I was recently asked “How much do (Fukushima) people worry about all the chemicals that were spread around because of the great Tōhoku quake?”
My short answer is: It depends on the person.
My longer answer is: The question is rather a simplistic one to ask of a Fukushimer. We here don’t think only of the chemicals. First and foremost, people were killed by the the tsunami. Second, people’s houses were destroyed by the tsunami.
And then, after that, the nuclear meltdowns, of course. People who lived in what is called the “Exclusion Zone” were forced to leave their houses. They can’t go back without permission, but they do still own their homes and their land. Of course, their homes have been neglected and fallen into ruin.
So then after this, worrying about the chemicals? Well, nobody here is happy about the radiation. That’s for sure. We don’t like the danger it puts our children in, the future in, and how it’s put us into the serial killer list of tragedies. It’s kind of like waking up one morning and finding out your prefecture is the Unabomber. And hey, it’s not our fault.
There are different worries going on, though. Some people are (mostly) worried about their health or the health of their children. (I think pretty much all Fukushimers worry about the children, to varying degrees. Some people a lot. Some not as much. But everybody worries about our children.)
We all worry about the future. This isn’t something that goes away in a few months. The aftermath of the meltdowns will be with us for years….and years…..and …………um. My attention span isn’t great. What was I saying? Oh, the cleanup and so on will be here for a really llllloooooooonnnnnnnnggggggg time.
Farmers worry about their crops. And they’ve been treated unfairly by the internet media because their produce gets tested, and it is supposedly safe. (“Chemicals” i.e. radiation was NOT spread evenly thoughout our prefecture. Obviously towns closer to the plant were harder hit than the towns way out west, and so on. Furthermore, people on the internet seem to have the impression that all our rice fields are on the grounds of the nuclear power plant, or just down the road from it. Cough Stupid Netflix New Zealand Guy Cough)
Owners of hotels worry about tourism. Before the quake, Fukushima had a wonderful reputation in Japan as a place for Tokyoites to get away to. Now, of course, this reputation is ruined. In my opinion, most of Fukushima Prefecture is safe. (Ironically though, before the quake we didn’t get many tourists from abroad. People abroad hadn’t heard of us. Before the quake, foreigners in Japan visited Tokyo, Kyoto, Nikko. Tohoku was a destination primarily for Japanese people who are more familiar with what the area offers. Understandably so. After all, foreign tourists in the U.S. don’t head to Branson, Missouri. A place like Branson is for Americans. Okay, bad example. LOL)
On a day to day basis? NOBODY WORRIES AT ALL. What’s to worry about? Here in Fukushima City, our radiation levels are within a safe level. (We can measure them. We don’t guesstimate, which seems to be how most people on the internet determine our radiation levels.)
And guesstimation is……….
Well, let me explain it this way. It snowed last night. I told my mom on the phone, “It’s at least one or two feet of snow!” Poor me, shoveling two feet of snow.
I went out and actually measured it with a ruler. (The ruler has both metric and um whatever Americans use…Imperial?)
It’s actually about seven and a half inches. So it’s below what I guesstimated. SNOW CAN BE MEASURED. AND SO CAN RADIATION.
So back to the original question. “How much do people worry about all the chemicals that were spread around because of the great Tōhoku quake?”
How much would YOU worry if chemicals were spread around your state/province? What would you do if it happened to YOU?