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Fukushima farmers’ efforts serve to undo TEPCO’s damage

Mobilization of Fukushima farmers. Credit: Fukushima Farmers Federation

April 19, 2022
About Fukushima farmers’ compensation, here is the Tweet thread posted by Mako Oshidori (see note at bottom) translated by us :

“The financial compensation given to farmers after the nuclear accident is designed so that the difference between sales before and after the accident is paid to them as compensation for ‘image damage.

Farmers are developing their own varieties, developing their own sales networks, and conducting experiments to limit the transfer of cesium from the soil to the vegetables.
As a result of all these efforts, when sales returned to pre-accident levels, the compensation became zero.
“Thus, our efforts serve to cancel the damage caused by TEPCO!”

2) Cesium in the soil is still present, so “this is not just an image problem, but real damage.”
Members of the Fukushima Farmers Federation continue to renew their demands for “radiation protection policy for farmers.”

It is TEPCO that benefits from the effects of the slogan “Eating Fukushima products for solidarity” which leads to reducing the amount of compensation received by farmers.
Moreover, if a farmer does not continue to operate in Fukushima, there will be no compensation.

3) Farmers in Fukushima have been trying to find a way to prevent the transfer of cesium from the soil to the crops.
In the years immediately following the accident, vegetables from neighboring counties have been found to have higher levels of cesium than those from Fukushima.

There are still agricultural lands with surface contamination above the standard of the radiation control zone defined by the Ordinance on the Prevention of Radiation Risks.
Negotiations for the establishment of the radiation protection policy for farmers are continuing this year.

The couple Mako and Ken OSHIDORI are known in Japan as manzaishi (comedy duo in the style of folk storytellers). As soon as the Fukushima nuclear accident began in March 2011, Mako decided to attend TEPCO press conferences in order to access information that was dramatically missing from the media. With the help of Ken, her husband and work partner, she became a freelance journalist, one of the most knowledgeable on the Fukushima issue, and feared as such by TEPCO.

April 23, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Yoshinobu Segawa of Koriyama City, who voluntarily evacuated his wife and children to Saitama City, says the accident “has not been resolved

Mr. Yoshinobu Segawa, who has voluntarily evacuated his wife and child to Saitama City, talks about his desire to continue the evacuation in an online interview.

April 17, 2022
Residents who evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture to Saitama and other prefectures following the March 2011 accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant have filed a lawsuit against the government and TEPCO, claiming a total of 100 million yen in damages. On April 20, the Saitama District Court will hand down a verdict in a class action lawsuit seeking a total of 100 million yen in damages from the government and TEPCO. The lawsuit was filed in March 2002, seeking compensation for the mental anguish of being separated from their familiar land, as well as compensation for their homes and land lost in the accident. After three additional lawsuits, the number of plaintiffs has grown to 96. How has the nuclear accident changed their daily lives? Before the verdict, we asked two of the plaintiffs about their thoughts.
 Yoshinobu Segawa, 60, an art teacher at a junior high school in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture, evacuated his wife and children to Saitama City in June 2012. He has been leading a double life, visiting his wife and children on weekends. The physical, mental, and financial burdens are heavy, but he has no plans for his family to return to Fukushima because he cannot shake off his anxiety about the ongoing decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. He complains, “I feel that the public is losing interest in the nuclear accident, but it has not yet been resolved at all.”
 Although no evacuation order was issued for Koriyama City after the nuclear accident in March 2011, he decided to voluntarily evacuate his wife and children for fear of exposure to radiation, as there were hot spots in the city with locally high radiation levels. He decided to evacuate to Saitama City, where his wife’s (47) friend lives nearby. Currently, his wife and four sons in elementary and junior high school are living in a national public employee housing complex.
 After work on Friday night, he drives to Saitama City, spends time with his family, does his daily chores, and returns to Koriyama City on Sunday night. For Segawa, who suffers from heart disease, the burden of traveling three hours each way every week is not small.
 Ten years have passed since he began his double life, and his savings have visibly dwindled. Although she received some money from her retirement in April of this year, she says, “I am not sure how much I can spare for my children’s future school expenses. In addition, since the spread of the new coronavirus, he has had fewer opportunities to see his family, and his wife, who has a designated intractable disease of the nervous system, has been burdened with housework and childcare.
 Recently, when he talks to his colleagues about his family, they are sometimes surprised to hear that he is still evacuating, and even within Fukushima Prefecture, “I feel that the nuclear accident is fading fast. According to TEPCO’s roadmap, the decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant will be completed in 41 to 51 years. In February of last year and March of this year, Fukushima Prefecture was hit by earthquakes measuring 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale, and Segawa said, “It is scary to have a dangerous nuclear reactor on the verge of collapse so close to the plant. Segawa said, “I am afraid that a dangerous nuclear reactor that is on the verge of breaking down is nearby.” He plans to continue the voluntary evacuation of his family, saying, “A similar radiation accident may occur again.
 In the trial, the plaintiffs pointed out that the government had failed to regulate nuclear power plants before the accident, and that TEPCO had failed to take countermeasures against a serious accident that could have caused core damage. Mr. Segawa joined the case in an additional lawsuit filed in August 2003. He wanted to make the case an opportunity to examine what happened during the nuclear accident and what should have been done to prevent it, so that he would not be embarrassed when his children ask him in the future, “What did your father do when the nuclear accident happened?
 However, he is distrustful of the way the government and TEPCO handled the case in court. I feel that both the government and TEPCO dodged our questions and failed to provide us with any answers. I don’t think they are thinking about our lives.
 Although it was not a life they wanted to lead, their sons are now blessed with many friends. He is waiting for the verdict, hoping that at least the financial burden will be lightened. “I hope that my wife and son will be able to live in the city until my fourth son (7 years old), who was born in Saitama City, graduates from high school, even if it is only modestly,” he said. (Yusuke Sugihara)

April 23, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , | Leave a comment

First Supreme Court Argument in Class Action Lawsuit by Evacuees from Nuclear Power Plant Accident: about Accepting the State’s Responsibility.

TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant = March 2012 photo

April 15, 2022
On March 15, the Supreme Court Second Petty Bench (Chief Justice Hiroyuki Kanno) heard arguments in a lawsuit filed by residents who evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture to Chiba Prefecture following the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, seeking damages from the government and TEPCO. The Supreme Court is expected to render a unified judgment on the state’s responsibility by this summer. The Supreme Court is expected to render a unified judgment on the state’s responsibility this summer. The date of the judgment will be set at a later date.
 This is the first time for the Supreme Court to hear arguments in class action lawsuits of the same type filed in various regions. The others are scheduled for May 22 in Gunma, May 25 in Fukushima, and May 16 in Ehime. At the high court stage, the court decisions in Chiba, Fukushima, and Ehime recognized the government’s responsibility, while Gunma denied it, leading to a split conclusion.
 On May 15, the plaintiffs also made statements. Tetsuya Komaru, 92, who evacuated from Namie Town, Fukushima Prefecture, to Chiba Prefecture and now lives in Yokohama, said, “My ancestral home, my house, fields, and forests were contaminated, and I lost everything I had built up over my life. I want the Supreme Court to clearly recognize the government’s responsibility without being beholden to the government.
 In their arguments, the government argued that the government’s “long-term evaluation” of earthquake forecasts, which was a point of contention in the first and second trials, “was not considered a view that should be incorporated into nuclear power regulations at the time. As for tsunami countermeasures, the government argued that “even if countermeasures had been taken, the accident could not have been prevented because the tsunami was completely different from what had been anticipated.
 The residents pointed out that “the long-term assessment is scientific knowledge with a rational basis. If the government, which has regulatory authority, had instructed TEPCO to take countermeasures and had constructed seawalls and made the reactor buildings watertight, the accident would likely have been avoided, they said.
 Last month, the Supreme Court upheld a second trial ruling that ordered TEPCO to pay compensation in an amount that exceeded the “interim guidelines,” the government’s standard for compensation for all cases. A total of 1.43 billion yen was ordered to be paid to approximately 3,700 plaintiffs. (Keiichi Ozawa)

April 17, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s Earthquakes Show That Risk Is Inevitable

Beware: This article has a pro-nuclear spin! Preparedness has nothing to do with it, with nuclear you can never expect the expected to happen.

