Voices from FUKUSHIMA Vol.5 Ms. Chikako YAGINUMA

Reflections by Ms. Chikako Yaginuma
Chairperson of the Fukushima Vegetable Garden Project
15 November 2013

I was born and raised in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture. I lived in Tokyo for 30 years after I grew up. I returned to Fukushima three years ago (2010). I’m not an expert of any kind, but just an ordinary Fukushima native. I’ll talk from that standpoint.As for nuclear power, I am against it. I feel the irreparable accident was a divine punishment for human arrogance, for encroaching into God’s territory, just like when people tried to build the Tower of Babel that was to reach to heaven.Since the invention of electric light and air conditioning, we got used to controlling brightness and temperature to our liking, and we forgot the goodness of sunshine, and other gifts from God. Through this disaster, God is urging us to get back to the starting point and rethink how we are going to live.

Depending on their point of view, people might support or oppose nuclear power. Even among the people of Fukushima, there are those who support and others who are against it. The issue here is not nuclear power itself, but the reality that Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) is here in Fukushima and actually operating, with people working, being employed and getting good salary; in other words, people have lives because of the existence of TEPCO. Some people want nuclear power plants to start again, so they can have their former livelihood back. Some people follow their conscience and work hard to oppose nuclear power. Each person has his own circumstance and I cannot say which is right and which is wrong.

Radiation is no good for human. It would be ideal to be able to return Fukushima to a radiation-free state. Yet, in whatever state of contamination Fukushima might be in, it is still our homeland, the foundation of our identity.

Some scientists say we should evacuate here because it is unhabitable. But it’s not easy to just leave the land where you were born. We are experiencing a huge dilemma. You don’t abandon your family because he/she has an incurable disease, because you love them. We love Fukushima, and it is our wish to rebuild it. With what little possibility there is, we want to restore Fukushima. It is with this desire in our hearts that we continue with our work.