Radiation still restricts life in Japan's northeast

Nearly a year on from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, radiation fears continue to affect residents and food supplies along Japan’s north-east coast.

The March 11th 2011 earthquake and tsunami sent three reactors of the region’s main nuclear plant into meltdown.

In the town of Iwaki, which is heavily dependent on the fishing trade, the subsequent radiation leaks were a huge blow.

“Our spirits are down and we want fishing operations to resume as soon as possible,” said local fisherman Kinzaburo Shiga.

“Consumer worries about seafood safety is more of a concern than radiation scares. We help out with the monitoring in the hope that one day consumers will return to eat our delicious local fish.”

Officials have tested close to 3,000 fish samples over the past year. They’re due to announce the results of a contamination test from new born fish on Wednesday.

Radiation fears continue to affect those living in Fukushima city too, which is just 50 kilometres from the nuclear plant.

While readings have fallen considerably,

for many local children, the outdoors is still a no-go area. Instead, Japan’s Red Cross has set up a temporary indoor playground in one neighbourhood.

“There are lots of people worried about radiation, especially parents who don’t want to let their children play outside,” said volunteer Takeru Fukawa.

“So we decided to start this sort of indoor play area to allow children to run around and have fun.”

Parents are campaigning to force the Fukushima city government to provide a more long-term facility for their youngsters, suggesting that many feel radiation fears are unlikely to fall away soon.
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