Ideas for Voices of Fukushima

  • Action Center


    Towns in Solidarity with Japan’s Nuclear Refugees

    Saturday or Sunday, March 9 or 10 (your choice).

    Map   Info on Towns

    * Please email as soon as possible with what Fukushima town you are adopting, where you will be, and what day & time you will be there, so we can let the press know in advance.


    • It can be as simple as standing with a banner. SAGE will provide flyers to hand out.
    • Wear face masks (cheap at the hardware store for painting). Put CAUTION tape everywhere.
    • Carry Geiger counters, or create mock ones. Make a mock government “radiation station” with the people’s #s next to the government’s.
    • Create a “nuclear refugee” village on your town green. Tents, outdoor kitchen, sleeping bags, children in “class.”
    • Fill big garbage or leaf bags with stuff (crumpled newspaper is light). Make a pile or piles to represent piles of radiated dirt dug up from your town. In Japan, there are piles of these everywhere, full of radiated debris, and they don’t know what to do with it. Put where people walking by can ask you “what’s that?”
    • Print photos from your Japanese town, and put on posters side by side with posters of your own town. It is easy to imagine hay fields where rice grows. The mountains and rivers could be our own. Their trees turn autumn colors just like our own. They had orchards and farms, downtowns and schools.
    • Create IMAGINE IF …. graphics.

    SAGE IS MAKING A FLYER WITH INFO LIKE THIS, BELOW, FOR YOU TO HAND OUT or for graphics, posters, skits, signs…

    Imagine (your town name) is __________, Japan. We are both _____  miles from nuclear reactors.

    • 80% of us did not know we should evacuate until 2 days after March 11 accident
    • 60% of us were forced to move four times or more during the evacuation, because the reactors had many releases over two weeks, because the plume moves as the wind changes.
    • We were sent to one shelter, and then the plume covered that shelter, so we had to move – again and again.
    • Evacuation shelters would not accept our pets, so we had to leave them behind.
    • All of our cows, sheep, goats, pigs and chickens had to be left behind and were later slaughtered because of high cesium levels.
    • We had to leave everything in our homes behind, because everything was irradiated.
    • We were told we would be able to return in weeks … then in months … now, in generations.

    Now, Two Years Later:

    • 60% of us live separately from other family members. Most often, fathers live far from mothers and children.
    • Most of us now live 60 to 140 miles away from home (your town). Some of us live in Tokoyo – so different from our village! 160,000 refugees are spread around the country.
    • Our children are becoming obese because they cannot play outside.
    • 36 percent of our children have nodules or cysts on their thyroids (the normal rate is less than 1 percent). For young girls it is worse, up to 54%.
    • Our children have serious abnormalities in pulmonary function and bone marrow function, leaving them more susceptible to disease and illness. 2/3 of children tested have cesium in their urine.
    • The government gives an allowance to us, because we lived in the evacuation zone. It does not give money to those who voluntarily moved because of radiation the government does not acknowledge. We have to hide the fact we get money, because there is resentment. In some places we live now, we even hide the fact we are refugees because of discrimination.
    • TEPCO has begun incinerating radiated materials.
    • We worry about radiation when it snows or rains.
    • We carry Geiger counters with us always.  There are now government radiation monitors set up, but everyone knows they are set at half what our Geiger counters show.
    • Everything looks normal. Areas outside the evacuation zone have had debris from the earthquake and tsunami cleared. Radiation is silent and invisible. We live in a beautiful land we fear.
    • The situation is unstable. We know radiation is still leaking, and there could be more meltdowns and explosions. The nightmare could happen all over again.


    Things we don’t think about

    “Natsumi Takakura cannot cast her vote in the Dec. 16 Lower House election in her hometown. Nor can she find a polling station near her new home–her family’s seventh in less than two years.”

    “We prepared and prepared and talked about safety measures for a long time. But I honestly never thought something like this would happen,” former resident of the host reactor town. He was separated from his family and evacuated to four different shelters as the radiation spread.

