Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Is Minamisoma to be evacuated?

According to this report from Majirox news, the government "might decide" to evacuate Minamisoma. I am a bit hesitant to believe that the government is ready to admit that it has been wrong/ dishonest for the past three months, especially when the article hasn't cited any specific sources for this assertion. I have written the editor of the piece to ask for clarification. If this turns out to be true, this would represent a complete reversal for the government. My only hope is that it would not be too late for the children who have been living there for the past three months.

In the meantime, the mayor of Minamisoma will be speaking at the Foreign Press Club of Japan tomorrow, so I am very interested in what he has to say. Apparently his focus will be on making the town a center for renewable and "green" energy. That is all fine and good, but maybe he could put his plans for saving the town's economy on hold for a little while... at least until he saves the town's children.


I have just received this response from the editor-in-chief of Majirox News:
Dear Ian,

Thank you very much for your email.

It's a good question. The source was NHK Radio, the Mainichi and
Yomiuri Newspapers, which I've added to the article. They didn't give
a timeline.

I hope this helps.

Catherine Makino
Majirox News
Wow. I can't wait to hear what the mayor has to say tomorrow.



What is the status of MINAMISOMA now ?
(JULY 1, 2011) . Do you have any updates ?
Have you spoken directly to the Mayor recently ?

Ian Thomas Ash said...

Muki Pictures,

Thank you for your question. I attended a press conference with the mayor at the foreign press club on June 9th. He told of the (shocking) plan to place a dosimeter on each child to measure the amounts of external radiation they are being exposed to. He spoke of plans to re-invigorate the economy of the local area and to care for the livestock that had been abandoned in the no-go zone. He also spoke of the ongoing investigation into the "hot spot" areas in his town that have extremely high levels of radiation.

During question time, I asked him if he felt that the children of his town shouldn't be put first- before plans to use renewable energy to reinvigorate the economy. In his answer, he never directly addressed my concern.

Basically, it is my belief that most politicians understand that the evacuation zone needs to be increased, that we should be erring on the side of safety (not the other way around). However, it is just not politically, economically, logistically possible to evacuate that many people, so they are simply trying to keep the calm and assure people that they are safe (even though they know that there is no way to guarantee this).

I think that as a citizen of Minamisoma, the mayor feels that he can't simply throw his town away: and as a politician, he feels he needs to reassure people that it is safe to be there. It is basically a no win situation, and the biggest losers are going to be the children.

Meanwhile, the national government is already talking about SHRINKING the evacuation zone and allowing people to go back in to live. It all comes down to money. Complete lunacy.