Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Letter from a Fukushima Mother

So I decided to take another hiatus from the series on the Department of Energy’s most dangerous and budget-busting projects to call attention to a monumentally important email we received here at the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. Some of you may have read, “Letter from a Fukushima Mother,” as it has been circulating throughout Twitter, but if you haven’t I highly suggest doing so. The letter written by Tomoko Hatsuzawa, a mother of two living in Fukushima City, expresses the devastating impact of the recent nuclear catastrophe and urges the public to speak out against the government’s use of nuclear power. Please don’t read this letter as an outsider looking in, we need to awaken to the fact that what happened in Japan could and will happen in the United States if we continue to pursue nuclear power as the solution to our energy needs. Here are the facts:

*We have 104 operating nuclear reactors here in the United States.

*Half of them are over 30 years old.

*Several of them are in earthquake-prone areas.
Whether it’s natural disasters or human error, things will go wrong. The nuclear energy industry claims a nuclear crisis like what happened in Japan, can’t happen in the United States. But let me remind you that Wall Street investment banks said a crash couldn’t happen, and BP claimed they had the technology to deal with anything on the horizon. When you read, “Letter from a Fukushima Mother,” I ask you to read it as a mother, father, sister or brother. Read it as a human being who must watch his/her loved ones suffer the damages of a technology that we created, and read it as someone with a voice who has the power to speak out against nuclear energy and implement change so that this kind of tragedy will not be repeated.

Letter from a Fukushima mother

When Tomoko-san, a mother of two in Fukushima City, heard from an NGO worker that I was going to be in Fukushima to report on a story about radiation levels at local schools, she was kind enough to volunteer her time to speak to me – and handed me this letter. I promised to translate it and share it with you. So here it is:
To people in the United States and around the world,
I am so sorry for the uranium and plutonium that Japan has released into the environment. The fallout from Fukushima has already circled the world many times, reaching Hawaii, Alaska, and even New York.
We live 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the plant and our homes have been contaminated beyond levels seen at Chernobyl. The cesium-137 they are finding in the soil will be here for 30 years. But the government will not help us. They tell us to stay put. They tell our kids to put on masks and hats and keep going to school.
This summer, our children won’t be able to go swimming. They won’t be able to play outside. They can’t eat Fukushima’s delicious peaches. They can’t even eat the rice that the Fukushima farmers are making. They can’t go visit Fukushima’s beautiful rivers, mountains and lakes. This makes me sad. This fills me with so much regret.
Instead, our children will spend the summer in their classrooms, with no air conditioning, sweating as they try to concentrate on their lessons. We don’t even know how much radiation they’ve already been exposed to.
I was eight years old when the Fukushima Daiichi plant opened. If I had understood what they were building, I would have fought against it. I didn’t realize that it contained dangers that would threaten my children, my children’s children and their children.
I am grateful for all the aid all the world has sent us.
Now, what we ask is for you to speak out against the Japanese government. Pressure them into taking action. Tell them to make protecting children their top priority.

Thank you so much,

Tomoko Hatsuzawa
Fukushima City
May 25, 2011

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