Meanwhile in Fukushima Prefecture, the officials are ever more eager to persuade schools in other parts of Japan to send their pupils and students to Fukushima, for educational trips.
The officials hope that school educational trips will result in increase of tourism revenue for the prefecture.
From one of the Fukushima local newspaper Kahoku Shinpo (2/23/2013):
Come to Fukushima on "educational trips"! The prefecture to make serious effort to win them back
Fukushima Prefecture will make serious effort to win back the school trips and excursions to Fukushima, which have declined in numbers after the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident. The prefecture will develop trip plans based on the experience of the nuclear accident and the March 11, 2011 disaster, and sell such trip plans to teachers, parents and children on Fukushima's charm and safety.
Residents from the tsunami-affected areas and (former) evacuees in the nuclear accident evacuation zone will act as "storytellers" to relate their experience to the children. In addition to regular tourist spots, children will get to see the disaster-affected areas where possible. The prefecture will ask multiple travel agencies to propose trip plans.
The prefecture will continue to visit schools in the Tokyo Metropolitan areas and in Kyushu to persuade them to come to Fukushima again. These schools stopped school trips to Fukushima after the nuclear accident. The budget of about 75 million yen [US$814,000] has been included in the fiscal 2013 budget.
The number of students who came to Fukushima on school trips was about 710,000 in the fiscal 2009, and 670,000 in the fiscal 2010. In the fiscal 2011 when the nuclear accident happened, the number collapsed to 130,000. The school trips from Tokyo, which used to be 20% of total school trips to Fukushima, decreased by 83% in the number of school trips and by 91% in the number of students.
There were 38,000 students from [neighboring] Miyagi Prefecture in the fiscal 2010, but the number dropped to 6,100 in the fiscal 2011.
In the current fiscal year of 2012, there are signs of recovery in the Aizu region [mountain third of the prefecture], but fear of radiation among schools and parents is deep-seated.
Fukushima Tourism Section says, "We would like [students and pupils] to see the prefecture whose life is getting back to normal, and we hope that will revive the tourism in Fukushima."
"Normal life" in Fukushima has nothing to do with the existence of radiation, much elevated than in the surrounding prefectures, but in the minds of these officials "normal life" equals "no radiation".
Or "no immediate effect on life and health", as, after all, the vast majority of Fukushima residents have stayed put for one reason or another (blaming the job situation or blaming children for wanting to stay, for example).
To promote the school trips and excursions to Fukushima, the prefecture has set up this website, no doubt paid for generously with taxpayers' money (i.e. national government subsidies). The title of the site says:
Heart-throbbing experience in Fukushima!! We gotta do it! Educational trips to Fukushima Prefecture