No one doubts the bravery of the Fukushima Fifty -- those workers who have chosen to ignore radiation warnings and continue trying to restore stability at Japan's damaged nuclear reactors. The 180 rotating workers are anonymous and hailed as heroes. But new details of their heartbreaking ordeal are coming to light as family members receive haunting messages detailing their mission.
One woman says her father expects that he will die, the Daily Mail reports. "My father is still working at the plant," she emailed to news reporters. "They are running out of food... we think conditions are really tough. He says he has accepted his fate much like a death sentence."
Another woman detailed the selflessness of her husband who continued to work while fully aware he was being bombarded with radiation. She received an email message from him saying, "Please continue to live well, I cannot be home for a while."
"My dad went to the nuclear plant, I've never seen my mother cry so hard," one girl tweeted in a message translated by ABC News. "People at the plant are struggling, sacrificing themselves to protect you. Please dad come back alive."
Michiko Otsuki is the group's lone woman worker. Earlier this week, she took to a Japanese social networking to speak up for her "silent" colleagues, insisting they were "not running away" as things intensified. (Translated by The Straits Times)
'People have been flaming [plant operators] Tepco, But the staff of Tepco have refused to flee, and continue to work even at the peril of their own lives. Please stop attacking us.'
'As a worker at Tepco and a member of the Fukushima No. 2 reactor team, I was dealing with the crisis at the scene until yesterday (Monday).'
'In the midst of the tsunami alarm (last Friday), at 3am in the night when we couldn't even see where we going, we carried on working to restore the reactors from where we were, right by the sea, with the realisation that this could be certain death,' she said.
'The machine that cools the reactor is just by the ocean, and it was wrecked by the tsunami. Everyone worked desperately to try and restore it.
'Fighting fatigue and empty stomachs, we dragged ourselves back to work.'
'There are many who haven't gotten in touch with their family members, but are facing the present situation and working hard.'