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Forest near Fukushima nuclear plant turning into high-radiation jungle via The Mainichi

“Contaminated materials from the mountains reach inhabited areas, rivers and the sea, so decontamination of the mountains is necessary. But we know better than anyone that it’s hard to get far into the mountains where there are no paths, and there’s no way you can wash down every tree and dig up the soil,” he says.

“What are we going to do about the mountains that are becoming overgrown? As residents start to return, that worries me,” he says.

The Futaba regional forestry cooperative lost its work contract to administer forests in the Futaba district before the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami that triggered the Fukushima nuclear crisis. It now seems that decontamination of forests will be set aside when decontamination work goes ahead, and the future of the forests accordingly remains uncertain.

Radiation readings near the saplings struggling to get sunlight were a little over 40 microsieverts per hour. After just one day in the area, a person would be exposed to more than the government’s designated yearly limit of 1 millisievert.

Facing the mountain, Akimoto lowered his head as he spoke to the saplings.

“I’m sorry that the readings are so high. I’m sorry that I can’t do anything.”

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