Japan Commemorates the Seventh Anniversary of the Tsunami and Fukshima Accident Still With Thousands Displaced

The Japanese country remembers the tsunami that was registered seven years ago and that devastated whole populations and caused the nuclear accident of Fukushima . The aftermath still displaces more than 73,000 people.

In various parts of Japan, and especially in the areas most affected by the tsunami, the more than 18,000 dead and missing people left by the catastrophe were honored and a minute of silence was observed at the same time that the earthquake struck. Richter degrees that triggered the tragedy.

The very strong earthquake that occurred with an epicenter in the sea off the northeast coast of Japan on March 11, 2011 generated minutes later a tsunami that devastated entire populations and hit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The water left the plant without refrigeration systems, which eventually led to the partial melting of the three reactors that were operating at that time, causing the second worst nuclear accident in history after the one in Chernobyl (Ukraine) in 1986.

As in previous years, in Tokyo, a solemn ceremony was organized in the National Theater in which the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, participated and was again presided over by Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko.

Both have replaced for the second year the Emperor Akihito -relevant of official acts after announcing his desire to abdicate- and the Empress Michiko. ” I want to convey my commitment that the Government will work in a coordinated manner to build a strong nation resistant to disasters,” said Abe, who assured that, after seven years, he can certify that “the reconstruction of the affected region is showing a consistent progress “.

However, more than 73,000 people continue to be displaced by the effects of the earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear accident. A total of 73,349 people is still housed in temporary homes, family residences and hospitals spread across the Japanese territory, according to the latest figures published by the Japanese Agency for the reconstruction of the northeast region of the country.

After the nuclear crisis of 2011, the authorities of the Asian country established mandatory evacuation zones and areas of restricted access around the Fukushima Daiichi plant, depending on the levels of radioactivity detected.

Since then, these areas have been progressively reopened after completing cleaning and radioactive decontamination tasks, although very few have wanted to return to their old homes due to the fear of radioactivity persisting and having their life rebuilt elsewhere.

This is the case of the inhabitants of towns such as Namie and Iitate, located between 10 and 40 kilometers from the plant and whose evacuation orders were lifted by the Japanese government in April 2017. Of the approximately 27,000 inhabitants who could return, only they have made about 950 or 3.5%, according to the Fukushima government, which in addition to the reluctance of the population reflects the process of depopulation that affects the rural areas of Japan.

Earlier this month, the environmental organization Greenpeace denounced in a report that seven years after the catastrophe there are still areas near the plant, including the two previous locations, in which excessive doses of radioactivity persist.

Faced with those who are reluctant to return to their homes are those who were forced to return after the Government put an end last year to programs of housing aid for evacuees, a decision denounced by some of them before the Human Rights Council of the UN.

In a poll published by the public broadcaster NHK on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of the disaster, one out of every two evacuees affirmed “not to notice” the measures destined to reconstruct the affected areas, and more than half claim to have economic problems.

Seven year anniversary of earthquake and tsunami in Japan

Some 53.4% ​​of the evacuees also consider that the disaster continues to affect them mentally and physically seven years later and that there have been increased cases of insomnia, depression and alcoholism, according to NHK. In addition to keeping tens of thousands of people displaced, the disaster has caused serious damage to the local economy and has brought a total cost to the public coffers Nippon estimated at 20 billion yen (152,205 million euros).


Source: La Sexta