Another poignant article in this week’s Real Change, Seattle’s street newspaper, is from its counterpart The Big Issue in Japan. How easily current news displaces yesterday’s headlines. The fact that there’s no comparison between watching Casey Anthony get away with …something, and the people of Japan suffering a major catastrophic event holds no sway. Old news is no news, not anymore it seems. So as a reminder, I wanted to share the following from the people who have been relegated to the bottom of the heap, with the passing of time.
Living life under the fear of radiation
The city of Minamisoma, Japan is a place where no one is allowed to move freely because of the radiation danger. In this dispatch from Japan, translated by Kamila Nowak, the owner of a cleaning company living in the area writes anonymously about the toll these restrictions have taken on her business and personal life.
From THE BIG ISSUE JAPAN
The place where I live is Minamisoma city, Haramachi town. The town is situated within 30 km of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, and because of that we have been forced to stay indoors.
Everything that I have dedicated my strength, heart and soul to, is devastated. My company, my employees, the customers–all gone since the town was wiped away. All four of my shops are closed, but I managed to open the main office just a few days ago. Still, I don’t know when I have to close it again because of the evacuation orders that might come from the government. I am constantly watching the news.
All 30 of my workers face many problems. There are people who lost their houses due to the tsunami, parents with small children that go from one shelter to another. Those who lived within a 20 km radius of the power plant were forced to leave their homes. Everyone is living in anxiety and with no one to depend upon.
At least the company was able to secure a small income for the workers. However, the contradicting laws brought us to a state of extreme anger. In just a few hours our daily lives were destroyed by the state. We cannot call this a natural disaster; it is a man-made disaster.
We have water, electricity, gas and all the goods we need. However, we are closed in by an invisible wall. We feel that this region is now being erased from the Japanese map.
Newspaper, mail and goods have stopped coming in just because the town is within a 30 km radius of the plant. This is especially difficult for families that lost their relatives or friends and cannot go look for the bodies of their loved ones because of the risk of radiation. In addition, the reconstruction assistance, financial support and employment subsidies are not reaching us, because the magnitude of the aid given is based on recorded cases of similar incidents. (There have not been any nuclear power plant accidents before the one in March; therefore there is no precedent for the action to be taken.)
Workers are a company’s greatest asset, and without capital it all falls into pieces. These are the things that should be on top of the government’s support list, but unfortunately none of the aid reaches through the border set at the infamous 30 km radius.
Please, do not forget about us!
Would you tell your employee to go to work within 30 km of the power plant? Would you be able to take machines, trucks and materials there? Would you invest in a company that is located in a town where an evacuation order might be given at any time? If you look from a management or an economical point of view then the answer is of course “No.” This is how the invisible wall keeps anyone from entering.
Before all this happened, my grandchildren were running and playing in the mountains, sea, rivers and fields around the town. And they loved to come and spend time with us, in our house. They called it “Grandma’s and Grandpa’s Haramachi house.” They might never be able to come back to this place.
Our heart is in a great despair. Thus, I will shout out, I will pray, please stop using nuclear power!
In these difficult times our only hope is that people will have these same strong ideas against nuclear power. If you try to place a pin in all the nuclear power plants on a Japanese map, you will realize that there is no place on the coastline that is safe from natural disasters. I want to believe that human wisdom can be used to make a world full of happiness.
Please, do not forget about us! When you use electricity remember that this electricity is supplied to you upon sacrifice of those people who live in the vicinity of the power plant.
The only way for us to escape from this despair is if people from the outside try to raise their voices to change the government’s decisions.
Using human wisdom, let’s produce electricity without using nuclear power! Let’s start to walk towards this destination together!
Tell your friend and neighbors not to think of us as “poor Minamisoma inhabitants,” but to think about “unfairness that can come upon anyone.” Use that time you spend for criticizing the government to come up with an idea on how to save and reconstruct those towns that have collapsed.
…will we change?…before mother nature deals us another blow ……………………..hugmamma.