"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 （email@example.com) on consignment from Momoko Fukuoka.
Translation is done by volunteers of Momoko Fukuoka's global friends.
It is time again to reflect on the unforgettable
fear and grief of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011.
People in Japan were horrified to witness the apocalyptic images that streamed
across TV screens, and we all prayed for the disaster victims. We pledged to
share in the anguish of the victims, and put our efforts into restoring their communities
quickly. The entire Japanese nation responded with collective kindness and
compassion for the victims. The world was impressed to see it, and spoke highly
of us. Prime Minister Abe publicly stated that there is no recovery for Japan
without the recovery of Fukushima. It has already been three years since Prime
Minister Abe declared the initial recovery
steps in Fukushima.
[Sadness of the disaster victims]
often do we think of the victims of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima today? I
suggest that we unite once again in a feeling of shared grief, and listen to
the disaster victims.
There are some who say
that, even now, they still can’t get to sleep whenever they think of the
tsunami. “As I was fleeing, I saw
someone clinging to a tree, asking for help. I can’t get that scene and his
voice out of my head. I feel guilty for leaving him behind.” (Okuma
took shelter in a school gym, and slept on cardboard there. I suffered from
back pain and from the cold, and I still suffer from back pain caused by that
day.” (Kawauchi Village)
wasn’t informed of the nuclear explosion, and let my children play
outside while the nuclear fallout was spreading. I wouldn’t
have let that happen if I had known about it.” (Okuma
mayor of Namie Town wasn’t informed of the explosion, and he directed
town residents to head in the direction of the nuclear fallout. If he had only
known about it, people could have avoided the exposure.” (Namie
has been totally forgotten. The national government doesn’t
listen to us, and ignores us. Now I know that abandoning us was their initial
intention. They are instructing the old people to move back, but the younger
people refuse. Once the old people die out, the town of Futaba will be deserted,
and the nuclear power plant will be forgotten. I think that this was their plan
from the beginning. They want to showcase the return of the Futaba residents as
a symbol of recovery in Fukushima. This was all planned out, that’s
why they don’t listen to us and ignore us. And our problems will never be
resolved. There won’t be any monetary compensation after we are
evicted from the temporary housing. The Fukushima recovery can’t
proceed this way. We Fukushima disaster victims were forced out of our homes, not
evacuated.” (Futaba Town)
of the Fukushima victims have had to relocate seven or eight times in the past
six years. Please imagine yourself in this situation. Over the course of six
years, a first-grader grows up to become a middle schooler, and sixth-graders
become college students or are old enough to get a job. In six years, a 65 year
old turns 71, and a 75 year-old turns 81. Many people have passed away after
spending sorrowful years longing to return to their own homes. There are also
many cases of psychological stress among the evacuees. These individuals have
succumbed to sickness caused by stress and been confined to bed, unable to
work, and not even compensated by the government. How can we leave these people
behind? I ask all of you to raise your voices in support of these evacuees.
Please let more people know about Fukushima.
[Fukushima evacuees after six years]
<Male, late 60s, Futaba town>
wife got Parkinson’s Disease after the disaster. Living in one of
the temporary housing units, I work as the community leader and take care of my
wife and all other household duties. I hired a lawyer to apply for compensation
for psychological damages. I was paying out of my savings, but ran out of money
last year. So, I decided to give up the lawyer and do the legal work by myself,
which is a daunting task. I’m facing an eviction notice now. It’s
been hard for the evacuees to find new places to live, because the price of
real estate has gone up to three times what it used to be. I’ve
been looking for a house with a back yard. I was a farmer before and would like
to do gardening. And my wife loves flowers. However, it’s so tough to find the
right house for us.
<Female, 87 years old, Kawauchi Village>
have to move out of the evacuation housing by the end of March. I don’t
get any compensation, since my house is outside the 20km zone. My house has
been destroyed. There is a well, but it’s unusable. I need a
doctor, but there are no doctor’s offices or stores in my village. Just thinking
of this gives me sleeping issues and loss of appetite. I throw up and have
vertigo in the morning, so I stay in bed. I don’t want to eat, because I
vomit. I want to pack up my belongings, but can’t get it done. My friends
in the evacuee housing are also worrying about the future.
