Fiction Complex Absurdity: The reality overwhelmed my thoughts fortunately



Text and Photo by Yoshihiro Kaneda

On the night of June 29th 2012, I spent the night in the Green Hotel near the Onahama port in Iwaki, Japan. The hotel was full of workers of the Fukushima Daiichi. On the same night, there were 200,000 people in front of the prime minister’s house to protest against restarting the nuclear power plant in Tokyo. I didn’t know it on the day.

In the daytime of that day, I went north of Iwaki City with my cousin. Leaves, grass, and soil from the decontamination work were stuffed into black plastic bags and stacked along the coast line. Some of it flew into the Pacific Ocean which was later scooped by the newspaper.

On the next day, Saturday, 30th of 2012, I went to the Fukushima Forum at the Culture Center of Iwaki City. I felt a little queasy after the conference started in the big hall which was packed with several hundred people. I was wondering why I felt it. That might be due to radiation from radioactive people whose bodies inside and outside were contaminated. I put on an N 95 mask and left the hall, relieved.

In the afternoon, I attended the section meeting. I knew that they didn’t believe in both national and local governments, and others, including their neighbors because nobody knew the truth about radiation. One man dared to speak that he respected diverse decisions by people in the areas near the Fukushima Daiichi. They were facing no solution because radioactivity would affect the areas some hundred thousand years. Isolated victims, of nuclear bombs and environmental pollution always must decide what and how to do by themselves because they always face unknown truth.

And the government always uses their scholars in history. In this case, a famous doctor who was born as a son of an exposed person in Nagasaki, a descendant of a clandestine Christian, and had researched and visited Chernobyl more than a hundred times since 1991.  His name was Shunichi Yamashita. He would become a vice-president of Fukushima Medical University. He had lectured people in Fukushima. He said, “Radiation is safe if you are smiling at it.” This became very popular in the media. People always laughed at him with disdain in their conversations at that time. The nuclear accident created a fool.

In the evening, people who came by buses from Tokyo to attend the forum gathered at a restaurant near the Culture Center. They talked with each other about the 200,000 people demonstration in front of the prime minister’s house. One man said “people are coming and more people coming and more coming.” It was the first time for everybody to see a huge crowd of protesters which they couldn’t imagine.

The reality overwhelmed my thoughts fortunately in the end of the day.