By accepting risk and planning for failure, communities are more likely to survive catastrophes.

March 16, 2022

About the author: Juliette Kayyem, a former assistant secretary for homeland security under President Barack Obama, is the faculty chair of the homeland-security program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She is the author of the forthcoming book The Devil Never Sleeps: Learning to Live in an Age of Disasters.

Two hundred feet up in the foothills that surround Aneyoshi, a tiny coastal village in Japan, warnings are engraved into the rocks. Most of the messages come from 19th-century survivors of large tsunamis that terrorized people along the coast. “High dwellings are the peace and harmony of our descendants,” one inscription declares. “Remember the calamity of the great tsunamis. Do not build any homes below this point.”

But more recent residents of coastal Japan did build below that point. Homes at first, but eventually nuclear facilities, which were built where they could be cooled by nearby ocean waters. On March 11, 2011, a massive undersea earthquake occurred east of Oshika Peninsula. The quake, which lasted six minutes and remains the fourth-most powerful ever recorded in the world, triggered tsunami waves that reached up to 130 feet above sea level. The rushing water ultimately led to a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility, where a loss of power shut off the cooling system, resulting in hydrogen-gas accumulation. As surprised workers tried to cool the facility manually—using water from fire trucks—a gas buildup led to the expulsion of radioactive material into the atmosphere and groundwater. Part of Fukushima prefecture is still uninhabitable.

After the nuclear disasters at Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986, investigators blamed a combination of mechanical failure and operator error. The conventional narrative of Fukushima Daiichi’s demise has been somewhat more forgiving of the people running the plant that day. The earthquake and tsunami could not be blamed on them. The most fundamental error, news stories intimated, was putting a nuclear reactor in a location so obviously vulnerable to natural disaster. Previous generations had literally carved warnings in stone: Never again. Because TEPCO, the plant’s operator, had ignored them and built in a risky spot, tragedy was all but inevitable.

This made a tidy story, except for one thing: The Onagawa nuclear-power plant also sits below the rock warnings, but it withstood the earthquake and tsunami. Onagawa was about 30 miles closer to the epicenter of the earthquake than the Daiichi facility was. It experienced the strongest ground shaking of any of the nuclear facilities in the area—or indeed of any nuclear facility in recorded history. Operated by the Tohoku Electric Power Company, the Onagawa reactor did not melt down. It suffered no serious damage. The differing fates of Fukushima Daiichi and Onagawa cannot be explained by the movement of the Earth, because neither plant heeded the century-old warnings.

Never again is a common refrain after traumatic disasters, but it’s also a hard promise to keep. Memories fade over time. But more important, societies change, and so do their risk calculations. Accepting risk is not itself a form of negligence; Japan needed domestic energy sources to power its economy in the decades after World War II, and nuclear-power plants near the coast became essential to the country’s growth. The problem at Fukushima—unlike at Onagawa—was that its designers and managers did not acknowledge or make provision for the risk they had undertaken, so the plant was unprepared when disaster struck.

This was a dangerous omission. Events that threaten human life and safety do not strike at random, nor are they particularly rare. Indeed, an earthquake off the coast of Fukushima today left millions of people in Japan without power—and put residents on alert once again for potential tsunamis. All modern societies face environmental hazards; rely on complex, and in some cases dangerous, technologies; and link up to global trade and transportation networks that move pathogens as well as people.

Onagawa’s strength was simple: The nuclear plant’s operators understood that failure was possible, perhaps even inevitable, so they committed themselves to failing safely. Like Fukushima Daiichi, Onagawa was located near the coast. But its designers had studied past tsunamis and built at an elevation several meters higher than that of its ill-fated counterpart. Long before the earthquake, Tohoku Electric had also required extensive emergency training and scenario planning, including for a massive tsunami, so Onagawa’s employees were ready to shut it down. Departing from the hierarchical norms of Japanese corporate culture, headquarters had delegated authority to the plant managers to react in the moment. Simply put, Onagawa’s employees had their act together. Fukushima’s owners had done far less to create a safety culture, and during the meltdown required leadership’s approval for every crisis decision. That doesn’t work in real time.

For most of my career, I have studied disasters, managed government responses to them, and advised elected leaders and business executives about how to plan for them. I have come to think that the very word disaster wrongly excuses us from the obligation to plan for failure. The word’s original meaning, from Middle French and Old Italian, comes from the prefix dis-, signifying a negative force, and astro, for star—implying that disruptive events occur only because the stars were aligned against us, not because of anything we did or didn’t do. The word catastrophe,derived from a Greek word meaning “sudden turn,” has a similar connotation: It’s just bad luck, befalling a passive population with no capacity to manage destruction that nobody could have foreseen.

But we should not be surprised by natural catastrophes, viral variants, sneak attacks, or other tragedies. The devil never sleeps, I argue in my forthcoming book. The good news is that the means to minimize the resulting harm from sudden shocks are always the same: making sure the risk is communicated and widely understood; preparing individuals to respond to a range of scenarios; ensuring redundancies in safety systems, so that none becomes the last line of defense; testing those systems; challenging the fallacy that a near miss implies immunity from a future calamity; and making adjustments after past mistakes.

People in my field describe the event precipitating a crisis—an earthquake, a hurricane, the emergence of a new virus—as the “boom,” and we divide time and human activity into two phases: “left of boom” and “right of boom.” The former includes the steps we take to prevent the boom from happening in the first place; the latter is what we do in the moments after, and then the weeks and months following, to minimize the harm. But we would be better prepared if we no longer viewed disasters as a surprise moment in time. A society that studiously prepares to fail safer—that makes preparation for what will happen right of boom—is a stronger one than a society that focuses a majority of its efforts on avoiding the failure itself.

Fukushima Daiichi’s operator, I should note, didn’t do enough of either. After the 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, many in Japan were deeply apprehensive about using nuclear energy to address the country’s needs. TEPCO, Japan’s leading nuclear-power operator, managed to convince itself that it had essentially eliminated any risk. According to Akihisa Shiozaki, a lawyer who organized an independent investigation of the Fukushima disaster, the country was sold a myth: “the absolute safeness” of nuclear power. A later government report blamed an industry mindset that ignored the possibility that even in a nuclear disaster, preparedness could go far in “limiting the consequential damage.” Instead, local opposition had to be managed as more nuclear reactors were built, which in many cases meant not talking about the potential for a worst-case scenario.

