The three major Israeli television news operations that broadcast on Channels 1, 2 and 10 brought their correspondents back from Japan yesterday, out of concern that a possible deterioration in the state of Japan's nuclear facilities would endanger the reporters' health. Over the weekend, Channel 2's news anchor Yonit Levy and Lior Friedman had gone to the quake-stricken country, as did Channel 10's anchor Yaakov Eilon and its reporter in China, Ariel Margalit. Channel 1 had sent its foreign affairs reporter, Itai Vered. They are all expected to arrive in Israel by today.
"The risk isn't worth their remaining there, and also getting them out in the event of a [wider] disaster would be very difficult," said Hilik Sharir, the deputy director for programming at Channel 2 news regarding his station's reporters. Channel 10's chief news editor, Uri Rozen, said in arriving at its decision, his station consulted with nuclear experts. The director of Channel 1 news, Yoram Cohen, said Itai Vered was brought home out of concern for his health as well, although Vered had preferred to stay in Japan.
Meanwhile, four Israeli employees at a Blades Technology plant in Japan returned to Israel yesterday. They are employed at the firm's plant 50 kilometers from the Fukushima reactor where an explosion at a nuclear power station following last week's earthquake led to a radiation leak. At the request of their employer, the company previously known as Iscar Blades, on arrival in Israel, they were checked for radiation exposure at Haifa's Rambam Medical Center and found to be free of any exposure. They were released to return to their families in Hadera and Kfar Sava.
The initial hospital exam checked the four for radiation on their clothing and skin, and then for internal exposure. One of the returning Israelis, Eli Dror, said he was at work when the quake struck and he and his fellow employees were instructed to go outside. He said that during the quake he held onto a highway guardrail. "It felt like [we were] clothes in a washing machine being shaken from side to side," he said.
The Health Ministry will be gathering findings on Israelis returning from Japan although it has not issued a directive requiring medical treatment for them. Those coming from the Fukushima area are being told to place the clothing they were wearing in the region in closed bags. The current assessment is that there are no health concerns in Japan from any released radiation. Returning travelers are asked to provide contact information to the Ministry.
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