Fukushima

One filmmaker’s mission to show the world the real Fukushima, and how you can help

One filmmaker’s mission to show the world the real Fukushima, and how you can help

“Forget the reactor. Forget all the bull$#!^ Facebook posts about how radiation is melting the starfish and mutating our sushi. Forget about what it means to be a disaster, and discover what it means to be Fukushima.”

Filmmaker Cameron Anderson is on a mission to show the world the real Fukushima. Having spend months exploring the region, he – an outsider arriving long after Fukushima became known the world over as the centre of a tragic nuclear accident – has come to learn what Japan’s third-largest prefecture is really all about. Cameron has also seen how the news, careless comments shared via social networks, and a general fear of the unknown have caused people around the globe to label this land as a giant, black spot on the map of Japan, with stories popping up online every few weeks about tides of non-existent radioactive seawater and the prefecture’s potentially hazardous exports.

Hoping to obtain a special filmmaking grant, it is Cameron’s plan to put together a 10-minute documentary that explores this vast, rich part of Japan and introduce some of its genuinely remarkable residents–both Japanese and foreign. But he needs your help.

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Why increased thyroid cancer rates in Fukushima kids isn’t necessarily a cause for concern

Why increased thyroid cancer rates in Fukushima kids isn’t necessarily a cause for concern

A “cancer cluster” detected in kids near the Fukushima disaster is probably due to the increased examination of these children, not because of the disaster itself, according to epidemiologist Norman Kleiman of Columbia University.

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Remembering the people of Tohoku three years on

Remembering the people of Tohoku three years on

At 2:46 p.m. today, exactly three years will have passed since a Magnitude 9.0 earthquake shook Japan to its very core, moments later sending an enormous tidal wave that claimed tens of thousands of lives in the Tohoku region.

Today is a day to remember the people who are no longer with us, and to think of those whose lives were changed forever–many of whom were displaced from their homes and are still trying to start anew.

But today should also be seen as something of a gift. Those of us who came away from March 11, 2011 unscathed or are fortunate enough never to have known loss like the people of Tohoku are given days like today to pause and take stock of what we have. Whether or not you observe a moment’s silence this afternoon, and wherever you are in the world, try to keep Japan in the back of your mind today, but also try to look a little closer to home. Use today to effect some positive change in the world or in your own life, however small and seemingly insignificant. Donate to a charity you believe in; call your mother; switch off your phone for an hour and look at all of the cool stuff around you; start work on that book that you’ve been crafting in your mind for the past five years; buy some nicotine patches instead of another pack of cigs; book that holiday you’ve been meaning to take; pay for the guy in line behind you in Starbucks; tell your dog that he really is a good boy; make an awesome cake, then sit with a pal and stuff it into your faces while pretending to be dinosaurs.

As dramatic as it may sound, days like March 11, 2011 are firm reminders that sometimes there isn’t a tomorrow to put things off until, so make the most of today. Ganbare, Tohoku!

Need some inspiration? Maybe one of these groups could use some help:

Japan Red Cross Society / Cancer Research UK / (RED) 
Global Giving / Save the Children / World Vision / WWF

New species of mayfly discovered in Fukushima that can never get their prescription glasses

New species of mayfly discovered in Fukushima that can never get their prescription glasses

On 2 March this year, a research group from Fukushima University will present the results of their study in which they believe to have found a new species of mayfly. This particular insect was found in a remote swamp near Lake Hibara. This new species is unique in that rather than living from a day to a week like related mayflies, this particular one has a life span of only an hour.

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In wake of nuclear disaster, world’s largest floating wind farm being built in Fukushima

In wake of nuclear disaster, world’s largest floating wind farm being built in Fukushima

The Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 and subsequent Fukushima nuclear accident have made many in Japan rethink the country’s reliance on atomic energy. Investment in alternative, renewable energy sources is looking more and more attractive to some, and the sentiment is particularly strong among residents of Fukushima Prefecture itself.

Those seeking a less volatile source of power may be getting their wish with the proposed development of what would be the world’s largest-output floating wind farm off the Fukushima coast.

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Sweet, delicious and extra cold: snow apples from the Japanese alps

Sweet, delicious and extra cold: snow apples from the Japanese alps

Japanese apples are legendary for their gigantic round shape, sweet taste and a hefty price tag due to their flawless appearance. Recently, a “new” kind of apple has been getting popular in the mountainous and very snowy prefecture of Nagano. It seems that apple growers there have decided to make the most of the winter precipitation that covers their fields by burying freshly picked apples for several months under a huge pile of snow. The “snow apples” are said to be even juicier, crisper and sweeter after spending the winter months hibernating under the snow.

But how can you make a snow apple, and what other tasty produce can you bury in the snow? Click below to find out!

