Japan residents on raised nuclear threat level

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Japan has raised the emergency at the Fukushima nuclear plant to level seven - the highest on the international scale of nuclear accidents. Here, residents across Japan reflect on the revised threat.

Marc Kemp, English teacher, Koriyama, Fukushima

This whole thing has been a nightmare - the quakes have not stopped the entire time.

Image caption,
Marc: "I'd be lying if I said I had complete faith in what the authorities are telling us"

The latest big ones - at 7.1 and 6.6 - were big enough to cause their own aftershocks and set off a new series of quakes in quick succession.

A lack of transparency over what exactly is happening at the Fukushima is ruining my last vestiges of peace.

The very fact that they have put this accident on the same level as Chernobyl - even if it was a different kind of incident - adds to the stress level.

And I'd be lying if I said I had complete faith in what the authorities are telling us. We are given little pieces of information that we have to patch together ourselves.

My fiancée and I have only recently returned to this area. After the initial explosion we moved another 60km (37 miles) away from the plant.

People are trying to get back to normal here. The city hall is off-limits because of quake damage, but they have moved the board of education to an evacuation centre, complete with desks and computers.

There are no longer queues for petrol. More food shops are opening up. But the main department store is closed because of damage, and there are less people on the streets.

Eng Seng Tan, university administrator, Tokyo

The Japanese people are trying not to show their nervousness despite the warning about the nuclear threat level and several aftershocks on the same day. Physically they are used to the jolts, but mentally they are stressed-out.

I'm starting to lose my nerve a little following the latest news about the nuclear plant.

I'm from Singapore and have lived here for 10 years. Since the disaster, I had chosen to believe Japanese media reports and had no plan whatsoever to leave the city.

I wasn't concerned about the radiation level until a couple of weeks ago. The media had given the impression that everything was fine unless you lived within the exclusion zone.

I'm losing trust in what the media and the authorities are telling us.

I have a feeling that the authorities are keeping information back from us. Some of my colleagues have expressed similar fears. Some are stocking up on water and not allowing their kids to drink from the tap despite government advice.

I've just come back from a major supermarket. There were long queues and bottled mineral water was sold-out, despite the rule of one litre per household. I managed to get two small bottles of sparkling water.

Kiyoharu Bajo, business consultant, Hiroshima

I hear that many foreigners have left Japan. I can understand their fear but I hope that people around the world remember that most of the cities and towns in Japan are safe.

I'm a 56-year-old businessman living in Hiroshima. I have lived here more than 50 years and my current house is only 200m away from where the atom bomb fell.

Despite that nuclear attack many people here live long lives, into their eighties and nineties.

The government has said that although the threat is high, the situation with the Fukushima plant is quite different to the Chernobyl situation.

Life is fairly normal here in Hiroshima. We were not affected by the quake and are a long way from the nuclear power plant in Fukushima.

Of course people worry about their family. One of my sons is living and studying in Tokyo. But he's not worried about the situation there and won't be leaving the city.

Ayako Matsumoto, saleswoman, Gunma

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Ayako: "What we want is the truth about what is really going on"

I don't understand why our government needed to raise the nuclear threat level up to seven at this time.

People in Japan have been exhausted since the 11 March quake - but we are trying to live our lives in a normal way. What we want is the truth, the truth about what is really going on.

I heard one official on TV saying we need to be ready for the possibility that things may take a turn for the worse. Well, it's difficult to know what we should be prepared for when they keep changing the information they give us.

I have also been following international media, and I feel there is more information presented in the world media than in our own press.

Things are relatively normal here in Gunma, but there have been a lot of aftershocks. They have been occurring every 15 to 30 minutes since Monday - it's pretty scary.

We may be some 200km (120 miles) from Fukushima but the nuclear incident is worrying. The problem with radiation is that it is invisible, so you don't know where it is.