Although it is almost a year since the Great East Japan Earthquake which struck on March 11th last year, we are still wordless at the profound loss caused by the tsunami, and our hearts never stop grieving. The damage caused by Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident (both from the radiation leak and the damage to the Prefecture’s reputation because of hearsay and rumors) still continues today.
Aoba Gakuen is an orphanage for children who have no family to live with. We understand how severe the effect radiation has on children, and we have been extremely careful to protect the health and lives of the 60 children we have in our facility. I am sure it is the same with families with children. It is sometimes depressing not having hope for the future, regarding the removal radiation, etc. However, the fact we have made it this far, is due to the great effort and support of many volunteers.
With regard to the radiation, communities have been forced to separate and evacuate from our homes, everyone in the Fukushima is a victim. Our beautiful homeland is contaminated by radiation. We are angry and dismayed, even our self-esteem has been hurt.
What is more apprehensive is, because of the circumstances we find ourselves in and our different ways of thinking, deep gaps have grown in human relationships. For instance, some parents agree to their children playing outdoors, but others do not. Some families evacuated voluntarily, yet some families did not. Some areas are being compensated, and some are not. These are just some of the things that are happening. There is the fear that the people who live there, the people who used to live as a single body will, because of various circumstances after the earthquake, become divided. Thanks to the volunteers active in the Prefecture, we have seen the importance of the bonds between people. They have supported us and encouraged us. Once again, I feel we should get together and work for the recovery of Fukushima Prefecture.
In many disaster-hit areas people are singing “Usagi oishi kano yama, kobuna tsurishi kano kawa” (“the mountain where we chased rabbits, and the river where we caught fish” – the first lines of the popular old song ‘Furusato’ (Hometown). Hometowns are where children are looked after by their parents, family and local people and where they can play safely with their friends. People grow up there and go their different ways. Although Fukushima is still suffering because of the terrible disaster of the earthquake, with the help of the volunteers, we are eager to rebuild a new “hometown”.
Social Welfare Corporation, Aoba Gakuen, President