Nagasaki survivor calmly waits out nuclear crisis in Tokyo
By Elaine Lies Elaine Lies – Fri Mar 18, 12:38 am ET
TOKYO (Reuters) – Kazuko Yamashita was five when the atom bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, destroying her home in a second and leaving her with a lifelong fear that every time she becomes ill, this time it is finally cancer.
Now, 66 years later, she wears a dark pink sweater, her dyed hair in a neat bob, and waits out Japan's current nuclear crisis in her daughter's Tokyo home, a two-storey house she also shares with her two granddaughters who play on a sofa behind her.
"I may be a bit too callous about this due to the fact that I was really heavily exposed to radiation, but I don't think this is anything to turn pale over," she told Reuters.
"People seem to be much too sensitive, though of course it's not really for me to say, and heavy radiation exposure is a serious thing. But I was 3.6 km (2.2 miles) from the bomb, and they've evacuated for 20 km (around the stricken nuclear plant). I really don't understand this kind of feeling."
Almost a week since massive earthquake and tsunami triggered the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, 240 km north of Tokyo, many foreigners and tourists have fled the country and rolling blackouts and radiation fears have gripped the capital.
Yamashita says she is not taking the situation lightly, even if she laments conflicting, overly alarmist news coverage.
"I can't say I'm not concerned, but I can't say I'm all that nervous," she said. "What I really worry about is my grandchildren. They're still so young."