To everyone around the world
It has been ten years since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster of March 11th, 2011. I would like to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your continuous support to Fukushima.
“Reconstruction” is the word frequently cited at the moment in Hamadori, the coastal area in the east of Fukushima Prefecture, where the disaster-struck plant is located. In a recent magazine picture, I came across the phrase “If you have time to look back, move forward instead” written on the back of jumpers worn by event staff at a new town hall inauguration in a part of the region where the evacuation order had just been lifted. I was deeply shocked and furious. Nothing has come to an end yet – I simply cannot turn a blind eye to the grim reality and move on. How much must the aggrieved people be humiliated? Why did the victims have to be given such a jacket? All of these thoughts ran through my head.
Ten years after the disaster, the Japanese government now plans to release the contaminated water stored on the premises of the wrecked plant into the ocean despite protests from the local governments and fishing industry. It is also leading experiments to see whether contaminated soil removed from various locations in Fukushima can be used to grow vegetables. Public authorities are trying hard to limit the number of thyroid cancer screening tests on children, claiming that there is a concern over “overdiagnosis”. Meanwhile, it has only recently turned out that the sealing plugs sitting on top of the No. 2 and 3 reactor containment vessels were fatally contaminated. There may be a roadmap to decommissioning the reactors but we don’t know yet how the decommissioning can be completed. There is still a long way to go. Local storytellers at the Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum have been given strict instructions about what to say and what not to say. A huge amount of the public money earmarked for the reconstruction efforts was spent on building the Fukushima Medical Device Development Support Centre, which is running a big loss. The Japanese government has decided to remove floating offshore wind pilot turbines from Fukushima. An expert panel on the future of the disaster-struck municipalities once said that they would no longer push to ensure that the government takes responsibility for the reconstruction.*
We have seen damages covered up, victims abandoned, safety standards for radiation protection grossly lowered, the responsibility for the disaster not properly pursued and the nuclear industry allowed to continue profiteering with the help of the government which even aims to reinvigorate the business. Is this really the kind of reconstruction the victims of Fukushima have been hoping for?
However, this is no time to give up and sit on our hands. There are things that we as individuals have to do immediately in this complicated world where the truth has become difficult to discern. Let’s protect the lives of children, fostering their health and sound judgments, as they will be looking after the globe in the future. Let’s continue to pursue the responsibility for the nuclear disaster and pass on our hard-learned lessons to the next generation. Let’s think about renewable energy, our way to live and possible energy policies. Let’s stop further destruction of the natural environment. Let’s support all the nuclear-related victims so that they can live safe and content lives.
Standing together and going step-by-step with grace and cheer, we can overcome yet further challenges that will confront us all over the world.
March 2021 in Fukushima
Chair of the Complainants for the Criminal Prosecution of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster
Member of Fukushima Women Against Nuclear Power
(Translated from Japanese by JAN UK)
*Note: The panel later decided not to delete the phrase “the government is responsible for the reconstruction” from their statement.