The children from the devastated town of Namie in Fukushima Prefecture were treated to a great experience as they made a visit to the tallest tower in the world, the Tokyo Skytree. Seventeen students from Namie Elementary School made the trip last April 26, a month before the first anniversary of the tower on May 22.
The town of Namie was evacuated after the meltdown in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. As the whole town was designated a no-go zone, the elementary and high school students are now studying in 689 different schools in 260 municipalities scattered across the country. Most of the children are having a difficult time because they either have to transfer schools often or they are being bullied by other students in their new schools. Some have stopped going to school altogether because they cannot handle the stress. The students from Namie Elementary School were also scattered but as of August 2011, six of the classes started to take classes together in Nihonmatsu, 50 kilometeres west of Namie.
A lot of organizations had invited the students to attend different events but the teachers decided that the priority was for the children to adjust to their new environment before they go out of the prefecture. The Tokyo Skytree trip is their first outing since the March 2011 disaster and the invitation came from the Tokyo Owaricho branch of the Lions Club volunteer organization. School principal Kenichi Ishii looked on as the students were overwhelmed with wonder at the tower, which is a broadcasting and observation tower, as well as a restaurant. They looked down from the glass floor of the 340-meter-high observation deck at the steel-frame constructed tower. It might seem like a small thing, but Ishii feels like this trip has given students the “strength to live positively.” While it is still unclear if they will be able to go back to their hometown anytime soon, at least the children will have this memory to keep, while they are missing their families, friends and their town.