NF, 36

 
 
 

N.F., 36

Junior High School Teacher


Are you worried about radiation from Fukushima?

I’m not worried about radiation here, but a friend of mine is.  He lives in Dazaifu and has his own well water and he won’t even drink that. 

Fukushima is really far away.  I don’t worry about what I eat or drink here.

I don’t trust the government because there was an incident where the government lied about gaining back land from the US in Okinawa through diplomacy, and an official won a Nobel prize for it; but it was all a lie.  They actually got the land back by paying a lot of money in a secret deal.  So this situation reminds me of that, where the government just lied about everything.  I can’t trust the government, but I feel pretty safe in Kyushu.

Are you worried about the debris from Eastern Japan that is being incinerated in Kitakyushu?

I didn’t know about that!  That sounds a bit dangerous. 

Would you feel comfortable with your daughter living here in Fukuoka?  [She is four years old and currently lives in New Zealand].

Yes, there’s no bad data about Fukuoka. 

Do you feel the food here would be safe for her to eat?

I would buy food that was grown west of Kansai, and I would buy imported food.

Do you believe the government data then about radiation?

No, absolutely not.  They never tell the truth until they can no longer hide it. 

Do you trust the media?

I don’t.  I was volunteering helping Korean descendants and I was interviewed by the newspaper.  They really exaggerated things.  I trust them about half-way. 

Do you talk with your friends about this kind of thing?

A little bit.  Just, “It’s a little dangerous” and “Yeah, that’s right.”

Is the topic taboo?

No, it’s not a taboo topic.  I don’t know why we don’t really talk about it. 
Everyone’s kind of concerned about it.  In this area, there is a nuclear power plant [in neighboring Saga Prefecture].  Some people are concerned, but it also provides a lot of jobs, so if they moved away those people would lose their jobs.

We stopped using the nuclear power plants for a while [after the Fukushima disaster] and I got a notice from Kyushu Electric [the Kyushu electric power company] saying that we would have blackouts because the plants were shut down, but we never lost power.

As a result of the disaster we say nuclear power is so wrong, but before that we thought it wasn’t a problem. 

Who do you trust most when it comes to information about radiation?

Not TEPCO or the government.  Maybe researchers or professors.  But if they’re in the media I don’t [trust them].  In the media half [of what they say] is true.

…Maybe people don’t have such an interest in these kinds of issues.  It’s not so urgent, so we don’t need to know about it.

What do you think of the protestors or antinuclear groups?

I think protests are good because we need to move in that direction, [where we aren’t using any nuclear power].  Those people think it’s urgent. 

Japanese people in general don’t usually discuss politics and social issues. 

Why not?

I really don’t know.  But it’s just unusual to talk about.  And we don’t learn how to do it in school.  We like to talk about work, love, trouble, and food.  These are the things we usually talk about, not social issues.

If there are personalities or drama, people are interested in politics. 
There were riots during my dad’s generation, but it’s not like that now. 
We don’t talk about politics.  It’s not so interesting, and we feel like we can’t change things. 

In our schools we’re just now starting to discuss current events and politics.  And and home we don’t really discuss it.  So there’s no discussion at home or in school about politics or social issues.  So when people become adults it’s not talked about. 

Would you live with your daughter in Tokyo?

Yes, now I would, it’s probably fine.  I have friends there and they seem fine. 

Does the government provide and disseminate accurate information about radiation?

No.

Why?

They want people to buy food from Fukushima or live in Tokyo, so in a way it’s a good thing for restoring the area and selling the local produce. 

They say that they test the food, but I don’t trust it.  As a consumer I wouldn’t buy it. 

What’s the best way to help the people of Fukushima?

They should be given the most accurate information.  That’s the first thing they should do. 

 

 

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