TRAVELLING THROUGH CONTAMINATED LANDS (6)
I didn’t have much time to write these days. I’m far from being done with my interviews but time is passing by. I’ll be back in Paris in less than two weeks and I am panicking because there is still so much to do.
Right now I am in Kōfu (甲府), Yamanashi Prefecture. I passed by beautiful mountains on the way to Kōshū (甲州), a nearby city where I had an interview. I heard the fruits and rice coming from this prefecture are great. I have to find a way to buy grapes and apples.
The person I met in Kōshū is originally from Date (伊達, Fukushima). It’s a pure coincidence, but he’s from the same neighborhood as one of my interviewees I met there. When I told him I met with a young mother there, he looked at me surprise. “She’s living there with here children?” She actually fled the region and went to Yamagata Prefecture for a few years but felt that her children missed their dad, so she went back to Fukushima Prefecture to live with her husband. What is amazing is that she looked at peace.
You know, when I was living in Yamagata, I lost a lot of weight. I was eating a lot, but still, I couldn’t put on weight. I was 45kg at the end. I think it’s because of the stress. Since I came back, I gained weight and my children are less sick than before. I think they really like living with their dad. I couldn’t help worrying about it, you know. Because my girl was born there, away from her dad. I wanted my husband to be able to enjoy spending time with his daughter before she grows older and starts refusing to take a bath with him. –Laughs –
Date is pretty badly polluted. The interviewee told me that when she moved in (rented house), radioactivity in the garden was around 2μSv (microsieverts), which means almost 10 times the OK dose. “The administration does not help. Unless the radioactivity goes higher than 3μSv (!!), they don’t decontaminate. So we had to pay for it ourselves.” From the stories I heard, this one was the worst. The city is not taking responsibility because decontaminating costs a lot of money. People have to live in a severely polluted environment everyday. How do they expect young parents to be at ease? To tell you how not concerned the administration seems to be, the radioactivity measuring machine in front of Hobara station (保原駅) shows 0,29μSv and no one seems to care, as if 0,23 and 0,29μSv were not that different.
I really wonder, if cancers and other diseases (such as cataracts) start appearing, who’s going to take responsibility? Is it going to end up with a “we didn’t know, sorry”? Because how would the city be able to pay for reparations? At least they should help decontaminate (like in Fukushima City) and try to have children protected from radioactivity! Instead of that, the interviewee has to tell her children everyday not to play in some places, because after measuring around the house herself, some spots still showed 2μSv. In Iwaki, they are freaking out because some spots are still around 0,3μSv. I am not saying they shouldn’t worry about it, just that the reality they are experiencing is totally different.