Voices From Fukushima 3: I desperately want my children to live where they can run freely.

After the earthquake, everything was in a shambles, but we expected things to come back to normal after the power came on and the water started running. But about ten days later the children’s school told us to keep them inside due to radioactivity. If they had to go out, we should dress them in mask, gloves, coat and cap; we should wash their hands frequently. But we had no water from the pipes to wash with.
I thought: Let’s get out! But the trains weren’t running and the
highways were closed off by earthquake damage. Gasoline supplies ran
out quickly. I told my husband I wanted to get the children out of
Fukushima. He said, “And leave me behind?” He has a good job with
the city.
His parents, who share our house, keep a vegetable garden. After the
accident, when they tried to feed the children vegetables, I stopped
them. They were hurt and angry that I rejected the food they lovingly
When my husband brought home a Geiger counter, we found that the needle
stayed in the danger zone. We bought a pressure washer and washed off
the roof, veranda, entrance, etc. My mother-in-law watched us, angry.
Why did we have to upset everyone with all this fear?
After my son had a nosebleed in April, I went to Nagasaki to have both
children measured by a whole body counter. When the doctor told me
that both children measured under 60 becquerels and suggested that we
“go on home”, I felt safe and ready to return. But other doctors
I consulted with said, “Once it’s in their bodies, it doesn’t
leave,” and warned against accumulating exposure. What to do? I
sent my husband articles on radiation. No answer. Finally, he came to
understand my fears for the children and said he could live without
us till the year end.
I desperately want my children to live where they can run freely. Play
outside till the sun turns them into berries! Fall in the dirt and
skin their knees without our having a fit about it. If I take them
back home, they’ll have to wear masks outside, we’ll have to buy
food that comes from other places, live on bottled water.
But then, the other day, my husband sent letters from their teachers. The
teachers talked about how their friends missed them. I wondered: what
am I doing separating them from their friends? Back there, they’re
all holding up so bravely—am I thinking about the community, or do
I only care about us? The more I wrack my brain, the more confused I
What should I do?
Mrs K.
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