Evacuations expand house-to-house

Following a week of speculation that the Japanese government might expand the evacuation region in response to patchy, elevated levels of radiation in some neighborhoods, the government took action June 16.  The designation of new hotspots is based on radiation surveys.  This additional evacuation guidance is a new layer on top of the 20-km exclusion zone and the previously defined hotspot zones that covered specific communities.  These new house-by-house hotspots exceed the 30 km shelter-in-place zone and are often clustered near pre-existing hotspot areas.  More details here and here.  It’s hard to imagine this new evacuation policy not further fraying existing communities.

Meanwhile the U.S. government is extending through August 15 the evacuation zone of 50 miles that it recommends for U.S. citizens.  (Some have pointed out the unfortunate choice of date.)

Much attention has centered on children’s radiation exposure.  1700 children live in the 20-30 km zone surrounding Fukushima despite the Japanese government’s advisory that all children should leave this zone.  Many communities are proactively cleaning their school grounds and parent groups as far away as Tokyo are organizing their own radiation measurements.

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