A big banner saying “Welcome back!” was held by local residents as they warmly applauded the new students and children who enrolled at Furumichi Elementary School after the school re-opened when the evacuation order due to radiation around Fukushima nuclear power plant was lifted for the first time since the disaster struck in 2011.
The Japanese government had lifted the evacuation order on April 1 for Tamura’s Miyakoji district – located within 20 kilometers of the Fukushima nuclear facility that was decimated and thrown into multiple meltdown by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami – and the Tamura city government decided to hold an entrance ceremony for the first time in four years at the school. It was a touching moment as the children, who had to transfer to a temporary campus when the nuclear disaster happened, filed into the school .
Of the 151 students in Furumichi Elementary School, there are around 90 who are still living outside of their homes in evacuation communities because of the Fukushima disaster. These students will be commuting on a daily basis from their temporary residences to the school until such time that they will be able to return to their original homes in the district. The sad part of this story is that the parents of these children do not retain much hope that they will be able to return to their homes anytime soon. This is because of the lasting effects of nuclear radiation and the ongoing issues that plague the decommissioning and cleanup of the Fukushima nuclear plant.