via JapanTimes / March 12, 2012 /

Unknown risks of low-level radiation weigh heavily on locals

FUKUSHIMA — Yoshiko Ota keeps her windows shut. She never hangs her laundry outdoors. Fearful of birth defects, she warns her daughters: Never have children.

This is life with radiation, nearly one year after a tsunami-hit nuclear power plant began spewing it into Ota’s neighborhood, 60 km away. She’s so worried that she has broken out in hives.

“The government spokesman keeps saying there are no ‘immediate’ health effects,” the 48-year-old nursery school worker says. “He’s not talking about 10 years or 20 years later. He must think the people of Fukushima are fools.

“It’s not really OK to live here,” she says. “But we live here.”

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