That this sort of events still goes on 16 months after the start of the worst nuclear accident in the country is surprising. Or not surprising. I don't know any more. Do you?
It is a leaflet for an event called "Let's Get Cheer (or Energy, Vitality, 'Genki" in Japanese) from Children!". The event is sponsored by an NPO called "Fukushima Stakeholders Coordinating Council" (I don't know if there's an official English name, so it is my translation of the name) set up in May this year. This is the same entity that will be holding a seminar in August on how to "decontaminate" your "soul" (heart, thinking).
It is supported by the Fukushima prefectural government (decontamination countermeasures department), the Board of Education in Date City, and JA Date Mirai (ag producers co-op), and co-sponsored by the Liberal Democratic Party-Kizuna Faction of the Ibaraki City Assembly in Osaka Prefecture.
They are looking for twenty 5th and 6th graders from Ibaraki City to go on a two-day trip (August 16, 17) to Date City in Fukushima Prefecture at a cost of 4,000 yen each. 4,000 yen will cover the lodging and insurance. Transportation costs will be paid by the organizers.
What they are going to do in Fukushima?
Soon after arriving at Fukushima after spending 5 hours on the train, go visit Decontamination Information Plaza in Fukushima City set up by the Ministry of the Environment. Then, move to Date City, and enjoy all the peaches they can eat. They stay in Date City overnight.
Socialize with school children in Fukushima, take a group photograph at the Decon Information Plaza, and go home to Osaka.
The place they will spend the night in Date City is a public hostel located in Tsukidate-machi, where 1,050 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium was detected from the rice harvested last year. Date City is famous for its peaches, but they were found with high levels of radioactive cesium last year. Fruit tree "decontamination" of stripping the tree barks must have worked this year.
The organizers are nice enough to hold a informational session on August 11 to explain to the potential participants (and parents I assume) the current condition in Fukushima and the effect of radioactivity.
What is the point of this? How would this make people in Fukushima or in Date City feel uplifted? If I were the receiving end of this "goodwill", I would be nauseated. It is bad enough that the city and the prefecture have been badly contaminated from the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident. And here come well-meaning (I hope) organizations and politicians with the support of their city and the prefecture, sending children from far-away Osaka so that people in Date City feel better.
The country is sick.
By the way, the decontamination adviser for Date City, Shunichi Tanaka, is set to become the first chairman of the soon-to-be-created Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Japan. He was also the former acting chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of Japan.