More people are beginning to question the efforts to decontaminate areas in Fukushima. With a price tag that could reach $600 billion USD and results that have been less that a success this could all end up being money wasted. Many areas will see reduced radiation levels but not down to the target levels. Some become recontaminated due to weather and water runoff. Areas on the edges of the evacuation zone have been reopened to residents even though levels are over the IRCP guidelines for safe living.
The image of the massive piles of black bags in Naraha is repeated all over Fukushima on a smaller scale. With nowhere to dispose of the growing mountains of bags of contaminated soil they just get left in the community.
The Japanese government still holds on to the idea that they can return people to even the worst parts of the evacuation zone. In many parts of the evacuation zone there is little to go back to. Tsunami damage was never cleaned up and is now overgrown. Damaged homes continue to degrade, others fall in due to lack of maintenance.
Many areas are so close to the plant site at Daiichi that returning would be incredibly dangerous. Radiation levels, accidental releases or additional major problems at the plant would all put these people at constant risk.
Homes near Fukushima Daiichi so close they can view the leaking contaminated water tanks.
What makes all of this so concerning is things like this:
“For the refugees, a worrying precedent has been set in the municipality of Date, which lies outside the most contaminated areas. In December 2012, the local government lifted a “special evacuation” order imposed on 129 households, arguing that radiation doses had fallen below 20 millisieverts per year. Three months later the residents lost the $1,000 a month they were receiving from Tepco.”
If people are not being given an option to relocate and decontamination efforts are not actually returning these places to safe levels many could be coerced back to homes that are unsafe with communities that have not been rebuilt. Without a functioning community that has basic services, jobs and all those things that make a community those who bend to the pressure to return could find themselves abandoned by the government yet again.
The images here and many more can be found at Ryuichi Kino’s flickr set from his June 2013 trip to the evacuation zone.
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