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Local Voice

Masayuki Yutsuki (7 years, Haramachi No. 2. Elementary School)

I was at the Children´s Club when the earthquake happened. I was doing homework and was surprised and very scared.

Then I was told by mum not to go outside. It was boring, but I was afraid of getting sick so I stayed inside the house.

Now, since I´m not in Haramachi, I want to return soon and see everyone. I want to be in school, play “blindman´s buff” in the yard, eat the school´s curry that I love so much and play with my friends.

I don´t know where my friends are and I worry about them.

I want to return to Haramachi soon.

Dai Saito

The great Kanto-Tohoku Earthquake. All prefectures along the Pacific coast have suffered by nature´s fury. People have lost loved ones. Humans´ power could not cope with the force of nature.

I am now in Haramachi-ku, Minamisoma City, Fukushima Prefecture.
As you know, this is an area designated by the state as an area where people are to stay indoors.

The people in this area have been condemned to evacuate or to stay indoors because of the nuclear accident. As much as being victims of a natural catastrophe, we are victims of a man made catastrophe.

“Nuclear energy is safe”

“Nuclear energy is clean”

Now, I have doubts in how a country hit by atomic bombs could carry on with this confidence. I believe the image of safety had been cultivated and instilled in the people living here over the years up to this point.

Much will be lost because of the nuclear accident. In the worst case, it will be eternal.

However, why are pros and cons about nuclear plants are being raised, or the question why it has happened or whether it could have been avoided? I believe we should rather ask ourselves “Is nuclear energy necessary?” in the first place.

The lights in the streets of Minamisoma are switched off, we cannot get hold of the things we want, people are moving and everything seems to have turned into a lie.

However, I believe that we can withstand this sad situation and rebuild our beloved hometown.
I cannot leave as long as I have these wishes and thoughts.

And I want the government to officially announce the truth.

Takayuki Monma (Minamisoma, Haramachi-ku, Hairdresser)

I am a member of the local fire department. The day after the earthquake, in the midst of aftershocks and Tsunami warnings, I was looking for survivors along the coastline.

When I saw my home in the middle of my hometown, I was really lost for words.

The damages are far greater than shown on television.

Personally, I could not find any survivors. There wasn’t much we could do. However, when we found corpses of the deceased, we wanted to retrieve them and bring them to their families, rather than expressing the situation into words or crying. Thus was the situation for myself.

However, there were many lives we could not save because of the nuclear plant.

Because of the earthquake many people and houses were lost, and many people cannot live safely. There are people who have lost family members or their houses.

One of them said the following.

The fact that I am alive, that I was spared must have a meaning. No one could do anything against this horrible force of nature, and it’s not anybody’s fault. Now I am suffering, thinking, dealing with all kinds of thoughts, but just having your head hang down doesn’t get you anywhere, right? Therefore, I want to live with all my might. That’s all that matters!!
I couldn’t say anything… Before I heard this, I was always thinking “what can I do?” to myself.

Well, I can go to that area and groom the hair of the people. By doing so, I can have smiles return to peoples faces, if only for a moment, and have them feel the strength to carry on.

That’s what I can do. Therefore, I am gathering people and do preparations.

There are limits to every individual, but if we join forces, we can not only go to Minamisoma but to the whole area affected by the catastrophe, and can turn Minamisoma to its former state so that everyone can return.

Let’s join forces!!!!

Tomoe Ouchi(Taka Haramachi-ku Minami-Soma Fukushima Prefecture)

Although a major part of the city of Minami-Soma where I was born and raised lies within a 20km area of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Plant, it is actually not the city where the plant is located.

Therefore, voices against the construction of the plant from the people of the city of Haramachi (now Minami-Soma, Haramachi-ku) had largely been ignored, so my now deceased grandfather told me.

Even when the nuclear crisis is and problems have been resolved, I believe there will not be any substantial compensation from the government or TEPCO simply because this place is not part of the area where the plant had been built.

Nevertheless, we want to rebuild this place in order to protect the land, blessed by nature and inhabited by our forefathers for generations.

In other words, averting the situation of our home town vanishing from existence. This is what I think.

