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Friday, October 1, 1999 Published at 14:47 GMT 15:47 UK


World: Asia-Pacific

Residents' fear and anger

Police direct trafic away from the Tokaimura site

People living close to the accident site have told BBC News Online of their fears and anger over the nuclear leak at Tokaimura.

Many have e-mailed us to complain about the lack - and quality - of information they have received from the authorities.

Japan's nuclear crisis
English teacher Toshio Tadokura says he heard nothing until the vice chancellor of his college made an announcement over the public address system six hours after the leak happened.

"I am very, very angry," he told News Online. "So many people including myself might have been under the effect of nuclear for nearly six hours until we got the first official advice to shut windows."

"Since many people live on normally while keeping the windows open etc, I am wondering why the national and local government took so long time to give us the first official advice."

"I don't know what the effect will be on my health. The television has given us a number to call for health advice, but I can't get through."

Others distrust the reassurances they have been given by the authorities.


Patrick Savage: "Worried about my four-month-old son"
Patrick Savage - a teacher from Ballymena in Northern Ireland living at Hitachinaka inside the 10km zone - said he did still did not feel safe, despite the all--clear to go outside.

"We've been told we can eat vegetables from the area .. but my family won't be," he told News Online. Lack of information has been a particular problem for expatriates living in Japan, some of whom do not understand Japanese language broadcasts, others feel ignored.

Dr Philip Badzell, a UK citizen living close to the nuclear site heard the news via friends in England.

"The first news we received about the situation was at 4am when a concerned friend called from London. We live about 50km away from the plant and so far have received no warnings and very little news."

Ninja, a 24 year old man who lives 300km from the plant, expressed the anxiety of many about the lack of knowledge over how safe people really are.

"I am concerned the way Japanese government treats the issue in public. Are we really safe or not? If you know anything about what is happening here, please let me know."

Others are not satisfied by the governments assurances and are taking their own actions. Keishi Kismoto wrote in his plan to protect his family.

"We (my baby and wife and I) are going to stay in the house, windows shut, survive on our survival kits for the next six days and follow US Air Force manual for nuclear induced conditions."

Many in Japan have had to rely on sites like BBC News Online to receive the latest information about the radiation accident.

Neil Smith, a 25 year old resident who is fluent in Japanese, expresses concern about the accuracy of local reports.

"Whereas the photographic coverage you provided showed clearly damage to the roof of the building where the accident happened, photos in today's Japanese newspapers and indeed aerial shots on this evening's NHK news showed absolutely no damage. Presumably they were all using old photographs."



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