Save the Children!

Save the Children!
Yoshihiko Ikegami

There is a blog <> which is probably run by someone living in Fukushima. The name in English is something like “Don’t be Negligent! This is a Warzone.” The blog is constantly recording the amount of radiation reported across Fukushima prefecture, and reading the data thoroughly. With little opinion of the blogger, it persists in data analyses: i.e., extrapolating the numbers to annual measure and comparing them with the numbers in other regions. Spectacles and feelings expected from the title “warzone” are totally omitted, while the message “don’t be negligent” flows out from between the lines.

On April 22nd, the government designated the area within 20 km radius from the reactor 1 as ‘caution zone’ where no one is permitted to enter. After the accident, the government first designated the area within 10 km radius as ‘evacuation zone,’ which was in several days later enlarged to 20 km radius; then the area within 30 km radius was designated as ‘indoor shunting zone.’ In April 16th, the zone within 30 km radius was transformed into ‘planned evacuation zone,’ which was extended further, beyond the zoning of concentric circle.

That is to say, the zoning has been changing so much that we cannot remember what scales and what names correspond to what. Now the people have gradually begun to notice the absurdity of the zoning by way of concentric circle. This has however been really familiar to all of us. For instance, in Hiroshima it represented the bomb-affected zone; more recently in Chernobyl, it showed the area affected by the accident. But what does this zoning embody?

So far in world history, the risk of nuclear war has been warned against, and luckily it has not happened. However, says Stephanie Cooks in her In Mortal Hands: A Cautionary History of the Nuclear Age, nuclear war has happened time and time again in your own home countries: Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Windscale (Sheffield), and other innumerable accidents. She insists that while nuclear warfare and nuclear power generation are different phenomena, they are the same in substance. Maps with concentric circles and accompanied zonings with various designations are plainly telling of the idiosyncrasy of the phenomena. These are less an international dispute than a nuclear warfare, the warfare that has no spectacles other than narratives about the central point.

There was a radio program interviewing the children who evacuated Fukushima. When an interviewer asked them where they were from, they all answered: “from A-bombed area.” And as I hear, the evacuated adults too speak of their homeland as A-bombed area in everyday conversation. If so, the title “Don’t be Negligent! This is a Warzone” could be understood literally and not as a figure of speech.

On April 19th, the government publicized the safety standard of radioactivity in the schools in Fukushima Prefecture. About why and how this was so reckless an act, Chigaya Kinoshita expounded in his “Dystopia of Civil Society 2.” Here I would like to share with the readers our feelings of anger and despair imagining that the children are having school life under the radioactivity allegedly higher than Chernobyl. I must stress: it is not normal at all that the children are living under the dose of radioactivity. Adults can act according to their own responsibility, but children cannot. The anger against the state and TEPCO and hopes for settlement of the situation come to a head among the people in Fukushima. How are the parents in Fukushima thinking about the situation?

A Fukushima-based group “Thinking of the Decrepit Nuclear Plants of Fukushima” (a.k.a. the “Owl Association”) has now begun to call for a self-motivated evacuation by pointing out the danger of the government’s standard. Here I shall introduce several voices of the Fukushima residents from the blog <> of the group.

Although the inauguration of school should have happened only after measurement of soil contamination, the dose standard, and concrete protective measures (…) are presented, our children have already begun to go to school. Protective measures of my child’s school are insufficient: it just instructs pupils to wear caps and masks upon going to and coming back from school, and prohibits activities in schoolyards. Other than these, we are just waiting for further instructions. The protective measures of other schools in the prefecture are uneven, too. The instructions for club and sports activities are also uneven. Both we the parents and children continue our lives in anxiety for everything we do. We are getting tired of the uneasy living, sometimes giving up and coming to hold an illusion that things are back to normal. Among us parents differences in response to the crisis control are being born. Some would say: “if you are too nervous, you cannot live here.” Others would say: “you are too defenseless, you are thinking little of your kids.” Amidst such dispute, we are stressed out and having lives of worries. Even after measured values of doses in the atmosphere and soil have come out, the administration does not take initiative, and far more than that, it has even raised the maximum of standard values and refused to enlarge the evacuation zone (even for children and pregnant women). There is no time to waste. Every day every second, our children are exposed to radiation. The people in mass media: please make more coverage of the present situation of Fukushima City and Koriyama City! All the people in the cities and the entire prefecture must be feeling seriously about all this. Couldn’t we stand and act together beginning with whoever can move ahead first? Is there a future in Fukushima without our effort to protect our children?


We the parents are living with worries. We will have to worry for years to come, until the symptoms appear sooner or later. We will continue to live in agony. Even if our children may not have the symptoms, our grand children could be born in deformity. All the risks are transferred to our descendants. If not now, when are we to make up our minds? Are all these due to the fact that our region has too many population to cover compensation? Please do not weigh the lives of many and money. If it is so safe as you claim, there will never be a problem in the future, will there? Can you prove the safety by promising to compensate each one of us if something ever happens? Can you have your own children and grand children go to school in Fukushima? The parents in Fukushima are living in hell. We the parents are on the verge of insanity, wishing our children to have a happy life without worries. By the imposition of the myth of educational authority, we are blaming ourselves. Please, please guarantee the safety of our children, to make double sure.


Both schools and kinder gardens blindly believe in the words of the radioactivity specialists, stressing that this amount of dose would not cause any problem. Where does their assertion come from, though there has not been any precedence? Every morning we send our children to school with this anxiety – it is just painful. They go to school with masks and caps, completely covering up their skins. At school all the windows are closed; children are enclosed in classrooms, having no outdoor activities (…). Why do these innocent children have to be sacrificed? I am filled with resentment. Help us (…).


