Evacuated Fukushima children victims of bullying

Evacuated Fukushima children victims of bullying

An NHK survey of former residents of Fukushima who fled the 2011 nuclear disaster has found that dozens of children were bullied at their new schools.

NHK joined hands with Waseda University and others to survey more than 9,500 households from the four municipalities in the prefecture near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

741 families from the towns of Okuma, Futaba, and Tomioka, as well as Minamisoma City, responded to the questionnaire ahead of the sixth anniversary of the disaster on March 11.

54 replied that their children were bullied at schools and other places because they had evacuated on account of the nuclear disaster. Three were kindergarteners, and 28 were in elementary school. 21 others were either in junior high or senior high school.

In the multiple-choice survey, 32 replied they were verbally harassed. 22 were ostracized, 13 experienced violence, and 5 were told to pay money.

Many of the acts of harassment were linked to the compensation the children's families received.

In some of the acts of violence, one child was pressed to jump from the fourth floor of a building. Another was threatened with a knife and was told that he or she has no right to live.

As a result, more than 60 percent of the children stopped disclosing they came from Fukushima.

Fukushima University specially appointed Professor Tamaki Honda, who has been advising evacuees, noted that the children are facing more hardship as time goes by. She called for the creation of a system that will watch over the children, who have lost a sense of community after fleeing their hometowns.