SGRA Kawaraban (Essay) in English
Sangryul JEON `The Fifth SGRA Fukushima Study Tour Report “Iitate, Challenge for Return” ´
SGRA (Sekiguchi Global Research Association) have fulfilled a study tour on Iitate Village every year since the autumn, 2012. Iitate-Village in Fukushima Pref. is a disaster- stricken area of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. This year, SGRA carried out the Fukushima Study Tour, with the theme “Iitate, Challenge for their Return”, from May 13(Fri.) to 15(Sun.)
It was the fifth SGRA Fukushima Study Tour. The number of participants of the tour this time was ten；Raccoon members, foreign students, professors of universities,and members of societies and they came from several countries such as America, Italy, Canada, Korea, Sweden and Japan. Only SGRA can do this type of tour.
On the first day, May 13, we left Tokyo at 9:24am by Tohoku-Shin-kansen “Yamabiko-113”.for Fukushima. Firstly, we visited the “Fukushima Renewal Energy Building” and got an explanation that this building is run by several companies or organizations exchanging and cooperating with each other. These organizations are “Resurrection of Fukushima – Fukushima Saiseino Kai” which receives us every year, “Iitate Electric Power”, “Aizu Electric Power” and “Iitate Madai-Life Association” (＊”Madai” is regional dialect which means “slowly” or “leisurely”). We left this building and visited “The First Matsukawa Temporary Housings” in Fukushima City and were told by Chairman, Ichiro Kihata about “a life in temporary house” and “uneasiness for their return”. Then, we took lunch at ramen shop in the premises. (Kohaku-Ramen, it was so nice!)
After lunch, we visited the Iino-Branch Office of Iitate Village Office which was the last visiting site of the day. We were told by Deputy Village Headman, Mr. Nobuichi Monma about their scheduled return (to Iitate Village). After visiting the other places in Iitate Village, we arrived at “Ryozen Center” which is the activity base of “Fukushima Saiseino Kai” and deepened our friendships, enjoying home-cooked food prepared and brought by the tour participants from various countries.
On the second day, we visited the house of Mr. Muneo Kanno, who is the deputy chairman of “Fukushima Saiseino Kai” and worked setting up “electric fence”. In the afternoon, we inspected the village together with people from NPO “Platinum- Guild”.
We visited the house of Mr. Keiichi Kanno first in Hiso and were informed about details after the disaster and the present conditions. We were also enlightened about the decontamination work of “Igune” (regional dialect meaning “windbreak woods surrounding houses”) and the program for pilot houses (huts). Forests in Iitate are excluded from the object of decontamination works. In such situations, this is a test for the works on how the forests or the woods are contaminated and how it becomes possible to decontaminate. Listening to his words, we had a feeling how the situation is complicated and difficult to solve
We also made a study tour to the gate of Nagadoro, a restricted area and special vehicles for radioactivity measuring. In the evening, we had “a big gathering (about 60 persons)”, at a dining room of the Ryozan Center, who came from the village and Higashi -Tamano-area. Without formal compliments, we talked with each other friendly and freely. We were able to establish a new circle of friends. It was a wonderful night.
In the morning of the third day, we visited Mr. Kinichi Okubo’s house in Komiya area. After getting explanation about decontamination of fields from Prof. Suguru Mizoguchi, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Science, Faculty of Agriculture, The University of Tokyo, we did paddling works for decontamination of the test field in Komiya area by ourselves. After paddling by a tractor, we drained water by brushes. We repeated such works. They have been experimenting everyday honestly, based on scientific theory and by using new idea and their experience, as to what extent decontamination of field is possible.
After such works, we returned to Kanno-san’s house and listened to his remarks, while taking “onigiri (rice ball)” lunch and each members of the tour exchanged their impression about this study tour .
Radiation value, which was most concerned for us, was 0.1-0.3 micro Siebel (μSv) at Ryozan-Center where we lived and did works, Kanno-san’s house and field, and test field at Komiya. When we left Iitate on the last day, my own measuring equipment showed 10-13(μSv).
The study tour this time was a tour of “looking, knowing and thinking”. As Mr. Kanno said, “I remember what I saw and experienced at the disaster-stricken area, and think what I can do and try to let the people, as much as possible, know the present Fukushima (people’s interests are gradually fading)”. If I have a chance to visit Iitate again, I hope the present feeling of “uneasiness and fear for their return” would change to “hope and smile”.
Photos of Fukushima Study Tour 2016
(Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo)
Translated by Kazuo Kawamura
English checked by Mac Maquito