The elementary school of my child shows the highest rate of radioactivity, but what we have received from the school has been just a printout, whose content is a coaxing that a professor at The University of Nagasaki says it is safe. There have not been any of the briefing sessions, the kind that Koriyam City offered to its citizens. I cannot act, due to resignation that neither city nor prefecture would listen to one person’s complaint, and remain in Fukushima City with a baby and full of worries. Remembering the accusations against those Fukushima residents who evacuated from the prefecture, I cannot even drive out of the prefecture with my Fukushima number plate. When I was thinking that we the parents had to protect our children in place of the unreliable Japanese government, but one person could not do anything, I have learned about the Owl Association. Let us unite! Unite Fukushima!


Voluntary evacuation? But what can those who have no money do? With no compensation, but prejudice and discrimination only! Isn’t it a form of discrimination that only the haves can evacuate? Help us! Please protect our children!


It is dreadful that while the radioactivity rate is abnormally high at our elementary school, it has begun preparations for gymnastic festival without any precautionary measures. Outdoor afterschool activities have begun in our junior high school. Is the intention of the administration to make all of our dear children sick in the future? How many times have we individually contacted schools and the board of education to make inquiries? Every time they just answered: we would follow the instructions from the above. This is so sad. We demand that they show the attitude to protect our children by initiating mass evacuation, closing schools, or whatever necessary.


The inauguration ceremony was over, and the normal class hours have begun. It seems that the school refrains athletic activities, but there are no announcements for the parents about its protective measures against radiation.


Fukushima Prefecture publicized on its website the value of radioactivity monitoring at this elementary school; I believe that the number is as serious as requiring certain protective measures. It is evident that letting it alone would ruin health of many children. The same is true for other cities, townships and villages in the prefecture. Nonetheless the majority of parents (including myself) cannot move ahead though knowing the risk, and are just anxiously waiting for the initiative of administrative guidance. That is the reality. And one of the reasons that makes our action difficult is the fact that radioactivity is invisible, micro movement.

In the blog uploaded one after another are innumerable complaints like these. Here I quoted only small part of them. If you read them, you would understand the whole situation. They desperately express their intention for serious investigation to achieve precise recognition of the situation, parental feelings to care for their children, deep suspicion against the state that betrays their feelings, and irritation against their own helplessness.

Outside Fukushima, voices are raised for Fukushima’s recovery. But most importantly, the children must be saved. Beginning from this objective, let us stop the denial of the radiation exposure and accept it full-heartedly. Only when we begin to think of an alternative future other than recovery, we will begin to see a way for survival if faintly. Save the children!



おそらく福島にすんでいるであろう人のブログがある 。そのブログは「油断するなここは戦場だ」と名づけられている。このブログの内容は次々と発表される福島県内の放射能線量を記録し、刻々とそれを読み解くことに終始している。ここにはそれを基にしたこの人自身の主張はあまり書かれていない。発表された数値を年単位に延長し、あるいはそれを他地域と比較したりということが淡々と記されている。ブログの名前「ここは戦場だ」から想像されるであろうスペクタクル、あるいは差し迫った感情というものは、読むものの予測をあっさりと裏切り、ほとんど記されていない。ただ「油断するな」というメッセージが行間から漂ってくる、というブログなのである。
かつて今まで世界史において核戦争は、その危険性はいくどとなく警告されているが、幸いにも一度も起こっていない。しかし、とS・クックス(Stephanie Cooks)は続ける。実は核戦争は何度も何度も起こっているのだ、自国で、と。もうお分かりであろうが、彼女はチェルノブイリ原発事故、スリー・マイル、ウィンズケール(シェフィールド)、その他無数の原発事故のことを言っているのである(In Mortal Hands)。その現象は異なるものの、核と原発は同じものだというのが彼女の主張である。一つの中心点から同心円状に広がる地図と共に、さまざまな名称を付されたいくつものゾーニングがこの現象の特異さをあからさまに物語っている。これは国際紛争ではない、核戦争なのである。中心点以外のスペクタクルを欠く戦争なのである。以前ラジオの番組で、福島から避難してきた子どもたちに話を聞くコーナーがあった。そこでインタヴュアーが子どもたちに、君たちはどこから来たのか、と聞くと、子どもたちは「被爆地」から、と答えていた。テレビなどのインタヴューではほとんど聞かれないが、大人たちは自分たちの故郷のことを被爆地であると、日常会話では話し合っているのである。そうであれば、「油断するなここは戦場だ」の意味が比喩ではなく、直接的に理解されるであろうか。
19日、政府は福島県内の学校における放射能の安全基準を示した。この国家犯罪とも言える暴挙に関しては、木下ちがやが「市民社会のディストピア その2」に記してあるとおりである。一説によるとチェルノブイリより高いと言われる基準値の中で子どもたちが学校生活を送るであろうことを想像するときの怒りと絶望感を彼と共に共有したい。この線量の中で子どもが生活するという事態は尋常ではないのである。そして大人はまだしも自分の個人の責任において判断は可能であるが、子どもはそうではない。福島の人たちの国家と東京電力に対する怒りと事態収拾に対する願いは頂点に達している。実際に福島で子供を持つ人々はどのように考えているのだろうか。

福島県のHPでは、当小学校での放射線量モニタリング数値なども公表されており、なんらかの対策を講じるだけの数値であると私は捉えております。 このまま放置すれば、必ず健康を害する児童が出てくることは明らかだと思います。県内他の市町村においても同じです。しかしながら、大半の保護者の方がわかっていても動けない(私もそうですが)、不安だがなんらかの動き(行政指導など)を待っている、そんな状況なんだと思います。また放射能は目に見えない非常に小さいものであることも、行動に移せない原因のひとつだと思います。


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