Fukushima school relocation, 18 April 2011. School children from an evacuation zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have begun a new term at a school outside the zone. The people of the Yamakiya district of Kawamata Town in Fukushima Prefecture were advised to evacuate within a month because their annual radioactive exposure is expected to top the safety limit of 20 millisieverts. NHKBy Takahiko Hyuga
28 July 2011

As temperatures soared to 100 degrees Fahrenheit on a recent July morning, school children in Fukushima prefecture were taking off their masks and running around playgrounds in T-shirts, exposing them to a similar amount of annual radiation as a worker in a nuclear power plant.

Toshinori Shishido, a Japanese literature teacher of 25 years, had warned his students two months ago to wear surgical masks and keep their skin covered with long-sleeved shirts. His advice went unheeded, not because of the weather but because his school told him not to alarm students. Shishido quit this week.

“I want to get away from this situation where I’m not even allowed to alert children about radiation exposure,” said Shishido, a 48-year-old teacher who taught at Fukushima Nishi High School. “Now I’m free to talk about the risks.”

After the March 11 earthquake and tsunami devastated the Tohoku region in Japan’s northeast, the central government evacuated as many as 470,000 residents, including 160,000 because of radiation risks from the crippled Dai-Ichi nuclear plant. More than 2 million residents including 271,000 children remain in Fukushima, Japan’s third-biggest prefecture by size.

The government is closely monitoring radiation levels, said Yoshiaki Ishida, an official at the Ministry of Education.

“We don’t think we are at a stage to tell Fukushima people to evacuate at this moment,” Ishida said.

Kiyoharu Furukawa, 57, assistant principal at Fukushima Nishi High, said the school told Shishido not to spend too much time talking about radiation during his classes as some students and parents complained. He confirmed Shishido resigned.

Radiation can damage human cells and DNA, with prolonged exposure causing leukemia and other forms of cancer, according to the World Nuclear Association. Children are more susceptible as their cells grow at a faster rate.

“It’s all invisible. The trees are still trees, people are shopping, the birds are singing and dogs are walking in the street,” said Chris Busby, a visiting professor at the University of Ulster’s school of biomedical sciences, who visited Fukushima prefecture last week to provide information on health risks. “When you bring out the (Geiger) machines, you can see everything is sparkling and everyone is being bitten by invisible snakes that will eventually kill them.” […]

“I saw little boys playing baseball in a cloud of dust, and I wondered who can protect their future,” said Kanako Nishikata, a 33-year-old housewife with a son, aged 11, and daughter, aged 8. “It’s shocking to learn a teacher is quitting because he can’t protect the students.”

A group of parents and children from Fukushima plan to visit Education Minister Yoshiaki Takaki in Tokyo on Aug. 17 to ask him to evacuate children from the prefecture, she said.

Fukushima Nishi High, which has 873 students, had readings of 0.07 microsieverts per hour in the school building and 1.5 microsieverts per hour in the playground on July 14, still within the safety limits set by the prefecture and government, Furukawa, the assistant principal said. The school continues to hold gym classes and sports club activities outside, he said.

“I don’t think the children are safe either, and I know the radiation level is still high,” Furukawa said. “These days, they are wearing short sleeves and no masks.” […]

Fukushima Teacher Muzzled on Radiation Risks for School Children

0 comments :

 

Blog Template by Adam Every . Sponsored by Business Web Hosting Reviews