Home for anyone
After the 3.11 earthquake that hit north-east Japan, the circulation of goods and supplies for the victims of tsunami and nuclear meltdowns in Fukushima got almost stopped as drivers were trying to avoid to get exposed to radiation leaking from destroyed Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant. As a result, the locals were left to deal with limited living supplies and I discovered the fact on the internet. I was urged to do something for them and jumped on a train for Iwaki, one of the cities in Fukushima.
When I arrived in the city, there were exactly the same images I saw on TV in front of me; people searching for their houses and properties, the self-defense forces and the police looking for corpus and the never ending queues at every petrol station.
Some worried how they were recovering from this unprecedented disaster, and some shared me with their experience of how they evacuated with their bare lives from tsunami. Some expressed their anxiety for their future and anguish towards outrageous attitude and responses of Tokyo-Denryoku (Tokyo Electric Power) and some were just going uneasy with having no access to their mobile phones.
People have millions of different thoughts and we take it for granted that we are all alive. But it might be such devastating situations that reinforces these essence of life. And I am no exception.
As the number of time I commute to Fukushima increases, I gradually realized that my justice in the first place had been shaped while watching TV in Tokyo. Since then, I took my bias glasses off to see what was really there in Fukushima.
I started to see the enriching local tradition and beautiful nature. The locals are friendly and frank but at the same time, surprisingly courageous.
It was then I realized that this place is someone's home and I am merely a stranger.
I cannot say exactly how long it takes to fully understand the locals' feeling towards this situation, who have chosen to continue on having their lives in Fukushima. But I wish to have close insight to them and continue on witnessing their will.
Justice for anyone
Right after the nuclear accident of Fukushima, they broadcasted the amount of radiation spread over the land like forecast. The indication occupied the whole screen for the first few days, then it shifted to the side after a while, yet it continued on showing the levels of radiation.
On April 10th, I was at a hotel in Fukushima watching TV. Right after seeing radiation levels in Fukushima on the news, I saw the demonstration in Tokyo, claiming for prohibition of nuclear technologies. To confirm my vague premonition that something was slightly changing, I started documenting the consecutive demonstrations in Tokyo.
At my first shoot for the demonstration, I was not comfortable to be in the midst of the crowd. I felt as if my hometown was denied while listening to their yells such as "No nukes, stop nukes". Although barely no one would think in that way, the repetition still made me think the crowd was accusing us of having nuclear plants in our town. Perhaps, that was because the existence of my hometown lay heavily upon nuclear power plants in financial matters.
People in the city might think they are just partying when they crush into such a clamorous crowd on streets, though it is more important to know the fact that the discussion over nuclear issues has its long history. Nevertheless, my distrust of their "justice" continues to bulge by listening to the hatred speeches and beholding the conflicts between parties over their initiative and the anti-nuclear power movements which ignore their original aim and responsibilities.
However, these extremists are just a part of the whole population of the party and in fact, I frequently see people who belong to different parties helping each other. There are also some organizations which have doubted the existence of nuclear power for more than decades. Their never-ending effort and seriousness are respectable in a way that I just fall into silence in the end.
Still, I worried that people who happen to encounter such demonstration parties might think other parties are as importunate as they are.
I cannot help but think about the weekly demonstration in Tokyo. If those in the pleading crowd have started considering their own good only after the accident of Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant, I must say the actions made by such huge consumers of electricity are untrustworthy.
I have a strong will to keep my eyes on the demonstrations and how they shift in the future.
translated by Mihoko Tsujita