Please welcome Chikako Nishiyama, a nuclear refugee from Kawauchi, Japan, to New England. Ms. Nishiyama will be on a speaking tour of our area with Chiho Kaneko.
Kawauchi , formerly a town of 2,300 hundred people 15 miles from the Fukushima reactors, is the sister city of Greenfield, Massachusetts. As part of the Safe and Green Campaign’s “Voices of Fukushima” project to commemorate the three year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, we learned that Greenfield, Mass. is a sister city to Kawauchi. So people in Greenfield educated themselves about the tragic story of Kawauchi’s evacuation, and held a vigil on the town green tell its stories. Citizens of Greenfield and schools wrote messages to Kawauchi, which were translated and sent to Japan.
Chikako Nishiyama was on the city council of Kawauchi in 2011. As she was getting ready to run for a second term, the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred with its resulting tsunami and devastating meltdowns of the nearby Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors. When she received by the messages from the people of Greenfield, she reached out to Chiho Kanako and organized a trip to New England. She will speak first hand with towns in our own evacuation zone.
May 19: 1:00pm Rally at Entergy’s Pilgrim Reactor and at 6:30pm in Kingston, MA at the First Parish Unitarian Church, 222 Main Street. Click here for details.
May 28 : 7pm, Centre Congregational Church, Main St. Brattleboro, VT Click here for details. Also to be scheduled: meeting with Windham County legislators, Red Cross and emergency planners.
May 29: 7:30pm Second Congregational Church, 16 Court Square, Greenfield, MA Click here for details
June 4 Location & Time TBA, Montpelier, Vt. Contact Debra Stoleroff – (VYDA) email@example.com
Kawauchi was a shelter town for refugees from the 10 mile zone, until it too was completely evacuated after a hydrogen explosion sent a plume of radiation over the community. Residents were allowed to return in April 2012. Ms. Nishiyama’s son, a firefighter, was sent back to the town before the evacuation order was lifted and she is concerned for his health. Ms. Nishiyama has been an outspoken critic of TEPCO and the government. She is currently working to find new homes for refugees in western Japan, where people can begin to live healthier lives.
Translating Ms. Nishiyama’s story will be Chiho Kaneko. Born in Japan’s Iwate Prefecture, after graduating from Hokkaido University with a degree in agronomy Chiho moved to the U.S. in 1993 and became an interpreter/translator, visual artist, musician, and columnist for a Japanese daily newspaper. She has spoken in Brattleboro twice about her fourth visit to Japan since the March 11, 2011 nuclear meltdowns.
We are grateful to Chiho Kaneko for her many gifts to our community, including bringing Ms. Nishiyama to us. Please join us at one of the events. If you want to volunteer to help, contact info is in the calendar pages for each event.