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Thursday, 25 September 2014

Over 10,000 Fukushima children still studying far from homes

Pupils bid goodbye to their classmates at an elementary school in Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, in March 2013 before moving on

September 25, 2014

Thousands of students who evacuated following the nuclear disaster triggered by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami are still attending schools away from their homes in Fukushima Prefecture, a survey shows. 

A total of 15,281 students were transferred from their kindergarten, elementary, junior and senior high schools and special support schools.

Of these, 9,767 are attending schools outside the prefecture, while 5,514 are attending schools in the prefecture.

The survey by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology was carried out in May.

Nearly 130,000 people remain evacuated from their homes in Fukushima Prefecture. A growing number of them have opted to register as residents in their current locations, with many citing radiation fears.

A 42-year-old woman from Koriyama in the prefecture explained her decision to move to Kyoto with her son, who is in second grade at elementary school.
"I wish I could raise him in my hometown, but I'm worried about how the radiation will affect his health," she said.

According to a prefectural survey on evacuees in January and February, 15 percent of 20,680 households that gave valid responses said they were "concerned about education and child-rearing."
The figure exceeded 20 percent among evacuees living outside the prefecture.

On a positive note, a growing number of high school students have landed jobs in Fukushima Prefecture after they graduated.

Prefectural officials said 81.6 percent of jobs offered by March to the latest crop of high school graduates were from companies in the prefecture. The figure is a record high since the prefectural government started compiling such data in 2008.

While the figure can be attributed to an increase in job offers related to reconstruction efforts from the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, some believe it shows a shift in attitudes among students.

"An increasing number of students want to work within the prefecture," one teacher said.

Source: Asahi Shimbun

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