"Since the triple accidents of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants in March, 2011, Momoko Fukuoka has been reporting the reality of those who were affected and are still living in temporary housings. She is also taking the initiative in collecting donations and support goods for them."
*This blog is operated and managed by Kenichiro Maeno （firstname.lastname@example.org) on consignment from Momoko Fukuoka.
Translation is done by volunteers of Momoko Fukuoka's global friends.
Friday, June 9, 2017
The suffering of the disaster victims
I would like to express my gratitude to my
readers from my heart. My apology for skipping this series for May due to my
health reason with an intractable disease. As long as I live, I will continue
this blog, "the Reality of Fukushima." So please be patient and stay
tuned even when my health condition hinders with my blog writing once in a
while. When that happens, please forgive me.
【The significance and the ramifications of
My recent experience was quite shocking. Since I relocated,
I knocked on the doors of my new neighbors and greeted them. They were quite
friendly and one even said that she was looking forward to getting connected
with me. However, a shocking thing happened when I revisited the friendly
neighbor in order to run some errands.
At the beginning, she was quite pleased with my revisit,
and we did chit chat at her entrance.After talking for a while, she asked me, "where are you from?"
to which I replied, "I was born in Aizu, Fukushima."As soon as I said this, her attitude changed
completely. I felt that she was trying to imply that she did not want to deal
with me anymore. Sensing her strong rejection and pressure, I immediately told
her, "I've been in Tokyo for 50 years," in order to protect myself.
However, it was obvious that she was not listening to my explanation. All I
felt from her attitude was the message that she did not want to deal with me,
and wanted me to leave her house as soon as possible. Having felt a grave shock
as I was leaving, I realized the suffering and much deeper sorrow of the
affected and relocated people from Fukushima.I also became ashamed of what I said in order to protect myself.
Why do people feel such a strong repulsion by hearing the
word "Fukushima,"? I really wanted to know. At the same time, I felt
the strong empathy with Fukushiman people's suffering and sorrow more than
ever. The nuclear power plant's accidents have ruined their dignity, and
labeled them, as much as inducing among non-Fukushiman people such strong disapproval.
How horrible! I often hear the words "reputational risk" to which we
really need to pay more attention to and understand the reality which left deep
scars on the people affected by the disaster.
[Although they said "without Fukushima's recovery, Japan cannot
I would like to reiterate that the affected people in
Fukushima does not consume TEPCO's electricity. It is people in
"Kanto," the Metropolitan Tokyo area, who are the real beneficiary.
In Fukushima, they have only been leasing their land to TEPCO, which resulted
in their becoming victims of the nuclear disaster. Originally, when TEPCO
proposed to build a nuclear power plant, local residents opposed to the
construction due to strong fear. However, despite their strong opposition, TEPCO
started to operate the number 1 reactor on March 26, 1971. Residents in Futaba
were very much worried, so I heard. 40 years later, on March 12, 2011, the
number 1 reactor exploded followed by the number 3 reactor's explosion on the
14th. Radio-active particles were then brought by wind to Fukushima, Kanto, and
all the way off the Pacific coast of Japan, thus wide range radiation pollution
Please hear me
out, ladies and gentlemen. The recovery of Fukushima has not progressed at all.
Due to unsolved compensation issues, insufficient life lines such as gas,
electricity, and water; affected people's home towns still look like ghost
towns, inhabited by wild animals but not humans. Despite broken homes, lack of
grocery stores, or having no doctors, the government declared that they could
and should go back to their hometowns, by closing most temporary housing units
on March 31st. Thus, those who had no means to sustain themselves had to go
back to their hometowns and are now enduring difficult lives. Many of them are
elderly with physical difficulty, who complain, "we have no hospitals,
friends, or food in our hometown. How can we live like this? We can grow
vegetables but have no meat nor seafood!"(87 years old, has bad hips and
weak eyesight) This is the truth I heard from the other side of my telephone
line. (so now I always buy and send some groceries to them.)
