JAPAN | Nuclear evacuees get special Italy summer invite

Posted on July 27, 2011

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JAPAN | JAPAN TIMES | 27 July 2011

Rome — Although it is no fun still having to live in an evacuation center more than four months since the start of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, 9-year-old Momoka Sekigawa and her younger sister Yurina say they have something to look forward to this summer vacation — pizzas and spaghetti in Italy.

The sisters and their mother, Kaori, 29, are among about 50 mothers and children from Fukushima Prefecture who have been invited by the Italian State Tourist Board to visit Rome and Milan to give disaster survivors a chance to take a break from the stress and worries of daily life back home.

“I am extremely grateful” for the Italian government’s invitation, Kaori Sekigawa said after landing in Rome on Monday night, adding it is the first time she has traveled abroad.

The Sekigawa family, whose home in the town of Hirono lies within the 20- to 30-km evacuation zone from the crippled plant, currently lives in an evacuation shelter some 300 km away in Fuefuki, Yamanashi Prefecture.

The first two families arrived in Italy on July 1, to be followed by others over the rest of the summer through early September. After applications greatly exceeded initial expectations, the board gave priority to families in the evacuation zone.

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