Boo-hoo-hoo Fukushima Diary, Part 8

Grateful yet sad

Like last summer, this summer special recreation programs for children from Fukushima are being held around the country. Many volunteers have planned these programs to give the children an opportunity to get away from the effects of radiation for a while.

Some of the programs are free, while others cost several thousand yen or 10,000 yen. Most last from three to ten days and are designed to see that the children have a good time.

What is different from last summer is that these recreational programs have become more popular, so more are being planned and there are more participants. This means that Fukushima parents try to select programs with better conditions, so apparently there are also a lot of cancellations. This must present quite a hardship for the organizers.

It is heartwarming to see the children, including my own, participating in these programs. But, if you turn it around, the fact that there are so many of these programs, which are practically free, means that kids in Fukushima can’t play outdoors freely. I don’t want to get caught up in these heartwarming scenes and forget the abnormality of the situation or my sense of crisis.

(Originally published on August 14, 2012)