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Ramen characters prove there’s more to Fukushima than just nuclear sadness

Ramen characters prove there’s more to Fukushima than just nuclear sadness

Before March 11 2011, Fukushima Prefecture was pretty much unknown outside of Japan. Within the country, however, Japan’s third-largest prefecture was known for much more than its nuclear power plant. Along with being a producer of delicious, mouthwatering peaches and home to areas of stunning natural beauty, Fukushima was also known as a hotspot for incredible ramen noodles.

Now, some of the more prominent ramen restaurants in the area have banded together to remind us all that the real heart of Fukushima has always been fuelled by ramen power. And they’ve even got shiny, new anime characters to prove it!

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More than two years on, many in Japan still uncertain about food from around Fukushima

More than two years on, many in Japan still uncertain about food from around Fukushima

When the announcement was made that Tokyo would host the 2020 Olympic Games, there was much reason for celebration in Japan. Leading up to the decision, the Japanese leader for the Olympic bid emphatically stressed that the Fukushima disaster would have no impact on life in Tokyo–a claim that was reiterated after the bid was won.

Around that time, a cartoon appeared in a French newspaper depicting mutating sumo wrestlers in front of radiation suit wearing spectators. The Japanese government took issue with it and angrily reaffirmed the safety of the rest of Japan. Still, among many of the citizens, there is sneaking yet widespread suspicion over how safe the Tohoku and Kanto regions actually are, especially with regards to their food products.

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Fukushima Corporation unveils new mascot with an unfortunate (but hilarious) name

Fukushima Corporation unveils new mascot with an unfortunate (but hilarious) name

Meet the newest mascot at Fukushima Industries! This cute, winged egg is the perfect face for a company that manufactures the kind of industrial refrigerators, blast chillers, freezers and refrigerated showcases that you might find in a restaurant or a supermarket.

The name they chose for this little egghead, though, probably needed a bit more work…

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Nearly 290,000 people still living in shelters two and a half years after the Tohoku disaster

Nearly 290,000 people still living in shelters two and a half years after the Tohoku disaster

The devastation from the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami will not soon be forgotten. It has left an indelible footprint on the collective consciousness of Japan and, indeed, the rest of the world. While photos of Japan’s speedy response in many of the stricken areas are certainly inspiring, it’s important to remember that the prefectures worst hit by the natural disaster are still in the process of recovery, with a great many citizens continuing to live in refugee shelters.

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Scaremongers strike again: “mutant” vegetables wrongly attributed to Fukushima

Scaremongers strike again: “mutant” vegetables wrongly attributed to Fukushima

“Attack of the mutant vegetables!! Are these our new tomato overlords?? Let’s all boycott the struggling Fukushima farmers for, oh, say 100 years or so.”

Actually, despite the attention they’re receiving and hits they’re no doubt generating online, the following photos don’t seem to originate from Fukushima at all…

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Why’s Prime Minister Abe so healthy? It’s all the food from Fukushima!

Why’s Prime Minister Abe so healthy? It’s all the food from Fukushima!

Ah, election season in Japan! While for other countries this might mean a deluge of angry black-and-white TV commercials, in Japan it mostly means street-side speeches.

Last week, Prime Minister Abe swung by Fukushima City in Fukushima Prefecture to support local candidate Masako Mori, who’s the current minister of the Consumer Affairs Agency. And what did he talk about?

How great Fukushima-produced food is, of course!

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Incidences of thyroid cancer on the rise among Fukushima children

Incidences of thyroid cancer on the rise among Fukushima children

According to Kolnet, an online media source focused on the Tohoku region of Japan, the number of under-18s in Fukushima Prefecture diagnosed with thyroid cancer has increased to 12, while the number of possible cases has reached 15.

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Japanese Documentary Tells the Real Story of the Daiichi Nuclear Plant Evacuees

Japanese Documentary Tells the Real Story of the Daiichi Nuclear Plant Evacuees

Two years after Japan’s great earthquake and the Daiichi nuclear diaster comes a documentary that tells of the citizens who still can’t return home to Iitate Village in Fukushima due to the high levels of radiation.

Over at our sister site, Pouch, film critic Kaori Saito was given the opportunity to check out the film production of “Iitate Village, the Problem of Radiation and Returning Home” (in Japanese “Iitate-mura hoshano to kison”) before it was released to the Japanese public on May 4. Kaori comments that the work deserves particular credit for its delicate treatment of the continuing problem of radiation and the depiction of the struggles of the inhabitants affected.

