Boo-hoo-hoo Fukushima Diary, Part 6

The nuclear power plant issue children don’t discuss

I was asked how the children of Fukushima are doing, so I pressed my students for their thoughts on the issues of debris from the disaster and the idling of Japan’s nuclear power plants.

As I anticipated, they weren’t particularly passionate about anything. Nor did they have strong opinions or seem troubled by much of anything. Apart from being bland and colorless, this also illustrated the fact that health problems resulting from exposure to low levels of radiation do not appear until years later.

In fact, high school students’ lives haven’t changed at all. They can turn on the TV to see pop idols sing or go into town and find that convenience stores have the same products as always.

Of course, the answers to these kinds of questions vary greatly depending on whom you ask. The replies will be completely different depending on whether or not the person had to evacuate and what they lost in the disaster. Nevertheless in everyday life in Fukushima, radiation and the nuclear power plant aren’t talked about much. And people have no intention of talking about them. Is that odd?

I wonder if the nuclear power plant issue is talked about in the homes, workplaces and schools of the readers of the Chugoku Shimbun.

(Originally published on June 19, 2012)