MATSUMOTO, Japan —
A recent government study by the National Center for Child Health and Development found one in four children from the prefectures struck by the 2011 disaster, including Fukushima, suffered depression, anxiety and other mental problems.
Kokoro Kamiyama, 13, the first child to sign on to the Matsumoto project, was prone to skipping school when she was in Fukushima, which her mother believes was a sign of stress from worrying about radiation.
Living through the 2011 disaster made her decide to be a doctor when she grows up, she says in a soft voice. She is happy she can run around outdoors in Matsumoto without wearing a mask.
"The air feels so clean here," Kamiyama said. "I love playing badminton. And tag."
Last Friday, she looked very much at home as she sat in the gymnasium decorated with flowers at Aida Junior High School for a school opening ceremony.
So did Hashimoto's daughter, though she had a rough start in Matsumoto. She was in constant tears for the first few days, but by Friday she said she had made lots of great friends.
Those friends are mostly her fellow boarders, from Fukushima. They're sticking together.