I’m a mom who lives in Fukushima, Japan. I have a daughter in middle school and a son with disabilities. When my daughter moved up to high school, my family had planned to move out of Fukushima because we were worried about the effect of radiation on my kids’ health.
Since 3.11, the state government has provided housing support to refugees displaced by the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident. But the government recently announced that it will end rent assistance to families who move outside of Fukushima - while keeping it for anyone who stays.
On the same day that I learned Fukushima had decided to stop support for people moving away, I received notice that my son’s exam for thyroid cancer had revealed small tumors. (※1) I'm shocked and scared -- and I worry about how the radiation is affecting my kids.
Many families in Fukushima are juggling difficult decisions, made worse by fears about radiation -- whether to keep their kids in a school with classmates they know, or leave behind their homeland of generations and move away. The state’s housing support is what enables many families who couldn’t otherwise afford it, the chance to move away.
In a recent poll conducted by the city of Fukushima, 90% of Fukushima residents said they were “somewhat worried” or “very worried” about the impact of radiation on the health of their family members. And nearly half of families with young kids said that “even now, they would like to move away” due to fears about radiation. (※2)
The law that is the basis for providing this housing assistance was in place for five years after the Hanshin Awaji earthquake in 1995. It has been less than two years since 3.11, and given the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plants, continuing to provide rental support for families who want to move out of the prefecture is critical.
The government attempted to end assistance to families moving out of state last year in December, but reversed its decision following a public outcry. (※4)
With your support, I believe we should be able to reverse their decision again this time.
Thank you so much for your support.
※1 An A2 rating for the thyroid cancer test indicates growths or tumors from 5.0 to 20 mm in size
※2 Results from Fukushima City poll
※3 Increased radiation exposure for kids in Fukushima/Nihonmatsu due to more time spent outside
※4 Fukushima to no longer provide rental support (Yomiuri Shimbun) http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/yamagata/news/20121107-OYT8T01431.htm
※5 Homepage of Fukushima Prefectural Government - Latest thyroid cancer results