Nuclear Refugees 「原発避難民」the people of Iitate Village 飯舘村の皆さん, 一年後
Published on Jun 23, 2012 by DocumentingIan
"Nuclear Refugees, the people of Iitate Village, one year later" (2012/ Japan/ 18 minutes)
producer/ camera Koji Fujita 藤田 浩二
director/ editor Ian Thomas Ash
STORY: In May 2011, two months after the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, the entire village of Iitate was evacuated. This documentary combines interviews with the villagers as they are preparing for evacuation, along with footage of the village filmed one year after evacuation.
BACKGROUND: On May 11, 2011, I read this article http://www.japanfocus.org/events/view/87 (originally in the Irish Times) by David McNeill about the evacuation of the village of Iitate, Fukushima, two months after the nuclear meltdown. As soon as I read it, I knew I needed to go Iitate to try to help document what was happening. I called David and he kindly put me in touch with Shoji-san (the farmer he interviewed for his article) so I could set up an interview.
Iitate lies some 40 km from the damaged nuclear power plant in Fukushima and was therefore outside of the official evacuation zone (within 20 km of the plant). However, because of wind direction, it quickly became clear that the radiation had spread far beyond the original evacuation zone and was posing a threat to the villagers of Iitate.
Yet it took the government two months to act. Two months of the villagers believing they were OK because they were outside of 20 km. Two months that their children were not evacuated and exposed to dangerous levels of radiation.
In May of last year, my Japanese cameraman, Koji, and I filmed in Iitate for a week, and it was a hectic, scary and confusing time.
We documented many difficult and important stories, but the footage somehow lacked the context it needed to make sense to outsiders. I, myself, didn't have the knowledge to fully understand some of the things we witnessed at that time.
As a result, I decided to not use the footage from Iitate right away. I simply allowed it to stay in the background of my brain (and heart) until the right time when it would speak to me and I would understand.
This month I spent time in the city of Minamisoma, Fukushima, working on the story of the children living there, and on the way back the village of Iitate, now deserted, called to me. It was when I went there this month, one year after the evacuation, that I was able to process what I had witnessed last year.
The result is "Nuclear Refugees: the people of Iitate". Shoji-san, the farmer interviewed in David's article, is the farmer who appears at the very end of the film.
Japan’s government stops the “bad news” from Fukushima
“Now the Japanese government has moved to crack down on independent reportage and criticism of the government’s policies in the wake of the disaster by deciding what citizens may or may not talk about in public.
A new project team has been created by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication, the National Police Agency, and METI to combat “rumors” deemed harmful to Japanese security in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.
The government charges that the damage caused by earthquakes and by the nuclear accident are being magnified by irresponsible rumors, and the government must take action for the sake of the public good. The project team has begun to send “letters of request” to such organizations as telephone companies, internet providers, cable television stations, and others, demanding that they “take adequate measures based on the guidelines in response to illegal information. ”The measures include erasing any information from internet sites that the authorities deem harmful to public order and morality.” Japan Focus…
@arclight, great work all way round, thank you. And, this info suppression has been going on since
Pres. Reagan created 75 undercover journalists during the Iran/Contra affair to stop "rumors" against the US. When he was challenged about the appointments of journalist to the CIA, he argued that they were only allowed to write or do TV stories overseas and not on the homeland. Should we believe him?
It is clear that the nuclear disaster at Fukushima has unleashed a nightmare of genetic ruin on Japan, and the world. It is clear that the long term consequences will be a tragedy of unimaginable magnitude, and may even ultimately destroy Japan. It's clear that if things get worse (eg SFP#4 collapses) this could even destroy human global civilization.
What is not clear, is whether these events will cause an awakening of the Japanese people from their delusional trust in authority, and preference for conformity. This culture of silent acquiescence to corruption, stupidity, deceit, ignorance and corporate greed is everywhere, but seems particularly ingrained in Japan.
It's an attitude that is fundamentally incompatible with a technologically dynamic industrialized society. For a society to avoid the numerous potentially lethal traps technology risks when profit overrules all other considerations, there MUST be a culture of open, resourceful, educated and totally dedicated public opposition to institutional stupidity.
In that light, I'm thinking these ridiculous propaganda attempts by the Japanese government (most of whom deserve only public trials followed by a firing squad) are a good thing. There's few better ways to wake people up to the evils of a government and what must be done about it, than to be forced to sit through 'reeducation classes'.
'For a society to avoid the numerous potentially lethal traps technology risks when profit overrules all other considerations, there MUST be a culture of open, resourceful, educated and totally dedicated public opposition to institutional stupidity.'
I am so sad for Japan. 181 microsieverts is about 2000 times background where I live. For anyone in the corrupt Japanese government to believe this much radiation is not going to be a huge problem a long time into the future, they would have to be infantile and delusional. If Japan wants to destroy its future, that will not come from putting solar panels on their roofs, it will come from not even being mentally present while this kind of contamination continues with the plant unentombed and spewing.
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