Fukushima needs help beyond protests in Tokyo: sociologist


Hiroshi Kainuma, a sociologist from Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, underlines the need for sustained efforts to reconstruct the prefecture two years into the country’s worst nuclear crisis Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Calls for reducing the nation’s reliance on nuclear power to zero are as strong as ever, with protest rallies continuing to be held around the prime minister’s office.

“I wonder how many antinuclear protesters have come to Fukushima,” said Kainuma, a researcher at Fukushima University’s Fukushima Future Center for Regional Revitalization. “They say they are protesting for Fukushima, but few have come to the prefecture to help.

“If people only say with a dosimeter in hand that nuclear power is dangerous, that would mean nothing, but it makes locals uncomfortable,” he said.

There will be no improvement in the situation Fukushima Prefecture is facing unless problems such as the decline of local industries, the aging of society and the sluggish birthrate are resolved, he said, adding that sustained efforts to tackle these problems are needed.

For example, Kainuma said, young people in the Aizu region have started to make cotton handkerchiefs. With elderly people who evacuated from the town of Okuma, located close to the crippled plant, now also engaged in handkerchief production, cotton products are becoming a regional specialty, Kainuma said.

  • johnny cassidy

    I don’t doubt that the needs of Fukushima haven’t been met or that they go beyond anti-nuke protests in Tokyo. I do wonder if the researcher quoted here has been to the protests in Tokyo (or any around the world) that were sparked by the meltdowns at the TEPCO plant. It would seem from casual observation that the protestors’ concerns go far beyond Fukushima in that they want to prevent the fate facing the evacuees mentioned in this story from hitting
    close to home. I wish this article would have clearly spelled out exactly how the protesters in Tokyo could direct their energy toward solving the problems mentioned or how their actions have blocked the road to recovery. As the story is written, the sociologist from Fukushima U. just comes across as kind of more abusive than constructive when the latter is what’s probably needed most.