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Evacuation Stories from a Fukushima Refugee
May 19, 2013 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pmFree
Chikako Nishiyama, from the village of Kawauchi in Fukushima
Prefecture, Japan, is making a trip to New England to offer her eye-witness
report on the Fukushima nuclear disaster. She has first-hand accounts of her
own travail as well as that of others from her village.
Kawauchi is about 15 miles southwest of the stricken Fukushima nuclear
reactors. The 2,300 people who lived there were evacuated. A year later
they were told it was safe to return, but most still stayed away, fearing
radioactive contamination. Now two years later, there are still many who
have not returned.
Ms. Nishiyama has been an outspoken and very courageous critic of TEPCO’s and the Japanese government’s whole handling of this disaster. Her son, a firefighter in his early twenties, was assigned to go back to the village before the evacuation order was lifted. He is still stationed there today, and Chikako is very concerned for his health. She is currently working to find locales in the western part of Japan where those who want to relocate can start new lives in a more sustainable and
Translating Chikako’s story will be Chiho Kaneko. Born in Japan’s Iwate Prefecture (about 150 miles north of the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors) and 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. Her most recent trip to Japan was last fall, her fourth visit since the March 11, 2011 nuclear meltdowns.