The city of Iwaki lies 30km south of the Fukushima Daiichi just outside of the evacuation zone created after the nuclear disaster struck. As such it has become home to approximately 25,000 displaced people from Futaba District, where the Daiichi reactor is located.
On 9 April, Iwaki Mayor Takao Watanabe had this to say about the evacuees: “With the compensation money they received from TEPCO, most people are choosing not to work. The pachinko parlors, however, are packed every day.” Pachinko is a highly popular game similar to pinball that is often used for gambling much like slots or video poker in other parts of the world.
Although this may sound like another case of a Japanese politician putting his foot in his mouth, it appears Mayor Watanabe is not alone with his opinion.