TRAVELLING THROUGH CONTAMINATED LANDS (8)
Today was my last day in Kōfu. Tomorrow I’m going back to Tokyo, where I have an interview in the evening and I’ll be in Gunma prefecture on Friday. Today’s interview was odd. The man I met was basically worrying more about negative rumors spread about Fukushima prefecture and its residents (風評) than radioactivity. He was explaining that he wanted his daughters to be able to get married properly, without worrying too much about people saying “ew, she’s from Fukushima!!”
Well, it’s not like I do not understand his point of view. Sometimes I also tell myself that I’ll have to tell the potential father of my future children that I ate contaminated food (maybe not much, but still) and was around Fukushima when I was in my early 20s. But I was startled when he said that, as he doesn’t know what are the effects of long term radiations on the human body, he doesn’t know what to think about it and doesn’t think it’s that dangerous. Generally, people overreact when they face things they don’t know, but that’s not his case. He told me he stayed in Sōma for 2 years, when the radiation was in between 6 and 12μSv/h (the limit is now settled at 0,23μSv). He sent his wife and children to Yamanashi, to make sure the girls wouldn’t be exposed to radiations, and then continued working and living as normally as possible. I was really surprised when he told me that he and his friends were eating the fish that was tested and not sold, because too radioactive. “Well, I don’t know what to say, would I stay (himself, without his daughters) in a city that is contaminated around 4μSv/h? Why not, I survived in between 6 and 12! I’m not sick and I don’t think I would die of cancer, so I don’t worry that much.” Wow.
But the thing he said and that bugged me the most was linked to the reconstruction process:
I think people should do what they do best with all their heart. I mean, for example, a school teacher should work hard in order to increase her students’ grades. A hairdresser should work hard in order to cut his customers’ hair better. People are getting involved in political activities, but I think politicians are the best at taking care of that.
EXCUSE ME? I was staring at him, not being able to just smile and nod. Leave the politics to politicians? Where does that come from? Japan is supposed to be a democracy. DEMOcracy, right? If people don’t take part in politics, than who will? Even when talking about demonstrations that happened because of the “article 9 issue”, he was saying: “Well, it didn’t change a thing right. I am sure there are people being seriously engaged in that movement, but it just looks like a matsuri (festival), with people having fun. In the 60s, they were fighting and risking their lives and it didn’t really change a thing. Now, they’re not even that engaged.” So demonstrations are useless, normal people shouldn’t get into politics (or they should just become politicians) and… and the government can do whatever it wants? I just can’t take it. That’s a no no.