This tag is associated with 9 posts

55 schools still unusable in 3/11 disaster-hit prefectures, asahi, 2/4/2016

link to original article:

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.

By SATORU SEMBA/ Staff Writer

Iwaki mulls preserving Toyoma junior high as reminder of disaster, fukushima minpo, 3/30/2014

The Iwaki municipal government is considering preservation of the Toyoma Junior High School complex, which was damaged by tsunami in the Great East Japan Earthquake, as a reminder of the disaster for future generations. The local government unveiled the plan at a meeting of a group of local residents in Iwaki on March 29 to report a master plan for areas that include the Toyoma district. The city government will make a final decision on whether to preserve the school after hearing the opinions of local residents. An official of the Fukushima prefectural government said, “Although damaged by tsunami, it is technically possible to preserve the school without demolishing it.”

Under the city’s land readjustment project for post-disaster reconstruction, an open space for disaster prevention is scheduled to be set up in the school’s premises. As a result, the school is slated for relocation to a new building to be constructed close to Toyoma Elementary School.

In connection with the move, the local residents’ group had requested the Fukushima prefectural government and the Iwaki municipal office to preserve the damaged school building from the standpoint of disaster-prevention education. Based on the group’s request, the prefectural government conducted an on-site survey to check the feasibility of preserving the building. It determined through the survey that it is technically possible to use the school building as a disaster reminder without hampering its functions as a disaster-prevention open space.

Evacuated students returning to schools in Fukushima Prefecture, fukushima minpo, 12/4/13

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.

Fukushima loses first high school to meltdowns, fukushima minpo, 11/29/13

【Translated by The Japan Times】A private high school in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, will close for good at the end of March because the nuclear disaster has decimated enrollment, school officials said.
Shoei High School, founded in 1957, will be the first in the prefecture to close its doors permanently since the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant began unfolding on March 11, 2011.
Although many schools in or near the radioactive 20-km exclusion zone around the plant have relocated in the hope of maintaining unity and continuity, Shoin Gakuen, which runs Shoei High, chose to recognize the obvious: the school is a financial dead-end.
“We don’t see any future prospects under the present situation brought about by the nuclear accident,” said Kazuhiko Sasaki, general affairs chief of Shoin Gakuen. “Despite many regrets, we decided to shut the school down at the executive board.”
Although the southern part of Minamisoma is in the 20-km hot zone and the school sits outside it, it is just 22 km away from the stricken nuclear plant.
Late last month, Shoin Gakuen submitted its plan for closing the school with the prefectural government, which approved it. But enrollment actually halted in the 2012 school year in light of its dim prospects for survival.
For Shoin Gakuen, the next step was obvious: Demand compensation from Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant’s owner.
Officials at Shoei High said they plan to negotiate directly with Tepco first, but if the talks bog down, are prepared to bring the matter to the government-run mediation center or sue Tepco in court for damages.
Founded in 1957, Shoei High School, the only privately run learning facility in the area serving Minamisoma and the adjacent town of Futaba, has produced more than 8,000 alumni to date. Another hundred were scheduled to enroll in April 2011.
After the disaster, about 40 of the 100 were enrolled in another senior high school run by Shoin Gakuen in the city of Fukushima. The rest were admitted to other schools around the prefecture.
Shoei High is not the only school with shortages. Eight public high schools in the area have failed to achieve their quota for new students in the past two years. Each school was forced to relocate by the nuclear crisis.
Under the rules set by the Fukushima Prefectural Board of Education, a public high school that fails to meet half its student quota for three consecutive years must be closed temporarily.
Of the eight, five are in Futaba, which is south of Minamisoma but hosts the Fukushima plant in conjunction with the town of Okuma. Four of the five have missed their quota for two years in a row.
But education board officials said the schools will be considered exceptions because of the extreme circumstances caused by the meltdowns.
Meanwhile, the education authority in Futaba has drawn up a guideline for reorganizing its schools that revolves around a plan to create a new school by combining junior high and high schools.
The cost of the overhaul will be included in the prefecture’s fiscal 2014 budget, officials said.
The new step means the Fukushima education board will block new students from enrolling at the five high schools in Futaba and consider them “temporarily closed.”
This section, appearing every third Monday, focuses on topics and issues covered by the Fukushima Minpo, the largest newspaper in Fukushima Prefecture. The original article was published Nov. 29.

Schools in Fukushima town reopen after 1 1/2 years, mainichi, 8/27/12

HIRONO, Fukushima — Public elementary and junior high schools here reopened Aug. 27, a year and a half after the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami triggered a crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant and the town fell under the government-designated emergency evacuation preparation zone.

The town held a joint reopening ceremony at Hirono Elementary School in a bid to encourage former town residents to come home nearly one year after the town’s evacuation zone designation was lifted. Attending the ceremony were kindergartners and students and their parents.

But the number of students is now only around 20 percent of pre-disaster enrollment levels due to prolonged life at evacuation centers and lingering fears of radiation. The number of elementary school students totaled 65, or 23.6 percent of the total before the nuclear disaster, and that of junior high school students came to 31, or 18.5 percent of the total.

Even after this town was declared safe and extricated itself from the zone in September last year, local officials rented rooms at schools in neighboring Iwaki for Hirono students until the end of the first semester.

Chika Oide, a 14-year-old second-year student at Hirono Junior High School who commutes from temporary housing in Iwaki, says some of her classmates belonging to an academy inside the J-Village national soccer training center in her hometown are not returning from evacuation in Gotemba, Shizuoka Prefecture. But she says she wants to assist in holding a successful cultural festival this autumn.


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