WHAT I SAW IN FUKUSHIMA

Captures what I saw in Iwaki city in Fukuoka from 10 days trip.

1) Over the fence.

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Resident Evil, Last of Us, Call of Duty…etc, in those video games, you see barricades everywhere in deserted towns. You barely see people in those areas too.

It has been a week since I came to Fukushima prefecture as a business trip. ‘3.11’, ‘Nuclear disaster’…as you may have heard, there are plenty of negative reputations about Fukushima.

Especially in some districts near the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant [FNPP], the decontamination work still has been quite preliminary. Therefore there are hundreds of people who are still evacuated from their home town. You see barricades everywhere, with signs saying, ‘No Trespassing’ and, of course you are not allowed to go further.

Can you imagine when this catastrophic chain reaction will end? Neither can I.

2)‘Let us not forget 3.11’

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Most of the people might have a strong image of Fukushima as Nuclear disaster. However, in Fukushima, more than 1500 people were dead because of Tsunami attack in 11th of March, 2011. The damages of Tsunami were enormous in some areas alongside of the Pacific Ocean such as Souma, Onahama, Hisanohama and so on. Although It has been five years since 3.11, people are still trying to do something in order not to forget the fear of the terrible disaster by having photo exhibitions in most of those areas.

3)Nothing but a white a shore, after Tsunami.

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4)  Bonitos, a smell of rebuild.

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A couple days ago, about 8000 kgs of bonito landed on the Onahama fish market for the first time in 2016. Onahama fish market has suffered devastated damages due to Tsunami in 2011. Since then, the market has gradually been reconstructed under the governmental support, and some companies have restarted their fishing operations.

Fish such as bonito are caught on the ocean millions away from Fukushima, and there is no influence of radiation at all. However, the price of bonito now is not same as 2011 due to the negative reputation which has come from the nuclear accident.

The fishing industry in Fukushima has been under harsh circumstance, but the people who work in Onahama fish market often say, ‘The happiest thing for us is that we can go fishing now. And that is the first step to the reconstruction of our life. We just hope that a lot of consumers in Japan will eat the fresh and delicious fishe caught in Fukushima’.

5) a miracle pine tree.

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At the end of the trip, I finally visited the place where I wanted to go.

This pine tree is the only tree which survived after gigantic tsunami attack. Other trees and buildings were completely destroyed. What’s more surprising, however, it still tries to live.

When I saw this up close, I felt this tree was the symbol of people who have survived the catastrophe.

On the day of 3.11, millions of people had lost their family, home, and even their hope to live. I’m sure still lots of people have suffered endless sadness.

But remember, there are also people who try to keep going forward, and don’t to give up on their hopes to rebuild their lives.

People who have experienced 3.11, even though the damages are enormous, they survived and they try to live as this tree does.

We all face the difficulties at some points in our life. Yes it is hard to accept the situation. You probably feel like running away from it.

But I strongly believe that if you bravely take one step further, you have already become much stronger than a second ago.

Keep believing, Keep going forward. That is the story of Fukushima 2016.

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