For the readers who are unfamiliar with Iitate, it is a village that is located 30 kilometers from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant within the prefecture of Fukushima. While it is reasonable to believe that the level of radioactive contamination would be comparatively low for an area this far from the power plant, due to the strong winds, snow and rain that occurred directly following the disaster, the actual levels of contamination far exceeded original estimates. For Japan and Iitate Village, unprecedented levels of radiation poured down, making the land uninhabitable and thus leaving the former residents no alternative but to abandon their village and seek refuge elsewhere.
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Fukushima Prefecture Produces First Thesis on the Effects of Internal Radiation Exposure: Children of Fukushima Unaffected?

Fukushima Prefecture Produces First Thesis on the Effects of Internal Radiation Exposure: Children of Fukushima Unaffected?

A thesis which assesses the risks of internal radiation exposure within Fukushima Prefecture following the explosions at the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, suggests that the effects of internal radiation fall far below that recorded after Chernobyl.

Ryugo Hayano, who works as a professor at Tokyo University’s Science Research Department, has collected the findings of doctors who conducted research into internal radiation exposure among those living inside of the Fukushima Prefecture. He consolidated these findings into an English journal entitled ‘Proceedings of Japan Academy Series B89’, which is available on the net.

The latest journal is a collection of reports that looks at the degree of radiation exposure through daily food consumption and it is reported to be the first of its kind.

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Pump Springs Leak during Efforts to Correct Problem with Leaky Storage Tanks at Daiichi Nuclear Plant

Pump Springs Leak during Efforts to Correct Problem with Leaky Storage Tanks at Daiichi Nuclear Plant


Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) announced that while transferring contaminated water containing radioactive material from leaking underground storage tank No. 3 to tank No. 6 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant on April 11 this year, water was discovered leaking from a joint connecting the piping being used for the transfer.

About 22 liters of water containing 6.4 billion becquerels of radioactive material leaked from the joint before the problem was chanced upon. TEPCO said the water leaked on top of the berm covering the storage tank and that there was no possibility of it seeping into the soil surrounding it.
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No Improvement for Fukushima Decontamination Workers – Subcontractors Still Only Paying One-fifth Minimum Wage

No Improvement for Fukushima Decontamination Workers – Subcontractors Still Only Paying One-fifth Minimum Wage


A dinner of boiled vegetables and 3.3 square meters of floor space for sleeping, those are the harsh conditions awaiting laborers who undertake government-mandated decontamination work necessitated by the nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric’s Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima Prefecture. In some cases workers are basically laboring for free when taxpayer-funded danger pay is excluded from their pay packets.
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Google Maps Offers Rare Look Inside Abandoned Fukushima Town

Google Maps Offers Rare Look Inside Abandoned Fukushima Town

Google Japan has announced that it is now possible for Google Maps users to access street view images of Namie, a coastal town in Fukushima that was severely affected by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami before being completely evacuated when the nearby Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant went critical.

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Alone in the Red Zone: Fukushima Town’s Sole Resident Speaks Out in Harrowing Documentary

Alone in the Red Zone: Fukushima Town’s Sole Resident Speaks Out in Harrowing Documentary

After the great earthquake and tsunami that came with the calamities of March 11 2011, many residents to the Kanto region of Japan experienced turmoil on an unprecedented scale. If natural disaster wasn’t enough, there was also the explosion at the Fukushima nuclear plant, spreading radioactive contamination even as far as Tokyo. Now after two years, Fukushima’s 20-kilometer radioactive exclusion zone still remains in place.

While most families fled the contaminated areas in the early stages following the explosion, one brave man remained undeterred by it all, staying put in his hometown. Naoto Matsura (53) is believed to be the sole inhabitant within the 20-kilometer red zone.

Matsumura’s determination to remain rooted in the same place and see through the nuclear catastrophe has caught the attention of many, with his accounts even being adapted into a documentary. The documentary tells of the events after the great earthquake and Mutsumura’s reasons for remaining at his home despite all those around him fleeing, never to return. Perhaps even more interestingly, it gives some rather candid accounts of this man’s feelings towards Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the company that operated the stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

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Concern As Contractor Refuses To Provide School Lunches When Faced With Radiation Checks

Concern As Contractor Refuses To Provide School Lunches When Faced With Radiation Checks


As part of its ongoing efforts to bring peace of mind to city residents following the accident at the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima, Tokyo’s Komae City will meticulously measure airborne radiation levels along all roadways within city limits and provide citizens with easy-to-understand information regarding the readings. Additionally, having only inspected radiation levels of school lunch ingredients once before, the city announced on Feb. 21 that it would reintroduce such checks on the foodstuffs comprising the noontime meals.

Suspiciously, less than a week after the announcement of the checks, Kenji Matsuyama, president of Mitaka Food Services Center, told the city his firm would not renew its contract to provide the city’s junior high schools with lunches.

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