Close

Donate today to keep Global Voices strong!

Watch the video: We Are Global Voices!

We report on 167 countries. We translate in 35 languages. We are Global Voices. Watch the video »

Over 800 of us from all over the world work together to bring you stories that are hard to find by yourself. But we can’t do it alone. Even though most of us are volunteers, we still need your help to support our editors, our technology, outreach and advocacy projects, and our community events.

Donate now »
GlobalVoices in Learn more »

20 Bitter Voices Rise From Fukushima After Japan's 2011 Nuclear Disaster

Right after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, Japanese Buddhist priest Daiki Nakashita visited [ja] the disaster-stricken region, and provided emotional support to victims, as a part of his larger work on preventing suicide in Japan. Recently, the priest wrote a blog post [ja], in which he quotes 20 residents affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster. 

While Daiki humbly writes in the post [ja], which recently hit more than 2,400 likes on Facebook, that the commentary represents only a fraction of Fukushima Prefecture's two million residents, the post has been widely circulated on social media. Many of the people quoted in the post are described as living in provisional housing, temporary housing units that were set up post-disaster.

When and how these quotes were collected is not clear, nor can Global Voices track down or fact-check these quotes. Nevertheless, they offer a powerful glimpse into what life has been like since the nuclear accident more than two years ago.

 

福島市の仮設・80代の女性「除染なんて、私達が若いころ(戦時中)、強制的に竹やりを持たされて鬼畜米兵と言わされていたのと本質的には同じ。小手先だけの対応で、何の意味もないことは皆、分かっている。でもそれを声に出すと、非難される。同調圧力だよ」

A woman in her 80s, Fukushima city provisional housing: “Decontamination? That’s just like when we were young (during the war) and we were made to carry bamboo spears and call the American soldiers brutes. Everyone knows it’s just a clever response that doesn’t have any meaning whatsoever. But if you say as much, you’ll get criticized. It’s peer pressure.”

南相馬市60代男性「自宅一軒、竹中工務店に560万円で除染を依頼し、現場の下請けはピンハネされまくって、70万円で作業をする。末端の作業員は日当約8千円。除染が終了したら仕事がなくなるから、皆、いい加減な仕事しかしない。それで雇用が確保され、経済が回る。それが除染ビジネスの実態」

A man in his 60s, Minamisoma city: “A request for decontamination of one home with the Takenaka Firm will cost 5,600,000 JPY. At the actual scene the subcontractor has lots of bribes and kickbacks pilfered from him and it costs 700,000 JPY to do the job. It’s about 8,000 JPY per day for the final workers. Because the jobs disappear when the decontamination is finished, everyone’s doing real sloppy work. By doing that, they’re guaranteed long-term employment, and the economy turns. That’s the real state of the decontamination business.”

Google Earth Image of Japan and Korea. Fukushima's power plant is marked as 'A'.

Google Earth Image of Japan and Korea. Fukushima's power plant is marked as ‘A'.

原発で30年働いてきた。でも今は被曝して働けない体。人は目の前の現実が辛いと、現実逃避するんだ。将来の事なんて、意図的に考えないようにしている。酒を飲んでカラオケを歌って気晴らしをするけど、いい年したオヤジが何やっているんだろう?と思って、情けなくなる」

A man in his 60s, Iwaki city provisional housing: “I worked at the nuclear power plant for 30 years. But now my body has been exposed to radiation, and I can’t work. People are avoiding the bitter reality right before their eyes. I make it a point of intentionally not thinking about things like the future. I drink alcohol; I sing karaoke; I kick back and relax. But when I think about what the younger folks are gonna do, it makes me miserable.”

いわき市仮設60代男性「どうしたら原発が止められるかって?そんなこと簡単だ。もう一回どっかの原発が爆発して土地が汚染され、人が住めなくならないと原発を止めることは無理じゃないのか?アメリカ・財界・官僚が政治家に圧力をかけている構造も問題だがな」

A man in his 60s, Iwaki city provisional housing: “How do we stop using nuclear power? Well that’s simple. If there isn’t another explosion at another power plant somewhere, and the ground doesn’t get polluted, and people don’t have to leave their homes then there’s absolutely no way we’ll stop using nuclear power, is there? But America, the financial world and bureaucrats putting pressure on politicians for construction is also a problem.”