Not planning for the right of boom makes sudden shocks of all kinds—including the extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change—far more deadly than they might otherwise be. In 2017, Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico. To this day, we still do not know how many people died there. One reason death estimates varied so widely is that most of the deaths were not a direct result of the hurricane itself but downstream consequences of power outages. The losses cascaded: Without electricity, deprivations of water, food, and medicines left people vulnerable. Damage to power infrastructure is a predictable outcome of a hurricane. A faster restoration of the grid—in the absence of preparations that would have made it more resistant to failure in the first place—would have saved many lives.

This logic does not only apply after natural disasters. Before the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the military had not adapted its battlefield-medicine rules for an age of urban warfare and improvised explosive devices. Existing rules prioritized carrying injured soldiers away from enemy lines to a medic tent or back to base. But those enemy lines were not always clearly defined in America’s post-9/11 conflicts, and many of the wounded bled to death before they could receive proper care. To prevent injuries to American soldiers, the Pentagon made massive investments in armor design and mine-resistant, ambush-protected light tactical vehicles to protect U.S. troops from harm. But those improvements were not enough. Right-of-boom protocols needed to evolve too: So the military began training field soldiers, most of whom were not medics, to use tourniquets right away to save the life of team members wounded in IED attacks. These efforts—which have since spawned a civilian public-awareness campaign called “Stop the Bleed”—were a way to minimize harm even after a life-threatening event had already occurred.

Planning to fail safely is different from trying to eliminate all risk—which is usually impossible. At this point two years into a global pandemic, for example, even stringent lockdowns are unlikely to prevent all transmission of the coronavirus. When the CDC recently decided to use rates of death and hospitalization, rather than overall infection, as its primary metrics for the severity of the problem, the agency implicitly chose to minimize the negative consequences of the virus rather than try to suppress it altogether. Furthermore, attempts to banish one kind of risk may make others worse. After the Fukushima disaster, Germany began phasing out nuclear power altogether—a decision that has left it more dependent on fossil fuel from Russia.

Deliberately accepting some risks, and then being prepared when disaster strikes, will serve human societies better than pretending we can achieve perfect safety. We cannot prevent an earthquake or a tsunami, but we have control over how much death and destruction it causes.

What happened at Fukushima wasn’t just bad fortune; Onagawa didn’t get lucky. Most people outside Japan have never heard of Onagawa because it was ready to fail under the same conditions that proved cataclysmic at Fukushima. And in disaster management, anonymity—not fame—is a sign of success.

March 20, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

11 years on, Fukushima radioactive waste still tough challenge for Japan

TOKYO, March 11 (Xinhua) — Eleven years after the quake-induced Fukushima disaster, the aftermath of the nuclear meltdown, not least a large amount of contaminated water, remains a grave challenge for Japan as well as for the rest of the world.

On March 11, 2011, a magnitude-9.0 earthquake struck off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture in Japan. An earthquake-triggered tsunami engulfed the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, causing core meltdowns in units one to three and leading to the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.

Little progress has been made over the past year on the most pivotal and hardest work of decommissioning the Fukushima Daiichi power plant — how to remove the nuclear residue from the meltdown. Japan’s International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning estimated that the total weight of nuclear waste mix from melted fuel rods and other materials in pressure vessels that melted during the accident could be 880 tons.

Since the end of 2011, No. 1 to No. 3 units have been in a stable state of low temperature cooling, but the internal radiation is still very high, making it difficult for personnel to work in close proximity. Relevant work has to rely on remote tools such as remotely controlled robots and mechanical arms, but not a single piece of nuclear residue has been removed so far. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said it plans to first try to remove the nuclear residue from unit 2 this year.

Hiroaki Koide, a retired researcher at Kyoto University, said the Japanese government and TEPCO’s 30-40 year “roadmap” for decommissioning the reactors was an “illusion” that could not be achieved because it would be “impossible even in 100 years” to remove the large amount of scattered nuclear debris, which would have to be sealed in a “sarcophagus.”

In April last year, the Japanese government officially decided to discharge the nuclear contaminated water into the sea starting in the spring of 2023. The contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant contains radioactive cesium, strontium, tritium and other radioactive substances.

The Japanese government and TEPCO said the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS), a multi-nuclide removal system, can remove 62 radioactive substances except tritium, which is difficult to remove from water.

Japanese fishing groups strongly oppose the plan to discharge contaminated water into the sea. Opposition parties, including the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, also criticized the Japanese government’s plan and demanded its withdrawal.

About 60 percent of the 42 mayors in the disaster-stricken Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate prefectures opposed the decision. The Japan Federation of Bar Associations submitted a statement opposing the plan to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and others, urging the government to consider other measures, such as mixing contaminated water with cement and sand.

At the invitation of Japan, an investigation team of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visited Japan on Feb. 14-18 to complete its first field investigation.

Lydie Evrard, deputy director general of the IAEA, said Japan had studied several options for treating the contaminated water, but ultimately chose the option of discharging it into the sea, and the Japanese government invited the IAEA to conduct a safety review, hoping that the agency would give basic policy support to the treatment plan. What she pointed out was that it was up to the host country to decide how to deal with the contaminated water, and that the agency provides only technical assessments, not options.

China is seriously concerned about and firmly opposes Japan’s unilateral decision to discharge the nuclear-contaminated water into the sea and its proceeding with the preparatory work, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian has said.

He stressed that the handling of the nuclear-contaminated water from Fukushima is never Japan’s private matter. Instead, it bears on the marine environment and public health of the whole world.

Japan should heed and respond to the appeals of neighboring countries and the international community, and rescind the wrong decision of dumping the water into the sea. “It mustn’t wantonly start the ocean discharge before reaching consensus with stakeholders and relevant international institutions through full consultations,” Zhao said.

March 13, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Bullying, suicide attempts…11 years for a girl in Fukushima… Before evacuation, she was cheerful: “It’s OK. You’ll just make more friends.”

A woman holds a group photo and high school diploma taken in Fukushima before the evacuation. She sometimes looked at the photos at the beach when she was having a hard time.

March 11, 2022

Serialization “At the End of the Tunnel: Trajectory of the Girl and Her Family” (1)

