Fukushima Nuclear Migrants; In Their Own Words

moving_boxesA high school student from Ibaraki explains her family’s journey to evacuated from the regions around the Fukushima disaster. This is the reality people deal with every day. Something as simple as changing schools can take a year. Her experiences have been translated into English here.

The author that published the high school girl’s story has published in Japanese a series of volumes documenting the stories of the many nuclear migrants who have left various regions impacted by the disaster. He fled Tokyo after his research led him to determine it was unsafe to live there with his children. He found no publisher interested in publishing his book even though he had worked in that industry for years. He explains his journey and effort to publish people’s stories here. The first chapter of his book has been translated into English and is available here.

This mother from Fukushima tells how hard it was to evacuate. She had limited financial resources to use to leave and was unsure if she would be compensated for evacuation by the government. This follows what we heard in 2011, those with the resources left on their own. Those with limited resources but wanted to leave could not. The school was unhelpful. She had a very hard time obtaining information she could use to make her own decisions about the environment and the health of her children. With the help of a private group she was able to move to Yamanashi. After moving her health and her children’s health improved. They all now have thyroid damage and will have to deal with the long term health problems and risks that will bring. Her entire testimony can be found here.

Koriyama was the fall back location for many people who had to evacuate the towns closer to Daiichi. This mother describes how contaminated soil has been handled in her neighborhood. The radioactive soil was buried in a park field behind her home. She witnessed the contaminated soil being buried. Now children play sports on this field every day. There is no word if there is a plan to ever remove the radioactive soil to a proper disposal site or if it will live in this busy park surrounded by homes forever.

Some may want to pick apart these people’s personal experiences but these experiences echo what we have heard over and over again from people in the region. Imagine if you had to suddenly pick up and move. Could you find a new job quickly? Do you have the savings to fund a sometimes very expensive move? Could you sell your home? Could you leave family behind? This doesn’t even address the multi-generational ties many people have to the places they called home.

 

 

image credit | premier-movers.com

 

 

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