” After over two years in Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, and recording some 250 hours’ worth of footage, a journalist is putting his work out in the form of a 3 hour and 45 minute documentary film.
A producer and editor for “The Will: If Only There Were no Nuclear Plant” praised the film as a “treasure-trove of imagery,” so well does it capture the emotions of Fukushima residents and tense situations. In one such scene, the film’s protagonist rushes to the home of a fellow dairy farmer who has committed suicide, a scene filmed after that farmer’s obituary just happened to come to bear while the journalist who made the film was on-site.
That journalist was Naomi Toyoda, 57, who got his start as a freelance reporter back in 1982. A cram school teacher until then, he was spurred to act after seeing reports of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon on television. He would spend 20 years reporting on Palestine, and 10 years covering Iraq’s depleted uranium rounds.
“It’s deep reporting, different than constantly dealing with the latest stories like in the mass media,” says Toyoda. He runs his camera only after building a relationship of trust with his subjects, after they begin to show their natural selves.
Despite his time reporting from battlefields, Toyoda was still struck with doubt while working in Fukushima Prefecture. “I didn’t know what I should do,” he says, to help the residents there who have been forced to live their lives together with the threat of radiation.
The documentary film ends with the protagonist walking with a dosimeter around a temporary storage site for radioactive waste that resulted from decontamination work. Toyoda, in an expression of determination, says, “Three years after the nuclear disaster, nothing is solved. I’m going to keep on reporting.” ”