On her last day of high school, a girl (18) nearly burst into tears when her name was called by her homeroom teacher at the presentation of her diploma. The teachers and friends at this school made me smile from the bottom of my heart. I was sad to graduate. I didn’t think so when I was in elementary and junior high school.
 On March 11, 2011, just before the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant occurred, the girl was 7 years old and entering the second grade of elementary school. During the summer vacation after moving on to the next grade, she evacuated from Koriyama City in Fukushima Prefecture to Niigata. In the place where she sought a safe haven, she was bullied, saying “Fukushima is dirty” and “radioactive,” and cried out repeatedly that she wanted to go back to Fukushima. When she was in high school, she even attempted suicide.
 Days went on in a long dark tunnel with no way out. Now, under a clear sky, I feel as if I have finally escaped from that exit. Whenever you feel lonely, come back to us. From April, she will attend a vocational school in Niigata Prefecture to fulfill her dream.
Classmates transferred one after another… “It’s my turn now,” she said.
 March 11, 2011, 2:46 p.m. I was watching TV with my grandfather at home in Koriyama City. Furniture fell over and dishes broke as a result of the violent shaking. The cell phone was beeping incessantly with earthquake early warnings. I hit my head and body hard against the leg of the sunken kotatsu and the desk I was squatting on, and cried out in fear. I’m going to die, aren’t I? When she ran out of the house, she found a blizzard.
 At the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, hydrogen explosions occurred at the Unit 1 reactor on March 12 and at the Unit 3 reactor on March 14. A relative who had family members in the Self-Defense Forces told her father, “I heard the nuclear power plant is dangerous. We’re going to run away,” and her parents decided to evacuate temporarily.
 In the early morning of the 16th, the car with the family of four, including her one-year-old sister, headed for Niigata. At the shelter where they took shelter, there was hot food and hot spring baths. A private room was prepared for the family’s young child, and the mother was small, saying, “Even though we are not from the evacuation zone. Every day was fun because I could play with other children who had evacuated.
 When she returned to Koriyama in time for the new school term in April, she found her days suffocating. The children wore long sleeves, long pants, hats, and masks to avoid exposure to radiation, and the classroom windows were closed. The school building was covered with blue tarps, and the topsoil in the schoolyard had been stripped and piled up for decontamination. The homeroom teachers told us not to touch the soil.
 In the middle of the first semester, one by one, her classmates moved away from the school. I think it’s dangerous here, so I’m thinking of going to Niigata. When my parents asked me about it, I thought, “My turn has come.
 I was sad to leave my beloved father and grandparents who remained in Fukushima for work, but I knew that my parents were trying to protect me and my sister. So I thought positively and answered cheerfully. ‘That’s fine. You’ll just make more friends.”
 At the closing ceremony of the first semester, I was filled with sadness when my friends told me, “It will be okay wherever you go,” and “I’ll be waiting for you to come back to Fukushima again. That day, we took a group photo in class. It is a treasure that I still look back on from time to time. (Natsuko Katayama)
 Based on more than a year of interviews, this report tells the story of the girl and her family over the past 11 years in four installments.

March 13, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

11 years after meltdown, Fukushima towns to welcome back residents

Housing complexes are being built in the town of Futaba, which will be decontaminated and reopened to residents. The Fukushima plant can be seen on the horizon.

March 11, 2022

TOKYO — Eleven years after a major earthquake and tsunami triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Japan will reopen part of the surrounding area to residents starting this spring as a new hub for the region’s revival.

The government considers the five years that began in April 2021 as the “second phase” of recovery efforts in northeastern Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture. But with costs ballooning and tens of thousands still unable to return home, rebuilding communities there remains an uphill battle.

The death toll from the triple disaster, which occurred March 11, 2011, totaled 15,900 as of the beginning of this month. The search for the 2,523 missing continues to this day.

Another 3,784 deaths are associated with the disaster. A total of 38,139 evacuees had not returned to their homes as of Feb. 8, including 26,692 from Fukushima who now live outside the prefecture.

As the next step in the region’s recovery, Japan is decontaminating a 27-sq.-km area that was evacuated following the disaster, including the towns of Futaba and Okuma. Evacuation directives will be lifted in aand allowing residents will be allowed to move back there starting this spring and into 2023. The government plans to press ahead with nurturing industries to help disaster-hit areas grow on their own.

Another 310 sq. km around the Fukushima plant will remain off-limits to the public. Japan plans to eventually decontaminate residential areas as needed to give all former residents the option to return by the end of the 2020s.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings, operator of the Fukushima plant, aims to start removing nuclear debris from the damaged reactors on an experimental basis in the latter half of the year. The utility looks to complete the decommissioning of the plant by 2041 to 2051.

An interim storage facility for contaminated soil in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture. It remains unclear where the material will ultimately be disposed.

But recovery efforts in Fukushima face mounting financial and logistical hurdles.

Contaminated soil and other waste from the disaster are supposed to be stored within the prefecture for 30 years before they can be moved elsewhere. But the government has yet to secure a final disposal site, and the total cost of the process remains unclear.

In terms of decontamination, “there’s no clear guideline on how far into the mountains and woods our efforts would extend,” said an official at the Environment Ministry.

Japan estimates the total costs associated with the Fukushima disaster, including damages paid to victims, at 22 trillion yen ($190 billion). But the final tally could end up far higher, given how much of the recovery process still needs to be ironed out. One private-sector estimate places the figure beyond 35 trillion yen.

“Should costs continue to mount, our budget for other energy-related policies, like promoting renewable sources, could take a hit,” a government source said.

Though the rebuilding of infrastructure is nearly complete in neighboring Miyagi and Iwate prefectures, personal connections within communities have weakened further, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 680 people living alone have died in the three prefectures since the disaster. Japan still faces the issue of people becoming isolated, which was highlighted following the 1995 earthquake in the Kobe area.

March 13, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident: TEPCO’s Liability Confirmed in Three New Class Actions

March 8, 2022
In three class action lawsuits filed by residents of Fukushima Prefecture and others who claimed to have suffered emotional distress as a result of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the judgments ordering TEPCO to pay compensation that exceeds the national standard have all become final. This means that TEPCO’s liability and the amount of compensation have been confirmed in six of the seven class action lawsuits that have been appealed to the Supreme Court.

The three class action lawsuits were filed by more than 300 residents of Odaka Ward in Minamisoma City, more than 200 residents of Futaba County, and about 50 residents of Fukushima City, who were not ordered to evacuate, demanding compensation from TEPCO for emotional distress caused by the accident.

The judgments of the second trial court all approved compensation that exceeded the government’s standard for compensation for nuclear accidents, and TEPCO and others appealed the judgments.

The Supreme Court’s Third Petty Bench, presided over by Justice Michiharu Hayashi, rejected the appeal on August 8, and the decision ordering compensation that exceeded the national standard became final. The total amount of compensation awarded was over 1.1 billion yen to approximately 580 people in the three lawsuits.

With this decision, TEPCO’s liability and the amount of compensation exceeding the national standard have been confirmed in six of the seven appeals filed by people who evacuated from their homes due to the nuclear accident.

Fukushima City and other areas not subject to evacuation orders: 300,000 yen uniform compensation

Kichitaro Nomura, attorney for the residents, said, “We consider this to be a very landmark decision, and we were honestly relieved when we received word of the final decision.
TEPCO “will respond in good faith in accordance with the outcome of the trial.”

TEPCO issued a comment, saying, “Once again, we sincerely apologize to the people of Fukushima Prefecture and the wider community for the inconvenience and concern caused by the accident. We will respond to the plaintiffs in accordance with the outcome of the Supreme Court case. We will continue to respond with sincerity to fulfill our responsibility to Fukushima.

March 11, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Children face “discrimination because of Fukushima,” the discovery of thyroid cancer, and bullying

After the nuclear accident, Zensei Kamoshita evacuated from Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, to Tokyo. 11 years later, he is now a university student. Photo by Shuzo Saito

22, 2022 issue

Eleven years will soon have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. Many residents have yet to regain their normal lives. In particular, what have the children who have been at the mercy of the nuclear accident been thinking and how have they survived the past 11 years? What did the unprecedented accident bring about? Through the experiences and words of these three grown-up adults, we will consider these questions now.
Nine-Year-Old Wishes to Go to Heaven

I was glad to hear that (my son) talked about the future. Because a few years ago, that boy couldn’t even think about that.”

 That’s what his mother, Miwa, said as she watched Zensei Kamoshita (Matsuki), 19, walk in front of her. After the nuclear accident, he evacuated to Tokyo, where he was bullied and had a tough childhood.

