Ukraine bestows honor on Japanese woman who helped sick Chernobyl kids

Kyodo

The Ukraine government on Thursday awarded the Order of Princess Olga to a Japanese woman to recognize her efforts helping children who fell ill in the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear meltdown.

Mari Sasaki, 52-year-old head of the Chernobyl Children’s Fund, Japan, accepted the award at the Ukrainian Embassy in Tokyo for her efforts to provide medical supplies and assist in the operation of sanatoriums for children in contaminated areas.

“I’m delighted and honored,” said Sasaki, who repeatedly visited Belarus and Ukraine to help the children. “I think the (order) is not solely for me but for all the people who supported our activities through donations.”

The Tokyo-based fund was established in 1991 by photojournalist Ryuichi Hirokawa, now 73, who was honored by the Ukrainian government in 2011.