Associated Press, Apr. 7, 2014: Fukushima children start school, flee radiation — [Residents of Koriyama, 50 km west of Fukushima Daiichi,] Yukie Hashimoto and her husband sent their daughter 300 kilometers away [...] mistrust of the authorities remains high [...] eight students – seven in junior high school and one in elementary school – began their new lives this month [...] The project is the brainchild of Mayor Akira Sugenoya, a medical doctor who performed more than 100 thyroid-cancer surgeries [after Chernobyl.] For those outside the largely off-limits 20-kilometer zone, taking such a drastic step is relatively rare [and] divided both their family and entire communities. Hashimoto was nervous about speaking to a reporter, because raising questions can get one branded as a troublemaker. She requested that her daughter remain anonymous [...] Children are far more vulnerable to radiation than adults. The girl’s grandparents and her college-age brother find the fretting about radiation ridiculous. [...] the girl started getting nosebleeds and growing pale and lethargic. That may have had nothing to do with radiation, but it made Hashimoto decide to get her out, and her husband relented. [Kokoro Kamiyama] is happy she can run around outdoors in Matsumoto without wearing a mask.
Kokoro Kamiyama, 13-year-old evacuee: “The air feels so clean here [...] I love playing badminton. And tag.”
Hiroshi Ueki, former Fukushima resident who moved with his wife and two children: “The bottom line is: No one knows for sure. What we do know is that the cases of cancer are up, and so naturally we are worried.”
Yukie Hashimoto, mother of evacuee: “I didn’t really believe things are as safe as the government is telling us [...] We made our decision with her future, 10 years and 20 years later, in mind. [...] The low-dose radiation is continuing. There is no precedent. We don’t know what effect that will have on our children.”
Published: April 9th, 2014 at 10:36 am ET