 His nature-rich life, where he would eat Tsukushi (tsukudani) boiled in soy sauce from vacant lots and help lost Karugamo children, changed drastically on March 11, 2011. The accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant shattered them.

 At the time, Zensei was 8 years old and living in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture. He was about to go out with his mother to learn when the earthquake struck. He was held by his mother in front of their house and waited for the long tremors to subside.

 My mother and I immediately went to pick up my younger brother from daycare, and then went out to look for my grandfather, who had gone to Iwaki Station.

 Expecting that the area in front of the station was in chaos due to the earthquake, my mother left Zenjo and his younger brother in a parking lot a short distance away, telling them that she would be back and that they must never leave the car, and then ran to the station.

 However, no matter how long he waited, his mother did not return. The aftershocks continued. Eventually, my brother asked to use the restroom, and Mr. Zensho broke his promise to my mother and took my brother to the restroom at a nearby gas station.

 After about an hour and a half, when his mother returned, Mr. Zengsheng and his younger brother were wailing.

My brother may have been crying because he was inconsolable, but I was crying because I felt like I had broken my promise,” she said.

 Zensei said. As an 8-year-old at the time, the idea that people would die in an earthquake or tsunami “didn’t really sink in,” he said.

Zensei (right) and his younger brother were 8 years old when the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident occurred, and the family’s life changed drastically after 3.11.

The next morning around 5:00 a.m., my parents told me that they were going to evacuate the building and that I could pick out three toys. His younger brother wanted to take four, so Mr. Zensho gave his brother the right to one and got into the car.

 During the trip, I don’t remember when I went to bed and woke up, but I do remember that my mother was concerned about the release of radioactive iodine from the nuclear power plant, and she made me eat a large amount of seaweed. This was to avoid exposure to the thyroid gland. There was no evacuation order from the government; it was a so-called “voluntary evacuation. At that time, many people in Fukushima Prefecture were concerned about the situation at the nuclear power plants, which were exploding one after another, and were evacuating outside the prefecture.

 After 19 and a half hours of evacuation, Mr. Zensho was surprised to find himself at a relative’s house in Yokohama. It was dark outside, but the clock read one o’clock.

One o’clock should have been light!”

 But it was eerie that it was night. He could not stay long at his relative’s house, so he took shelter with another relative for a few days. While moving from one evacuation site to another, Zensho’s school life also began. There, he began to be bullied.

 He was bullied, he says, “I was bullied by my parents, and I was bullied by my parents.

The truth is, if I don’t have to remember, I don’t want to remember.

 It was naturally painful to be graffiti on personal belongings, to be subjected to one-sided violence, and to be treated like a “fungus,” but the most difficult part was not being treated like a human being.

As I was bullied, I was made to believe that it was my fault,” he said.

 I was a very good student,” Zensei recalls.

 The 9-year-old’s wish was “I want to go to heaven.

 He described the structure of the bullying in this way.

In the beginning, there was no bullying. In the beginning, there was no bullying because I was the “poor evacuee. But gradually, as I started to live like the other children, for example, I was receiving relief supplies, and when I was able to live the same way, I felt that I should have been lower in the social ladder.

 At the time, he endured the hardship, but gradually he began to wonder why discrimination and bullying occurred.

 In order to escape the intense bullying, he took the entrance examination for junior high school. After entering junior high school, Mr. Zensei lived his life hiding the fact that he was an evacuee. Since then, he has made many friends and enjoyed his life. That is why it was hard for him to hide it.

 Mr. Zensho said.

Posters and other materials say that bullying should be eliminated with words like “be considerate and get along with others. But that is not true.

 Bullying for any reason is a no-no,” is all we need to say. I think it is necessary to think that any human being, even the worst of us, can be protected. So I think it’s a question of human rights.”

March 11, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , | Leave a comment

The Fukushima disaster ruined their lives.

  Posted on by beyondnuclearinternational

They campaigned for justice, but the nuclear accident killed them anyway

By Linda Pentz Gunter

Kenichi Hasegawa was a dairy farmer in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the March 11, 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, living in a family of eight in Itate village with his parents, wife, children and grandchildren.

Itate is approximately 50 kilometers away from the nuclear site, but quickly became one of the most radioactively contaminated places as a result of the Fukushima disaster. Yet, residents were told little and it took more than a month for an evacuation order to be issued for Itate. Many did not leave until late June. 

Mr. Hasegawa himself stayed on in Itate for five months after the disaster, tending to his cows until all of them were put down. Meanwhile, he kept a visual record of conditions there, taking more than ten thousand photos and 180 videos (in Japanese).

Documentary film “Iitate-mura Watashi no Kiroku” Trailer

On October 22, 2021 Hasegawa died of thyroid cancer at just 68, almost certainly caused by his prolonged exposure to radioactive iodine released by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe.

Before the nuclear disaster, Hasegawa owned 50 dairy cows and farmed vegetables. He was also a political leader, serving as mayor of his local ward. But the Fukushima accident changed everything.

With a high concentration of radioactive substances now found in dairy milk, his business was ruined. Angered by the cover-up by authorities of the true extent of radioactive contamination, he became a co-representative along with Ms. Ruiko Muto, of the Nuclear Accident Victims Group Liaison Committee, established in 2015.

Kenichi Hasegawa

By then, he had already authored the 2012 book, Fukushima’s Stolen Lives: A Dairy Farmer’s Story, in which he delivered an eyewitness account of the aftermath of the nuclear disaster, “as he suffered with the knowledge that his children and grandchildren had been exposed to radiation, as he lost all of his cattle (who were considered part of the family, not simply the source of their livelihood), and as he endured the suicide of a fellow dairy farmer and friend.” 

That friend wrote his final words on a wall before he died: “If only there were no nuclear power plants.”

Hasegawa returned to Itate in 2018, once the evacuation order had been lifted, and began growing buckwheat, largely to prevent his pastures from turning into wasteland. Although radiation levels in the buckwheat registered below what is considered dangerous, Hasegawa could not sell the crop.

In a 2020 interview with his Committee colleague, Ms. Muto, a resident of Miharu town, Hasegawa said: “The nuclear plant robbed us of everything. We still can’t go into the forests. Families with children used to go into the forest to gather wild plants and teach many things. That was a common practice, taken for granted. But today we can’t do anything like that. We can no longer eat anything foraged from the forest.

In Japan, a community like ours affected by radiation is seen as an inconvenience,” Hasegawa told Muto. “They would like us to disappear and be forgotten.”

Fukushima Mieruka Project: Hasegawa Kenichi (Former Dairy Farmer)

Family life was shattered by the Fukushima accident, including Hasegawa’s. His children and grandchildren vowed not to return the village and its contaminated land. In the Maeda neighborhood, where Hasegawa served as mayor, the population is now largely comprised of the elderly. 

Worse still, Hasegawa said TEPCO’s approach was to blame the victims, rather than take responsibility for the devastation its nuclear power plant had caused. 

“TEPCO eventually said that it’s really the village’s fault that people were exposed to radiation, because they did not evacuate,” Hasegawa recalled to Muto. “But we couldn’t evacuate because we had livestock or other things holding us back. They are saying everything was our own responsibility. Of course I protested loudly. How dare they blame us!”

Hasegawa is sadly, and unsurprisingly, not the only person who has succumbed to a premature death owing to radiation exposure caused by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe. By 2021, friends and colleagues involved with the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster could count numerous people who had died. 

