New life begins to bloom in disaster zone

By Colin Purse BBC News, Japan In Fukushima 40% of the population has had contact with radiation By Colin Purse BBC News, Fukushima The tsunami may have laid waste to homes and buildings in…

New life begins to bloom in disaster zone

By Colin Purse

BBC News, Japan

In Fukushima 40% of the population has had contact with radiation

By Colin Purse

BBC News, Fukushima

The tsunami may have laid waste to homes and buildings in this tsunami-stricken area of Japan but life is blossoming elsewhere. In a place known for its sooty surface, the grasses are beginning to grow, the fish have returned, and an orchard has appeared, a welcome sight for the people of Fukushima. Fukushima remains depressed and desolate after the nuclear crisis hit, but that is changing. “It’s a new year,” said Kato Kaji, the deputy chairman of the Fukushima Prefectural Government. “It’s good to see the plants begin to grow. “We hope that the conditions are being regained so that people can start to do more and more. But a catastrophe like this changes people. We are all the same as survivors.” Hopes and fears The government of Fukushima wants to open up the floodgates to reconstruction, including the provision of radiation checks for work as well as a return to normal living. “Treating ourselves properly,” said Kato Kaji, “will give Fukushima people hope and make them comfortable.” He hoped Fukushima’s tourism industry would be revitalised. However, the people of Fukushima remain divided over what they should do. The state-owned “uranium company” asked people last year if they wanted to be served by recycled uranium. More than 90% rejected that idea. People continue to live below a pre-disaster radiation threshold. Many, like 54-year-old doctor Masut Kobayashi, say they are still allergic to it. In addition, many people are afraid to stay home.

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