大熊出身・福島の仮設入っている70代Aさんが言う「冬に出稼ぎに行かずに、安定した暮らしを得る為、子供や孫と同じ場所でずっと暮らすために、俺たちは原発を受け入れた。豊かな暮らし、安定成長を求めて原発を受け入れた。そしてそこで俺はずっと働いてきた。それがこんな事になるなんて・・・・」

A-san, originally from Okuma and entered into Fukushima’s provisional housing in his 70s, has the following to say: “So that we could make a stable income without having to work away from home in the winter, so we could be with our children and grandchildren the whole time, we accepted the power plant. We accepted the power plant in the hope that it would provide stable growth and a good livelihood. And that’s how I came to work there. That it would come to something like this, was just…

いわき市仮設70代男性「被災者と言っても、状況は皆、違う。家族が死んだ・家族が生きている人、仕事を失った人・仕事がある人、家を流された人・家がある人、帰る場所がある人・帰る場所がない人、カネがある人・カネがない人・・。確かな事は、震災前からあった格差が今、露呈しているという事」

A man in his 70s, Iwaki city provisional housing: “Even though they are all called victims, the situation is different for everyone. There are those whose families died, and those whose families are alive; those who lost their jobs, and those who have jobs; those whose houses washed away, and those who have houses; those who have a place to go back to, and those who have no place to go back to; those who have money, and those who don’t… What’s for certain is that the disparities that existed before the earthquake are now laid bare.

南相馬市50代女性「私は最近、放射能より、人間の方が怖いと思う時がたくさんあります。ここ福島では、放射能の話をするだけで、圧力がかかる雰囲気が一部に蔓延しています。命がけで、放射能の問題を意図的に考えないようにしている人がいっぱいいる。一種の思考停止状態。それは自分を守るため?」

A woman in her 50s, Minamisoma city: “Lately there have been many times in which I’ve come to think that human beings are scarier than radiation. Here in Fukushima, just by talking about the radiation there’s a social atmosphere that exerts a sort of pressure that is spreading. There are lots of people desperately trying to deliberately not think about the radiation problem. It’s a sort of blank-minded condition. Do they do that to protect themselves?”

temporaryhousing

Photo of provisional housing in Fukushima, taken by Flickr user selena lynn on July 2013. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

福島の仮設・70代男性「原発でずっと働いてきた。しかし、危険な仕事は下請けに回していた。山谷や釜ヶ崎のような寄せ場から労働者が連れてこられていることを、俺達は知っていながら、見て見ぬふりをしていた。事故が起こった今、改めて考えると、俺も東電と一緒で、加害者なのかもしれない」

A man in his 70s, Fukushima provisional housing: “I worked at the power plant from the start. However, dangerous work was being passed on to subcontractors. Even though we knew they were bringing in day laborers from gathering places like Sanya and Kamagasaki, we turned a blind eye. And now, after the accident, thinking back on it, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. and I are both probably at fault.”

福島・中通り60代男性「ラジオを聞いてひっくり返ったよ。放射能に負けない子供になろう!って福島県教育委員会がラジオで呼びかけているんだもの。中通りの住民は、被害者という意識が薄い。だから教育委員会は、県外に避難した人を非難するんだ。もうマスクをしている人も、ほとんどいないよ」

A man in his 60s, Fukushima, Nakadori: “We heard it repeated on the radio: Be a kid who won’t be defeated by radiation! The Fukushima Board of Education is spouting that on the radio. There’s only this faint awareness that the people of Nakadori are victims. It’s for that reason that the Board of Education criticized those who evacuated from the prefecture. People don’t even really wear masks anymore.”

