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Fukushima: what life there is like, today

(PHOTOS)  What life is really like in Japan following the Fukushima nuclear disaster OCTOBER 20, 2014

“………“Time had stopped. In the main part of the town the buildings are still collapsed from the earthquake. It’s kind of nuts. It was weird, like a time warp, everything is all overgrown,” she said………e day of the earthquake schools were due to hold graduation ceremonies, with many of the preparations for celebrations still intact.

“They literally evacuated that day and were told they had to get out of town completely and since then they haven’t been able to go back,” she said.

“The kids themselves haven’t been back, adults have gone back on a daily pass to clear their house. Anyone that’s under 15 isn’t able to go on. So it’s pretty tough on them.”…….. 160,000 people have been forced from their homes after Japan’s environment ministry labelled 11 municipalities “no-go zones”. They’ve been forced to live in temporary housing while authorities painstakingly decontaminate the area in order for them to return home…….

Fukushima Update’s editor James Corbett, who lives 600 kilometres from the plant and started his website in an attempt to provide information on the disaster, said the situation is still a “huge problem” with no resolution in sight.

“The cores are still there and highly radioactive. The technology to approach the cores does not exist yet,” he told

“Just last week they had a typhoon and in the wake of that they found 10 times the radioactivity in the groundwater than in the week before.”

Since the disaster, Mr Corbett said clean-up operations have focused on containing groundwater that has become contaminated with radioactive material. But as more flows into the area each day from Japan’s mountains, it’s an ongoing problem that doesn’t come close to solving the real issue.

“There really isn’t the technology to even begin approaching the core of these reactors yet,’’ he said. “[They’re] the fundamental cause of the problem. That is going to go on for potentially years, potentially decades. At this stage it’s more damage control and trying to take care of things like the radioactive water.”………

There’s even a term — Genpatsu rikon — or “atomic divorce” coined to describe marriages ripped apart by the strain. Meanwhile there are plenty of tales of peoplebeing discriminated against by being banned from donating blood and asked to provide medical certificates on job applications, while farmers have had their livelihood threatened by stigma over produce.

“It’s taken a huge toll on residents of Fukushima and will probably continue for a long time to come,” Mr Corbett said.

“For generations survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had a stigma attached to them. They were often treated differently if it was known they were from that area. I know even in my area of Japan … when I was working in school system there were students that had been evacuated. [It would be] interesting to see if they were treated differently.”

Despite this, effects of the disaster are often not openly discussed, as “expressing strong opinions, especially ones not seen as conducive to general harmony, is not seen as acceptable in public” in Japan, Mr Corbett said.

There is also a view that authorities are “basically trying to keep it out of the headlines” in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympics.

“Their number one project is trying to keep the situation under control in order to successfully conduct the Tokyo Olympics 2020,” he said……….

October 21, 2014 - Posted by | general

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