'What a relief to be back in my motherland'

Updated: 2011-03-17 07:58

By Zhang Xiaomin and Xu Lin (China Daily)

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'What a relief to be back in my motherland'

Yang Zhixia, 28, never expected that a two-month business trip to Japan would end up as a nightmare involving an earthquake, tsunami and possible exposure to nuclear radiation.

Yang, an employee of Alpine Electronics Inc's Dalian office, left for the company's headquarters in Iwaki city, in February.

Iwaki is about 50 km south of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where four explosions have occurred since the quake hit on Friday.

She is one of 32 Chinese software engineers who returned to their hometowns in Liaoning province on Wednesday.

"I was frightened as the floor began shaking and the window panes began to fly. But the company's quick response calmed me down. Had the company not arranged for our immediate evacuation, we could have been stuck in a very serious situation," she says.

The Chinese employees were put up at a nearby hotel, and provided with adequate supplies of food and water.

A Japanese company manager based in Dalian even flew to Iwaki to coordinate their evacuation on Sunday.

The original plan was to take the flight on Thursday from Fukushima, but the second explosion at the plant on Saturday forced the plans to be brought forward.

Yang's biggest fear is that she may have been exposed to radiation. "I am still unmarried and worry that any exposure could affect my fertility," she says.

The drive to Tokyo, that usually takes 5 hours, took 12 hours owing to traffic jams.

"People are flooding to Tokyo," she says.

When they finally reached Tokyo they found that all flights to China were full. So they flew to Hiroshima instead, and then on to Dalian.

She was greeted in Dalian by her boyfriend, Xie Yanqing, who was holding 99 roses and a diamond ring, to propose to her. "I am marrying her and don't care whether or not we can have a child," he says.

Yang will soon be undergoing a radiation check at a hospital.

"What a relief to be back in my motherland!" she says.

China Daily

(China Daily 03/17/2011 page20)