Family flees Japan with no money
FLEEING Japan's earthquakes, tsunamis and soaring radiation levels has not been the end of Nick Wilson's troubles.
The former South Grafton High School student has been living and working in Japan for most of the past seven years.
In mid-March he fled with his Japanese wife Shizuka and seven-year-old stepdaughter Laia, fearing soaring radiation levels that were spreading across the country following the explosions at two nuclear power stations.
But after nearly a month in his home country, Mr Wilson is wondering what he has to do to get any help from authorities.
The family is living in a motel, which they are paying for with a credit card. They cannot get access to their Japanese bank accounts and are living on handouts from both their families.
“The government is helping everyone who had been affected by the floods,” Mr Wilson said.
“I've got a mate from Bowen who could not get back to his house for 24 hours during the floods.
“His house was not affected or anything, but he was told to apply to Centrelink and he was given $1000 straight away because he was away from his home for 24 hours.
“We've had to go through a lot worse and we can't get anything.”
The couple have been told they will have to wait six to nine months for a spousal visa for Shizuka, which will cost around $2500. Centrelink has told them they can get rent assistance, but as they have not found a place to stay, that's no use to them yet.
Mr Wilson said Shizuka has been in contact with friends and family in Japan, who have told them the situation with radiation is far worse than the government is letting on.
“The Japanese have this attitude that they don't want panic and alarm, so they have not been letting on to the public how bad the radiation is,” Mr Wilson said.
“My wife's family say the radiation is spreading right across Japan and is just going to get worse, so we've decided we're not going back.”
The decision means the couple, who are paying off a $400,000 apartment in North Tokyo, will be starting virtually from scratch in Australia.
“We don't know what's going to happen with the apartment,” Mr Wilson said.
“We don't know if we can rent it or sell it, but what's happened is going to affect its value.”
The family has another week in a motel room in Surfers Paradise and are likely to move into a unit later.
In the meantime they are planning a visit to the Department of Immigration in Brisbane.
“We're going to stay there until they sort something out,” he said.