JAPAN | Fukushima residents confront government officials

Posted on July 25, 2011


Frightened residents stonewalled: Have your say

Fukushima residents confront government officials

Video: Residents stonewalled by government officials

A video taken at an emotional meeting between Japanese government officials and the citizens of Fukushima City, is threatening to go viral on YouTube. The video, posted on July 23 by pejorativeglut is unusual in that it features a faithful translation of the confrontation in English.

The exchange is brief and shocking, though the uploader points out in his notes that it was edited down from other longer videos that so far have not received subtitles. It culminates with the officials walking out, chased by a desperate member of the public, determined that they take a sample of urine back to Tokyo for testing. Unsurprisingly, the officials decline, saying it is simply not their responsibility.

Time Out Tokyo‘s editor tweeted this video from his account earlier this afternoon, with the line, ‘To anyone outside Japan who thinks the Fukushima situation might have cleared up…’. The response was such that we decided to open this page to accomodate your comments.

Please send your comments via our Twitter account, our Facebook accountor or by emailing the editor. Please note, by submitting a comment you are accepting that it may be edited for house style and used on this page. We’ll endeavour to use whatever we receive

Video: ‘My husband is ready to die to protect me and our children.’

A reader has alerted us to a second video from the same meeting between government officials and the citizens of Fukushima. In it, a mother of two is overwhelmed by emotion as she relates the difficulties of life in the city over the past four months, and the factors that are preventing people from leaving under their own accord.

Reader’s comments

We’ve had a huge response to this post, which will be encouraging news for the people who created the video. We’ve posted some of the comments we received below. We’d very much like to hear the opinions of our Japanese readers, so feel free to forward what you have to say about this.

From Mizuho, via email: ‘Even in the Kanto area, we are facing difficulties stopping the government from heartless actions. One is Yokohama lunch contamination problem. They are making the kids eat contaminated meat and vegetables at school lunches, insisting it’s safe because “they are sold in markets”, even though most of the food is not tested and much of it is from the heavily contaminated areas near the Fukushima Nuke plant. I have a 5th grade daughter and I want this nightmare to stop.’

From Blacko Muiri, via our Facebook page: ‘This is typical of what’s wrong with politicians vis a vis SPIN. The government has taken some measures and can bleat about these “accomplishments” to the whole world. In the meantime, as usual, ordinary people, who aren’t being properly cared for are willfully and shamefully ignored. How different would it be if a member of SMAP lived in the same town as these residents? Typical Japan Inc. As long as it “looks like” it’s being done it IS being done.’

@Akemi1172: ‘I saw the video and I am in shock! my Father’s family is from Fukushima my heart goes out to the residents!’

@takekawa: ‘I can understand people in Fukushima go insane. Nobody controls, manage and nobody knows. Feel sorry especially for kids.’

From Karene (via email): ‘We are all worried sick for their country people [Japan] as well as our own. This is a global disaster and we all know it! It’s time for them to be honest so we can all try and protect ourselves and find a solution.’

@TokyoGurlK: ‘It should be ‘to anyone outside Fukushima’. I’m ashamed of not knowing this.’

@eddie_landsberg: ‘What is the role of local govs & hokenjos? I suspect local/central gov are playing volley ball.’

@shilkytouch: ‘This crippling inability to make decisions is absolute madness.’

@theduke7: ‘This really is completely and utterly outrageous.’

@zenhostel: ‘Ignoring the facts will not make them go away’

@TokyoMango: ‘This video gave me a renewed sense of sadness for Japan.’

@Stephen_Gash: ‘Disgraceful.’

@charlesakiraono: ‘I want the truth!’

An interesting debate relating to these videos is taking place on Japan Probe. Thanks to @ourmaninabiko for pointing it out.

@wrizal: ‘It’s disheartening to see officials show up, but not give any answers, even if it’s what people don’t want to hear.’

@lgb_taro: ‘In this country, national prestige comes first, still. After all we experienced in WWII. Worst part is, the power holders are united.’

Posted in: JAPAN