南相馬市・20代女性「今まで原発の勉強とかしたことない。でも、東電の下請け会社で働いている旦那が被曝して、入院してから、やっと目が覚めた。311以降<誰かが何とかしてくれるだろう・安全だ>と、放射能を浴びまくっても他人事のように考えていた。無関心は身を滅ぼすことにやっと気がついた」

A woman in her 20s, Minamisoma city: “Up until now, I haven’t really researched nuclear power at all. But my eyes were really opened after my husband was exposed to radiation while working at a sub-contracting company of Tokyo Electric Power and had to be hospitalized. Since 3/11, even getting bathed in radiation I treated as someone else’s problem, thinking ‘I’m sure someone will do something. I’m sure it’s safe.’ I realized, it was apathy that brought about our ruin.”

いわき市仮設・40代女性「仮設で中高年の男性の自殺が起きた。明日は我が身・・・。でも、生きていればいいことがあるなんて、口が裂けても子供達には言えない。明るい未来なんて、ここ福島では絶対にありえない。普通に生きて、当たり前に暮らせることが、こんなにも難しいことなんて思わなかった」

A woman in her 40s, Iwaki city provisional housing: “A middle-aged man killed himself in the provisional housing. Tomorrow it might be one of us… But I can’t go and tell the kids that as long as you’re alive they’ll be good things. A bright future here in Fukushima is unimaginable. To live an ordinary life, to just get by, I never expected it would be this hard.”

南相馬市・20代女性「友達の女の子が中絶をしたという話を聞くたびに、私も子供はムリって思ってしまう。旦那や姑は子供が欲しいみたいだけど、もう福島では子供を育てられない。線量計で自宅周辺を図ると、ビックリするよ。子供を産んでも、どうせ外で遊ばせられないから、子供も可哀想だよね」

A woman in her 20s, Minamisoma city: “Every time I hear about how a girlfriend of mine had an abortion, I think that it would be unreasonable for me to have kids as well. It seems as though both my husband and my mother-in-law want kids, but you can’t raise children in Fukushima any longer. We were really surprised when we measured the area around our house with a radiation dosimeter. Even if we had kids, I’d feel bad for them because we couldn’t let them play outside.”

南相馬市・20代女性「原発事故以来、国・政治・東電は最悪と、ずっと他者を批判してきた。でも良く考えてみると、私は選挙に一度も行った事はないし、新聞も読まないし、テレビはお笑いだけしか見ないし。原発近くに住んでいながら原発の事なんて全く知ろうとも思わなかった。今思うと恥ずかしい」

A woman in her 20s, Minamisoma city: “Since the nuclear accident I’ve come to criticize others as being evil: the country, the government, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. But when I really think about it, I’ve not once participated in an election, I don’t read the newspaper, and as for TV, I only watch comedies. Even though I was living next to the power plant, I didn’t even try to learn anything about nuclear power. When I think about it now, I’m embarrassed.”

(大熊出身)会津若松仮設住宅・60代男性「さあ考えてみて。仕事もカネも産業も何もないただの田舎町が、原発を誘致することによって、莫大な恩恵が手に入るんだよ。目の前にニンジンをぶら下げられて、それを断れる人がどれだけいると思う?カネで動かない人間もいると思うけど、全体の中の一握りだろ」

A man in his 60s, originally from Okuma, now Aizuwakamatsu provisional housing: “Now I want you to think about it. This ordinary country town—without jobs, or money, or industry—was drawn in by the allure that a nuclear power plant would be a great blessing. A carrot was dangled in front of everyone’s eyes. Exactly how many people do you think there are that could turn down that offer? Of course, I think there are also people who can’t be swayed by money, but that’s probably just a small portion of the whole.”

福島の仮設住宅・50代男性「仙台に行った。全国から建築関係者が集まり、復興バブルのような状態になっている。儲かってしょうがないって飲み屋で言っている経営者のような人がいたけど、心ではそう思っていても、言葉に出してほしくないね。だって、ここ東北では相当な数の人間が死んでいるんだよ。」

A man in his 50s, Fukushima provisional housing: “I went to Sendai. Construction personnel from all over the country had gathered, and it’s sort of like a recovery bubble had formed. At a bar one time, this guy who seemed like a manager said ‘There’s no way around it, this is going to be profitable.’ Even if you
think that in your head, nobody wants you to say that out loud. After all, so many people lost their lives.”