<Married couple, early 70s, Naraha Town>
are back in Naraha, but the entire town is covered with weeds. They say that
wild boars live in the overgrown bushes. We have to clean out the weeds around
our house and a few other houses. It’s scary, but we have to do
this. We requested that the town spray herbicide, but they hardly listen to us.
We cut down some weeds ourselves this morning, but it was a lot of work. There
are no stores open in Naraha Town, except for one in the shopping district. The
evacuation order hasn’t been lifted in Tomioka Town, but their town is
clean. They will have a supermarket open in April, and they have a police
station and a municipal government office too. Probably Tomioka will be the
center of the region. The government should follow Tomioka’s
example, and clean up the other towns before lifting the evacuation order.
<Female in her late 60s, Namie Town>
planning to go back to my home in Namie, so I’ve been commuting there to
bring back my stuff and clean up the house little by little. But the house is
covered with weeds and rat droppings. There are also wild boars out there, and
that scares me. My neighbors won’t be coming back, but I hope everything will be
ok once I move back. It’s also rumored that there are thieves. I think I
will hang some male clothes on my laundry line. I’m so worried, but have no
choice but to move back.
years after the disaster, there are still many people without a permanent place
to go. There are many towns and villages filled with dilapidated houses covered
in weeds and bushes. The municipal government receives reconstruction support
from the national government. However, there is no such compensation for the
individuals. I still don’t understand why they
can’t give at least some money
to each individual.
Prime Minister Abe has been offering millions of dollars’ worth
of financial support to foreign countries. I suggest that Mr. Abe set aside the
same amount of funds for Japanese disaster evacuees who currently find
themselves in these life-or-death situations. The national government should
provide a support system that gives aid in response to all large disasters,
whether they be natural or man-made.
Please continue to help me support the disaster
victims in Fukushima.
Deadly Deceit: Low-level Radiation, High-level
Cover-up, written by Dr. Jay M. Gould and Benjamin A. Goldman, translated by
Shuntaro Higo and Osamu Saito, publisher: PKO “Zassoku wo Hiromeru Kai”
Radiation impact: Atoms to zygotes – low
level radiation in the nuclear age, written by Donnell W. Boardman, translated
by Shuntaro Higo
Please call me 11:00 am through 5:30 pm (Japan
Happy New Year! How have you been so far this new year? I pray that each day has found you safe and happy.
Recently, I received a call from a Japanese friend living in France. My friend asked me, “What’s Japan like these days?” So, I shared my personal thoughts and impressions.
“I feel that people these days are stressed. They always seem to be rushing around. I feel that in Japan there is no longer a sense of calm at home or at work.” “Few children go outside to run around and play like in the old days. Instead, many of them stay at home doing things like playing games on their cellphones.” “Crime and kidnappings have increased. It’s no longer safe for children to play alone outside. Also, many kids have to study until late at cram schools. Kids today seem very busy, and I feel sorry for them.” “Young people these days earn lower incomes and are having a difficult time.” “Unemployment has also increased.” “The government collects taxes and medical expenses and all sorts of things from us citizens, leaving less and less for living expenses. However, prices remain high and it’s a problem for everyone.” “Japan is a scarier place these days. The number of murders has increased, and it seems that some are willing to kill for trivial reasons.” “You hear people talking about traditional ‘Yamato Nadeshiko’ women and saying that Japan is the ‘country of the samurai’, however that was the Japan of long ago. Today’s women are stronger, but at the same time men seem to have become weaker.” “Japan has changed.” I won’t say whether the Japan of long ago was better or worse than now. However, I think we might benefit from standing back and comparing the two Japans – the Japan of long ago and the one we have today – and thinking about their good points.
“Aim to be Beautiful at Heart”
On the evening of January 3rd (2017), I saw a program called “Time to say whether you Like it or Hate it” on TV. The show interested me, so I began watching. Suddenly, the topic switched to “A Debate between Beautiful and Unattractive Girls”. The show started referring to the girls as “Beautiful and Ugly”. The beautiful girls would criticize the ugly ones, then the ugly girls would criticize the beautiful ones. The beautiful girls would brag about themselves and criticize the ugly girls, then the ugly girls would shout back in frustration. Sometimes the program’s announcer would laugh and egg them on.
