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The Prometheus Trap / Men in Protective Clothing-2: Radiation information did not make it to residents via Asahi Japan Watch

By MOTOYUKI MAEDA / Staff Writer

On March 13, after the 25 people had left the Kanno’s home, the majority of evacuees still remained in the Tsushima district.

At 5:44 a.m. on March 12, the evacuation order was expanded to cover a radius of 10 kilometers from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. After the hydrogen explosion at the No. 1 nuclear reactor, the evacuation order was widened to 20 km at 6:25 p.m.

However, at a news conference on the evening of March 12, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said, “There will be no leakage of radioactive material in a large quantity. Persons in areas outside of the 20-km radius will not be affected.”

The statement effectively meant that the incident was insignificant but that people in the area are urged to take shelter as a precautionary measure. People believed that the Tsushima district, 30 km away, was safe.

On March 12 and 13, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) employees visited the Tsushima branch office in Namie to make a status report. They were not wearing protective clothing, and they did not say the area was dangerous. Their demeanor was quite different from that of the men Mizue Kanno had met.

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