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Japan’s Nuclear Disaster Severs Town’s Economic Lifeline, Setting Evacuees Adrift via NYT

KAZO, Japan — Along with 1,300 other evacuees from a town two miles from Japan’s damaged nuclear plants, Kunikazu Takahashi and his elderly mother are crowded into an abandoned high school here, sleeping on donated tatami mats as they ask themselves whether it will ever be safe to return. Residents of Futaba are now scattered at various makeshift shelters miles from their homes, including an arena near Tokyo.

But Mr. Takahashi, 47, feels he has no choice: to earn enough to support his mother, he needs to go back to his job as a technician at the Fukushima Daini nuclear plant, just six miles from the Daiichi plant, which is spewing radioactive particles.

“They called several days ago, asking for me,” Mr. Takahashi said. “I have to go back.” He shrugged off a question about the dangers; in Fukushima’s stagnant economy, he said, he was lucky to have a job at all. “I try not to think about it,” he said.

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