Many media reports tried to document the 5th anniversary of the 3-11 disaster. Some gave it superficial coverage. Others tried to grasp the situation. Some tried to erase the problems it had created. Few looked at what will happen over the next five years.
Friday in Tokyo, the 187th nuclear protest rally was held. Friday protests have been ongoing since the disaster as the public tries to pressure the government to end the nuclear power program. The Japan Bar Association called for an end to nuclear power in Japan on the anniversary of the disaster. On the same day atomic bombing survivors filed a lawsuit asking for an injunction against the restart of the Ikata nuclear plant.
The Japanese SDF along with police and fire fighters associations all said they do not have an official role in fighting any future nuclear disaster. Under the new rules it is assumed a nuclear plant would have their own fire trucks to use. During the Fukushima disaster TEPCO’s fire trucks that were on site were damaged in the earthquake, making them unusable. The NRA assumes the three groups could be called on in a nuclear disaster. It appears that their involvement during the Fukushima disaster was at the request of the Prime Minister. The confused situation shows how disorganized the planning system still is.
The towns of Namie and Minamisoma have both drawn up evacuation plans that allow residents to leave even if radiation levels are below the amounts set by the central government that would require evacuation. Both towns have also said they would issue evacuation orders as needed independent of the central government. The current government radiation levels requiring evacuation are higher than those that were found during the Fukushima disaster. Other cities around Japan were asked to set up evacuation plans as part of the reactor restart process. An official in Ibaraki had this to say about the evacuation planning process “The harder you work on your evacuation plan, the more unrealistic it gets.”
On March 11 we spoke with RTTV about the current situation of the disaster. They also spoke with evacuee Hiroko Tsuzuki about her experiences.
After five years the impact of the disaster is still considerable:
- 15,894 people died in the initial quake and tsunami. 2561 remain missing.
- Over 2000 have died from the nuclear disaster directly or through evacuations.
- This doesn’t include workers who have died but are not counted in the official worker death totals.
- 97,354 Fukushima evacuees still can’t go home, many now intend to not return.
We have been researching and reporting on the disaster since March 11, 2011.
We have accumulated/done:
- 15,789 = photos and diagrams
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- 2500 published articles on our website
- 21 special reports and research papers
Five years out the disaster is still very active with much to be understood and resolved.
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