Minamisoma wants to halve its current radiation levels by the end of this month and reopen 12 schools by mid-October. Ten construction companies have been commissioned to lift 5 cm of soil from the top of playgrounds, then bury that soil roughly 1 meter below the playgrounds inside a protective bubble made partly of rubber.
The central government has given Minamisoma enough funding to decontaminate only public areas, not its thousands of homes. Kodama has suggested the town improve its monitoring of food contamination, saying food safety is the greatest risk.
Conflicted about the decontamination plan, one local elementary school principal, requesting anonymity to speak his mind, said it was “critical” to reopen the schools soon. But he’s not allowing his own children to return.
“Can I say it’s safe?” the principal said. “No, I can’t say that.”