In early June, ten of us from Osaka went on a study tour to Fukushima. It is more than eight years since the nuclear accident at the Fukushima power station in Japan. This has forced the radiation to evacuate tens of thousands, turning the towns and villages into out-of-zone areas. Today what you see is abandoned houses, weeds around the buildings & along the roads and animals such as boars roam the streets.
But there are also places where reconstruction is in progress. Six years ago, when I visited the city of Odaka it was a “ghost town” but now you could see the movement of people. The returnees though small in number have hope that they could re-build their lives but the nuclear radiation remains a threat, and in fact it is a big problem.
Has the government done enough to clean up at Fukushima? Having Listened to our guides and the people living in the nuclear-affected areas, it was clear that what the government has done so far has been very little. Although people in authority say that the crisis is “under control”, it is hard to believe. How can you control something that cannot be seen?! This is something the people in Fukushima (victims of nuclear radiation) find very difficult to accept. It looks to me that it might take many years for a good clean up but it is easy said than done. After having toured around Fukushima I feel that if I do not live in the nuclear-affected region I will not understand the pains and struggles of these people.
The media may give us enough information about Fukushima, but I think it is not always sending out reliable information. If you want to know the latest, I would suggest that you visit Fukushima and see for yourself the present reality. For some who are afraid of the nuclear radiation this might be a challenge, but it’s worth taking.
Brad Rozairo OMI