Saturday 10 March 2012

10 March 2012

Hi folks,
Not a good day for a Matsuri. Woke up to snow but by the time I got to the station around lunchtime the snow had melted and events were in full swing.

As promised there were stalls of street food doing good trade, three stages hosting events, and Fukushima FM Radio blasting out.

Wandered into the Big-I building (it's got a planetarium on the top floor the highest in the world - honestly, it's in the Guiness Book of Records!) and found lots of people in the 'Citizens Plaza' on the 7th floor. Events organised by various anti-nuclear organisations. A film show, children's health advice room (packed), and a symposium. I sat in on the discussions. The atmosphere very different from yesterday. An urgency, many in the audience taking notes.

Japan doesn't have a good record when it comes to compensating victims of disasters. There are still lawsuits going on regarding Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the mercury pollution case in Minamata in 1956. The symposium was calling for legislation to 'protect the lives and dignity' of victims of the Fukushima nuclear accident, particularly the right to compensation, proper healthcare and the right for access to information and consultation.

I didn't like the fact that there were outsiders there. Not happy with the idea of every anti-movement jumping on the Fukushima bandwagon to promote their own interests. But it happened with Hiroshima and I guess we're up there. One comment did get me thinking though. The PM's announcement in December that the accident was over which angered so many people here. Was it to cover the government? To put an end to any claims for compensation for health related issues in the long term? I don't know.
(Sunday 11 March: Big demonstrations in Tokyo and here in Koriyama.)

Left the meeting and walked back to the square. The stalls were gone, replaced by paper lanterns, glowing in the dark. Beautiful.

Children in the station square
'Fura Gaaru' (Hula Girls) from the Hawaiian Centre in Iwaki.
Made famous in the eponymous film showing the metamorphosis from coal mine to Hawaiian spa resort.
Symposium to 'protect the lives and dignity' of Fukushima victims

Lanterns made of Japanese paper decorated by children

The sign at the back reads 'Harubotaru', spring fireflies. Apparently an old custom where children write wishes on lanterns.

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