Yet, even immediately after the still on-going nuclear disaster began, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary said repeatedly: “There is no immediate effect on the human body or health”. The phrase was all too reminiscent of the ironic and prescient warning give to us by radiation researcher, Rosalie Bertell, in her 1985 book, “No Immediate Danger”.

One of those also lost in 2021 was Ms Yayoi Hitomi. She was only 60 years old when she died of ovarian cancer on September 28. Already an anti-nuclear activist well before the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, she was living in Koriyama city, situated just 60km from the stricken plant. Although Koriyama was categorized as outside of the mandatory evacuation zone, it was full of radiation hotspots.

Yayoi Hitomi in Lyon during a speaking tour in France. She succumbed to ovarian cancer last year at just 60. (Photo: Kurumi Sugita)

Hitomi was a member of Women of Fukushima Against Nuclear Power. She worked as a journalist and web writer, and was one of the most efficient organizers of the Fukushima Nuclear Criminal Litigation Support Group. After Hitomi’s death, Muto, the head of the plaintiffs’ group, said that it was as if she had lost one of her arms.

Hitomi went to Europe in March 2016, and spoke in several countries on the situation in Fukushima. She was full of energy, and looked no older than 40. However, in the fall of 2016, a cancer was discovered and she passed away five years later. Her death tells us that even if you live outside of the mandatory exclusion zone, you aren’t always protected against potentially lethal radiation health hazards.

These coming losses had been predicted in a March 2020 interview (in Japanese), when Hasegawa and his wife had observed that people in their 50s and 60s were dying like flies.

All of this of course gives the lie to — and makes especially insensitive and abhorrent — claims made by nuclear power boosters, and even lazy journalists, that “no one died because of the Fukushima nuclear accident”.

Kurumi Sugita also contributed to this article.

Headline photo of Kenichi Hasegawa speaking in Australia, by MAPW Australia/Creative Commons

March 7, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , | Leave a comment

Why a Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima? An animated film with a connection to Hiroshima

Mr. Hidenobu Fukumoto (right) and Mr. Masaru Sato in Hiroshima, courtesy of Mr. Fukumoto
A scene from the animation “Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Beginning Story ‘Pass'” (Courtesy of Machi Monogatari Production Committee)
Ms. Yoko Oka (left), Ms. Kinue Ishii (center), and Ms. Hisae Yashima (courtesy of Ms. Oka)
Yoko Oka (right) and Hisae Yashima perform a picture-story show at Kariyado, Namie Town, Fukushima Prefecture on December 19, 2020.
A picture book created by Hidenobu Fukumoto. The picture book, created by Hidenobu Fukumoto, is a picture story show and animation based on stories he heard from Fukushima victims.

February 27, 2022

Why was it necessary to build a nuclear power plant in Fukushima? Mr. Hidenobu Fukumoto, 65, a Hiroshima resident who works as a picture-story show artist named Teppei Ikumasa, has created a 57-minute animation titled “Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant: The Beginning of the Story ‘Toge'” that traces the historical background of the nuclear power plant from the perspective of a disaster victim, including an unexpected connection to Hiroshima, where the atomic bomb was dropped. The work asks, “What do the repeated disasters caused by radiation appeal to us? This work asks the question.
High economic growth and the ongoing debate on nuclear power

 The protagonist of the story is a man in his 60s who was forced to leave his hometown and live as an evacuee due to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake. He was born in 1949 in the town of Okuma, where a nuclear power plant was later built. He entered a university in Tokyo during the period of rapid economic growth, when Japan was emerging from postwar poverty and becoming prosperous, and enjoyed his student life.

 The story, however, brings to light the major changes that are occurring in Japan with regard to nuclear power while the country is enjoying affluence.

 The story depicts U.S. President Eisenhower’s speech to the United Nations in 1953, in which he called for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the subsequent exposition on the peaceful use of nuclear energy held in Hiroshima and other cities, the radiation exposure of the Daigo Fukuryu Maru in 1954 due to a U.S. hydrogen bomb test, and the investigation of the location of a nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture in 1960.

 In the scene of the A-bomb hospital in Hiroshima, a young girl asks her mother, lying in bed, to “get well and take me to the Nuclear Peace Expo. When the man, now a university student, returns home, the huge buildings of the nuclear power plant are already towering over him, and he is speechless. Then, the images travel back in time to 2011.

 At the end of the story, while living in an evacuation shelter, the man speaks. In the name of the peaceful use of nuclear energy, nuclear power plants spread in a global wave, taking in even the damage caused by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. I guess there was nothing we ordinary people could do about it.
The story of the nuclear power plant in Hiroshima: the inspiration for the animation

 Mr. Fukumoto wrote the script and drew the animation based on interviews with people in Fukushima and published materials. The impetus for the production of the animation came from an unbelievable story he heard from a victim of the disaster: “I heard that there was talk of building a nuclear power plant in Hiroshima.

Mr. Fukumoto is from the city of Hiroshima…

(This article is for paid members only. You can read more by becoming a paid member)

February 28, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Shadow of Hiroshima” at Fukushima nuclear power plant: Animation depicts history of nuclear power

Hidenobu Fukumoto, creator of the animated film The Story of the Beginning of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant

February 20, 2022

 In the history of nuclear power plants, the “shadow of Hiroshima” is hidden. A Hiroshima-based citizens group that supports victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 (Daiichi) nuclear power plant of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has produced an animated film titledThe Story of the Beginning of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. The work traces the history of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima by the U.S. military and the nuclear accident, and depicts the social movements and people’s thoughts regarding nuclear power.

Hidenobu Fukumoto, a member of the Machi Monogatari Production Committee, has been visiting the disaster-stricken areas in Tohoku and has been creating picture story shows based on local folklore and disaster experiences. Last year, he started an initiative to convert the picture story shows into animated films and donate them to public facilities.

It depicts the life of a man born and raised in Okuma Town, Fukushima Prefecture, and shows the connection between the atomic bombing and nuclear power plants one after another.–FE43aO6xsPCMSzTARPmbP94gBUkzmcrOPRKsjdecEhwWw

February 21, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

I just wanted to live a normal life – Akiko Morimatsu

February 15, 2022

It will soon be 11 years since the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
It is estimated that 27,000 people have evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture and 39,000 people have evacuated to 915 cities, towns, and villages in 47 prefectures across Japan (all figures as of January 12, 2022, compiled by the Reconstruction Agency). (As of January 12, 2022, according to the Reconstruction Agency.) However, the exact number of evacuees is still unknown due to discrepancies between the totals of Fukushima Prefecture and those of municipalities, as well as cases where the government has mistakenly deleted evacuee registrations.

The accident is still ongoing.
We would like to share with you some of the stories we have heard from the evacuees.
This time, we would like to introduce Ms. Akiko Morimatsu, who gave a speech with Greenpeace at the UN Human Rights Council on the current situation of the victims.
(All information in this article is current as of 2018)

Akiko Morimatsu’s eldest daughter, who was a newborn infant at the time of the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, is now in elementary school. In the seven years since she left Fukushima Prefecture, she has never lived with her father.
Her eldest son, who was three years old, is a father’s child. Whenever his father came to see his evacuated family once a month, he would return to Fukushima Prefecture, and I could not tell you how many times I wet my pillow with tears of loneliness and sadness.