Watching this show made me sad. Why is a round, fat face considered ugly? Is beauty defined simply as slim and skinny? When someone judges others simply based on their outward appearances, pretentiously calling themselves beautiful while coldly declaring someone else a failure as a person and looking down on them because of their appearance – can such a person really be described as a “beautiful person”? Conversely, what about those who are sad because they were born fat, feel bitter towards their parents because of this, have low self-esteem and are convinced they are doomed to unhappiness?
Do overweight people have to be unhappy? I generally sense warmth and tolerance from them and I think of them with respect.
Why don’t people focus on being “beautiful at heart” instead?
There are old sayings that go: “Your face in your 40’s reflects how you lived your 30’s” and “You make the sort of face you will have in your 50’s while you’re still in your 40’s”. Also, “Your 50’s will define the face you have in your 60’s”. In other words, you are the one who has made the face you currently have. The sort of life you live influences your expression and the type of face you have.
It’s definitely the case that warm and generous people usually have kind faces. Children find this sort of person easy to approach. Someone who is kind and always sees the good in people has a pure and beautiful face. Even if they are a wrinkled old woman, I think they are beautiful. There is a saying: “Your thoughts become your reality”. Also: “Words have power”.
Our words and your words. Our thoughts and your thoughts. Just as a single ripple on a lake gives birth to more waves that spread out over the surface of the water, washing away impurities and making it beautiful, in this same way my kind thoughts and your thoughts – and the words we say - can multiply and spread out across Japan and the whole world and make them beautiful again. Don’t you think? Let’s all try to become “beautiful at heart” together. Why don’t you join us and try to make your face a warm and happy one too?
“The current situation of those affected by the Fukushima disaster”
I will tell you about the current situation of the people from the Fukushima disaster-affected areas.
(A disaster-affected person from the Odaku neighborhood of Minami Souma)
“One third of those who were living in the temporary housing units have returned to their homes in Odaku. Those of us remain behind in the temporary housing are short on building materials. Workers have been taken up by other projects, so those from Fukushima have been put off until later and we can’t build our houses. But we can only live in the temporary housing until the end of March. They say that the government will demolish the houses after that. However, we have nowhere to go. We have no prospects. What should we do?”
(A disaster-affected person from the town of Naraha)
The people of Naraha are able to stay in their temporary housing until 2018. Only 10% of those from Naraha have returned to their homes. Even those who have already rebuilt their homes have moved back to the temporary housing. The reason for this is that there are no stores or supermarkets over there yet. However, there are plans to build a supermarket in the spring. Right now, the town of Naraha is full of workers during the day, but nobody stays there overnight, so it’s pitch black.
(A disaster-affected person from the town of Miyakoji)
“The temporary housing will be gone at the end of March, but those living outside of the 20km zone aren’t getting any money to rebuild their houses. We don’t know what to do. Our houses are still in the same condition they were when they were destroyed on March 11th. Those of us from Miyakoji received a one-time payment of 300,000 yen (about $2,600 US), but we haven’t received anything else since. A while back I filed some applications and was told that those moving out of the temporary housing would receive 50,000 yen (about $435 US). We were also told that those who aren’t returning to their homes will have to look for a new place to live on their own. Tamura City City Hall won’t do anything for us. The citizens of Miyakoji don’t have anywhere to go and they don’t know what to do. However, I felt that I had to take action, so I contacted a lawyer. The compensation case has already begun. We don’t have anyone that can be in charge of this full time, so the chairman has to take off from work (this affects his income). He is expending time and energy working together with the lawyer and preparing for the court case (he also has to pay his own travel and other expenses).
【Please help provide support】
I ask for all of you to please continue your support. Please help provide support for the disaster-affected people of the town of Miyakoji, who are not receiving government payments to rebuild their homes and have no source of funds. The cold days will continue for a bit longer so, dear readers, please take good care of yourselves and watch your health. I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for all of your help.
Mobile: firstname.lastname@example.org 080-5547-8675
(I would like to request that calls 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.)