Emi Kiyokawa (Minami-Soma, Haramachi-ku, Naka-Oota)

Not only have we lost relatives and acquaintances due to the earthquake, because of the nuclear damage the bright future of our farming industries is about to get lost.

If only the nuclear issue would not be…

How many times did we shed bitter tears?

Anyhow, now the important thing is to quieten the nuclear reactor as soon as possible,
so that we can return to Minami-Soma as soon as possible.
So that we can arrange for provisional accomodation and employment as soon as possible.
So that the damage caused by rumors and misinformation on agricultural and dairy produce stops.

This, I cannot stop hoping for.

For my old and weak grandparents, and for my father who loves farmwork so much.
I pray from the bottom of my heart that we can return to the calm days of our quiet city as soon as possible.

Marina Takeuchi (30 years, female) Namiemachi, Haramachi High School Graduate

I pray for the souls of all those in Minami-Soma who became victims of this earthquake.Personally, I wasn´t directly affected by the earthquake, however, I didn´t hear anything from my family living in Namiemachi for about a week.

Like Minami-Soma, Namiemachi has been devastated, and the harbor towns have been wiped away in a moment.

On top of that, there is the nuclear accident, and the people who have been spared by the Tsunami in Namiemachi have not only been ignored during the search for survivors, they have been left to die.

It´s not even in the news, but Futaba-gun is almost like an island, isolated yet surrounded by land. It has been reported that due to Minami-Soma being classified as an evacuation zone, goods are not being properly delived to the city. I cannot help but finding this horrible.

I want that this half-baked term, evacuation zone, to be lifted as soon as possible. Consequently, I want the country to understand peoples´ voices from this area, which faces further problems due to the overreaction connected to this half-assed status.

Agricultural produce and produce of the fishing industry produce of Fukushima are being restricted by and by, and I believe this is another major problem next to the rebuilding of Miyagi and Iwate prefectures.

I fear that my birthplace and home disappears.

Miyuki Abe (Minami-Soma, Haramachi-ku)

Minamisoma, Haramachi… Place of many memories.Whenever I came home, I had this feeling of security and relief.

This home town, so important to me, has been turned to hell in the blink of a moment.
The situation is so painful I cannot find words. This seemingly unresolvable nuclear problem… (>_<)
Will we never again be able to live in our dear hometown? Will the quiet and peaceful Haramachi disappear forever?

I believe that this shall not happen.I pray from the bottom of my heart that we can all rebuilt Minamisoma and return to the days of this being a safe city in which we can live happily.

Let´s all continue to pray from our hearts.

Minako Idogawa (Minamisoma, Odaka-ku)

I have been evacuated because my home is within the 20km radius of the Fukushima nuclear plant.

This never-ending nuclear crisis… Whenever I see the news, all I am thinking is “I want to return to Minamisoma”.

Whether it’s volunteer work for those who have lost their homes because of the earthquake and Tsunami, or cleaning up the destroyed cities, whatever small thing it is I want to help pave the way to recovery.

That’s why I want to return as soon as possible.

I myself am a victim and I’m really worried about all those who live in emergency shelters and all the citizens of Minamisoma and the people working for the city. Please take care.

For the smiles on everybody’s faces. For Minamisoma. Let’s all get over this tragedy!!!!!!

Yoko Sasaki (Minamisoma, Haramachi-ku)

My hometown, affected by the earthquake, Tsunami, nuclear accident… All this together, and the uncertainty about the future keep me in a state of unbearable anxiety.

My family too has been evacuated and could not return to our home.

But even if we could return, there are many worries, like money or employment.
I am worried because nobody knows what will happen.

It will take a long, long time I think, but I really hope from the bottom of my heart to return to our hometown.
Let’s all cooperate and fight together with a smile especially in these trying times…

Yoshiyuki & Ryoko Kiyokawa (Fukushima Pref., Minamisoma, Haramachi-ku, Minami-cho 4-chome)

Along with prayers for the people who lost their lives in the Tohoku earthquake, I express my deepest empathy for those who have become victims.

I feel sorry and sad for the name of Minamisoma, my hometown, being reported all over the country because of and in connection with the earthquake, Tsunami and nuclear accident.

