S, 30

An air traffic control center worker


Is radiation from Fukushima dangerous? If so, how dangerous?

Surely radiation from Fukushima is dangerous.
But it is not dangerous much outside of the Tohoku region so that people who stay outside of the Tohoku region don’t need to evacuate or move off from their hometown.

Is radiation from Fukushima dangerous in Fukuoka? If so, how much?

I don’t think it is dangerous in Fukuoka.

These days, when it comes to Fukushima, what kind of news gets talked about in the media?

May I tell you first that I usually get information through TV or internet only.
They often talk about the recovery from the massive earthquake or Tsunami, not from radiation or nuclear crisis.
And most of the time, they focus on suvivors' tough lives.

I think most in the Japanese media want to report about radiation more and more but they cannot because of the pressure from sponsors.

Does the media talk about radiation being dangerous?

They tell us about radiation when they detect elevated levels of radiation in crops. But they seldom tell us how dangerous it is or what kind of effect we get if we eat it.

Why do you think the media doesn't talk much about the dangers of radiation?

Because they don't explain much even about what the radiation is, or what kind of effect it will have on us if we get exposed to a lot of radiation.

And most of the media and institutions get huge contributions from electric power companies.  I don't think the media will tell us negative things about radiation.

How much do you talk about radiation with your friends, family, and the people around you?

The topic always comes up with the Tohoku earthquake, or when I find products from Fukushima. But we don't talk much about "how dangerous it is." We talk about "the effects from radiation."

When it comes to "the effects of radiation," what do you talk about?

I have heard about the effects of radiation.
Most x-ray films in the Shikoku region have been damaged by radiation from Fukushima.
The number of people who suffer from cancer will increase in the future.
We should avoid taking any vegetable or crops from Fukushima.
But we don't talk "how much" it will affect our lives.

We know the authorities and the media have been trying to hide something about the Fukushima crisis.

As you may know, there is no Japanese word for "Fukushima crisis"...

Many people don't talk about radiation with those close to them.  I am very interested in learning the possible reasons for this.  What reasons do you think contribute to people not talking about radiation with the people who are close to them?

Actually I have never talked with people from Fukushima.  But even if I have an opportunity to talk with them, I will not mention about radiation from my side.
Why? I just don't want to hurt their feelings.
In Japanese, we say "kiwotsukau".
[kiwotsukau means to take another person's needs into consideration, or to pay pay attention to those needs]

Or, we know how radiation is dangerous so we are scared to accept the situation.

Why do you think people here in Fukuoka don't talk about the radiation with their friends and family?

I think it happens around Japan. Because as I mentioned earlier, Japanese people prefer not to talk about radiation.
And it comes from enryo...
[enryo means tact, thoughtfulness, discretion, or restraint]
It's becoming a taboo topic. I feel uncomfortable talking about it as I don't want to hurt the people from Fukushima even if they are not standing in front of me.
I know they have been suffering a lot.

Why is the topic taboo?

It's a taboo topic in the media as they have received a lot of contributions from electric power companies. And unfortunately, most Japanese people don't have enough skill to collect or judge information from the media.  And we tend to be scared of the next mega earthquake much more than radiation.  Maybe that is one of the reasons that radiation has not been talked much among the Japanese.

July 2013 update: S has moved from Fukuoka to Tokyo.




All images and interviews © 2013 Neil Witkin
Do not reproduce images or content without permission