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Radiation Fears Force Fukushima's Children Inside

Image: Two-year-old Nao Watanabe plays in a ball pit at an indoor playground which was built for children and parents who refrain from playing outside because of concerns about nuclear radiation in Koriyama.
Two-year-old Nao Watanabe plays in a ball pit at an indoor playground which was built for children and parents who refrain from playing outside because of concerns about nuclear radiation in Koriyama, west of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Fukushima prefecture Feb. 27. Toru Hanai / Reuters

March 11 marks the third anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. In Koriyama, a short drive from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, the city recommended children up to two years old not spend more than 15 minutes outside each day. Those aged 3 to 5 should limit their outdoor time to 30 minutes or less.

In the above photo, Nao Watanabe, 2, plays in a ball pit at an indoor playground which was built for children and parents who refrain from playing outside because of concerns about nuclear radiation.

The limits were lifted last year, but many kindergartens and nursery schools continue to obey them even now in line with the wishes of worried parents.

Image: A child walks past a geiger counter
A child walks past a geiger counter, measuring a radiation level of 0.162 microsievert per hour, at a square in front of Koriyama, west of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on March 1. Toru Hanai / Reuters

Image: A doctor conducts a thyroid examination on five-year-old girl
A doctor conducts a thyroid examination on five-year-old girl as her older brother and a nurse take care of her at a clinic in temporary housing complex in Nihonmatsu, west of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Fukushima prefecture on Feb. 27. Toru Hanai / Reuters

Image: Two-year-old Sakuya Zui plays at an indoor playground which was built for children and parents who refrain from playing outside because of concerns about nuclear radiation in Koriyama, west of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power pl
Two-year-old Sakuya Zui plays at an indoor playground which was built for children and parents who refrain from playing outside because of concerns about nuclear radiation in Koriyama, west of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Feb. 27. Toru Hanai / Reuters

An annual survey by the Fukushima prefecture Board of Education found that children in Fukushima weighed more than the national average in virtually every age group. The cause seems to be a lack of exercise and outdoor activity.

—Reuters

Image: A girl wearing a mask sits in a school bus heading to the Emporium kindergarten in Koriyama
A girl wearing a mask sits in a school bus heading to the Emporium kindergarten in Koriyama, west of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Feb. 28. Toru Hanai / Reuters