• Kyodo


Several nuclear evacuees from Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture, found that their homes had decayed and become overgrown in the 17 months since the crisis following the lifting of the town’s hot-zone status last week.

During a brief visit recently, Naraha housewife Hiromi Konno, 38, who now lives in an apartment in Iwaki, brought her two children back to their home for the first time since the crisis started. She found her house was full of dust and dead insects — and a foul smell.

“Our home now stinks and is dirty. It’s like time stopped right on the March quake,” daughter Rina, 11, said in her radiation suit as she held her favorite stuffed animals in her arms.

They left after only 90 minutes.

Evacuee Takuo Sakamoto, 65, said he was anxious to see his home but now has mixed feelings. “Maybe I shouldn’t have come here,” he said.

In Naraha, many gravestones still remain knocked over, presumably by the quake, and people were trying to fix them in time for the Bon holidays.

Staying on in Morioka

MORIOKA, Iwate Pref.

More than a third of the people who took refuge in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, after the March 2011 quake and tsunami said they wanted to stay, a recent municipal government poll found.

According to the poll, 36 percent of respondents wanted to continue living in the inland city, which is safe from tsunami, demonstrating a significant number had given up on returning to their coastal hometowns 17 months after the disaster.

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