4 Février 2016
February 4, 2016
By SATORU SEMBA/ Staff Writer
Fifty-five public elementary schools and junior high schools in the three prefectures hardest hit by the March 2011 disaster remain unusable, including 30 around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The schools in the northeastern prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima have been operating interim schools elsewhere since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck the Tohoku region and set off the nuclear accident at the Fukushima plant.
Kumamachi Elementary School in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, is located about 3 kilometers from the plant in an area designated as difficult-to-return zone because of high radiation levels.
In December, an Asahi Shimbun reporter wearing a protective suit visited the school with a town resident who had temporarily returned to the area.
The schoolyard was covered in grass that was so tall it almost concealed the soccer goals. Footprints of wild animals were also seen.
Satchels and other school goods were scattered on the floor of a classroom seen through a window. These items were apparently left behind when the town was evacuated as the nuclear disaster unfolded in 2011.
Before the triple meltdown at the plant, 333 pupils were enrolled at the school.
Since the disaster, the school has run classes at a rented room of a former school in Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture. Only 23 children attend classes at the new school.