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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Fukushima back on school trips list

Kyodo

FUKUSHIMA — School excursions are starting to gradually return to Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, a historic city impacted by last year's Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent nuclear crisis.

News photo
Back on the itinerary: Junior high school students visit Tsurugajo Castle during a group excursion to Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, last week. KYODO

Amid concerns about radiation contamination from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant some 100 km to the east, only around 100 schools sent their students to Aizuwakamatsu in fiscal 2011, down from 841 the year before.

After the disasters, many schools dropped the entire Tohoku region as a destination out of fear of aftershocks and the effects of the nuclear crisis.

Among prefectures that have traditionally sent students on trips to the Fukushima area, not one school in Chiba visited Aizuwakamatsu during fiscal 2011, after 11,262 students from 75 schools traveled there in the previous year.

Aizuwakamatsu, known as one of the main battlegrounds of the civil war in the mid-1860s, is a particularly popular destination for elementary schools in Niigata Prefecture, but only seven went through with trips there in fiscal 2011, plummeting from 141 the year before.

The situation began to turn for the better after city officials visited schools and invited officials from other prefectures to visit to convince them that the area is safe.



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