The gymnasium of my former school has been turned into a morgue.

The Tsunami washed away houses of friends and aquaintances. Hibarigahara, which has been know because of the traditional “Somanoma-oi” event and where I ran around when I was a kid, has become a heliport for the Self Defence Forces.

My life has been saved, but I still live a refugee’s life outside of the prefecture. Family and friends underwent instructions and decontamination at the shelters.

In the midst of the fears of the invisible nuclear contamination, friends and family, who were OK and whose houses were intact, returned from the shelters to Minamisoma but said that whatever it is, it’s hard to do.

Because of the ongoing radiation leaking from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, I am now realizing that I did not know well about what nuclear power really is.

Without a doubt, if this accident wouldn’t have happened, I would simply be living with the awareness that “there is a nuclear power plant in Futaba/ Okuma-machi”.

As someone living with this accident, I can not simply accept that nuclear accidents are being forgotten.
We have to connect, and leave Minamisoma, where a safe life must be possible again, to our children.

For this objective, we have to put pressure on communities, the government and companies.

We feel nothing but happiness if all those who are looking at this site, feel empathy and support us in this case.

Believe in Minamisoma’s reconstruction.

28th March 2011

Asako Kamada (Minamisoma, Naka-Outa)

I could have never imagined that our own hometown would be turned into what it is now by this earthquake.

There are many who have lost relatives or their homes. Although a natural disaster, apart from the Tsunami we now have the nuclear problem and because of this, damages due to harmful rumors or misinformation.

The resurgence of Minamisoma is not in sight. Just when will be able to return to Minamisoma? And if, when can we return to farming? How shall we make a living?

Because the nuclear issue came up after the earthquake and Tsunami, the areas of Minamisoma affected by the Tsunami did not undergo thorough search for possible survivors.

Though goods are being transported to the evacuation zone, they are not being distributed.
Of course, the drivers have alternatives, but will the government, which has helped create this situation, do anything about this?

Whenever I returned to Minamisoma, I liked to go to my grandparents house in Kotaka-ku and then on to the Murakami Coast nearby, sitting on the embankment and looking out to the sea.

Whether I had problems in school or something was wrong at work, the sea always comforted me.
But now, when I think that the embankment, the beach where I went surfing, and the quiet, relaxed town that people had built for so long are gone, all I feel is emptiness.

All those suffering from the damages of the earthquake will feel the same; their familiar homeland is gone.

I believe it will take several hundred years before the city can be rebuilt in its original state.
We should do something for Minamisoma as early as possible so that people can live happily again. As citizens of Minamisoma.

Hiroyuki Yatsuo (Minamisoma, Haramachi-ku)

My condolences to all victims from this earthquake.

Minamisoma in Fukushima prefecture has become an evacuation zone with orders for people to stay indoors and lots of damage suffered. Yet, there are no signs of reconstruction or search for missing persons.

Due to the earthquake, walls of houses collapsed, glass broke, interiors were scattered etc., but as long as houses still stand, it´s luck.

Because of the close location to the sea, houses were destroyed by the tsunami, ships have been washed ashore and many places have been turned to mountains of rubble.

The beach, loved by surfers from all over the world, has been transformed to a miserable place.
Because roads have not been repaired, the evacuees life is hard and there are not sufficient goods.
One cannot go and see about one´s house.
One cannot look for the relatives left behind after seeking shelter.
Everyday, there are people in insecurity and grief.

This is Minamisoma´s reality.
I’m engaging in the current situation, in which country and administration alone cannot do enough to support Minamisoma.
I’d like as many people as possible to understand the situation. Let’s all work together for the rebuilding – with the citizens of Minamisoma, people born in Minamisoma and people with ties to Minamisoma.

Horikawa Jun (Minamisoma City)

When I see people affected by the catastrophe or pictures broadcast in the news, I am lost for words and a multitude of feelings like sadness or regret come up.

I hate the idea of people not returning, not having a place to return to in Minamisoma, the place where I was born and brought up.

I do everthing so that people will be gathering again in this city.

Let´s join forces and persist.