Friday 7 March 2014


All eyes are on the village of Miyakoji (都路) where the ban is to be lifted - the first ban to be lifted in what used to be the exclusion zone (that 20 km concentric circle slapped round Fukushima Daiichi in March 2011). In April 2012 the area was designated an 'area to be prepared for the lifting of the ban' and this will come into effect on April 1st. One year later evacuees from the area will have their compensation payments stopped.

Miyakoji, population 357, is in a country area adjoining Namie and Okuma on Route 288 (known locally as Nipapa). Two years ago, in May 2012 after the area was reorganised, we travelled by car along that road through Miyakoji (which was deserted) to try and glimpse the barricades bordering the exclusion zone but we were turned back by police.
Kawauchi mura

The government says that since decontamination work was completed in August last year, the area is ready to be repatriated. Radiation levels are reported to be under 4 mSv/year. The local authority is to reopen the junior high and high school, build shops and try to attract investment. The government will give additional compensation to those who decide to return but monthly payments of 100,000 yen for 'psychological stress' will stop for all residents, wherever they live.

The residents first found out about this last summer and managed to delay the plan, putting the opening off from November last year to this April. The village is split between those who want to go back and get on with farming and those who want more reassurances. These include: repeating the decontamination work already done in order to reduce levels, clean the woods (which haven't been decontaminated yet), continue monitoring radiation, issue dosimeters, carry out health checks etc.

A friend who's a reporter for the Mainichi Shimbun has written an article entitled 'Bureaucrats are Clever' which has had thousands of hits. He attended the meetings with local residents and explains how the bureaucrats managed to push the plan through even though the majority of residents were not happy about the ban  being lifted at this stage. He says they did not respond to residents' concerns such as: If the woods aren't going to be cleaned, will those who make their living there get compensated? What level of radiation is safe for children? The village needs to be safe: why are you planning to build an incinerator for radioactive materials here? The bureaucrats even resorted to quoting the Constitution at them (Article 22, freedom to live where you please) to justify their decision.
Kanryo wa atama ga iin desu (Japanese only)

It's a rum business.
March 19. Fujiwara Akio's article has appeared in the English version of the Mainichi. Worth reading. Bureaucrats are smart

1 comment:

  1. Anne, can you do an update with your thoughts at the time? now I mean