"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.
“I was shocked! It is
impossible! I thought our government and TEPCO had been taking care of things
as they were supposed to.”
“It has been three years
since the accident. What made you stay there still without seeking safer place
“You should be able to
find a job if you want to.”
“What happened to the
money we donated? I thought it had been distributed to affected people, no?”
“For me it was
incredible that you are still lacking basic needs.”
It is natural to think
this way for anyone with common sense. Yes, it has been three years since then.
In reality, however, things that you cannot believe are going on like nothing
First of all, the entire
donation fund was sent to the government (according to the information from
Japan Red Cross.) The government allocated the fund to each municipality for
fixing essential utilities and for decontamination, but not for affected
individuals. Some affected people opened up their hearts and told me how
disappointed and sad they were. “Even a little bit could have been given to us
to show their heart. What I wanted to see was not money. Their heart. But our
government never gave us even a cent. The amount does not matter, but their
Why we do not relocate
to a safer place? It is because we were not provided with relocation funding.
Affected people had to move seven to eight times until they settled at
temporary or rent-covered housing. In those days the majority of Fukushima
people were thinking that they would never live in their hometown and that the
government would set a new community in a safe area where they would start
their second life. They also expected that the government would compensate
their lost property and home community. So they were almost ready to start
their second life with their family and local community members.
The reality, however, was
completely different. No property compensation was done, nor any plan for their
second hometown. Families were torn, so were young couples looking for jobs.
The tie between parents and children were cut off. Human rights of affected
people were taken away…we lost everything. Property, basic needs (clothing,
food supply, dwelling), family ties, children’s education (schools, day care),
health (due to radiation), jobs, marriage, guarantees for the future, savings,
inheritable possession, etc…. We did lose everything. All we got is fear for
the future, fear of losing healthy life, and despair.
The government and TEPCO
are urging affected people to return to their hometown where radiation is still
too high to live. Their purpose is “to send back affected people,” for which
they’re spending enormous money in decontamination projects.
Since what they want to
do is “to decontaminate and send people back,” no housing construction project
for affected people is under way. As for compensation for people who lost their
houses, none of their requests have been accepted, and no relocation costs were
funded either. Not only that, those who live outside of the 20km
exclusion zone and in the area where the mandatory evacuation order was lifted,
the compensation for their emotional pain from TEPCO (100,000 yen=about
$1,000/month) was lifted, which means that they lost their source of income. I have
also heard that taxing will be resumed and free medical services will no longer
be available. As for the rent for each new housing situation, up to the third move
is subsidized but from the fourth one we have to pay out of our pockets, I
heard. The majority of Fukushima residents used to be farmers and they hardly
spent any money on provisions prior to the disaster. However, now their food
supply costs them a lot of money.
Having lost the 100,000
yen monthly compensation from TEPCO, the victims lost their life support. The
income of pension recipients is in the ballpark of under 40,000 yen a month,
which quickly disappears after paying their monthly expenses: such as energy,
heating, gas, and phone bills. In order to survive, even senior citizens in
their 70s are working as decontamination workers. That is the only way for them
to make ends meet. They are evacuees from the crippled nuclear power plant. Now
exposing themselves to high radiation again, they have to work as
decontamination workers. I heard that they can get an additional 10,000 yen a
day as compensation for dangerous working conditions. Whole body examinations
are to be done once every several months. They will never know their actual
data. The only thing they hear after the test is: “No need to worry, it is
under the 300 [unit] safety limit.” By now the workers have gotten used to this
kind of (rude and heartless) treatment and their fear is fading.
[The affected people’s
is the voice of affected people feeling unjustly treated in the government’s
poor support:“Rather than
investing in decontamination, the money should be spent to reinstall the
affected people’s normal life. We are not seeking any extra money. We are just
saying, ‘Please let us run our normal life as we used to.’ All we want to say
is that we need to go back to our ordinary life.Regardless of frequent decontamination, high
radiation levels persist in some parts. Basic utilities have not been
reinstalled yet. We have no hospitals or stores. Houses are infested with mice
and wild boar are roaming around in the town. How can we go back to our
hometown in that mess?”
parts in the Kodaka area of Minamisoma City have been left untouched since
3.11. Over there even temporary housings’ radiation test shows 0.3 microSv/h.
Nevertheless our government declared that we should all go back there by April 2016!
This is outrageous!”
central government sent to each of us a letter directly, not through the heads
of our municipalities. According to the letter, they allowed us to sleep over
our own houses from December 24th through January 6th at our own risk. Since I
was too scared of radiation, I did not go back, but my friends did.”
is the criminal and we are victims, aren’t we? Why on earth are victims’
requests not acceptable? Why are we the ones who have to give in to their
in temporary housing causes tremendous stress among elderly people – so much so
that they now wish to die in their hometown, in their own house. Getting no plan
for the future from the government, being left apart from younger family
members, the sense of loneliness among them is so strong that they became eager
to go home. For them no place is like home and they want to have their house
people in Fukushima became reticent. “I don’t want to remember or think about
painful memories. Nor about the nuclear power plant, even less so about the
beginning of the disaster. Since we were given no hope, I prefer not to talk
about our future, compensation, or that sort of nature. Just by thinking about
it, my heart hurts. So please don’t mention it.”
If we refer to those
subjects by accident, they become depressed and mourn. The mayor of a village
“They used to be more
hopeful. But now they walk with their chins down. Those who used to be very
energetic and hardworking became sick and hardly able to walk. They became
People from Fukushima
are putting up with cold stares. They are misunderstood due to the Media who do
not report their reality.
“Aren’t you getting
compensation from our government and TEPCO?” “How long are you going to take
advantage of the free ride?” “You guys are lazy.” “Why don’t you find a job?”
(They are not aware of our reality. No jobs are available even after desperate
search. ) “She is from Fukushima.” (We are treated like germs.)
Some high school students
in the area say: “We won’t be able to get married.” “We won’t be able to have
babies. We are Fukushimans.”
[ Give your
understanding and kindness to people in Fukushima ]
Please understand us.
Please hug us gently: we are dealing with sorrow, suffering, and are deeply
hurt and tired. Can we cry in your arms? What we need now is your understanding
and friendship. We need real friends who can give us their hands. Your kind
gaze, warm words and hands; those are the things that we need. Those are the
things that help us keep living.
And if possible, please
help us a little. There may be some people from Fukushima, in your area, in
your neighborhood. Please give them your hands. I beg you from my heart to
become their angels.