School within Fukushima Exclusion Zone Reopens

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April 23, 2017

Students and teachers have returned for the school year within the exclusion zone created in the wake of the Sendai Earthquake and resulting tsunami in Fukushima, Japan.

The Naraha Elementary and Junior High School is now open for business, two years after the Japanese Government lifted an evacuation order issued in the wake of the radioactive meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Naraha is within the 12-mile exclusion zone around the nuclear plant. The town's population was 8,000 before the quake and tsunami. Only 20 percent of the residents have returned. The former ghost town is being rebuilt slowly. Already open are a bank and post office and, of course, a medical clinic. Construction of a supermarket is still under way.

The earthquake and tsunami occurred six years ago. Some of the students attending the newly opened school were born in that year. Construction of the school was already under way when disaster struck. Workers scrapped what they had done, then removed large amounts of dirt, in an attempt to remove traces of radiation.

Six years and $18 million later, the school has opened its doors. Included within the layout are large classrooms, two science labs, a large gymnasium, and a library stocked with brand new books.

School officials are monitoring radiation levels every day and are providing ongoing counselling for students and their parents. School uniforms are free, as is school lunch and a computer tablet for each student.

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