Nuclear refugees finally wed


After seeking shelter at 10 different places, a young couple from the no-go zone around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant finally tied the knot last month, beginning their new life together in Saitama Prefecture.

Masato Ishida, 23, from the town of Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, and his new wife Manami, 22, from Namie, had planned to register their marriage March 14.

Their plans were shattered by the March 11 quake and tsunami, and they were forced to start living in shelters without even having the time to collect their belongings from their houses near the Fukushima plant.

The only physical item they had that proved their bond was the engagement ring Manami Ishida was wearing at the time of the disaster.

Masato Ishida was working for a company that handled air conditioners at the Fukushima plant, but he lost his job after the quake. Worried about the potential risk of radiation to Manami, they decided to leave their hometowns, with Masato looking for a job in various cities.

He had hoped to land a job in Osaka but couldn’t find suitable employment there. “We almost ran out of money, and I was getting really frustrated,” he said.

They began to have small quarrels, but their dog Maro helped ease the tension, he said.

They moved from Osaka to Saitama Prefecture in late May, and he eventually found a job with a waterworks company.

The couple finally registered their marriage with a municipal office in July.

“I suddenly lost my job, house and hometown. But we finally feel that we can carry on with our lives now,” he said.

They also now look back at the good things about the quiet life in Fukushima; they find city living stressful. Someday, when the nuclear crisis is contained, they hope to return home.