Did the prime
Minister, who declared that Japan could not revive without Fukushima's
recovery, already forget about Fukushima? Or does he want to pretend nothing
has happened? What happened with his promise that he wanted to save affected
people by doing whatever the nation could do? My readers, please spread the
reality of Fukushima as widely as you can, including the fact that people in
Fukushima are not using the electricity from TEPCO, that they have just been
leasing their land to TEPCO, that they were victimized without any improvement
even now. Please understand that if the operation of the reactors are resumed,
you may also find yourself in the same situation as the people of Fukushima.
My dear readers,
Japan has 20 nuclear power plants. According to the information I found through
the internet, Japan ranks 3rd in the world for the number of power plants.
Including the ones in Fukushima Daiichi, there are 54 reactors all together.
Since the ones in Fukushima Daiichi are under decommissioning, I am not sure of
the exact number of reactors. Some are still closed, some have been reopened,
and some new ones are under way. Once reactors explode, radio-active particles
will be spread not only over Japan but also all over the world.
[Voice of Victims]
old, living alone in Namie》
"I see no
one around my house. At night, it gets pitch dark outside. I do weeding alone
since I'm all alone and weeds are growing like a jungle. I have to drive to a
neighboring town for grocery shopping since there are no stores in my town.
Ever since the disaster, I have not had a deep sleep, not even once. Sleeping
pills did not work. Before returning to my hometown, I used to wake up almost
every other hour during my sleep. Here I can sleep well at night. I am more
comfortable at my own house. Although I am all alone, I will pull myself
together and do my best. As I am talking with you on the phone, I feel like you
are very close to me, which makes me relieved."
old, single mother in Namie》
We were able to
move into a recovery apartment. Our house is in a difficult-to-return zone. I
haven’t visited or fixed our family tomb ever since it has been destroyed in
the earthquake and tsunami. Recently, many TEPCO employees in their 50s have
passed away. There are many thyroid cancer cases among children. One of my
kid's grammar school mates has bone marrow carcinosis. Their school runs annual
thyroid cancer screening. The town municipality operates annual health
old, living alone, weak hips and legs, weak eyesight, not able to identify
faces, in Kawauchi》
It has been 6 years since I was home last time. What I am doing now
is like clearing wild nature since my house is covered by weeds. I can barely
walk. Although I came back, my hometown Kawauchi
is now a difficult place to live; no place to shop, nothing to eat! No milk, no
fish, no meat is available! I was able to survive with some food donated by my
neighbors. Those who have their own cars can drive to the store which is 4.5km
(about 3miles) away. With no taxi service, my bad legs hinder me from going
grocery shopping. I used to have friends but they all go off to day-time
nursing home service. According to what I heard from the municipality, the
service is only for those who are over 90 years old and frail, or those who
have had leg operations. Since I can walk with a cane, I am not eligible for
the service. I feel so lonely and sad.... I am going to grow vegetables in my
old, single dweller, in Kawauchi》
return order by the national government, those who need dialysis are in big
trouble since there are no hospitals anymore. Everyone's heart is completely
worn out. They returned to their hometowns anyway, but they cannot think of
what they should do next. They are too stressed out to think properly. There is
only one ambulance in the village. If one person uses the ambulance service,
the rest cannot use it. There are too many vacant houses in Kawauchi Village. In Futaba County, Kawauchi's evacuation order was the first one to be lifted. My
house is outside the 20km radius from Fukushima
Daiichi, which means that we are not eligible for the compensation.
However, since rainwater leaks through broken roofs, we negotiated with TEPCO
for compensation or reimbursement for the fixing cost. TEPCO's answer was that
we should pay out of our own pocket. Our pension benefit is shrinking year by
year. Even in the same village, those who are within 20km radius, can build a
new house with the compensation, whereas those who are outside are in trouble,
not being able to fix their broken home. We are experiencing new type of
troubles we did not experience before the disaster, such as who gets financial
benefits and who receives the decontamination works. We used to be friendly,
however the disaster has divided us.
My dear readers, the measures taken by the national
government is horrible and cold, don't you think so? Please help raise
awareness of what is going on to the affected people in Fukushima.
(I would like to request that calls to be made between 11:00 AM -
5:30 PM local time in Japan. Depending on my health, it may take some time for
me to respond. If this happens, please try calling back again.)