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Fukushima’s 50 heroes fear discrimination and bullying

The Economist: “Something strange was afoot” during Prime Minister’s visit to plant — Fukushima 50 muzzled   Title: Japan’s nuclear disaster: Meet the Fukushima 50? No, you can’t
Source: The Economist Author: Banyan Date: Oct 8, 2012
It has taken the Japanese government more than 18 months to pay tribute to a group of brave men, once known as the “Fukushima 50”, who risked their lives to prevent meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant from spiralling out of control.

But when the prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, belatedly offered official thanks to them on October 7th something strange was afoot: six of the eight men he addressed had their backs to the television cameras, refused to be photographed and did not introduce themselves by name, not even to Mr Noda
The reason: officials from the government and from Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) quietly admitted that the men wanted to keep their identities secret because they were scared of stigmatisation for being involved in the disaster, such as might lead to the bullying of their children and grandchildren. But Tepco is also muzzling them, presumably for fear that what they say will further discredit the now nationalised company. When I asked if I could at least hand my business card to them to see if they wanted to tell their side of the story, an irate Tepco spokesman answered bluntly: “Impossible.”

…Yet even after Mr Noda’s visit, the men do not get the recognition they deserve. Kyodo, a news agency, relegates any mention of them to the bottom of a boring story about decontamination.


October 10, 2012 - Posted by | Fukushima 2012, Japan, psychology - mental health, social effects


  1. For one thing, there were 50 there at a time, being shifted in and out in groups of 50…there were and are more than 50 heroes in this tragic event. And for another thing? Of course TEPCO will not allow them to speak, and likely not because the men are fearful but because they have been gagged by Tepco’s fear of anyone discovering the truth of what is actually happening at Daiichi NPP… those initial groups of men are probably dead for all we, the public, know… especially if they were contract workers… since Tepco does not keep any records on those groups? It is feasible to believe that most, if not all, of those initial brave workers have died…from radiation induced illnesses, which we, the public, will never hear about because the industry keeps a tight wrap on those tedious details…

    Comment by nuclearwindsatomiclies | October 10, 2012 | Reply

  2. I think if they were alive, we would have heard from at least one of them over the course of time that has elapsed…

    Comment by nuclearwindsatomiclies | October 10, 2012 | Reply

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