Embracing Chernobyl, in Fukushima, and in Namie 3/01/12 by Masami Yoshizawa, Representative for Kibou No Bokujou, Fukushima
The one year mark is coming up since the big earthquake and giant tsunami of 3/11, and the nuclear plant accident of 3/12 by the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. Ever since the first week of chaos caused by the unbelievable and continuous explosion at the Nuclear Power Plant, followed by evacuation after another in the midst of the confusion, time has stopped for Futaba-Gun and Namie-Machi.
For many of the former residents who were forced to evacuate from the radioactively-contaminated area which, unacceptably, has become Japan’s first Chernobyl-ized land caused by the nuclear accident, they are coming to realization of the harsh reality and of the fact that the future for their homeland is just leading to devastation.
Everyone easily understands how difficult it is to restore, revive, and decontaminate the area located 20km from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. It is just impossible….
For the former residents who realize the harsh reality of their homeland as well as the future outlook for their remaining life, they know that the slogan by the City Hall of “Let’s go back, let’s return home” is nothing but a wish in vain. I am feeling that, already for the towns of Namie, Futaba, Okuma and Tomioka, the function, form, and even the meaning of being a Town is in the process of falling apart.
Without any payment of taxes, with no spirit or reason left to return to a radioactivated, contaminated land, time just passed by while gazing at the scenery. When the announcement is made come April in review of the designated restricted zones, the towns will most likely be divided, and the residents’ opinion will probably split, and the evacuated residents will probably end up in a merger by the towns outside of the restricted zone. A portion of the population, possibly one-tenth of Namie will no longer be called a Town, and may even be questioned if there would be meaning to survive even as a Village.
Ever since the 3/12 Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant explosion, we have had to endure carrying the heavy cross of fate in Namie, in Fukushima, in the radioactively-contaminated land which was unacceptably the second coming of Chernobyl. Here, as we firsthandedly must endure the sacrifice and prejudice for generations to come all the way down to our children and grandchildren, with need to have our regrets heard, we will continue to demand for compensation from TEPCO and the Japanese Government. We just cannot self-destruct.
For over 40 years, the people in Tokyo and the Kanto area have lead convenient lives due to Fukushima’s electric power, and perhaps henceforth should be asked to pay double of the utility charge to TEPCO as joint responsibility. I feel that this will be regarded as joint atonement for the damages incurred in Namie, Fukushima and the other contaminated areas.
In Namie, there is a big dam called the Ohgaki Dam which served as the water source for the paddy fields in Kodaka, Namie and Futaba, but since its water as well as Takase River were designated to be contaminated, there now is no reason to cultivate rice here.
The children will no longer come back, and their parents will not be returning to Namie. Having kindergarten, preschools, elementary schools, Junior High Schools, Senior High Schools will be meaningless.
The factories have closed down, and there are no means of reopening. Having hospitals, supermarkets, and retail stores will have no meaning, and even the sewers and water service have been damaged by the earthquake.
The fishing port of Ukedo and certain other villages damaged by the tsunami are still in destructive condition, and the salt-air damage as well as the piles of rubble are still untouched.
(Photo taken February 2012 at the Ukedo district. The fallen poles, the piles of rubble, and the ocean seen in the back.)
Until the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant comes to an end and the reactor is dismantled, the radioactive substance will continue to be diffused, and I do not know if it even makes sense to decontaminate.
I can easily point out 10 or so if asked to name the hopeless conditions in Namie, but what exactly is a hopeless condition ? What can one refer to as “hope” ?
As humans are animals with the ability to think, even in the midst of a hopeless situation which may seem meaningless, we must go on, creating a reason to look for a new meaning – daringly, to hold new thoughts of “hope” even if it should seem to be a stretch. Unless I try to convince myself of such, my spirit may break into pieces.
“Embracing Chernobyl, in Fukushima, and in Namie”
Defying death, saving lives, in Unity ! And, for Hope.
Embracing Chernobyl – in Fukushima, in Namie (#2) 3/08/2012 by Masami Yoshizawa, Representative for Kibou no Bokujyou, Fukushima
It is now March. 10cm of snow has piled up, but one more month and spring should be here. Because of your kind support and contributions, the 300 cows will be able to survive the winter. Many calves were born too.
