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Chernobyl Disaster recovery program participants visit Hongwanji


Hongwanji- Sponsored by the Japan-Belarus goodwill association, four survivors of the Chernobyl Disaster took part in this year’s foster program. With the aim to provide a healthy recovery for those who were affected by the radiation, survivors from the town of Hrakovichi and its neighboring area are invited annually to Japan. Since the establishment of the foster program eighteen years ago, 74 participants have visited Japan. The program this year hosted four participants between the ages of 11 through 31 for a 2-week stay (July 13-29). Each year, participants are hosted at Tenneiji Temple located in Asahikawa, Hokkaido and also travel to Kyoto with Rev. Masatoshi Nagai, head resident minister of Tenneiji Temple and chair of the association, to visit Hongwanji and Hachigaoka Junior High School (Ukyo district, Kyoto), a sponsoring school of the program.
Although the Chernobyl accident took place twenty-four years ago, civilians in the area are continuing to be burdened with substantial radioactive contamination to drinking water and agriculture. Children who were born after the accident were also indirectly exposed to the radiation while still in the mother’s womb. As a result, many are having to deal with thyroid problems as well as other chronic illnesses.
Nagai comments, “In Belarus, there are over 480,000 children who are still suffering as a result of the Chernobyl disaster. It is not a problem of the past, but continues to be a problem today. Like our foster program, in providing a month of recovery can lead to 2-years of healthy living. Therefore, I would like to continue taking a part in support programs.”
For more information, contact Tenneiji Temple at 0166-48-1034.



(Excerpt from Hongwanji Journal, August 20, 2010)