Articles of Interest: 5 years after the Great East Japan Earthquake

fukushima

 

 

Japan, five years on from Fukushima. It was one of the darkest days in Japanese history, and today the area is still affected by the damage caused by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.

Japan, five years on from Fukushima. It was one of the darkest days in Japanese history, and today the area is still affected by the damage caused by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.

Japan, five years on from Fukushima. It was one of the darkest days in Japanese history, and today the area is still affected by the damage caused by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.

 Barricades cast cold light on town & Nowhere to go for contaminated soil

OKUMA, Fukushima — A bus full of workers travels down National Highway Route 6 at the crack of dawn on Friday morning. Five kilometers away is Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Eiichi Tsukamoto, 74, born and raised in a house beside the road in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, currently lives in a temporary housing unit in Aizuwakamatsu in the prefecture, about 100 kilometers away.

The entire town of Okuma has been subject to evacuation orders since the day after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Vehicles constantly ply the national highway through town, carrying workers engaged in reactor decommissioning and radiation decontamination.

Tsukamoto returns home to clean the house and visit his family’s grave once a month with permission from town authorities, but he rarely sees the neighbors he once chatted with. Metal barricades have been installed at 158 locations along National Highway Route 6 in Okuma to prevent thieves and intrusion onto side roads. The obstacles cast an eerie light.

“They look cold, and the environment doesn’t seem like my home-town. I feel sadness welling up, more sadness than anger,” he said. It remains uncertain when the evacuation order will be lifted so Tsukamoto can live free from anxiety in his old home.


The Yomiuri Shimbun

IITATE, Fukushima — Piles of black bags sit in what used to be farmland in the Hiso district of Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, as if to block the sunlight coming through the clouds.

The bags contain contaminated soil accumulated from decontamination work after the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake five years ago. Hiso is currently a “a short-term temporary storage site” for such soil before it is moved to another place.

The more decontamination work proceeds, the more polluted soil accumulates. The central government plans to keep the soil at interim storage facilities that are under construction in the towns of Okuma and Futaba in the prefecture. However, only a small portion have been completed, leaving the government with a shortage of locations at which to hold the bags until they are taken to the interim storage facilities.

As a result, the farmland has been turned into “temporary storage until the bags are stored in other temporary storage.”

“For farmers, the soil in rice paddies is a treasure,” said Yoshito Kanno, 63, who lends most of his 2.6 hectares of land to the government. “It’s disheartening to see things like that [the bags] when I come back to the village.”

Kanno, a 15th-generation farmer, cannot help but be discouraged whenever he returns from Nihonmatsu in the prefecture, where he has taken shelter, to see his home village.

According to the central government, there are about 1.54 million bags stored at 87 locations in Iitate. The bags are the result of decontamination work aimed at enabling people to return home, but they weigh heavily on the hearts of the villagers.


*Spanish:

Fukushima. Vivir el desastre, de Takashi Sasaki (Satori, 2013)

El 11 de marzo de 2011, a las 14:46 horas, Japón sufrió un terremoto de magnitud 9 en la escala de Richter y, apenas una hora después, un tsunami de 38 metros de altura que destruyó parte de la costa este del país, llevándose más de 15.000 vidas y dejando más de 3.000 desaparecidos. Además, el tsunami afectó a la central nuclear de Fukushima Daiichi, provocando uno de los mayores desastres nucleares del país.

(Sigue leyendo aquí)


(Sources The Japan News 1 | 2)

(header)

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s