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Friday, Dec. 9, 2011

Afghan kids send Fukushima children message of hope


FUKUSHIMA — Children in Afghanistan have sent a message of encouragement and a gift pencil to elementary school kids forced to evacuate from Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, a town in the no-go zone that hosts part of the wrecked Fukushima No. 1 power station.

News photo
Message from afar: Misa Johnouchi poses with two children from Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, who display a message of encouragement they received from Afghan children, in Aizuwakamatsu on Tuesday. KYODO PHOTO

Musician Missa Johnouchi on Tuesday handed over the message, reading "Peace is Happiness," and the pencil to 12-year-old Nao Kokubun, who received the gift on behalf of pupils from two elementary schools who were forced to evacuate amid the nuclear crisis.

"(The Afghan children) prepared this for us despite their own hardships, so we would like to become people like that," said Kokubun, who received the present at the students' temporary school in Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture.

Johnouchi, a UNESCO-designated artist for peace, helped with the good will project after visiting Afghanistan in November and meeting a child who asked her to deliver a pencil to children who were victims of the March disasters and nuclear catastrophe.

The Kumamachi and Ono elementary schools were forced to relocate after the central government designated a 20-km no-entry zone around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

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