In Fukushima, a land where few return

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

The evacuation orders for most of the village of Iitate have been lifted. But where are the people?

1.jpgThe build-up of contaminated bags is slowly changing the landscape of Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture.

IITATE, FUKUSHIMA PREF. – Some day when I have done what I set out to do, I’ll return home one of these days, where the mountains are green, my old country home, where the waters are clear, my old country home.

— “Furusato,” Tatsuyuki Takano

A cherry tree is blooming in the spring sunshine outside the home of Masaaki Sakai but there is nobody to see it. The house is empty and boarded up. Weeds poke through the ground. All around are telltale signs of wild boar, which descend from the mountains to root and forage in the fields. Soon, the 60-year-old farmhouse Sakai shared with his mother and grandmother will be demolished.

I don’t feel…

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“No one died” implies a cruel hierarchy

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Haniwa – tomb figures, Saitama, C6th, Tokyo National Museum of Art, Tokyo, 217 km south west of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant

Advocates of nuclear power frequently say that “no one died” as a result of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. They mean that, unlike the tsunami and earthquake which killed at least 15,894 people, with a further 2,562 people still missing, no one was killed as a result of exposure to radiation.

Even if it were true that no one died, this is a cruel, disrespectful thing to say as it denies the importance and severity of the profound suffering and illness [1] which are undeniably a direct result of the nuclear disaster.

Is it right to place death above suffering in a hierarchy like this? Surely either consequence is unacceptable and should not be compared. Any person with any empathy who has experienced or witnessed excruciating, protracted illness, physical or mental, will understand this.

Many scientists remain concerned about what the future holds for those who were – and who continue to be – exposed to radioactivity from inside the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi. There are already 183 cases of confirmed and suspected thyroid cancer among 381,282 people who were under 18 in 2011 [2]. This is equivalent to an incidence of 511 per million people. Prior to 2011, the incidence of thyroid cancer in Japan among this age group was 1-3 per million.

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Linking Fukushima with Chernobyl, 3a! Koriyama, Koriyama City, Fukushima, 60 km west of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant

The brightly coloured things for children at 3a Koriyama! Family Club contrast with the materials on the the walls above.

A teatowel from Belarus, the country most severely contaminated by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. After 31 years this catastrophe continues to unfold [3] with devastating health and environmental consequences. In Belarus and Ukraine, radiogenic illnesses and birth defects continue to arise in over 453,000 children born of parents who were themselves children in 1986 [4].

Next to the teatowel, a reproduction of a grim painting of a mother and child, by Wakana, conveys a terrible suffering and vulnerability.

 


[1] “Between 2011 and 2014, nearly 2,000 Japanese citizens, including many old people, died as the result of illness or suicides connected with the evacuations … [which were] necessary to avoid large radiation exposures from the radioactive fallout carried by the plumes”.

Dr Ian Fairlie, ‘Summing The Health Effects of the Fukushima Nuclear disaster,’ 2015, http://www.ianfairlie.org/news/summing-the-health-effects-of-the-fukushima-nuclear-disaster/

[2] 183 confirmed and suspected thyroid cancers:

http://fukushimavoice-eng2.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/fukushima-thyroid-examination-december.html

And at least one further case of thyroid cancer confirmed but not reported: http://www.apnewsarchive.com/2017/A-child-diagnosed-with-thyroid-cancer-after-the-Fukushima-nuclear-accident-is-missing-from-government-checkup-records-an-aid-group-says-raising-questions-about-the-thoroughness-and-tra/id-fe042c9dc43448669bb661521353ce71

[3] Kim Hjelmgaard, USA Today, ‘Exiled Scientist: Chernobyl Is Not Finished, It Has Only Just Begun,https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/04/17/nuclear-exile-chernobyl-30th-anniversary/82896510/

[4] Dr Ian Fairlie, TORCH-2016 [The Other Report on Chernobyl]: An Independent Scientific Evaluation of The Health-related Effects of The Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster: https://www.global2000.at/sites/global/files/GLOBAL_TORCH%202016_rz_WEB_KORR.pdflsummary of the report and link here: http://www.ianfairlie.org/news/30-years-after-chernobyl/

 

“Little Voices From Fukushima” film screening

Film screening

to coincide with the exhibition, in the week of the 31st anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster (26.4.1986):

Little Voices from Fukushima documentary by Hitomi Kamanaka

119 min, Japanese with English subtitles

Monday 24th April 2017

Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL

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18:00 – 19:00 exhibition reception, drinks served

19:00 – 21:00  film screening:

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“Little Voices from Fukushima is a documentary film dedicated to Japanese mothers and children living in the post-meltdown world of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster. In the course of telling their stories, Director Hitomi Kamanaka takes us to Belarus, where we learn from mothers who experienced the Chernobyl nuclear disaster 28 years ago.”

more about the film: http://kamanaka.com/canon/english/

facebook ‘event’: https://www.facebook.com/events/1218812888236663/

All welcome, free event, donations welcome.

Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL

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phone: 020 7405 1818

email: martha@conwayhall.org.uk

http://www.conwayhall.org.uk

‘Fukushima Wastelands’ a poem by Ann Garrett Ashley

Ann read her poem on 10th March at the London Remember Fukushima vigil held opposite the Japanese Embassy in London and again on 11 March at the Remember Fukushima rally held opposite Downing Street in London.

Fukushima Wastelands   [ March 2017 – 6 years on ]

[ With thanks and acknowledgements to Lis Fields’ ’20 Millisieverts per Year’ exhibition and the film ‘Nuclear Japan’ by Mr. Hiroyuki Kawai].

Fields of black plastic bags filled with radioactive waste

stretch across Fukushima Prefacture

Deserted streets

Deserted houses

Deserted schools

A child’s pink bicycle abandoned in a garage

Geiger counters buzz as white-clad officials monitor here and there

Deserted shops

Deserted libraries

Deserted allotments

A tsunami marker stone stands firm on a hill in Tomioka

– A reminder overseeing this devastating destruction

The sun shines, but there’s no one about

The wind blows the luscious vegetation, but it’s inedible

Flowers bloom, but are not seen, smelt or picked

164,865 people have left this polluted paradise

8% of the urban and rural land mass is uninhabitable

20 milliesieverts per year is now the Government’s safe radiation threshold

Japan’s 54 nuclear power plants lie close to tsunami-prone seas

Their white temple- like domes and austere structures

gleam and glisten in seemingly pristine condition

They hide the deadly plutonium within

They are part of the world’s dangerous annihilative sin

Ann Garrett Ashley, March 2017

Left: Abandoned High Street, Chuo District, Tomioka, Fukushima; right: Radioactive Plants and Topsoil In Black Plastic Bags, Katsurao, Fukushima, © Lis Fields 2017

6 Years Ongoing Fukushima Catastrophe

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

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Every year at this time, the time to commemorate March 11. 2011, the Tohoku earthquake and the tsunami, and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, all the mainstream media and the websites publish so many articles about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant present situation. For those like me who followed the Fukushima Daiichi ongoing catastrophe day by day since now 6 years, there is not much that those many articles could really teach us that we do not know already.
At this time of the year I think only about the victims, and keep praying for all the victims, included my daughter, one of the many. For those who already died, for those who are now affected and sick, and all the future victims to come, for all those many lives affected in many ways by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
Thinking about how the nuclear industry gets away with plain…

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The island of the post-Fukushima children

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

Translated by Hervé Courtois

6724407_image-0040-0086_1000x625.jpgIn Kumejima, Mayumi and her two children are recovering their health away from the radioactivity of Fukushima.

Six years ago, Japan experienced the worst nuclear disaster in its history. Since then, the young inhabitants of the contaminated areas are welcomed on a preserved archipelago where they can recover their health.

Green shorts and long-sleeved T-shirt, Tatsuyoshi, 4, runs to the sea, stops halfway. For fear of the sand, he refused to bathe barefoot. “It’s like that, the first few days. Then he gets used to it, “says his mother, Mayumi Moriai, handing him his sandals.The young woman has already come three times to the small Japanese island of Kumejima, located 2200 kilometers south of Tokyo, in the Okinawa archipelago, to allow her two children to reconnect with nature. “We live in Koriyama, in Fukushima Prefecture, 70 kilometers from the nuclear power plant ravaged by the…

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Conway Hall exhibition poster

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Photo: High street, Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture, October 2016

9km south of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power Plant

Once a busy shopping area, now abandoned and derelict.

There were numerous radiation micro hotspots here, particularly around drains and gutters where radionuclides typically accumulate, transported there by rain, melted snow and street-cleaning. The highest level of radioactivity I found was in some mud in a drain at the edge of a forecourt, measuring 11.8μSv/h (microsieverts per hour) ~ 103 millisieverts per year.