Problems Continue in Fukushima

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TOKYO — Commemorating 1,000 days after the Great East Japan Earthquake, various events and gatherings to maintain awareness of the Fukushima disaster were held throughout Japan in December.

One of those events, “Let Us Hear Today’s Fukushima,” was held in front of Yurakucho station, sponsored by Tokyo-to Gyosei Shoshikai (Tokyo Metropolitan Administrative Solicitors’ Association), which supports various legal actions for the Fukushima residents.

Five panelists who are working in Fukushima educated the audience about current conditions there. Hiroyasu Shioya, a professor at Fukushima University, stated that decontamination work (josen) is continuing but is being conducted manually by people who are performing tasks such as shoveling off the surface soil and wiping the ground with a cloth. That is time-consuming and labor-intensive work.

Hiroko Aihara, an independent journalist who has been reporting in Fukushima over the past 20 years, stated that the mothers of Fukushima have been studying a lot about radiation and other topics to protect their families. During the event, appeals were made regarding the safety of organic vegetables grown in Fukushima, such as radishes, which were also sold on the site for 100 yen.

According to the group, there are still 280,000 people away from home after evacuation. Among those, about 100,000 people live in temporary housing and are dealing with an uncertain future. An emotional divides exists between the long-term evacuees due to differences in compensation based on zoning. The group has 5,400 members and has been providing legal administrative services for the Fukushima residents.