(Original text in Japanese below)


Ayumi G.

Since 3/11, worries constantly haunt my body and I cannot let go of them. I read in a book that similar worries are often found as a common psychological response among hibakushas. “Maybe one day I will be struck by a disease, one day my children and then their children will be affected by radiation…” – such angst is shared among hibakushas from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as those who live close to nuclear power plants throughout the world.

Living in Osaka in the western Japan, I am worried about my friends in the eastern Japan whose lives are in present and imminent danger, about an unforeseeable development of the disaster at Fukushima Nuclear Plant, about continuously leaking and spreading radioactive substances, and about the fact that 50 some reactors throughout Japan could be struck by more earthquakes to come in the near future.

I am distressed by the choice of food to buy at supermarket. Fish might be no longer edible since radiation has been discharged into the sea. Milk carton worries me, since it doesn’t indicate what part of Japan the milk comes from. Then I look at soymilk, but the soybeans are from the US. Where in the US are they produced? How can I be certain that they aren’t from fields near nuclear power plants? Is there really safe food? Even if there is, it will be too expensive for me to afford.

I hear that the life in Tokyo is even tenser. Tap water is undrinkable; even for washing vegetables, you are hesitant to use it; even taking shower with it is uncomfortable. The government and TV insist that it’s safe, but who could believe them?

More or less, all are affected by the disease of anxiety.

But that is not all.

“Japanese history has entered a new phase, and once again we must look at things through the eyes of the victims of nuclear power, of the men and the women who have proved their courage through suffering.” These are the words by Kenzaburo Oe after 3.11.

I must stress here that Oe’s words describing the Japanese as “victims of nuclear power” are not suitable to describe the present Japan at all. At the end of last year, for instance, Japan made a decision to export nuclear power plant to Vietnam. Japan, an archipelago with high probability of earthquake, had recklessly built numerous nuclear plants, and it is we the Japanese who could/did not stop them. We are not just victims. We knew somewhere in our minds that one day this could happen.

A mother who brought her child to an anti-nuke protest, expressed the same thought through a microphone in front of the headquarter of the Kansai Electric Power in Osaka. At recent street protests, I often see more women, more mothers, and more people whom I don’t usually see on the street. I hope to see more actions of women, children, and all commoners, spreading wider and wider like ripples.

The word hibakusha should not be particularized to Japan, for hibakushas have been born everywhere on the globe, as a matter-of-fact. Depleted uranium munitions were used in the Iraqi War, which caused many to be exposed to radiation. So were the people in the surrounding areas of Chernobyl in Ukraine. In the neighboring Belarus, one every four individuals is said to have been affected by the diseases related to radiation. The fish, caught near the nuclear experiment sites across Russia, are exported to India, by way of which condensed radiation has reached bodies of the people there. There are too many examples vis-à-vis the US. By the use of nuclear substances, the state has destroyed autonomous livelihood of the Native Americans, has destroyed the bodies of low-income workers and sometimes even of their own soldiers, and it has sold countless nuclear products to the rest of the world. Even Fukushima reactors were made by the American company GE.

When we look at the long-term solution for the nuclear threat on the planetary level, how to change the US and all other pro-nuclear states will be the most crucial task.

Hibakushas exist globally, and there is no need to pity Japan alone. We still do not know what will come after Fukushima, but if we don’t stop the entire nuclear apparatuses, it won’t be too long before we see the second Fukushima, the third, the fourth…













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