Thoughts from a Fukushima resident
Our colleagues at Friends of the Earth Japan are writing a blog on life after the earthquake and tsunami. They will be documenting how they, and fellow citizens, are rebuilding their lives and addressing some of the issues that have arisen as the country recovers from its biggest crisis since World War II.
Nuclear power is unwanted and unnecessary. Life within our means!
We do not need to make life more convenient. Life without damaging someone!
There's not enough to use energy unlimitedly. Life that children are not frightened!
The triple blow of the large earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident are now depriving the people of Fukushima, my home town, of foundation for living. There are villages that decided to evacuate pregnant women, toddlers and babies. Vulnerable people who cannot line up for gasoline at a gas station are being forced to endure difficult living conditions with growing anxiety.
The nuclear accident is a man-made disaster. It is thought that Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), pro-nuclear politicians and academics are to blame for the accident, but that is not all.
The fact is that fifty years ago Fukushima Prefecture invited the electric power company to build nuclear power plants in order to promote regional development. The local anti-nuclear energy movement requested countermeasures against tsunamis but this did not happen. This is totally different from what happens in the United States.
It may be a consequence of our choice and giving our silent approval. We should not only blame TEPCO and the government without understanding the point. It may be said that we made this disaster ourselves as we believed everything the politicians said.
What's the solution?
Providing energy education to learn nuclear power objectively and knowledge and wisdom to protect life is necessary. Reviewing a monopoly system of electric power companies to divide them into a generation company, a transmission company and a distribution company, and establishing a territorially distributed system of electric power supply.
Let people choose their energy. Using different heat sources for residences. An oil stove is useful in case of disaster. Full electrification is easily affected by power failures. Reviewing electricity payment methods for electric power at peak times.
I feel so sad that the sea and fields in my home town have been contaminated in return for a convenient and gorgeous life in the Tokyo metropolitan area. "I don’t mind darkened stores." "Stores do not have to open 365 days a year. Revive regular holidays." "Until now, it was too convenient and too bright." I hear those words spoken earnestly.
The nuclear accident triggers us to look into our daily lives and change the structure. I will take actions praying for the repose of disaster victims in my home town.