Cartoon bird warns Fukushima children of radiation via Bangkok Post

A grinning bird mascot has been enlisted to teach Japanese children in Fukushima how to stay safe from the radiation that escaped from the region’s crippled nuclear power plant.

Kibitan — a plump, yellow cartoon character with stubby wings and boots — is warning youngsters to stay away from puddles and ditches, where radioactive particles accumulate.

In a leaflet issued by Fukushima’s disaster taskforce, the character, inspired by the region’s narcissus flycatcher bird, asks children to promise they will wash their hands and gargle with water when they get home.

A smiling Kibitan explains what radiation is and cautions that it can make people sick if it gets inside their body.

Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from their homes around Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in the weeks after it was wrecked by the massive tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011.

But anti-nuclear campaigners say the Japanese government has not done enough to protect those living a little further afield.

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