Three years after the Great East Japan Earthquake hit Japan, a 21-year old student forced to evacuate her home because of the Fukushima nuclear disaster visited the Pacific Islands where a U.S. hydrogen bomb was detonated many years ago. Keiko Takahashi went to the site so she could learn things she can do to help rebuild Fukushima.
The junior student from Fukushima University went to the capital of the Marshall Islands, Majuro, on February 24, the site of a blast on March 1, 1954. To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the bombing, around a hundred people prayed for a nuclear-free world in Majuro. One of the crew members of a tuna fishing boat exposed to the blast at Bikini Atoll, the Diago Fukuryu Maru, participated in the prayer rally. 80-year old Matashichi Oishi, a former crew of the fishing boat said, “The leaders of nations that took a toll on many lives to produce nuclear weapons must reflect on what they did and compensate the victims.”
Takahashi, who hails from the town of Okuma in Fukushima Prefecture, was able to visit her hometown once only after the disaster. While her classmates believe that they could never return there anymore, she said that she could never abandon it for fear of losing the local culture, which is a pride of the town. When she returned there, she met a freelance journalist, 46-year old Hiroko Aihara from Fukushima. Aihara invited Takahashi to join her on a trip to the Marshall Islands.
As stories of Islanders unable to return to their homes because of unfinished decontamination work were told, Takahashi was moved. Studying about the life of the people affected by the bombing pushed Takahashi to see the “scars” left by the nuclear testing from the eyes of someone tasked to rehabilitate Fukushima. “A clue to achieving a nuclear-free world will be found when people who suffered damage join hands, share lessons and face challenges,” she said.
[via Asahi Shimbun]