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Zen monk fights radiation in Japan

Yuriko Nakao / Reuters

Koyu Abe gives instructions to volunteers during a radiation cleansing event hosted by himself at an elementary school in Fukushima, Japan on Feb. 5, 2012.

Yuriko Nakao / Reuters

Volunteer workers clean inside ditches during a radiation cleansing event hosted by Zen priest Koyu Abe at an elementary school in Fukushima,

Yuriko Nakao / Reuters

A Buddhist priest in Fukushima works to clean up radioactive

Reuters reports: Last summer, Zen monk Koyu Abe grew and distributed sunflowers and other plants, such as field mustard and amaranthus, in an effort to lighten the impact of the radiation and cheer local residents of Japan's Fukushima city. Now he is trading his ceremonial robes for a protective mask, working with volunteers to track down lingering pockets of radiation and cleaning them up.

"The damage here in Fukushima is different from the destruction caused by the tsunami," Abe said.

"You can't see it. Nothing looks as if it's changed, but really, radiation is floating through the area. It's hard for those hit by the tsunami, but it's hard to live here too."

Yuriko Nakao / Reuters

Koyu Abe prepares for a workshop to inform local residents on how to deal with radioactive contamination at his study room.

Yuriko Nakao / Reuters

Hisashi Abe, 3, plays inside his grandparents' house near Joenji temple in Fukushima, Japan. Abe has been kept inside most of his time since last March due to fear of radiation.

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