Voices from FUKUSHIMA Vol.4 Mr. Yuichiro SATO

We, the residents of Namie are enduring lifelong hardships, not merely because of a natural disaster; but because the myth of nuclear power plant safety has been destroyed by human error. The radiation from the nuclear power plant is causing damage, not only to the communities where these plants are located, but to Fukushima Prefecture, and also to all of Japan as well.  They say the hydrogen explosion at Fukushima Daiichi was caused by the earthquake and tsunami, and they also say the scale of damage was unpredictable, but does not ‘safe’ mean being prepared for contingencies?  Without the hydrogen explosion and the radiation fallout, we could have done more to save the 184 people who died because of the tsunami.  Our local police and fire fighters were out rescuing survivors. They worked hard and saved lives one by one.  Rescue workers say they could certainly have saved more lives, if the hydrogen explosion at 15:36, Saturday March 12, had not occurred.  Town leaders also said they had waited until the very last minute to issue an evacuation directive to the rescue workers.  I heard that they fought back their tears as they gave the directive to stop the search and to evacuated.
The nuclear accident has forced the entire population out of Namie.  We do not know when we’ll be able to return. It’s hard to wait without knowing when the evacuation will end. It’s an evacuation caused not by a natural disaster, but by radiation leakage from the nuclear power plant.  Younger people couldn’t be sure if they would want to return or not. It would be harder for them to decide if they have small children. As for the elderly, they would want to return as early as possible, or at the very least, during their lifetime. Life is really hard for every resident of Namie.


It has been 40 years since Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been built.  All this time, the Town and the Prefecture have been receiving subsidies from Tokyo Electric Power Company.  Did they spend the money only to build public facilities?  How did they spend the money?  Have they ever thought about the possibility of an accident and used the money to study how to deal with radiation leakage and decontamination process? These thoughts make me furious. I was born 58 years ago in Namie and thought I would live out my life in my hometown. But, the nuclear accident changed my job, my plans and my entire life. It forced us out of our hometown and made us live in temporary housing in an unfamiliar place. I’m fed up with all this.