Anyway, let’s go to Fukushima: Exchange with suffering people in Kawauchi Mura, Naraha Machi, and Koriyama
In the new business year, under the new management, the purpose of our first visit to Fukushima was to aim for the renewal of the monitoring agreement. The radioactive monitoring has been our crucial task, amid an unfavorable condition in which TEPCO has held fast to their conventional style on the on-site project management, while the Japanese government has also endorsed the TEPCO’s consistent stubbornness. In such a circumstance, SVCF is likely to be mocked as being a dormant or inactive organization.
We were somewhat afraid that we might be accused of our irresponsible behavior, since we had missed the date for renewal of the monitoring agreement, due to moving to a new office at the business year end. At the Naraha Machi government in the early afternoon of April 23, when we – Mr. Hidekazu Hirai and I – arrived, the renewal was barely approved. At the Kawauchi Mura government, it was a bit confusing that another organization had preempted to conclude a similar monitoring agreement. It seemed that we have alienated them since we hardly received a monitoring request throughout the last year. We decided to approach them again after taking necessary steps including the review and re-arrangement of legal affairs.
Cherry blossoms, which had already ceased blooming in Tokyo, were in full swing in a mountainous path toward Kawauchi Mura. The colorful pattern mixed with clear vermeil plum flowers and green leaves presented another shape of spring which had been unknown to me. Another issue that was new to us that Kawauchi Mura had stopped the re-creation festival as from this year. At the time of “Obon” or Festival of Souls last summer, when SVCF members as usual took part in this festival, we heard in a talk with vice village mayor, Mitsugi Igari, that the local government had plans for a new revitalization project for the purpose of the attraction of tourism in the wake of the expiration of the three-year national subsidy.
In consort with the traditional summer event or “Tenzan Matsuri (scheduled on July 16)” in honor of the Tenzan library, that holds three thousand books donated by a poet, Shinpei Kusano, a familiar figure in the villager, they plan to light up the village for about one month including the Obon time. In Naraha Machi, there were changes as well. Their section for radiological countermeasures, which has been closely related with the SVCF monitoring work, moved from a temporary evacuated office to the main office at Kanetsuki Do in Narahamachi. Most of sections, like Administration, Tax, Welfare and so forth, still remain in the temporary office. The radiological countermeasures section returned home early in June 2014 in order to stress the importance of the locality.
A night before the visit to the local government, I remembered Staff Writer Hoga of the Jiji Press, a close contact since the birth of SVCF, acting the bureau chief in the Fukushima Bureau, and I went to Fukushima to sound him out a possible meeting sponsored by SVCF. SVCF has held only one meeting at a temporary shelter for evacuated people in Kohoriyama, at the time when late Mr. Yamada, 1st Chairperson, still was sound and active. Ms Keiko Soeda, SVCF Shirakawa member, kindly drove us for the round trip and accompanied me to the meeting with writer Hoga. AltHough it was past 9:00 p.m., he contacted a lady who is active in local urban development and other issues, and asked her to act as a lecturer at the SVCF meeting.
Next morning on our way to the local government, we received a reply from writer Hoga saying that the lady refused our proposal. She was concerned that it would possibly hurt her future reputation if she took on the task, since the word “Corps” in the name of SVCF suggested something akin to a right-wing organization or Yakuza. Once during a regular Diet meeting, we had a flippant advice in that the speaker warned the expression in Mr. Yamada’s profile indicative of a left-wing organization. If Mr. Yamada had heard the word of “right-wing” bandied, he would have turned in his grave. How unfamiliar SVCF has stood in the crucial stage of Fukushima. We have to reflect keenly on our past approach and inactive engagement.
No matter what the reason is, we go to Fukushima instead of having never-ending discussion on “Where SVCF should go?” In a temporary shelter without any clear future vision what people are most anxious is going out of their mind. While we visit Fukushima and do sweat-inducing labor with local people, we will come to feel and understand “SVCF’s goal” by ourselves.
By Hiroshi Ando
41st regular Diet Meeting
On April 28 (Tue), 2015 from 11 a.m. to 13 p.m., the 41st regular Diet Meeting was held in meeting room No. 104 of the House of Councilors Hall. In this round, Mr. Tadashi Mitsuda, leader of the “Radioactive Monitoring Project around the environment surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant”, and Mr. Jun Nakamura, constituent and middle-ranking member, both SVCF members, talked of their activities of two and a half years. At the beginning Mr. Mitsuda briefed on the objective for close monitoring in the radioactively polluted life environment for one hour, after which Mr. Nakamura explained the 18 rounds of concrete activities since their foundation. This talk lasted one hour and came with a vivid video record. More details are given in a separate paper. Approximately 30 attendees were quite impressed to see them amassing their know-how through various ingenious attempts and devisal.
Compared with rough monitoring by the public organization, their survey material which has been measured and complied by 50 meter interval may get in on a lawsuit against the central government by citizens. In January this year, the central government forced to release access to the recommended evacuation assembly point.
Ms. Hiroe Makiyama, the House of Councilors, Democratic Party, secretaries of Mr. Hiroyuki Arai, the House of Councilors, New Renovation Party and Takesih Kai, the House of Representatives, Democratic Party visited for compliments.
Invitation to the next regular Diet Meeting
Date: May 28 (Thu) at 11:00 a.m. – 13:00 p.m. (Opening at 10:30 a.m.)
Venue: B102 meeting room in the basement of the House of Councilor’s Hall
Theme: Actuality and challenges on the victimized area by the Nuclear Power Plant accident – Unbiased view
Speaker: Toshio Kitamura (former employee of the Japan Atomic Power Company, now living in Sukagawa city, Fukushima prefecture)
Though I have known his name for two years through his book “Chagrin of a nuclear power advocate” and a series of essay “Fukushima News”, I did not meet him until this April when I visited him to ask for his presentation. On their way to Minami Soma with Mr. Tadashi Mitsuda, speaker in the last regular Diet meeting, as well as Mr. Jun Nakamura and Hidekazu Hirai, who are about to participate in a round of the Radioactive Monitoring Project around the environment surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, they dropped in at Sukagawa city for an hour to talk to Mr. KITAMURA.
We stressed our origin and approach to seek for the tie with the central government and the Diet. Mr. Kitamura willingly accepted our offer to be a guest speaker at the May Diet meeting. Among his unique topics, we felt quite impressive by his free, broader, and unbiased view. He sees nuclear power generation in the same manner. As a subtitle of his book “Think again in the life of temporary shelter”, there is a banner saying “I say nuclear power generation is no safer.”
Nevertheless, he doesn’t present any doctrine of either “anti” or “break with” nuclear power. In an essay that he presented before “what we want to tell media from the suffered area (News Paper Research issued by the Japan Newspaper Association on May 13, 2015) we note “While dichotomy between the pro and con on nuclear power generation remained unsolved, real safety had been disregarded. That is why the biggest accident happened. *Snip* Reportage premised on speculation simply deepens the scheme of the dichotomy.”
We felt that we had something in common with the fundamental SVCF’s principle.
By Hiroshi Ando