Boo-hoo-hoo Fukushima Diary, Part 10

Difficulty of maintaining a sense of crisis

Over the three-day weekend that began on October 6 there was a series of festivals in Fukushima City. In addition to the annual Inari Shrine Festival, there was a full schedule that included the Koderannni Market and the Dumpling Olympics as well as a class on radiation. Floats wended their way through the streets, and the city seemed more bustling than ever. From my point of view, it seemed as if everyone was determined to forget about the radiation contamination.

My elder daughter, who is going to elementary school in Aizu Wakamatsu, located in the western part of Fukushima Prefecture, where she evacuated to, was invited to go to the festival by a friend from her old school. It doesn’t make sense for her to go to Fukushima City to have fun after changing schools and moving out of the city. Just as she was about to leave, I shouted at her.

I think I overreacted and got too emotional. My wife’s response was probably overly emotional too. I find it is difficult to control my emotions amid our prolonged life as evacuees.

The effects of radiation don’t appear until years later, so it is difficult to maintain a sense of crisis. The radiation issue is hard to describe and hard to bring up. I’m not surprised that the voices of the people of Fukushima are not being heard.

(Originally published on October 16, 2012)