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Voices from Fukushima

Listen to the anguished voices of Fukushima mothers. Listen to the whispers of Fukushima children. Nothing illustrates the unfolding tragedies better. These accounts are excerpts from various sources including videos, news clips and children's essays, all of which are in the public domain.  

A city council member says:

I think the only thing that can save Japan and Fukushima children is pressure from the international community.
The Japanese authorities are not going to evacuate children who are still in contaminated areas.
They are even telling those who have fled radiation to return.
If we fail to protect our children now, we will have a second Chernobyl in 5-10 years time.
Both keeping children here, or returning them to Fukushima is murder.

A Fukushima resident says:

"When I ask Fukushima people how they are, 85% of them say they are under the weather."
"I don't want money. I want Tokyo people to speak out for Fukushima."

An evacuee says

My home town has become a ghost town. It feels dead and hopeless.
I am filled with anguish and despair when I think about it.

A Fukushima mother says:

My children cannot play outside any more.
Children around here have all got into the habit of walking in the middle of the road to avoid the radiation in dust by the kerbside.
They go and ask adults if it is OK to touch the soil even on their recuperation holiday.

Another Fukushima mother says:

Everyone’s worried about radiation.
The food may be contaminated, we can’t grow it here.
We can’t hang our washing out. We hang it inside the house.
Everyone’s immune system has become weaker.
Children’s bodies are changing. And I’m extremely worried about this.
I think this is because of the radiation.
It's the radiation and the fact they cannot go outside.

Another Fukushima mother says:

I have two sons.
The elder son would not evacuate. I argued with him every day.
He said, "I will get sick and die anyway. The state has abandoned us. I cannot leave my friends, I will die with them."
The younger son heard this and said, "It's OK if I get sick because I stay with him here."
On hearing this, I evacuated Fukushima with the younger son.
I am going mad thinking about my older son. My heart and soul are being torn apart.
There are many women like me. We are all crying.
The evacuation zone should be expanded. It is insane to lift it.

An opinion poll by the Yomiuri Newspaper has revealed:

Nationally, 69% of respondents expressed concern about the impact of radioactive material on their health or that of their families.

Children's voices

A child writes:
My wishes today are very different from the ones I had before.
These are my wishes today:
Please make radiation disappear.
Please make my home an evacuation zone.
Please make Japan peaceful again.
I want to live a long life.
I want to know if adults really think everything is alright?
I want adults to get rid of nuclear power plants from Japan because we have many earthquakes here.
I want to cheer up people who have evacuated.
I want to make everyone smile and feel happy.

I want everyone in Japan to rebuild our village.
I want to have a dog outside when the radiation disappears.
I want to go to recuperation with my school friends.

Another child says:

How long will I live?
Why do I have to change schools?
Everyday, I have to wear a long-sleeved top, long trousers, a mask and a hat even on a hottest day.
I can't play outside.
We can't open windows.
My mother is always watching TV or sitting in front of the computer, checking news.
I'm changing school and there are only seven days left. I'm very sad. I don't want to go.
The TV says Fukushima is safe, but when we go to those talks, the speakers say it is not safe.

A teenage girl says:

I worry if I will have a healthy baby when I grow up and get married.
My mother is doing all she can to protect me.
She stops me from participating in the physical education classes outside.
She buys food produced far away from Fukushima.
But, I know I'm still taking in radiation bit by bit.
My body is contaminated compared to other normal people.
My baby might be born with disabilities.
My womb may become damaged, and I may not be able to have a baby.
I'm prepared for the possibility that I can't have children.