[YRP Students' Essays] Can You Imagine? - Projects



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[YRP Students' Essays] Can You Imagine?

Do you know how many evacuees there are from Fukushima Prefecture? According to Fukushima Prefecture's homepage, 34,963 of Fukushima's people evacuated to other prefectures. I am one of them. I lived in Iwaki, in Fukushima Prefecture for five years before the 3.11 earthquake. Nowadays, the media rarely talks about Fukushima and Fukushima's people. However, they still have trouble even after six years have passed. Therefore, I have three ideas for helping children who are from Fukushima. First, we need to provide places where those kids can play happily and exercise. Second, we should provide an opportunity for them to talk with people who listen to them and understand their feelings. Third, we need to talk to children in other prefectures about the accident which happened in Fukushima and the situation of Fukushima's children. Through these activities, the situation of Fukushima's children will get better.

First, these kids need access to safe outdoor places in nature. By exercising outside where there is nature, they can work off their stress. According to Prof. Miyazaki of Chiba University, stress hormones decrease when people walk around a park. Also, the blood pressure and heart beat rate will decrease. If people feel stressed they tend to stay inside, but that makes people lonelier. Therefore, a city or school should bring children to parks that have lots of natural surroundings as this will help them feel better.

Second, we need to provide an opportunity for them to talk with people who understand them and listen to them. This is what I needed when I evacuated to another place where I did not know anyone and had no friends. My parents had to continue working in Fukushima, so I lived with my grandparents in Iwate. I lived with them for five years in Fukushima before the accident and I loved them, but I felt lonely and I could not tell them that I missed my parents. I thought that although I strongly hoped to live with my parents that the situation would not change, so I just continued missing them. Also, it was difficult to blend in with my classmates and I was mocked by friends, but I could not tell my parents or the people who surrounded me because I did not want to bother them and I did not want to show my weakness. I was under a lot of stress, so I ate a lot. This is my own case, but there are children who committed suicide because they could not talk about their situations. Therefore, we need to listen to their voices, not only after terrible accidents or when trouble happens. We need to just listen to alleviate their minds. However, these children — myself included — do not necessarily need sympathy or pity; their situation can only be understood by those who actually experienced the same event, and comments of condolence lightly made may do more harm than good.

Third, we need to talk about the accident and situation of Fukushima's children and citizens. Even now, there are people who cannot go back to their homes and are separated from their families. Also, there are incidents of bullying that the nuclear power plants accident caused. For example, a boy who from Fukushima tried to pick up a pen dropped by another boy, but that boy said, "If you touch my pen, the radioactive will affect me so don't touch it!" These misunderstandings are caused by a lack of education. People must know that Fukushima's people did not want to suffer from that earthquake. Also, we should be more empathetic towards each other; we never know who might be the next one to suffer from a disaster. It could be you!

You might think it is unfair to give support to Fukushima's citizens, but they experienced an awful situation. This time it is them that need help, but we must not forget that we might be the next ones. It is difficult to understand the mind of other people, but we can think by standing in their position. We need to think about the situation in which one catastrophic disaster wipes away home, friends, and treasures in a moment. Also, we need to do what we would want other people to do for us if we were in the same situation. In this way, people — not only Fukushima's people — can live with kindness, and that situation will make the evacuee's feelings better.

Child Research Net would like to thank the Doshisha International Junior/Senior High School and Fumi Sato, student and author, for permitting reproduction of this article on the CRN web site.