Saga Assembly OKs Restart of 2 Genkai N-Plant Reactors
Saga, April 13 (Jiji Press)–The Saga prefectural assembly on Thursday voted to accept the restart of the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Genkai nuclear power station in the southwestern Japan prefecture.
Following the decision by majority vote, Saga Governor Yoshinori Yamaguchi said he will make his final judgment as early as this month on whether his prefecture should approve the restart.
The mayor and the town assembly of Genkai, the host municipality of the power plant, have already given the green light. Local government procedures needed for reactivating the reactors will finish if the governor approves.
The resolution to accept the Genkai reactor restart was introduced mainly by members of the Liberal Democratic Party, which holds a majority in the assembly.
Two other assembly groups, including members of the Japanese Communist Party, submitted a resolution to call on Yamaguchi not to jump to a hasty decision.
One year after Kyushu quake, and 2,000 active faults beneath us
Novelist Michiko Ishimure, 90, was in Kumamoto when a megaquake jolted the southwestern region exactly one year ago.
“It felt as if my legs had been ripped off from the knees and I was being dragged over a grassy field. The excruciating pain was something I’d never experienced before,” she wrote for the Seibu edition of The Asahi Shimbun for the Kyushu region.
Ishimure blacked out while trying to make an escape after grabbing some food and a ream of writing paper.
Her injury was minor. But when the “main shock” of the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake struck more than 24 hours after the initial jolt, she was taken to a hospital.
Upon discharge, she returned to the nursing home for the elderly where she was a resident. But her sense of alienation deepened.
“I’d never felt I really belonged there, to begin with,” she explained. “I think this feeling intensified–along with a sense of emptiness–after being shunted around because of the quakes.”
April 14 marks the first anniversary of the massive Kumamoto Earthquake. Many citizens are still unable to return to their prequake lives and are experiencing inconveniences of all sorts. More than 40,000 people are still living in emergency shelters and temporary housing.
A poem by Jun Tsukamoto depicts the plight of survivors fearing aftershocks and sleeping in their cars: “Unable to sleep and wide awake/ Night after night/ Parked cars cover the ground.”
Last summer, “Gendai Tanka” (Contemporary “tanka” poetry) magazine featured verse about the Kumamoto disaster. The pieces reveal the hardships of evacuees, as does this one by Rika Hamana: “My father starts shuffling his feet along a street at night/ The lavatory he is headed to is far away in the driving rain.”
The Kumamoto Earthquake claimed 50 lives. Another 170 died later and their deaths were ruled to have been quake related.
Even after the jolts subsided, survivors were still fighting in the midst of a long battle. How difficult it is to continue providing them the care they need to ensure they don’t feel alone and helpless.
About 2,000 active faults run beneath the Japanese archipelago. I try to imagine what it will be like to have my life completely disrupted and changed, even tomorrow. And I think about what I should do to ensure my own survival.