“It’s like Russian roulette”: Only 10 percent of school lunches in Fukushima tested for radiation — Officials didn’t even know testing equipment was available

Published: November 27th, 2011 at 1:22 pm ET
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Nuke fears may spread faster than radiation, The Japan Times Online, Nov. 27, 2011:

[...] “Every day I think of radiation accumulating in my child’s body,” a 36-year-old Tokyo housewife tells the monthly magazine Takarajima. [...]

Many people no doubt suppress their fears and get on with their lives. This woman can’t. She thinks Tokyo is contaminated and wants to move — for the child’s sake more than her own. [...]

If you’re a parent seeking reassurance, don’t look to Sunday Mainichi magazine, which last week pointedly demanded, “Are children’s school lunches really safe?” Chiba Prefecture in October initiated daily testing, and two weeks later detected radioactive cesium — 350 becquerels — in shiitake mushrooms. Echoing Takarajima’s housewife, the mother of a second-grader says, “How much radiation would my child have consumed? I can’t help wondering, and it sends shivers up my spine.”

Surveying the issue from Tohoku to Tokyo, Sunday Mainichi finds no more than 20 percent of municipalities testing school lunches for radiation. Tokyo’s 23 wards are relatively solid in that regard (42 percent of Tokyo’s municipalities test), but the Tohoku region, the heart of the crisis, seems astonishingly lax (Fukushima 10 percent, Miyagi 8 percent). “It’s like Russian roulette,” said the mother of a Chiba Prefecture first-grader.

“To be honest, we could have done better,” admits a Fukushima City official. “Until summer the city didn’t even know that testing equipment was available.” [...]

Published: November 27th, 2011 at 1:22 pm ET
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