The number of children has significantly decreased in 3 Japanese prefectures hit by the March 11th disaster.
The Education Ministry says the child population as of May 1st in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima fell by more than 27,000 from a year earlier to about 834,000.
Fukushima saw the biggest fall of 5.8 percent, or more than 17,000, followed by a decrease of 2.3 percent in Iwate and minus 1.7 percent in Miyagi.
The ministry says the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant is to blame for an 11-percent decline in the number of kindergarteners and a nearly 8-percent drop in the elementary school population in the prefecture.
It says smaller children are more vulnerable to radiation and are likely to have been evacuated to other prefectures.
The child population in the 3 prefectures had been falling even before the disaster due to the low birthrate.
Wednesday, February 08, 2012 01:34 +0900 (JST)