Japan worries about radiation and children’s health via Global Post

OTAMA, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan — For the nuclear evacuees living in a leisure complex in the hills overlooking Otama, the arrival of three stand-up comedians offers brief respite from life post-Fukushima.

There are jokes, songs and free T-shirts. But the biggest response of the afternoon is to a dig at Japan’s beleaguered prime minister, Naoto Kan. “We feel sick about the way he’s handling the crisis,” one of the trio says. “Goodness knows how angry you must be.”

The bitterness resonates easily among the 100 or so evacuees, all former residents of towns dangerously close to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which continues to leak radiation more than three months after it was struck by a tsunami.

Some became unemployed when evacuations were ordered, sending more than 80,000 people from their homes with no idea when, or if, they will be able to return. Several children staying at the complex are being looked after by relatives while their parents look for work elsewhere.

“We’re all stuck here together and we’re getting tired of it,” said Asami Igari, who is hoping to find work and assisted housing in Koriyama, a nearby city.

The home she and her husband, a nuclear plant worker, shared 6 miles from the plant is uninhabitable. “Our house and land have been ruined by radiation, so it could be years before we can return,” she said. “The whole situation is very scary.”

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