Boo-hoo-hoo Fukushima Diary, Part 12

Contaminated clothing sparks worry about physical contact

High school seniors in Fukushima City are being checked for internal exposure to radiation using whole body counters. According to the instructions for the test, cesium on mud and sand will affect the results, so the students are asked to change into clothing with no mud or sand on it.

So the government is declaring that there is cesium on clothing.

But if I were to say in Fukushima City that I was concerned about cesium on my clothing, people would probably be disgusted and say I’m neurotic. I can just imagine someone scolding me and saying, “It’s because people say things like that that there are ‘harmful rumors.’” An acquaintance of mine was told, “People who can’t put up with this amount of radiation don’t deserve to be citizens of Fukushima Prefecture.”

I worry about how to interact with my daughters too. Should I pull away from my daughter on account of radiation when she hugs me? I may protect her from cesium but hurt her feelings.

I still don’t have the answer. People are living in Fukushima City, and yet it has continually had one of the highest levels of radiation of all municipalities.

(Originally published on December 18, 2012)