, who all lived in or were evacuated from the area surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, spoke candidly to Japanese officials on the rebuilding of their community following the disaster that struck Japan in March, reports The Japan Times.
The four kids, ages 9 through 13, met with officials from the nuclear emergency response headquarters and the education ministry to talk openly about how the disaster that followed the earthquake and tsunami has changed their daily lives.
The public meeting with the children came months after Education Minister Yoshiaki Takaki told the people of Japan that the government would work to reduce the radiation levels at schools in the Fukushima Prefecture to one-twentieth of the current annual limit, reported on by the Wall Street Journal.
Concerns of the parent include the high levels of radiation found in the soil on the playgrounds at Japanese schools. The board responded by pledging to remove the top soil and said they would provide dosimeters to each school to "monitor the fluctuations in radiation."
Almost half of the children in the Fukushima Prefecture were found to have "traces of radioactive elements in their thyroids," within weeks of the nuclear disaster.
The fears of the parents and the future of the children from the Fukushima Prefecture has everyone concerned. They can see the rebuilding and cleanup in progress, but the radiation is invisible and how this unseen threat will affect the health of the children is unknown.
"Kaya Hashimoto, 13, said she evacuated with her family from the town of Miharu in June due to concerns over radiation exposure. The family now lives in Tokyo, and she said she misses her friends in Fukushima and worries about them."
"Can you understand the feelings of people who left their hometowns in Fukushima?" she asked the officials reports Japan Times online. "I can't trust a government that insists on describing Fukushima as safe when children there wear masks to go to schools and can't use swimming pools."
The Japanese government, which recently said the cleanup could take decades, had no answers for the youngest victims of Japan's nuclear crises. Their response was one of "silence with heads bowed," said Mizuho Aoki, of the Japan Times.