During a fact-finding trip to Fukushima Prefecture, an Irish supporter of children affected by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster discovered "many mirror images" between the crisis here and the world's worst nuclear accident, which still haunts people in contaminated zones.

Adi Roche, 56, chief executive officer of the charity group Chernobyl Children International, based in Cork, Ireland, offered encouragement for people living near the stricken Fukushima No. 1 power station, saying at a meeting in Koriyama in early March that Chernobyl survivors "want you to know that their hearts are also with you."

In a demonstration of solidarity, Roche told local residents that Chernobyl survivors "understand the loss of community, the loss of culture, the loss of lives that you know and the loss of health and the loss of even life itself" and are "shedding tears for the people of Fukushima whose lives are so dramatically altered by this terrible event."