I, Kurumi Sugita, created a website of the French citizen group, Nos Voisins Lointains 3.11 in May 2015. For a long time I was uploading posts and articles only in French. About a year ago the blog part became bilingual, French and Japanese. Then in December 2016, with the encouragement of Hervé Courtois, my companion Jon Gomon and I started a new bilingual blog in English and Japanese, hoping to diffuse the information about the victims of the Fukushima nuclear accident to a wider public.
I myself am Japanese, a retired social anthropologist. I contributed in starting a French based research project on a population of victims of the Fukushima accident who could not benefit from public aide or compensations, since they were living outside of the evacuation zone at the time, even though their environment was and is radio-contaminated. The research is on their living conditions, their itineraries and their problems. With the on-going lift of evacuation orders, the research project included a number of victims of these areas, since they were not “evacuees by order” benefiting from public aide any more. These victims, who are not recognized as such by the authorities unlike those of the evacuation zones, suffer from different kinds of social stigmatization and discrimination. Their status as victims or evacuees is not socially recognized, and many of them have become targets of bullying, and are considered as parasites of society. The social space where they can live and claim their rights is getting narrower in the context of the minimization or even of the denial of the accident in which the governments try to convey the message of the end of the accident, saying that it is totally safe to live in the areas around Fukushima Daiichi NPP, even for infants and pregnant women.
Through the research but also through social media, I came to know quite a number of people who are affected by the accident and people engaged in actions with the victims.
Since most of the web sites, blogs, Facebook pages and so on are rather oriented towards the technical aspects of the accident, and very little information is known about the ordeal of the victims (this is so even in Japan), I try to concentrate on the diffusion of victims’ voices. I therefore treat and try to convey the social and human aspects of the Fukushima nuclear accident. This is where my professional qualification lies also. My companion who is American but has also lived in Japan and in France is actively engaged in this work.
Recently, Hervé Courtois who has created the Facebook community “Fukushima 311 Watchdogs” and the Facebook group “The Rainbow Warriors” in which I have been contributing for some time, asked me to replace him as a main administrator for a certain time so that he can have a well deserved break. I am not as qualified as he to run a Facebook community and a group, but there are competent administrators and editors who work as a team. So I accepted to temporarily replace Hervé until he returns. He has also suggested changing the name of the Facebook community “Fukushima 311 Watchdogs” to “Fukushima 311 Voices” and to relate our blog “Fukushima 311 Voices” to this Facebook page. I thank him for his confidence.
We will continue to work with Japanese activists and victims to relay their voices and information to as many people as possible.