【PART 2】 The Mystery of Fukushima: Why Japan Cannot Stop Nuclear Power Plants?

 

I had almost finished writing the Visitor’s Guide to U.S. Military Bases in Okinawa (after coming back to Tokyo from gathering information in Okinawa), when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck on March 11, 2011. Subsequently, the Fukushima Nuclear Accident occurred. At first, all was confusion. But I eventually grasped the meaning of the situation after two weeks or so.

The structure of “Okinawa=Fukushima” was becoming obvious to me by that summer. After all, I had been doing research on trials regarding the U.S. bases in Okinawa just before the Fukushima accident.

As the triangle diagram at the lower left on Part 1 explains, the Constitution would most likely not resolve the Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) issue either. Despite the Fukushima event, an accident which is tens of thousands of times as disastrous as the U.S. Forces Helicopter Crash in the Okinawa International University will surely happen in the future.

In the helicopter crash case, the perpetrator (U.S. Forces) sealed off the scene to conceal information, and victims (citizens) lost every appeal for justice. Then, after a while, the perpetrator (U.S. Forces) resumed dangerous training exercises as if nothing had happened, saying only that “security is ensured.” The same thing has been happening in Fukushima since the disaster.

 

【1】 The “obviously ridiculous thing” that happened in Fukushima

 

Since the NPP accident, we Japanese have been in a state of great confusion. Amid conflicting information, many people living in the Tohoku region of Northeastern Japan and the Kanto region (including Tokyo) have been forced to choose between ultimate options: “giving up everything to evacuate to safer places” or “staying in the same hazardous place to try to reconstruct lives.”

Most dramatically in Fukushima, 200,000 people lost their homes and fields, and had to live in — temporary shelters without assurance for tomorrow. Despite decontaminating rooms again and again, the radiation rate went back up each time. Above all, the struggles of mothers with small children were beyond description.

As the situation calmed down, the victims nevertheless had to face unbelievable trials, one after another. The most ridiculous of all was how nobody had been called to account for this historic catastrophe that robbed tens of thousands of people of their homes and fields.

“That’s ridiculous!” Indeed it is, especially when you take time to think about it. If a factory exploded and caused damage, the police would surely investigate it. They would arrest those in charge by inspecting the scene, questioning and clarifying flaws in safety measures. This procedure would be followed even in an everyday accident, like a crane truck falling and injuring a pedestrian.

Why, then, have the perpetrators of this huge disaster not been punished? Why do the police not investigate the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)? Why do they not inspect for any flaw in the safety measures? Why haven’t the victims that lost their homes and fields been compensated properly?