THE STATE OF FUKUSHIMA: Sixth Anniversary 3.11 Nuclear Disaster
Evacuation Orders Being Lifted – Ethical or Not?
by Kerry Anne O’Connor, California native, Tokyo Resident
“The Fukushima accident has shown that people cannot coexist with nuclear power. I believe the only way to preserve human life is to completely turn away from nuclear power.” —Kenzaburo Oe, Nobel Prize-winning Novelist.
On March 11, 2011 at 2:46pm, it felt like the world was ending! Frightened people were screaming in terror. Shattered glass was flying everywhere. The memories of that day are tattooed on my brain and will never be erased.
Many cities damaged in the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami disaster are on their way to slow recovery. One disaster area, however, may never have its place on the map again. The triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant forced the evacuation of 170,000 people. Six years later 84,000 residents still cannot safely return to their homes in Fukushima due to the high levels of radiation. They are the forgotten ones their stories swept under Japan’s 2020 Tokyo Olympics carpet.
Since March 12, 2011, the day the Fukushima evacuation orders were put into effect, residents near the power plant were woken up in the middle of the night and told to board buses, destination unknown. They were told not to bring personal belongings, including their pets. Thinking they would return soon, pet owners left two to three days’ worth of food and water. Some tied their pets to their homes, some let the animals run loose. The residents never returned. The animals tied to their homes perished.
Animal rescue missions in the exclusion zones near the crippled power plant commenced under the supervision of Animal Rescue Nyander Guard in Fukushima (nyan=meow in Japanese). Staff and volunteers entered the contaminated restricted areas to rescue as many endangered pets as they could. Dogs and cats were easy to transport. Farm animals, however, had no escape and most were euthanized. One woman who ran a dairy farm cried profusely, “You can’t just carry a cow out like a dog. I had fifty dairy cows. They were my babies! I was forced to abandon them!”
Today, Nyander Guard still searches for animals left wandering inside the exclusion zones having saved over 760 animals since April 2011. Six years of unrelenting devotion has helped to reunite pets with their owners, find new families for abandoned animals and shelter those who are still homeless awaiting adoption.
March 11, 2017, marked the 6th anniversary of the ongoing Fukushima Nuclear meltdown. It was also the day I went into the exclusion zones to measure radiation levels and document farmlands that are now nuclear wastelands. Much to my shock, I learned that some areas where the evacuation orders will be lifted at the end of this month are actually higher in radiation than in the exclusion zones!
In its haste to reassure the world community that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are going forward as scheduled with soccer and other games planned for Fukushima, the Japanese government is now forcing people back into heavily contaminated areas. A majority of the returning evacuees may not be well informed about the dangers they face, due to Japan’s Secrecy Law adopted in late 2013 – imposing new legislation to penalize the unauthorized publication of information about the crippled nuclear power plant of up to ten-years-long imprisonment. As a result people and particularly press are intimidated and kept from telling the truth.
The community of Santa Barbara is invited to attend a free public exhibit and presentation at the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum Auditorium, 1-4pm, Saturday, April 8th featuring the work of volunteers of Nyander Guard. Akira Honda, shelter owner and founder, will also be in attendance to give firsthand details of the traumatic animal rescues in the exclusion zones in the aftermath of the nuclear meltdown. Further accounts of the State of Fukushima will not only be eye opening but also a timely reminder of the 31st Anniversary of Chernobyl Disaster – April 26th, where much of the land there still remains abandoned due to high radiation levels.
In Chernobyl, “Obligatory Resettlement Zones” were areas with over 5mSv/year of radiation, which is the same amount in some parts of Fukushima that will soon open up. Sadly, many pets will still remain at their desolate homes in these areas, living lonely lives with hardly any human contact. On their routine “Animal Watch,” Nyander Guard feeds and cares for these voiceless victims. Being reunited with them on March 11th reaffirmed how unforgiveable and horrific this disaster has become.
Disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima remind the world how dangerous nuclear power is and how they have devastated humans, animals and lands. This is a worldwide problem affecting us all. By raising awareness of the tragedies innocent people and their loved ones continue to endure, we might be able to unite globally and share our individual stories for the sake of humanity and future generations.
Please sign these two important petitions :
From Greenpeace : Defend the human rights of Fukushima survivors
From FFAN-Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network : NO 2020 Olympics in Radioactive Fukushima:
THE STATE OF FUKUSHIMA: Sixth Anniversary 3.11 Nuclear Disaster Karpeles Exhibit Part II
This coming Saturday, April 8 at 1PM – 4PM PDT
At the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum,
21 W Anapamu St, Santa Barbara, California 93101
Tel : +1 805-962-5322
Kerry Anne O’Connor, California born Tokyo resident and volunteer for Animal Rescue Nyander Guard – in Fukushima, Japan will be Santa Barbara Saturday, April 8th for a follow up to the Exhibit and presentation of March 11th in commemoration of the 6th Anniversary of #Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. On 3.11 this year, Kerry was in Fukushima measuring radiation levels and documenting farmlands that are now nuclear wastelands. Among her shocking discoveries, she learned that some areas where the evacuation orders will be lifted at the end of this month are actually higher in radiation than in the exclusion zones.
The community of Santa Barbara is invited to attend this free public exhibit and presentation featuring the work of volunteers of Nyander Guard. Akira Honda, shelter owner and founder, will also be in attendance to give firsthand details of the traumatic animal rescues in the exclusion zones in the aftermath of the #nuclear meltdown which forced 170,000 people to be evacuated; and six years later 84,000 residents still cannot return to their homes due to high radiation levels. Kerry’s further accounts of the “State of Fukushima” will not only be eye-opening but also a good reminder of the 31st Anniversary of #Chernobyl Disaster – April 26 where much of the land there is still abandoned due to high radiation levels.
Media Contact: Kerry O’Connor, 805-482-1745 firstname.lastname@example.org