Boo-hoo-hoo Fukushima Diary, Part 4

“Hang tough, Fukushima” just doesn’t sound right

Nothing has changed in Fukushima City since the disaster. The shelves of convenience stores are overflowing with products, and at family restaurants people chat while enjoying their meals. About the only change you will notice when you walk around town is the occasional sign saying “Hang tough, Fukushima.”

At first glance those signs seem to be a commendable way of expressing support for the town. But I have a strange feeling about this phrase that’s difficult to state clearly, and I wonder if I’m the only one who feels this way.

There must be a lot of these “hang tough” signs in Miyagi and Iwate prefectures too. But Fukushima is still beset with worry about contamination from radiation. If this radiation contamination causes health problems later on, won’t the meaning of the expression “hang tough” be different from the meaning in Miyagi and Iwate?

Thinking of it that way, calling on people to stay here and “hang tough” can be regarded as completely misguided. It also takes on a criminal sense. Am I just worrying about nothing?

(Originally published on April 10, 2012)