In March, I had turned 58, and while I was contemplating on how to live out my remaining 20 or so years, I encountered the Fukushima nuclear explosion from a near distance where I can view the Plant’s exhaust tower. As a radiation evacuee who was chased away from Namie Town as it was designated as an exclusion zone, I would like to deeply consider the issues involving the present and future problems for my hometown of Namie-Machi, Futaba-Gun, Fukushima as it becomes the second coming of Chernobyl . At the same time, I would like to consider what actions I will need to take and for it to be the center theme as I tackle the issue as my life’s work.
As I share the fate with my cattle of 300 which are by far too many to handle and can be a burden, and while we are contaminated to some degree, I would like to find a “third way of life” for the cattle. And, as for myself, I would like to continue on reflecting on what this “obstinacy” is, which acutally is what is supporting my entire being.
Now, in consideration of the first anniversary of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear accident, we must note that Fukushima’s prefectural residents are victims of various casualties. Especially the residents of the exclusion zone who were chased out of their own homes are one of the biggest victims with great suffering.
For the fact that nuclear explosive accident of “Level 7” could not be stopped, and for the fact that the Government did not consider ample safety measures when they promoted Nuclear Plants in our country while TEPCO was releasing large amounts of radioactivity, it is clear as day that such entities as the Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry, etc. are jointly responsible.
The safety myth of Nuclear Power Plants promoted to state that it was definitely safe in that it was “multiply-protected in layers of fivefold.” However, after the accident, none of the citizens would ever trust what they say.
Against the horrendous and destructive powers of the great earthquake and the great Tsunami, such a thing as “multiply-protected and fivefold safety” fell to the ground along with the rubbles of the nuclear plant building.
I consider the people of Tokyo and Kanto beneficiaries who have been able to lead comfortable lives by relying on electricity provided by Fukushima. I do not think that you are the responsible parties as it was mentioned on the blog.
As it is already difficult to manage with TEPCO’s fee increasing by 15%, certainly, we note that you will not be able to accept the burden of paying twice the charge.
Namie-Machi , Fukushima is the only town in Hama-Dori that has no Power Plants. I was born in Yotsukaido, Chiba, and moved to Tatsuno, Namie-Town in 1970 when my father relocated to a ranch there through introduction of his best friend during the Manchurian cultivating days. Around that time, there was a plan to build the Kodaka Namie Nuclear Power Plant by Tohoku Electric & Power, but there was a long and patient opposition of the residents, and to this day, there are a number of property owners who still refuse to sell their land.
Following the nuclear accident, the Minami-Soma City Council and Namie Town Council have decided to reconsider their original plans of building a Nuclear Power Plant in Kodaka and Namie, and the Fukushima Prefectural Council have resolved to decommission all 10 Nuclear Plants. However, Namie-Machi has already been labeled as a radioactively contaminated land many times over, and it has become Chernobyl, meaningless for the residents to return home. Call it chagrin, it was all for naught.
The fishermen of Ukedo who had benefitted from time to time from the high compensation they received from the Nuclear Power Plant had lost everything in the Tsunami, and now there is nothing left. Not even their cemeteries.
My father is originally from Ojiya, Niigata-Ken, and during the war, he had settled in the Soviet frontier zone as a member of the Manchurian Cultivating Group, and after the war was detained in internment for 3 years in Siberia. After returning, he settled in Yotsukaido, Chiba-Ken.
After the Kanto battalion fled against the Soviets near the war’s end, there were many victims during the tragic escape, and the members of the Manchurian Cultivating Group struggled with their life to return to their homeland of Japan.
The Eastern Japan Earthquake, the great Tsunami, and the nuclear power plant accident --- although it is from a different era, many lives had been lost.
The Government’s abandonment policy of citizens in foreign land during the war → resulted in many victims during the escape by the Manchurian Cultivating Group; The Government’s abandonment of citizens due to the nuclear accident → resulted in abandoning and euthanisia of livestock inside the Restricted Zone by order of the Government, and the discouragement of the farmers. The animal abandonment plans by the Government will soon become abandonment of the citizens and the evacuees from the Restricted Zone may soon be deserted as well. Are we eventually going to be regarded as a “rubble” with two legs ? As the Nuclear Power bubble has burst, Futaba-Gun is to become an intermediate storage area for radioactivity.
Futaba-Gun should just give up being a town, and perhaps we should solicit for Okinawa’s troubled Futenma Base to be stationed right next to the Nuclear Power Plant. We can set-up a Mega-Float Nuclear Power Plant in Tokyo Bay, and the metropolitan cities can take energy from there. We the evacuees are at the verge of snapping.