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» Nuclear Evacuees Start a National Organization Appealing for “the Right to Evacuate”


People forced to evacuate after the nuclear accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) operated Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant launched an organization of affected people on October 29th, holding a “National Evacuee Assembly for Those Seeking ‘the Right to Evacuate.'” The assembly was held in the Tokyo Metropolis to commemorate the founding of the organization, and 140 persons filled the venue, including 30 evacuees who had been scattered about the country.

“Let’s join together! Let’s mark our footprints on this first step, and walk toward the future!” This was the title of the gathering that established the organization. Seiichi Nakate, who fled from Fukushima to Sapporo, and Saeko Uno, who fled from Fukushima to Kyoto, were jointly chosen as representatives. According to Uno, “the right to evacuate is not only to actualize support for people who choose to flee an area in the wake of a nuclear disaster to avoid damage caused by exposure to radiation. But it is also a vital right that would allow people to determine for themselves whether to continue living in currently contaminated areas with recuperative and medical support, or to evacuate.” Addressing the crowd, Uno spoke of moving to ensure the right to evacuate.

In an open discussion thereafter, the first to speak was high school teacher Toshinori Shishido, who voluntarily fled from Fukushima to Sapporo. Next was Nobuko Narai, who fled from Tokyo to Komatsu City in Ishikawa Prefecture. Ayako Ooga, who fled from Okuma Town to Niigata, gave a speech along with others. They criticized the government, which did not attempt to grasp even the number of nuclear disaster evacuees.

Further, Kaori Kawai, who fled with her child from Iwaki City to Saitama Prefecture, spoke openly of her harsh experiences: following a divorce, she became physically frail and lived in poverty, and now receives welfare. Nearly a year and a half after the discontinuation of housing support for voluntary evacuees, the evacuees’ anger has been laid bare. Akiko Morimatsu fled from Koriyama City to Osaka, and headed the plaintiffs’ group in Osaka that sued for damages against TEPCO. Morimatsu stated the reality that their constitutional rights were being deprived, and harshly criticized government policies.

At the evacuees’ assembly, members were recruited according to evacuee experience or current evacuee status. A general meeting will be held at the start of the new year. Any evacuee can participate, regardless of whether they are from within the evacuation zone, outside of it, or outside of Fukushima prefecture. The next assembly will be on 12/12 in Kyoto.


*This article is originally written by Our Planet TV (original language: Japanese)

Translation into English by Fukuden



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