Fukushima child evacuee speaks out

After “so much pain and sorrow”, a call to end nuclear power

By “Yumi”*

Dear citizens and friends,

My name is Yumi, I’m a high school student now living in Kyoto, Japan.

First, look at this photo of my scribbled note on a sheet of paper.

Yumi's letter

It reads, “I have been through so much pain and sorrow. So I have the RIGHT to speak out: ‘Zero nuclear power! No nukes! No bringing in radioactive contaminated waste!’ I am a child evacuee from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.”

I wrote it when I was an elementary school student soon after my mother and I were evacuated together from Fukushima to Kyoto.

In nearby communities my mother was crying out against nuclear power and telling the public how she had struggled to evacuate from the nuclear disaster.

At that time, being an elementary school student, I had no choice but to accompany her and listen to her speeches.

As a kid, her stories of the nuclear power accident were too difficult to understand, and to be honest, all a bit boring.

I remember a drawing pad and writing utensils I always used to take with me to pass the time drawing pictures.

In gatherings and meetings, my mother shed tears expressing her “No to nuclear power” pleas to the public.

Suddenly one day, a vision of my grandfather, cousins and the old classmates I had been parted from, and now far away, appeared in my mind’s eye.

I felt hatred for nuclear power and the disaster which caused this tragedy rise up in me.

This was how and why even as a kid I felt compelled to write down those sentences.

Eight years have passed since then, all the feelings I had back then are fading as the years roll by, but whenever I look at this piece of paper I remember those feelings as clearly as if it was just yesterday.

1024px-Fukushima_City_with_a_view_of_Fukushima_Station

Yumi and her family evacuated Fukushima City, where “they detected 600 times higher doses of radiation than before the accident.” (Photo: purplepumpkins/WikiCommons)

In Fukushima City where my family lived, due to the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, they detected 600 times higher doses of radiation than before the accident.

However, the government of Japan did not issue any evacuation order for the residents.

So far I haven’t had any serious health issues, but a great fear strikes me whenever I hear the child thyroid cancer incidences in Fukushima prefecture have increased, and especially every time I myself undergo a yearly thyroid medical examination.

One reason for this is the memory of the unstoppable nose bleeds I suffered in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

I have heard that the health effects of radiation can occur not only right after the irradiation, but also after many years, and there are not a few cases of this.

(The video below, featuring Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education, explains in 2016 the already observable the implications of increased thyroid cancers and other health effects.)

Along with my mother, I have become a member of plaintiffs of “the Kansai class action lawsuit for damages caused by the nuclear accident.”

The aim is to fight against the government of Japan and TEPCO, to create a safer society, which of course includes my family and friends in Fukushima, and to prevent another tragic nuclear accident from ever happening again.

Till now I was just following my mother’s footsteps.

However, from now on, as one of the victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, I am determined to do what I can do on my own, step by step, just as my mother has done and continues to do.

We the nuclear evacuees of Fukushima thank you for your much-needed continuing support.

Thank you.

Yumi

Yumi’s letter in Japanese

「こんな苦しい思いをしている。そして、体験をしているから、私は、脱原発、反原発、がれき受け入れ反対という権利はあると思います。~福島から避難した子ども~」

Yumi's letter

これは私と母が福島から京都に避難をしてすぐ、当時、小学生の私が書いたものです。

福島から京都へ避難をすると、私の母は様々な場所で避難の苦労とともに「原発いらない」の声をあげていました。

小学生の私はいつも母とともに会場へ出向き、母の話を聞くことになりました。

小学生の私にとって、原発事故の話は難しく、正直、退屈以外の何者でもありませんでした。

そのため、いつも画用紙と筆記用具を持参し、絵を書いて時間をやり過ごしていたものでした。

それでも、毎回、涙を流しながら「原発いらない」と話す母の姿を見ていると、突然、離れ離れになってしまった祖父やいとこ、そして、クラスメイトのことを思い出し、そのきっかけを作った「原発」や「原発事故」に対して、憎しみの感情を抱くようになり、書いた言葉がこれでした。

あれから8年が経ち、当時の感情は月日とともに薄くなっていましたが、この画用紙を見ると、当時の気持ちが昨日のことのように思い出されます。

私たちが住んでいた福島県福島市は、福島の原発事故により、それまでの600倍となる放射線量が計測されました。

しかし、日本政府から避難指示は出されませんでした。

1024px-Anti-Nuclear_Power_Plant_Rally_on_19_September_2011_at_Meiji_Shrine_Outer_Garden_08

“Stop All the Orerating Nuclear Power Plants Immediately and Decommission them.” (Photo:保守)

私は今のところ、大きな健康被害は出ていませんが、福島のこどもたちの小児甲状腺がんが増えるたび、また、毎年の甲状腺の検査のたび、大きな恐怖を感じます。

なぜなら、私は福島の原発事故後、どぼどぼと止まらない鼻血を出したからです。

放射能の被害は、すぐに出ることもあれば、何年も経ってから現れることも少なくないと聞きました。

自分たちはもとより、福島の家族や友達みんなが安心して暮らせる社会づくり、二度と悲しい原発事故が起こらないよう、私と母は原発賠償関西訴訟の原告になり、日本政府と東電と闘っています。

これまでは、ただ母についていくだけでしたが、これからは私も母と同様に、福島の原発事故の一被災者として自分にできることを少しづつやっていきたいと思っています。

みなさんの応援もよろしくお願いします。

*For fear of reprisals, neither Yumi nor her mother can use their names or be featured here photographically. We thank her — and Etsuji Watanabe, a member of the Japanese anti-radiation citizen-scientist group ACSIR — for permission to publish her letter.

Headline photo shows an anti-nuclear protest in Japan in 2011. (Photo: 保守 /WikiCommons)

One Comment on “Fukushima child evacuee speaks out

  1. Pingback: Fukushima: 8 years out and the disaster drags on – Seacoast Anti-Pollution League

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