From fukushima, “you want to move, but you can’t”

Condition of ‘Now’: I Want to Move, But I Can’t

One of the best ways to get to-the-minute info on current events in Japan outside of official media channels is mini-komi–or “mini-communications,” defined as an alternative to mass communications, while still using its powers for good. This summer I went to several gatherings where people shared stories about post-Fukushima impacts, futures, activities, and hopes. This is a handout from an event that took place at Chika daigaku/Underground university, which is part of a coalition of recycle shops and other stores in the neighborhood of Kōenji. The “talk show” was organized by Hirai Gen, a music critic long engaged in both official JCP activities and street music scenes that experiment with genres,  spaces and festival music, including klezmer, ching-dong music, kids’ kenban harmonica music, and noise.

This is a mini-communication, put together in June by a coalition of people who banded together to “support local areas with high radiation levels” by conveying information, forming support groups, and channeling contributions. The first inner page outlines some general survival strategies…and sets up the large folio page, which responds to the rhetorical question, “why don’t you want to evacuate?,” based on fieldwork (actual and internet) with people residing in Tōhoku).

A flow-chart-y series of bubbles representing voices and questions (with a few answers), in the wake of the Fukushima blowup

The top headline reads: Important things to keep in mind to support high radiation zones

Left column: demands to make to the government

  • Re-assess standards for radiation in food
  • Re-assess the limits of radiation exposure for nuclear workers
  • Remediate environmental issues that make it impossible to work in Fukushima
  • Request that local authorities in each region take in internal refugees
  • Request that central bureaucracies be put on alert and respond
  • Put TEPCO’s response under strict scrutiny
  • Provide care for children thrown into poverty
  • Effect this through…
    • petition drives
    • demos
    • directly confronting authorities
    • taking it to the courts

Center column: ways to reduce radiation exposure as much as possible

  • messages for the “outside”
    • request information from the media
    • give on-the-ground descriptions to the world
    • use pressure from outside Japan (gaiatsu) to pressure people
    • heighten awareness of actual dangers
  •  when you evacuate
    • school evacuations v. independent evacuations
    • short stay (advantage during summer break)
    • request that local authorities in each region take in internal refugees
    • make alliances with support groups in western Japan (Kansai)
    • request that companies work on job creation

Right column: for volunteers

  • create a realistic map of where radiation damage/contamination  has occurred
  • form focus groups for children and talk to them
  • support legal action
  • provide food with minimal radiation (especially school lunches)
  • decontaminate schools and local communities
  • bring school and exchange groups to Fukushima and other hard-hit places
  • make flyers and sponsor events (for publicity)
    • when necessary help support evacuation
    • and make financial contributions

Ten reasons people may choose to remain in Tōhoku

large folio page: black bubbles read “listening / why don’t you evacuate?”

Song: Soul Flower Mononoke Summit, “Kamata March,” with song based on Rudolf Friml’s “The Vagabond King,” featuring Ōkuma Wataru on clarinet. I thought Ōkuma’s band name, Cicala mvta/mute cicada, was fitting…