    “Evacuees are not able to afford parking space in their places of refuge, so many cars were left behind to become part of the contaminated landscape.” (Greenpeace, Shadowlands)

    Freedom of the press: In 2010, Japan ranked 12th in press freedom; in 2013, it ranks 55th – “affected by a lack of transparency and almost zero respect for access to information on subjects directly or indirectly related to Fukushima. This sharp fall should sound an alarm.” Reporters Without Borders

    Fukushima evacuated 130,000. Vermont Yankee’s 10 miles evacuation zone has 36,300 people. If Vermont Yankee had a 50 mile evacuation zone, 1.5 million people would have to be evacuated.

    3/11/11 is the date of the earthquake and tsunami. But the nuclear reactors had major radiation releases from March 11 through March 26, and radiation releases continue to this day. The reactors and fuel pools are still very unstable.

    Contaminated soil

    Photo – Pile of contaminated soil in bags:

    Decontamination: “This week, according to the Fukushima Labor Bureau, only 10% of some 1,800 jobs offered for decontamination work were filled.  The labor ministry attributes the low numbers to fears over radiation exposure and low pay.” 01-29-13. Talk of a draft. Decomm workers paid poorly b/c so many subcontractors between funding & workers. Graft, corruption. Japanese Mafia involvement. Widespread reports of radiated soil and debris being dumped into ditches, rivers, ocean.  “From Dec. 11 to 18, four [national newspaper] reporters spent 130 hours observing work at various locations in Fukushima Prefecture. At 13 locations in Naraha, Iitate and Tamura, workers were seen simply dumping collected soil and leaves as well as water used for cleaning […]The reporters also talked to about 20 workers who said they were following the instructions of employees of the contracted companies or their subcontractors in dumping the materials. A common response of the workers was that the decontamination work could never be completed if they adhered to the strict rules. […] “We were told to clean up only those areas around a measurement site,” one worker said Jan. 7, 2013

    Photos by Greenpeace – Beautiful farms, horse, rice, Geiger counter:

    Japan’s campsite directory for Fukushima region, with beautiful nature photos, towns listed

    Evacuation and the exclusion zones

    In some cases, people lived in evacuation shelters for 11 months, despite the government building 50,000 units of new housing within 6 months of March 11, to house victims of the tsunami, +/or earthquake, or meltdown.

    Life as a refugee – photo montage

    Region facts, scenery, agriculture

    80% of the towns in the evacuation zone did not know to evacuate until 2 days after the accident

    Variety of info on refugees, including discrimination, govt compensation, slow payment from TEPCO. Fact based, descriptive; written by American teacher who lives in Japan

    October 2012 evacuation zone study of Fukushima with comparisons to US & European evac zone plans

    Stress survey of evacuees

    Radiation monitor field “Fallout of fear” psychological damage

    Food Images

    Fukushima radiation in US food supply

    from Japanese and other news articles, written by American English teacher who lives in Japan

    Animal rescue

    Wildlife: The Japan Ministry of Health has conducted testing on wildlife that are commonly hunted in Fukushima. Pheasants, ducks, wild boar and bears all were found with internal radiation contamination high enough their meat would not pass the radiation limits on food. Bears tested had a combined cesium level of  170 bq/kg in one, 460 bq/kg in the other. Wild boar tested had combined cesium levels of between 79 to 1900 13 boar were tested and all were contaminated.

    Corporate / Government Collusion:

    Collusion by corporation & government regulators in bed together, just like in US. They set safety standards lower than they know is necessary, to save money.   Japan DIET (Congress) Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission: The Commission has verified that on March 11, 2011, the structure of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant was not capable of withstanding the effects of the earthquake and the tsunami. Nor was the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant prepared to respond to a severe accident. In spite of the fact that TEPCO and the regulators were aware of the risk from such natural disasters, neither had taken steps to put preventive measures in place. It was this lack of preparation that led to the severity of this accident.