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11 years after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, residents angered by the retreat from decontamination of the entire area: “It is only natural to clean up the mess and return it.

February 19, 2022
 It will soon be 11 years since the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Many people who have left their homes in areas where it is difficult to return are still uncertain about their future. Last year, the government announced a new policy to decontaminate only the areas around the homes of those who wish to return to their homes in areas where the lifting of evacuation orders was not foreseeable. This is a step backward from the previous policy of decontaminating the entire area, and the residents are angry, saying, “They won’t decontaminate unless we decide to return? (Natsuko Katayama)

In August 2021, the government decided to partially lift the evacuation order for the remaining difficult-to-return areas in seven cities, towns, and villages in Fukushima Prefecture by decontaminating homes and roads by 2029 in response to requests from people who want to return to their homes and live there. The government plans to begin decontamination in fiscal 2024, but has yet to decide what to do with the homes and land of those who do not wish to return. The “designated recovery and revitalization zone,” where decontamination was prioritized within the zone, accounts for only about 8% of the area that is difficult to return to.

The grass around the house grows into trees, and the surrounding fields are filled with thick-trunked willows and kaya (November 18, 2021). At Hatsuke, Namie Town, Fukushima Prefecture

The trees around our house and in the fields have grown so thick that we can’t do anything about them… Every time Kazuo Kubota, 70, and his wife Taiko, 66, who have been living as evacuees in Fukushima City, return to their home in the difficult-to-return area of Namie Town in Fukushima Prefecture, they sigh.
 Their house is located in the Hatsuki district of Tsushima, Namie Town, about 30 kilometers northwest of the nuclear power plant. The fields are overgrown with trees that can grow up to three meters high. We can’t even cut the kaya with a sickle anymore,” said Kazuo. The plastic greenhouse for leaf tobacco is now just a skeleton, with thick branches sticking up from below. His house was also ransacked by wild boars and other animals, and he gave up clearing it.

The leaf tobacco workshop was overgrown with ivy and there was no place to step.

 Still, Taiko feels relieved when she returns to Hatsuke. Surrounded by nature, she feels the four seasons. Horseradish grows in the stream beside my house, and salamanders live there. I want to return here as soon as possible.
 He hopes to have the area around his house decontaminated and the house demolished, the land cleared, and the house rebuilt so that he and Kazuo’s mother, Tsuya (95), can return to the area together.
 If we could have lived in Hatsuke, our family would have been much closer,” said Taiko. Before the nuclear accident, the family used to go everywhere together, but after the evacuation, they were separated.

The kitchen is a mess of stuff and animal feces.

Tsuya, who used to work in the fields early in the morning and take care of her favorite flowers, began to stay at home more and more often and developed dementia. The family became increasingly strained and quarrelsome. With no one to talk to about her care, Taiko developed alopecia areata and continued to go to the hospital.
 In the same town of Tsushima, there is a “Specific Reconstruction and Regeneration Center Area (Reconstruction Center)” where decontamination is being carried out ahead of time, covering 1.6% of the total area of Tsushima. On the other hand, Hatsuke, located to the west of the Reconstruction Center, has relatively low levels of radiation, but has not been decontaminated except along the main road.
 When Taiko sees places in Namie that have been decontaminated over and over again, she feels her guts boil over.
 If the area had been decontaminated even once, I would have been motivated to do my best,” she said. Why is it that all other areas are decontaminated before being sent home, but the hard-to-return area, which has the highest radiation dose, is not decontaminated until the residents decide to return?

His eldest son is said to be saying, “I want to start a farm in Hatsuke after I finish raising my child. However, there is a strong concern that decontamination limited to the living areas of those who wish to return to the area will result in “unevenness” and many contaminated areas will remain.
 That is why Kazuo is so angry. “I still want to go back here. My parents cultivated this land and passed it down to me. I want to leave it to the next generation. If we pollute the land, it is only natural to clean it up and return it.”
 ”Eleven years have passed. I want to go home. I want to go home. I’ll do whatever I can to return to Hatsuke and die,” Tsuya said, but then he said, “I’ve given up. I’ve given up.”
 Taiko said as if she were praying. “I don’t know how long we will be able to move. I want the decontamination work to be done as soon as possible.”


February 20, 2022 - Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , ,

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