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Mothers first to shed food-safety complacency via The Japan Times Online

The disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and the threat of radioactive fallout changed the lives of many people, including Mizuho Nakayama and other mothers of young children whose primary goal suddenly became that of keeping their kids out of harm’s way.

Once career-oriented, Nakayama, 41, quit her full-time job in August and now devotes her life to doing her utmost to minimize her 3-year-old son’s exposure to the various dangerous isotopes released amid the three meltdowns at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. plant.

Various grassroots groups got together in Tokyo in July to share information and formed the National Network of Parents to Protect Children from Radiation, which as of Dec. 15 consisted of 250 groups with an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 members, Nakayama said.

“There are limits to what an individual (group) can achieve,” said Nami Kondo, one of the founding members of the network. “We thought that if we got together and shared information and the knowledge we had gained, we would be more powerful.”

“Among our members, there are many mothers who never even voted in elections. But by observing a ward assembly in action and even lobbying, (we) have realized that (things can get done),” she said.

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