Students who evacuated to outside Fukushima Prefecture have gradually returned to their home prefecture as 1,000 days passed on Dec. 4 since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, as well as the subsequent nuclear disaster.
In the Watari district of the prefectural capital of Fukushima, where the dosage of radiation was relatively high, around 80 students left the Watari Elementary School shortly after the outbreak of the nuclear disaster.
Three students came back to the primary school in the 2012 school year. Nine more students came back since the start of the current academic year on April 1.
Toshiyuki Nakamura, principal of the school, said the progress of radiation decontamination work at houses and buildings was helping students return to the school.
The number of primary school students wearing masks sharply decreased from the spring. Nakamura said parents have come to feel safe living in the Watari district.
One of the school’s sixth graders said the students always wore masks when they played on the school ground two years ago. “We studied in classrooms closing windows even in summer. Now, we can play on the school ground without paying attention to radiation,” the student said.
The number of evacuees aged 17 or younger in Fukushima Prefecture stood at 27,617 as of Oct. 1, a decrease of 2,492 from 30,109 on April 1, 2012, prefectural government data show.
In the prefectural capital of Fukushima, the number of primary and junior high school students who evacuated to outside the city without changing the registry of residence hit the peak of 924 at the end of July 2012. But the figure declined to 807 as of Nov. 29.