Life Around A Radioactive Environment | Fukushima, Japan

Hannah, 5 years old, stands for a portrait at the Aizu center in Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima. Hannah and her family are evacuees from Aizu to Fukui prefecture, which is located in the north-central part of Japan. Her mother, who is Japanese and her German father not only fear that radiation levels are too high for children and local government is not telling the truth to the people, but also how discrimination will impact their child’s life in the future. Mar. 2014

 

Photographer Brian Driscoll is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this social documentary photography.  From his project ‘Life Within 90km’.  To see Brian’s projects click on any image.

 

Hajime Fujita, a former mailman at a post office from Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture. He has been living at the Tomiko evacuee complex in Koriyama City, Japan since July 2011. He is very uncertain about next few years, ” I feel I might be living here the rest of my life”, he says. Tomioka is about 6 miles from the Daiichi nuclear power plant, an area that is unsafe due to high levels of radiation. Feb 22, 2014

 

Students hang out in front of a Junior High School after graduation in the Onuma disctrict of Aizumisato, Fukushima Prefecture. There is a constant fear among young parents throughout Fukushima that the government is not providing truthful information about high levels of radiation in areas. Another concern for young families is discrimination against their child in the future. Mar 14, 2014

 

Tokiko Kitazaki, an evacuee from Tomioka-machi, Fukushima, a mushroom and rice farmer for a good portion of her life and mother of two, holds an old photograph of herself when she was 25 years old. “Life is different now, ” she explains, “things will never be the same.” Tomioka evacuee houses, Koriyama, Japan. Feb 23, 2014

 

The great Tohoku earthquake struck the northeastern coast of Fukushima, Japan on March 11, 2011.  Nearly three years after, thousands of families, children, farmers, business owners, teachers and students across all of Fukushima have been feeling the impact. It has caused a catastrophic disaster and an ongoing nuclear nightmare for thousands of residents not only living within the 12-15 mile radius of the Daiichi nuclear power plant , “the Exclusion Zone,” but throughout Fukushima. There are about 160,000 people displaced from neighboring cities stretching nearly 90 kilometers away from the power plant, many of whom have been living in temporary housing for three years now, as cleanup crews continue to decontaminate radiation.

 

A group of evacuees, mostly farmers and small business owners are en-route to a huge rally in Tokyo from Fukushima. People continue to tell their stories as victims and push ahead for the truth against government official almost three years after the man made nuclear catastrophe. Mar 1, 2014

 

A group of evacuees from Tomioka town, mostly mothers, grandmothers and farmers sit for a lunch gathering and have friendly conversations usually on Saturdays at the Tomioka temporary houses. Outside of Koriyama City, Fukushima. Feb 23, 2014

 

A young student stands for a portrait at a Junior High School after graduation in the district of Aizu.  Mar. 2014

 

As restrictions have been lifted in some areas of Fukushima, just outside of the no-go zone, many older residents that are deeply connected to their land will return. However, younger families with children are not so eager to return home due to the lack of information provided by the government. Some of the hardest things for people to deal with is the fact that no one has taken responsibility three years later and not trusting what the government is saying, especially after hot spots of radiation have been reported several levels higher than normal in populated areas that was considered to be safe. People of Fukushima find it disturbing that the government and Tepco are down playing the situation and are encouraging residents to continue living in contaminated areas. Nearby cities are facing real potential dangers of nuclear energy, such as Koriyama, a city that has a population of roughly 330,000, and about an hours drive west of the Fukushima power plant. While these serious issues will continue to unfold, there are a handful of other repercussions, such as children’s health issues, deep depression, guilt, discrimination, marital discord, psychological difficulties, paranoia, suicide and learning to adapt in an unfamiliar environment.

 

Abandoned homes sit in an empty radiation-contaminated farmland near the lifeless town of Namie-machi, about 6 miles from the Daiichi nuclear power plant. March 17, 2014

 

Abandoned bicycles remain as they were left on 3.11.11 at the train station in the town of Odahka, which lies about 6 miles from the Daiichi nuclear power plant. Mar 17, 2014

 

Electric towers line the landscape of a snow covered sea of rice fields outside of Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture. Residents fear the food chain is contaminated due to the onshore wind patterns that create hot spots of radiation in the mountains where rain water finds its way down to rice and vegetable fields throughout Fukushima, Japan. Mar. 2014

 

See also:

Komi-Land

By Brian Driscoll

 

 

 

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