Nursing home in Japanese nuclear fallout zone remains open

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Nursing home residents in the small Japanese village of Iitate have no idea they are living in what is described as a “radioactive ghost town,” according to a facility administrator.

That's because most of the 100 residents of the Iitate Home have Alzheimer's disease or dementia, and do not realize a cloud of radioactive isotopes showered the town after a series of meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The plant, which is about 25 miles (40km) away from Iiate, triggered the meltdowns following Japan's massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

According to the newspaper The Australian, nearly everybody else living in the village heeded evacuation orders and relocated to towns outside of the fallout zone. But with the blessings of its residents' family members, nursing home staff decided to keep the facility open. Administrators convinced vendors to continue making deliveries, and facility workers commute from neighboring towns.

"Even if we were able to explain to the residents about the potential radiation danger to them, I doubt they would have wanted to leave," Masami Sanpei, the facility's director, told the newspaper.
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