Katsutaka Idogawa, the former mayor of Futaba city, shares his experiences during the March 2011 tsunami and triple meltdown. He reviews his timeline of decision-making to evacuate the citizens of Futaba as well as the lack of information disclosed to him by the Japanese government. Idogawa explains his distrust of the government based on their lack of the following: monitoring of radiation levels, taking responsibility for citizens’ safety, practicing evacuation drills in the event of another nuclear crisis and sharing information about the risks of radiation exposure due to air and soil contamination. Children from Fukushima Prefecture who have been moved back to contaminated areas are suffering from heart conditions, asthma, leukemia and lethargy. Despite the concerns of parents, safety measures are not being taken. Idogawa himself has been experiencing lethargy, muscle weakness, worse vision and dry skin, symptoms from radiation exposure. According to Idogawa, the central government and prefecture authorities say, “There is no radiation. Fukushima Prefecture is safe.” He says that the government and large corporations are pushing for nuclear energy reliance in Japan, although alternative energy sources, like hydroelectric energy, are available. Sixty to 70 percent of Japanese citizens are now in favor of utilizing these options, Idogawa says. …
” SS: So after the tragedy, the government wanted to build nuclear waste storage facilities on the territory of Futaba. You were against that, but now, as I understand, these facilities are going to be built after all. Do you fear that that will prevent residents from ever returning to their town?
KI: Media report it as the final decision has been made. But that’s not true. The problem is with the decision-making process. That’s why I keep saying no. The central government makes all the decisions by itself the way it pleases. It ignores the victims. Actually, we have a rule in our country saying that decisions can’t be made without taking people’s opinion into consideration, but the government ignores this rule and just does everything the way they see fit. After all, this matter is up to landowners. Unless they agree, nothing can happen. That’s how things work in Japan. And even though there’s been much speculation, nobody has talked to landowners yet. So media reports suggesting that the final decision has been made are premature. In reality, nothing has been decided. It is not clear at this point what will happen. All we know right now is that there will be repositories built and that land will be nationalized. Radiation is a big problem today but even this problem hasn’t been solved yet. Without consulting with us, with the people, that is, Fukushima Prefecture announced that people will be relocated from the prefecture for 30 years, but they failed to keep this promise as well. It’s all very unreasonable. All the unpopular decisions were made without us. That’s why I’ve been saying no all the time. ”
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