In March of this year, Ms. Morimatsu made up her mind to stand on the stage of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

Ms. Morimatsu is a so-called “voluntary evacuee. Housing support, which was the only support for “voluntary evacuees” from outside the evacuation zone, has been cut off, and now there are even eviction lawsuits against “voluntary evacuees” who cannot pay their rent.

In the fall of 2017, Greenpeace, together with the victims of the nuclear accident, appealed to the member countries of the United Nations Human Rights Council about these human rights violations that the victims continue to suffer. Many people who supported us with signatures and donations supported this project.

Subsequently, recommendations for correction were issued by Germany, Austria, Portugal, and Mexico. Greenpeace is calling on the Japanese government to accept these recommendations.
We hope that as many people as possible will know why Mr. Morimatsu decided to speak directly with Greenpeace about the current situation in front of the representatives of each country at the time when the decision to accept the recommendations will be announced.

A nursery school in Fukushima Prefecture in 2011

In the midst of impatience, anxiety, and unpredictable fear

It was during the Golden Week holidays, two months after the disaster, that Ms. Morimatsu decided to evacuate.
Until then, she had been trying to rebuild her life in Fukushima Prefecture.

However, even though no evacuation order had been issued for the area called Nakadori, where he was living at the time, the kindergarten distributed disposable masks to all the children and instructed them to wear long sleeves and long pants. Elementary and junior high school students in the neighborhood drive their own cars to school, even if it is within walking distance. They are not allowed to go outside without permission, and of course they are not allowed to play outside either at the kindergarten or around their homes.

On weekends, the whole family travels to Yamagata and Niigata prefectures on the highway to take the children out to play. Radioactive materials have been detected in tap water and fresh food. We could not hang our laundry or futons outdoors.

No matter what we did, we had to first think about the possible effects of radiation on our children and pay close attention to everything.

No one can tell us what is the right thing to do.

I don’t even know if I should continue to live here. I feel impatient, anxious, and unpredictable.

One by one, families in the neighborhood and kindergartens were leaving Fukushima Prefecture, and it was the fathers of the children who first suggested to Ms. Morimatsu that she take the children to the Kansai region, where she had spent her school days, as they were planning to use the holidays to reorganize their living environment.

What she saw there was a media report about the danger of radioactive contamination, which had not been reported at all in Fukushima Prefecture.

What can we do to protect the future of children who are highly sensitive to radiation?

Only I, as a parent, could protect them.

It was time to make a decision.

Greenpeace radiation survey at a kindergarten in Fukushima Prefecture, 2011.

I separated the children from their father.

With the encouragement of relatives and friends in the Kansai region, and with the agreement of her husband, who continues to work in Fukushima Prefecture, Morimatsu decided to evacuate with her children.

No evacuation order was issued for the area where the Morimatsu family was living. They had to pay separate rents and utility bills for the rental house they rented to replace their house that was damaged in the earthquake, and for the house they rented to house their mother and child in Osaka (*Housing support for voluntary evacuees ended in March 2017. Because Ms. Morimatsu had left public housing early, which had a short move-in period, she was not provided with housing after that and is not counted in the number of evacuees, forcing her to continue living as an evacuee completely on her own).

Even for fathers to come to see their young children, the high cost of transportation is prohibitive.

What kind of impact will not being able to see their fathers most of the time have on the children’s mental development?

How do fathers feel when they can’t watch their adorable children grow up?

Was the evacuation really the right thing to do, forcing families to live apart?

Mr. Morimatsu was in agony, but he decided to find a job in the evacuation area so that he could see his father and children as often as possible.

However, there was no way to take care of her oldest daughter, who was only one year old at the time, at the evacuation site.

Because of the risk of not receiving information from the local government regarding public support and health surveys for children, victims who are voluntarily evacuating cannot inadvertently report their departure. As a result, they were not able to receive services such as day-care centers smoothly in their evacuation areas.
As a result, although she was able to be placed on a waiting list for childcare, her childcare fees were also determined based on her household income, so her own income, which she had begun to work to supplement her double life, was added to her household income, which was quite high. Since she is not a widow, she is not eligible to receive subsidies for single-mother households.

Empty playground of local day nursing school called “Soramame” in Fukushima city. Before Nuclear crisis, this school was taking care of 24 kids. However, since most of them have evacuated to other places with their families, now only 7 kids left. A director of the school, Sadako Monma 48 says “After March 11th, kids are not playing on the playground and instead they are playing inside the school all the time due to nuclear issues”. Since many kids left the school, Monma is thinking about closing the school which has been running for the past 15 years due to financial situation. Fukushima prefecture.

The Best Choice in the Worst Situation

The number of people like Ms. Morimatsu who evacuated from areas where evacuation orders were not issued is a small minority compared to the total number of victims of the nuclear accident. She said that she felt guilty and conflicted about evacuating from a place where even temporary housing could be built for victims from areas where evacuation orders had been issued.

But no one would willingly abandon their current life to evacuate.

Ms. Morimatsu’s husband chose to continue working in Fukushima Prefecture even if it meant leaving his family.

Whether to evacuate or not, each victim’s decision should be respected as the best choice under the worst circumstances.

Voicing one’s anxiety or pointing out what one feels is wrong should not be denied.

But we are practically forced to close our eyes, keep our mouths shut, and pretend to forget about it.

The biggest victims are “children”.

Seven years have passed since the accident, and yet the “right to health” of children, who are the most vulnerable to radiation exposure, has not been given equally to everyone’s children?

I just want to live a normal life together with my child.

I want my children to live a long and healthy life, even if it’s just for a minute or a second.

It is a natural wish for parents to long for this.

The current situation is such that even this desire is being ignored.

Akiko Morimatsu (photo taken in 2021) ©️ Greenpeace / Kosuke Okahara

Protecting the Human Rights of Victims of the Nuclear Accident

The right to avoid radiation exposure and protect one’s health continues to be violated regardless of whether one evacuates or not.

Is the right to avoid radiation exposure, in other words, the right to evacuate, equally recognized for those who want to evacuate?

The policy of not recognizing the right to evacuate, discontinuing the provision of housing without medical support or information, and effectively forcing victims to return home through economic pressure is a violation of human rights for the Morimatsu family and other victims of the nuclear accident.

If the same thing happened to you, what would you protect?

What would you value the most?

The right to life and health is a fundamental human right given to every individual, from the newborn baby to the elderly person whose life will end tomorrow.

Mr. Morimatsu is still evacuating with his children.

Greenpeace’s activities are based on scientific evidence derived from the results of radiation surveys conducted in the area immediately after the accident.
We will continue our research activities and human rights protection activities for the people affected by the accident.

February 21, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Kenichi Hasegawa, former dairy farmer who continued to tell the truth about the nuclear accident in Fukushima, passes away.

Immediately after the accident, I pressed the village mayor to disclose information.
He also shared the voice of a dairy farmer friend who committed suicide.

 Mr. Kenichi Hasegawa, a former dairy farmer who continued to appeal about the current situation in Iitate Village contaminated by radiation after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident in 2011, died of thyroid cancer on October 22, 2011 at the age of 68. He was 68 years old. He was the co-chairman of Hidanren, a group of victims of the nuclear power plant accident, and the head of the group of Iitate villagers who filed for alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Since 2005, he has been focusing on growing buckwheat noodles in the village, while criticizing what the government and administration call “reconstruction projects” and “reconstruction Olympics. In February and March of this year, he was diagnosed with cancer and fell ill. Many people are saddened by the death of Mr. Hasegawa, who continued to communicate the issues of the nuclear accident both inside and outside Japan.

