Tokyo, Feb. 6 (Jiji Press)–The number of kindergarten kids and schoolchildren in Fukushima Prefecture, home to the disaster-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, decreased by 17,308 from a year before as of May 1, 2011, an education ministry survey revealed Monday.
The drop, which was bigger than normal levels, came apparently because many households with children in the northeastern Japan prefecture, mainly families with small kids, relocated to other prefectures due to concern about health impacts from radiation leaked from the Tokyo Electric Power Co. <9501> plant, which was knocked out by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami last year, officials of the ministry said.
The data covered kindergartens, elementary, junior high and high schools, and schools for handicapped children.
The number of kindergarten kids and schoolchildren fell by 5,124 in Miyagi Prefecture and by 3,735 in Iwate Prefecture, according to the survey. Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate were hit hardest by the March 11 disaster.
As of May 1, the number of kindergarten children nationwide stood at 1,596,170, down 0.6 pct year on year.