Interview With Kansan Living In Japan

By: Jared Cerullo Email
By: Jared Cerullo Email

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tonight, Japan is setting up a 20-mile no-fly zone around one of its nuclear power plants. The government is advising people in an around the Fukushima plant to stay indoors.

A native Kansan and his family are living too close for comfort to the disaster in the Pacific. Mitch Masden is from Wilson, KS. He currently lives with his wife and daughter in Kitakata, about 100 kilometers southwest of ground zero. Back toward the coast, he is about 100 kilometers due west of the Fukushima power plant.

"Right now the streets are pretty calm," said Masden via Skype.

But Masden says he thinks that's because nobody knows what to do. It's not mass chaos as much as it is bewilderment in the country he moved to with his wife eight years ago. Although more than 100 kilometers away from Sendai, Masden says buildings were heavily damaged and things were tossed inside his own home.

"We didn't actually get hit by any of the wave, but everybody is still freaked out about that part," Masden explained. "I don't even like to watch the news over here because that's all you see."

With concerns about the gasoline and food supply, his family is conserving as much as they can, even though there aren't massive food shortages where he is.

"We're driving as little as possible," Masden said. "Right now in Kitakata, we can still get milk, meat and stuff like that. All the rice and bread is sold out."

Masden's family is not currently in the evacuation zone for nuclear radiation concerns, but that zone keeps getting closer and closer.

"Every day they're expanding the evacuation radius," he said. "The first day it went from 3-5 kilometers. The next day it went from 5-10 and then 10-20. Now it's up to 30 kilometers away."

Meanwhile, Masden says he's struggling with the possibility of returning to Kansas.

"I don't know exactly what my wife wants, but I'm kinda leaning for moving back to the states, but it's also how long will that take?"

Masden told us the one thing that comforts him is that there is no widespread panic and only very few reports of looting and crime.

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