Five years, my brain hurts a lot

Five years, my brain hurts a lot

David Bowie has passed away, and snippets of his songs like this title are floating through my head. "Five years" reminded me of a short essay that was written in the New Year by a resident of Fukushima as he faced the fifth year since the nuclear contamination of his homeland. So much of Bowie's art was about the human cost of living on the road to dystopia. As he said, "I’ve only really worked with the same subject matter … isolation, abandonment, fear and anxiety — all of the high points of one’s life."

Guest post by Hiroyuki Hamada (translator, Japanese to English) and Takamoto Usui (author), January 4, 2016

It's been almost 5 years since the disaster in Fukushima, and I still constantly see posts about Fukushima from Japan. The damaged plants still spew radiation into the air as well as into the ocean. A recent European study had noted that 15% of Japanese land is contaminated as much as the Chernobyl evacuation zones. The issue is so immense that it is hard to address it properly. Here is a post by Takamoto Usui in Fukushima. The translation below is mine.
-Hiroyuki Hamada

I'm writing this wondering why I have to start the New Year with such a post. My home town, Shirakawa city, Fukushima still measures 4 to 5 times more radiation than before the nuclear accident. This March will mark the 5th anniversary of the accident. And last year, we had 40 times more thyroid abnormalities among us. Today, there are fields where we can't grow crops and lands where we can't live in Fukushima. There are numerous wild creatures being radiated without any knowledge of radiation. Japan can't protect its people's health. It's completely irresponsible in taking necessary measures in containing the accident. And it's determined to restart the rest of the nuclear plants and it even exports them. What country would see such a nation favorably? The 5th year does not mark the end, but it is the beginning. It drives me crazy to think how I should face my hometown. The only thing I can say is that I don't want to pretend that it didn't happen or to forget what happened. Fukushima was truly an awesome place. And it can't be our Fukushima again even after 100 years from now. It is unbearable. We must not let this happen to any other places.

-Takamoto Usui

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