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Fukushima Evacuation Stories from a Refugee
May 28, 2013 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pmDonations Welcome
Chikako Nishiyama was on the city council of Kawauchi, a town of 2,300 residents in the prefecture of Fukushima, Japan 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, located 15 miles northeast of Kawauchi.
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. Kawauchi, Japan is the sister city of Greenfield, Massachusetts. As part of Safe and Green’s “Voices of Fukushima” project to commemorate the three year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, citizens from Greenfield educated themselves about the tragic story of Kawauchi’s evacuation, told its stories, and sent translated messages to the people there.
Translating Chikako’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.