Radiation fears make Japanese people flee

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Radiation fears make Japanese people flee

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Concern is growing among ordinary Japanese over what information their government is revealing about the nuclear threat.

Evacuees from the surrounding area of the damaged plant are accepting undergoing testing for contamination but they are angry with the authorities.

“I’m shocked,” said evacuee Hiroshi. “They didn’t tell us what was happening and I’m very angry with the people who were running the plant. It’s a joke, a bad joke.”

In Tokyo, the streets are empty. Mixed messages are raising anxiety levels: the government says higher radiation levels are still safe but is also advising people to stay in doors if they can.

Noriyuki Shikata, a spokesman for the prime minister said: “In Tokyo, are we worried about our exposure to radiation? No! And I don’t think, if you interviewed people in Tokyo that the majority of people are very much worried about what’s happening here.”

However a large number of the capital’s 35 million people are leaving where possible; those fleeing are mainly women and children.

One woman said “I think to avoid general panic the government is only drip-feeding us selective information.”

But few can afford the expensive train fares and when they get to the main hub of Osaka in the south, it is not always the answer to their problems. Hotels are becoming over-booked and accommodation is increasingly hard to find.