Today marks a year since the great disaster in Japan. The nearly 9.0 magnitude quake in the Tohoku region of Northeast Honshu caused an estimated 20,000 confirmed dead or missing, as well as directly caused the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima-ken. And while debris is being cleaned up, and the shortages of food and medical supplies are in the past, the continuing radiological and environmental aftermath persists. The Japanese face the future in the midst of a strong recession in the wake of the nation's greatest crisis since the end of the Second World War.
But with time comes hope. Hope for reconstruction and prosperity; Hope for a new nation. Hope for continued solidarity, and hope for a better nation as a result. But a lot of work still needs to be done. The crisis highlights the fragility of human constructs and human life, and the continuing danger of nuclear fission power.
Much of my family hails from Aizu-Wakamatsu City, in western Fukushima prefecture. While suffering relatively little damage compared to eastern Fukushima, all the prefecture now lives under something of a dubiousness. People don't buy things grown even in safe areas of the prefecture, and people from Fukushima have been discriminated against in ways that are disturbingly similar to the hibakusha, the bomb survivors of WW2. Government efforts to reconstruct and relocate displaced survivors from camps has been sluggish, and the blame-game is in full force with the politicians, who have shown none of the strength of character the people themselves have shown in aiding each other during the course of the tragedy and thereafter.
I wanted to post a thread here to remind people of the on-going struggle and to honor the deceased and those continuing to be affected by this horrible event. As a part-Japanese person living overseas, the limits of what I can do to help are to keep awareness raised about the humanitarian situation--and to remind people of how as a world we're still using power that can cause lasting environmental harm for generations upon generations to come.