Dominic Nahr, a photojournalist with Magnum Photos who is documenting the plight of those who have been affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, says that he feels worse seeing the effects of the Japan crisis than he did witnessing the armed conflicts in East Timor and Somalia. The 30-year-old photographer has been constantly returning to the affected prefecture even at the risk of radiation to take photos of residents and former workers at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.
“The struggle to survive is an important theme for human beings,” Nahr said in an interview in Tokyo. Shortly after Fukushima was ravaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in 2011, Nahr was tasked to take pictures in the area by Time magazine. He remembers being speechless at the destruction wrought by the twin disasters. The following month, Nahr went to the town of Minamisoma in Fukushima, about 20 km from the crippled nuclear facility plant. Most of the over 70,000 Minamisoma residents were forced to evacuate immediately after the nuclear disaster started. “Everything looked calm on the surface, but you could see fear in their faces,” Nahr said. “I was shocked.” As of April this year, only half of that number have returned to their homes, while the others still live in temporary housing.
The tragedy, he says, is that people have become greedy for energy and economic development. The Swiss-born, Hong Kong-raised photographer says that he visits Fukushima whenever he can. Three years after the start of the crisis and he says that he sees the “people in Fukushima look calm but are more depressed, accepting their situation.” Nahr said what depresses him is that the Japanese people have failed to engage in candid discussions about this huge man-made disaster. Nahr says that people living in Tokyo seemingly “don’t want to talk about Fukushima,” stressing that the country as a whole should engage in serious discussions on whether nuclear power plants are really beneficial to Japanese society.
[via Japan Times]
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