‘Fukushima: A Nuclear Story’ stands out among 3/11 documentaries


Special To The Japan Times

The Fukushima nuclear plant disaster has been examined in hundreds of documentaries to date, counting all media, nationalities and languages. But “Fukushima: A Nuclear Story” stands out for one simple, powerful reason: Its central figure, Italian journalist Pio d’Emilia, was among the first foreign reporters allowed on the scene after the earthquake and tsunami crippled the plant.

With his camcorder, he captured the devastation and confusion of the disaster’s immediate aftermath, as he evaded still-spotty security to travel to the plant gates. The documentary, narrated by American actor Willem Dafoe, has been distilled from nearly 300 hours of footage. This includes an in-depth interview with Naoto Kan — prime minister at the time of the disaster — who says he was seriously considering an evacuation of Tokyo when the meltdowns at the plant seemed to be spiraling out of control.

Kan was also on hand for a gala preview screening of “Fukushima: A Nuclear Story” at the MAXXI museum of contemporary art in Rome on Monday. The film has also been sold for broadcast in Canada, the United States, Germany, Norway and Mexico — but not yet Japan.

“Fukushima has already joined the many forgotten nuclear disasters,” says d’Emila; “forgetting means lying. Tepco and the Japanese government began lying from the very first hours — by hiding the already occurring multiple meltdowns — and are still lying by pretending the situation is now under control. As everybody knows, it isn’t.”