福島の仮設・50代男性「知人の男性が2名、ここ数カ月で自殺したよ。男は仕事や家族を失うと、本当に弱い。今まで名刺の肩書きだけで勝負してきたのに、311を機にゼロになってしまった。俺も今は無職。仮設の集会所でサロンとかをやっているけど、大の男が一人で参加できると思うか?」

A man in his 50s, Fukushima provisional housing: “Two of my male acquaintances committed suicide here over the course of a few months. Men are really weak, once they lose their families and their jobs. Up until now, you competed purely with what was written on the title line of your business card, but on 3/11 everything went back to zero. I’m also unemployed right now. They’re running a salon and such at the assembly hall of the provisional housing. But I wonder, will a single grown man be able to join in?”

福島の仮設・20代女性「子どもがいるので被ばくについて勉強したいと思い、県内の講演会等に行くようにしている。しかし偉い先生の講演会は、「放射線量はほとんどゼロ」「内部被ばくなどない」「福島は大丈夫」ばかり。正確な情報が、手に入らない。それを声に出すと、さらに非難される」

A woman in her 20s, Fukushima provisional housing: “Because I have children I think I’d like to learn about radiation exposure, so I’m making a point of going to lectures within the prefecture. However, a lecture of an esteemed professor was all ‘The radiation level is nearly zero,’ ‘there is no such internal radiation exposure,’ and ‘Fukushima is perfectly fine.’ I can’t get any accurate information. If you raise your voice about that, you’ll get criticized all the more.”

(大熊出身)会津の仮設・60代男性「もう覚悟はできている。瓦礫の処分場は、原発周辺の地域にするしかないだろ。だって、もう人が住めないんだから。除染なんかする金があるんだったら、原発周辺の土地を買い上げて、そこに瓦礫処分場を作ったらいい。地元住民は、誰も大熊に帰れると思っていないもの」

A man in his 60s, originally from Okuma, now Aizu provisional housing: “I've made my peace. For the garbage dump site, it’ll have to be in the area around the power plant. The reason is people no longer live there. If they have the money for decontamination, it would be best to buy up the land surrounding the power plant and create a garbage dump site. As for the locals from that area, no one is considering moving back to Okuma.”

南相馬市・50代男性「東電や国のやり方は最低だ。人を人とも思っていない。でも、俺も今までずっと東電にぶら下がり、国に依存して生きてきた。一番悪いのは、俺の主体性のない生き方だ。思考停止に陥り、今さえ良ければいい、自分さえ儲かればそれでいいと、臭いものには蓋をしてずっと生きてきた」

A woman in her 50s, Minamisoma city: “The methods of this country and the Tokyo Electric Power Co. are abysmal. They don’t consider people to be people. But I too, up until now, have depended on the Tokyo Electric Power Co. and lived by relying on the country. The greatest evil is my dependant lifestyle. I fell into a sort of stupor. If things are alright for the moment, then it’s ok. As long as I’m making money, it’ll be alright. I put a lid on my suspicions, and lived my life.”

福島の仮設・70代男性「若い世代にとっては、福島から逃げるのが一番の選択肢じゃないか?未来のある若者には、是非逃げてほしい。しかし、俺達のような年寄りは、今更逃げてもねぇ。生まれ育った故郷で死ぬまで暮らしたい。でも、それは自分で決めたこと。どうなっても覚悟を決めているよ」

A man in his 70s, Fukushima provisional housing: “For the younger generation, isn’t the best choice for them to flee Fukushima? I want the young people, those who have a future, to run away. However, older folks like us, there’s no running at this point. I want to live in the town that I was born in and raised in until I die. But, this is something I decided for myself. No matter what happens, I’ve made my decision.”

Quotes were translated by Taylor Cazella

World regions

Countries

Languages