SGRA Kawaraban (Essay) in English

CHINAG_Yung_Po I returned “Fukushima” after One Year and Four Months

I have visited Fukushima in May 2018, for the first time, as a participant of “the Fukushima Study Tour”, and I returned Fukushima on September 21, 2019 after one year and four months. Why did I, a Taiwanese, visited Fukushima again? First, I liked rich nature and beautiful scenery of Fukushima and liked to meet people who are trying hard for restoration of Fukushima. I sympathize with the people having common problems of how to confront with the issues of nuclear power plant and renewable energies. I returned Fukushima this time because Taiwan has the same problems, and I cannot think it is someone else’s problem. Yang Chun-Ting reported on the details of this year’s tour, so I would like to mention the changes that I felt on this tour over a year and four months.



At first, I visited TEPCO decommissioning museum for the first time. While at graduate school, I was a curator and had experience in exhibiting at museums and other places. Compared to the exhibits we have seen so far, the decommissioning museum introduced the latest technology and its digital exhibition was very impressive. For example, it is a very easy-to-understand exhibit that includes images of the theater hall at the time of the occurrence of the earthquake and images of the current robot working inside the reactor building.



In the commentary, the apology was repeated, stating that “remembering the memories and records of the accident and passing on reflections and lessons learned inside and outside the company to prevent such an accident from happening again” are claimed to be “one of the responsibilities to be fulfilled.”.



In their explanation, they mentioned that there was overconfidence in safety measure. But they never touch on location of their responsibility. They never referred to how they should evade tragedy, or how to deal with similar situations. By such reasons, I thought their saying about their apology and explanation were very superficial by their official positions. I found a meaning which I could learn about nuclear power accident. It was the basis of everything. After leaving the Museum, I had different feelings about Iitate from the last Tour during three days staying at Iitate.



The first thing that need to be addressed is “the house of wind and soil”(“the House” hereafter). In the last tour, we have stayed at “Ryouzen Center” (ex-Ryouzen Training Center) which “Resurrection of Fukushima” (“Resurrection Center” hereafter) have borrowed where they had orientations and social gatherings. But, the House, which was completed in this March, is now giving opportunities of staying and orientations to the people who visit Iitate.  The House is also the place of communications between visitors and villagers and place for relaxation and refreshment among villagers.  I, born in Showa era, liked Ryouzen Center which had Showa atmosphere. But, completion of the House is epoch making and took an important step like moving from “temporary house” to “my home”.



We went to the disaster site after receiving orientations from Mr. Tao, Chairman of the House and the Society of Revitalization, Professor Mizoguchi, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Science/ faculty of Agriculture, the University of Tokyo, Assistant Director of Resurrection of Fukushima and Mr. Yano of the Tokyo University of the Arts. visiting the site after getting orientations was very effective. We were able to visualize the completion of the “hardware” facilities, it is thought that the “software” so-called various projects can be further deepened. Please refer to Yang’s “Report” for details of  each project.



Next, I would like to briefly mention the scenery of the city. Mega solar houses featured in last year’s Report are still orderly and neatly lined up, we were able to get the spectacular views of the sea above a rice field. However, is it good for Iitate, which has been selected as one of the most beautiful village?  I think it necessary to be considered again because the government have decided to reconsider the system of buying electricity (by solar) at fixed price.  As to “black pyramid”, a mountain of flexible container bags, has been removed to the place of intermediate treatment or Chodei (長泥)district and scenery is being recovered. It should be very delightful, but the dilemma behind it lies. The fact, the FIBC bags had been removed, meant that the subsidies, which had been paid for storage, were no longer provided.



It is natural to think about economy to live and there would be no objection to that.

But there will be things worth keeping even if we make a sacrifice of economy. Natural scenery, mentioned above, is one of them. But, I, as a researcher of history, like to keep a gymnasium in Sasu(佐須)-Primary school.  Historic spots which are preserved importantly are not always preserved as valuable from the beginning. Any activities for preservation are always battles like “it will not be worth keeping” or “there is no budget for it”. It will be necessary to preserve, or we have to preserve any cultural properties, whichever countries’ or local, as far as such properties can represent histories and cultures of the area.



Lastly, I would like to introduce two pictures which Mr. Tao, Director of “Resurrection of Fukushima” put on his face-book on November 4. The first picture is a scenery of the Sasu Pass. And the second one is a composite photograph of transmission line which will be built under the cooperation of an energy company. It is said that Iitate Village and it’s land owners have already agreed. However, as Miss. Yang explained, villagers are not always agreeable and new comers, like Mr. Tao who came from “the outside”, are treated as “outsiders”. I, seeing those two pictures, like to ask “insiders” what is the most important thing to be kept for Iitate and their posterity?



I sincerely hope I could enjoy their rich nature and wonderful scenery when I would ‘return’ Fukushima again.



SGRA Kawaraban 614 in Japanese (Original)



CHINAG_Yung _Po / 2018 Raccoon, Research Student of Japanese History Course, Research Institute for Literature, Waseda University



Translated by Kazuo Kawamura

English checked by Sabina Koirala