Daughter urged parents to flee to Tokyo
One couple fled from place to place at the urging of their daughter living in Tokyo, who communicated with them by cellphone.
Hiroshi Monma, 67, and his wife, Shoko, 68, had sought shelter at Mizue Kanno's home.
Their house is located in the Gongendo district of Namie, which lies within 10 kilometers of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. On the morning of March 12, the community wireless station for disaster prevention announced that residents should evacuate to the Tsushima district. They fled by car to the home of their acquaintance Kanno's home.
They arrived at her home before noon. Shoko helped Kanno prepare dinner, making rice balls. After dinner, the 25 evacuees introduced themselves. There were several people they knew among them.
When they heard Kanno's story about the men wearing white protective clothing, the couple was slow to leave and was left behind.
However, the next morning on March 13, they were urged once again by Kanno to flee and left her home before lunchtime.
They had decided to head north and set out for Minami-Soma. The convenience stores and other shops were closed. They found a restaurant and ate a meal of natto (fermented soybeans). They finally found lodging after being turned away at three hotels.
The night of March 14, they boarded a plane at Fukushima Airport and met up with their oldest daughter Mariko, 36, in Tokyo on March 15.
After the earthquake, Mariko had repeatedly tried to call her parents on their cellphones. Immediately following the earthquake on March 11, she was only able to make contact once. Since then, she could only communicate with them via e-mail.
However, at 8:43 a.m. on March 12 her e-mail messages went unanswered.
Mariko frantically searched for any new information about the nuclear accident on TV and the Internet, and continued sending e-mail messages to her parents: "I'm praying to God that you are both safe."
At 9 p.m. on March 12, the day when the hydrogen explosion occurred at the No. 1 reactor, Mariko saw an expert on TV saying everything was all right. She sent the message, "It's been determined that the explosion only occurred at the outer walls and there was no radioactive leak."
It was a terrible mistake.
On March 13 when her parents sought refuge in Minami-Soma, she sent them an e-mail message.
"The radioactivity has reached as far as Onagawa nuclear power plant in Miyagi Prefecture. It's not safe there either. Come to Tokyo."
Then at noon on March 14: "The No. 3 reactor exploded at 11:30 a.m. Come quickly to Tokyo."
Her father answered, "It's not necessary to go that far, is it?" Mariko chided him saying, "Just come quickly!"
Not one of the people in a position of responsibility tried to help her parents. That feeling of distrust still plagues Mariko.