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Japan: After Fukushima: families on the edge of meltdown

Two years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, a new phenomenon is on the rise: atomic divorce. Abigail Haworth reports on the unbearable pressures and prejudices being faced by those caught in the radiation zone

Source:  Copyright 2013, Observer
Date:  February 23, 2013
Byline:  Abigail Haworth
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Perhaps one day Aiko and Kenji Nomura will laugh about the Birthday Cake Incident. It happened last autumn. Aiko, a care worker from the city of Koriyama in Japan's Fukushima prefecture, was celebrating her 35th birthday. Her husband Kenji decided to surprise her. On the way home from his job at the post office, he picked up the biggest cake he could find. It was filled with whipped cream and decorated with pink roses.

"I couldn't help myself," recalls Aiko. "Kenji had a huge smile on his face, but the first words that shot out of my mouth when I saw the cake were: 'Is the cream safe?'"

Since March 2011, when a triple meltdown occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant 56km from their home, the Nomuras have avoided buying dairy and other foodstuffs produced in their region. Kenji, 42, confessed to Aiko that he had forgotten to check the cream's origins. "I'm sure it's fine. Please eat some – just this once," he begged her. Aiko refused. She ...

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