Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Japanese fears of nuclear meltdown are at fever pitch

A radiation detector is used near Shibuya train station in Tokyo
Pharmacist Donna Barsky measures potassium iodide for a prescription at the Texas Star Pharmacy on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 in Plano, Texas. The pharmacy has been receiving an unusually high number of calls about potassium iodide from people who are afraid radiation from the Japan nuclear crisis will reach the U.S. Health agencies in California and western Canada warned Tuesday that there's no reason for people an ocean away to suddenly stock up on potassium iodide, even as some key suppliers say they're back-ordered and getting panicked calls from would-be customers. (AP Photo/Richard Matthews)
Black smoke rises from a burning building in Tokyo after Japan was struck by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake (AP/Kyodo News)

Ballymoney man Andrew Goodliffe has said the threat of nuclear meltdown is causing “hysteria” among his co-workers in Japan.

The 27-year-old, who works in an IT company in Tokyo, said there were reports that local airports were packed with people trying to leave the country.

“I know people who have left Tokyo because they’re scared about the nuclear threat,” he said.

“I have heard that the international airport is chaotic with people trying to get their families out of Japan.”

Andrew, who has lived in Japan for nearly five years, was on a train when the quake hit on Friday afternoon.

“The carriage bounced a bit — it was like being on a trampoline but you couldn’t stop yourself moving around,” he said.

“Power went out in the station for a second and somebody yelped, but other than that people were pretty calm.

“There was a sense that it was nothing out of the ordinary — I came out of the station and there was a little girl outside calmly reading a book.

“But now everyone is getting concerned. Today is the first day I’ve seen people looking really worried.”

He said his office, which is on the ninth floor of a building, was left “completely trashed” by the devastating quake.

“There were computers all over the place, filing cabinets had fallen down, and it was a mess,” he added.

Andrew said he was left “very shaken” by the quake but had no immediate plans to leave the country.

“I’ve been here for four-and-a-half years now and I feel that leaving would be a bit strange,” he said.

“Everything is a bit surreal. There have been no aftershocks for a few hours but at the weekend the house was creaking and rattling every half hour.

“The Japanese government is playing it down and the western media are hyping it up — so nobody knows what to expect.”

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