An article from the Los Angeles Times regarding the concerns of individuals who live near the Fukushima I Nuclear Plant that appeared in my local newspaper this morning contained this interesting tidbit:
For Japanese, the desperation has an added dimension: Already the name "Fukushima" is laden with something beyond the fear of damaged health.
The Japanese survivors of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki lived the rest of their lives with the stigma of having been exposed to radiation, a stain that the years never erased. Known as Hibakushas, they are formally recognized by the government if they lived within proximity of the blasts and receive a special medical allowance.
But the designation also led them to become ostracized by other Japanese, who feared wrongly that the contamination was contagious or could be hereditary. The result was that many survivors of the bombings, and even their children, lived ghettoized lives because of their exposure to radiation.
Is there any merit to their concerns?