Japanese Nuclear Evacuees Frustrated by Mixed Government Messages


by NTDTelevision

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The increased level of radiation from a nuclear plant in northern Japan caused growing fears for evacuees. But lack of information adds to the frustration of those forced to abandon their homes near the damaged plant.

Japanese evacuees from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant say lack of information is making their situation worse.

On Wednesday, Japan's prime minister urged people to stop eating leafy vegetables grown near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex. Radiation levels exceeding safety standards were found in 11 types of vegetables.

On the same day, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary said that there was no need to extend the 12-mile evacuation zone around the plant.

Some of the nuclear evacuees taking shelter in a fishing village called Takahagi say they don't know what to do with all these mixed messages.

[Unidentified Evacuee]:
"With the situation like this and the Cabinet Secretary making comments like that, we don't know if (vegetables) are safe to eat. We don't have any information, it's really a strange situation."

Life for local residents in Takahagi is not any easier.

[Jusuke Shoji, Fisherman]:
"Everyone here is getting old, the whitebait catch is getting smaller year by year, so we were in a bad situation when this happened."

The Asian nation's worst crisis since World War II has caused an estimated $250 billion in damage, sent shock waves through global financial markets, and left nearly 23,000 people dead or missing.

Although there has been progress in restoring power to the Fukushima site 13 days after the accident, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co says it needs more time before it could say the reactors have been stabilized.