The earthquake, tsunami and accident at the nuclear power plant caused by The Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11th resulted in many people in Fukushima Prefecture having to live in evacuation shelters, etc. Because of the government designated danger area and high levels of radiation many people had to leave their home towns and villages and evacuate outside the prefecture.
With no progress in sight for these evacuees who are experiencing many hardships, for them return to their home towns and villages and regain their former life styles it is necessary for the government, Tokyo Electric Power Company and the people of Fukushima to take necessary measures.
Fukushima University established a disaster recovery research institute in April, conducted a survey of people living in shelters and temporary housing for disaster victims and took measures to contribute to the improvement of the victims’ livelihood. In June and July it conducted a survey of 200 families who evacuated to Tokyo on the problems of life as an evacuee, the actual conditions of leading a ‘double life’ and the desirability to return home, etc.. Also, in September it conducted a survey together with local authorities on the actual situation of all the families who lived in the 8 towns and villages in Futaba-gun in the vicinity of the nuclear power plant.
From this survey many opinions like “I’d like to return to my home. Although I visit a hospital, I still feel anxious about my health”, or “I want the government and related authorities to indicate when we can return home”, and from families whose members have become separated, “Because the family is living separately, it is difficult to come to a mutual agreement and this results in family discord” were received.
What became clear from this survey was that many people have a strong desire to return to their home town or village, and anxiety about the decontamination of the high level of radiation and the uncertainty of when they will be able to return to their homes.
The road to recovery will be long. Let us work to recover the beauty of the land of Fukushima and recover the livelihood of not only the evacuees but all residents of Fukushima which was taken away by the disaster.
Fukushima University, Disaster Research Center