Mr. Hasegawa at the time, when he was the head of the community association of temporary housing.

 On January 13, 2012, prior to the Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World held in Yokohama, NGO officials and journalists from overseas visited Fukushima and Mr. Hasegawa conveyed the current situation of the Iitate villagers. He said, “I wish there were no nuclear power plants. He said, “I wish we didn’t have nuclear power plants, and I hope the remaining dairy farmers will do their best not to be defeated by nuclear power plants. He left a message that said, ‘I have lost the will to work.

Our government has been promoting nuclear power plants as a national policy, so I thought they would take proper measures when an accident occurred. But the government did not take any action. I may return to my village, but I can’t bring my grandchildren back. If we go back and end our lives, that will be the end of the village.

 Paul Saoke, a Kenyan public health specialist and then secretary general of the Kenya chapter of the International Council for the Prevention of Nuclear War, recorded Hasegawa’s lecture on his iPad. Mr. Saoke said, “In Kenya, the Fukushima nuclear accident is almost unknown. When I return to Japan, I would like to have the media watch the video of my lecture and let them know what kind of damage is being done by the residents. Mr. Hasegawa’s appeal was posted on the Internet and quickly spread around the world.

In 2012, he gave a speech at the European Parliament.
The film “My Legacy: If Only There Were No Nuclear Power Plants

In 2012, Mr. Hasegawa gave a lecture at the European Parliament in Belgium on the one-year anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear accident. Mr. Hasegawa visited Europe with his wife Hanako, and together with Eisaku Sato, former Governor of Fukushima Prefecture, conveyed the current situation in Fukushima.

Kenichi Hasegawa (center) attended the symposium held at the EU headquarters in Belgium. Kenichi Hasegawa (center) attended a symposium at the EU headquarters in Belgium with his wife Hanako (left) and former Fukushima Governor Eisaku Sato (second from right) (March 2012)

Our Iitate village was a beautiful village,” said Mr. Hasegawa. “Our Iitate village was a beautiful village,” Mr. Hasegawa began. While explaining how the government experts who came to the village kept saying that the village was safe, he said, “The villagers were exposed to radiation while the mayor and the people in the village administration clung to the village. We dairy farmers were told not to raise cows in the planned evacuation zone, and with no follow-up from the government, prefecture, or village, we made the decision to quit dairy farming on our own. Finally, I conveyed the regret of my friend who committed suicide, leaving behind a note saying, “If only there were no nuclear power plants.

A view of a pasture in Iitate Village (2011).
Photo: Hideaki Takamatsu

 In 2002, Naomi Toyoda’s film “The Last Will and Testament: If Only There Were No Nuclear Power Plants” was completed, and Mr. Hasegawa’s words and the events of his friend who committed suicide were further disseminated to society. Yasuhiro Abe, manager of the Forum Fukushima movie theater, said, “At the time, various debates were boiling in the local community, and despite the length of the film, it was fully booked for three days. Mr. Hasegawa’s words about Iitate were very human, and he had a different level of strength that no one else had.

Through his activities in Japan and abroad, Mr. Hasegawa has connected and interacted with a wide range of people.

Mr. Toshiyuki Takeuchi, the president of Fukushima Global Citizen’s Information Center (FUKUDEN), who has been informing people in Japan and abroad about Mr. Hasegawa’s activities, said, “Mr. Hasegawa is a person who has been affected by pollution. Mr. Hasegawa has been active as an anti-nuclear and anti-radiation activist, criticizing the government, the administration (village authorities), and TEPCO for failing to take appropriate measures that put the health of the residents of the contaminated area first. At the same time, he has a strong attachment to the Maeda area and his life there, and has returned to the area to start making soba noodles and rebuild his life. The complexity of his feelings (“irrationality”) was sometimes difficult to convey to people overseas.

 As I listened to Mr. Hasegawa’s story, there were many moments when I felt that “everything was there in Iitate Village and Maeda area before the earthquake, and it was the center of the world and life. “Complex irrationality” is probably a cross-section of the tragedy of everything being taken away on its own.

Solidarity with the Nuclear Weapons Abolition Movement
Bringing together people from all walks of life

 In 2007, after the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, ICAN Co-Chairman Tilman Ruff (Australia) and ICAN International Steering Committee member and Peace Boat Co-Chairman Satoshi Kawasaki visited Mr. Hasegawa’s house in Iitate Village with medals.

Mr Hasegawa with ICAN Co-Chairman Tillman Ruff, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate

 Mr. Ruff said. He refused to be cowed or silenced, and continued to speak the truth about the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, stressing the need for rights, dignity, health, and recognition of the people and land that the government and TEPCO unreasonably put in harm’s way. I am honored to have known Kenichi and to have been able to work for a common cause.”
 Mr. Kawasaki also mourns his death. Mr. Kawasaki also mourned his passing. “We were together on many occasions, including the European Parliament in Belgium in 2012, the round trip to Australia in 2013, and the Peace Boat trip. I remember the way he spoke straight from the bottom of his heart about the damage he had suffered as a dairy farmer and the anger and frustration of the people of Fukushima, strongly conveying his message to people even though they spoke different languages. I believe that Ms. Hanako, who has always accompanied us and talked about the damage caused by nuclear power plants from her own perspective, will continue to play a role as a sender.
 Ms. Riko Mutoh (Funehiki), who is also a co-chair of Hidanren, said, “Ms. Hasegawa was a big presence. His words were powerful and persuasive. After returning to Iitate Village, she was busy with local activities. He was a person who brought people together, both inside and outside of the village, within and outside of the prefecture, those who had evacuated and those who were living there.
(Text and photo by Hiroko Aihara)

February 13, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tokyo High Court rejects some of the evidence used in the second appeal against the former management of TEPCO

Feb. 9, 2022

A trial to hold the former management of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) criminally liable. In the second appeal hearing, the court rejected the witness examination and on-site inspection at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that the designated lawyer acting as the prosecutor had requested.

Tsunehisa Katsumata, former chairman of TEPCO, who was the top management of TEPCO at the time of the nuclear accident, and three other members of the former management team, were charged with manslaughter and forced to stand trial for allegedly failing to take countermeasures against the tsunami at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and causing the death of a patient at a nearby hospital due to evacuation.

The Tokyo District Court in the first trial acquitted them, saying that they could not have foreseen the tsunami, and the designated lawyer acting as the prosecutor appealed.

In the first trial of the appeal held last November, the court’s decision was closely watched, as the court demanded the adoption of documents and witness interviews of experts to support the reliability of the government’s earthquake assessment.

Ms. Riko Muto, head of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Appeal Team, said, “I trust the conscience of the court to find out why the nuclear accident occurred, why it could not have been prevented, and who is responsible for this.

The second trial was held on the 9th. The presiding judge of the Tokyo High Court, Keisuke Hosoda, adopted as evidence the documents submitted by the designated lawyer acting as the prosecutor.

On the other hand, he dismissed as “unnecessary” the questioning of three witnesses, including experts involved in the formulation of the government’s earthquake assessment, and refused to conduct on-site inspections at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and other facilities.

Hiroyuki Kawai, lawyer for the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Lawsuit Group: “I feel disappointed. I didn’t see the slightest sign of a desire to determine the responsibility of the defendants for causing the biggest pollution incident in Japan’s history.

February 10, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment