• Ueda, Nagano

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The lives of many people in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, the three prefectures that bore the brunt of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, are still in shambles. Many people in the region had their houses, beloved family members, property and means of living washed away. There is even an elementary school of which two-thirds of the students and teaching staff were washed away by the tsunami.

Last weekend my small community sent a team of volunteers to the Tohoku-Pacific region for the second time. Many people near or around the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant live every day in great fear of being exposed to radiation. Many have been forced to leave their houses, pets or livestock, and workplaces behind to evacuate somewhere else.

Isn’t now the time for us to focus our thoughts on Tohoku people in dire need of help and support? We must not put the horse before the cart. We should give priority to helping the people affected by the triple disaster. Conflicts within and between the political parties belong on the back burner.

Last but not least, I think uranium should sleep forever deep underground. Nature sounds like it is warning us that the nuclear genie must return to its own bottle and rest there for good.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

shigeo wagatsuma