Brazilian schools overlooked in radiation survey

11/02/2011
By

The town of Oizumi in Gunma Prefecture

TOKYO (majirox news) — Three private Brazilian schools in the town of Oizumi, in Gunma Prefecture, were missed in a radiation survey that was conducted by the local government, said Oizumi’s Deputy Mayor Ota on Nov. 1

“We were in a hurry to conduct the survey because of the emergency situation, so we forgot about the schools,” he said. “It was mistake.”

Fabio Okabe, a 25-year-old Japanese-Brazilian hairdresser from Gunma Prefecture, now based in Tokyo, was not surprised.

“It happens like this all the time,” he said. “The Brazilian community is always overlooked.”

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in 2009, there were 267,456 Japanese-Brazilians living in Japan in which 10% were residents of Oizumi. Roughly 320,000 Brazilians of Japanese descent and their families moved to the country following the changes to the immigration law in 1990 allowing them to work in Japan. Since then some have left the country.

From Oct. 17 to 28, public and private kindergartens, elementary and middle schools, and other facilities, including parks, sandboxes and rain gutters in 85 locations throughout Oizumi were checked for radiation levels.

According to the guidelines that were used, any surface of more than 1 meter (3 feet) height that measured 0.23 microsierverts per hour would be decontaminated. Twenty-one places that exceeded that level were found. Decontamination is currently proceeding.

The legislation of Gunma’s Academic Affairs Department noted that the county based its exclusion of the schools on its Private School Law, which considered the three Brazilian schools to be “cram schools.” The city does not survey “cram schools.” A survey will now be conducted at the Brazilian schools as soon as possible.

The deputy mayor noted it was a “lack of coordination among the different town divisions that caused the problem.”

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