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  • But, five years on... the wounds have far from healed for those who lived through the

  • tragedy. On the ground, the crisis is not of the past,

  • but a very much ongoing one that they struggle to cope with.

  • Five years since Fukushima, 30 years since Chernobyl.

  • The last of my two part series from Japan. 2.46 p.m., March 11, 2011.

  • A 9.0 magnitude earthquake rattles Japan... triggering a major tsunami which devastates

  • the northeast coast. Then, the tsunami waves reach the Fukushima

  • Daiichi Nuclear Power Station... resulting in a triple core meltdown... explosions...

  • the world's worst nuclear crisis in a quarter century.

  • On the day five years ago... nearly 19-thousand people were killed or left missing and 160-thousand

  • lost their homes and livelihoods.

  • Tokyo Electric Power Company... is the operator of Japan's stricken Fukushima nuclear power

  • plant and has often been under fire for not only its handling of the disaster.

  • We wanted to ask if the company believed the area surrounding the wrecked plant was safe

  • enough for residents to move back.

  • "The radiation measurement our company is responsible for is limited to the area of

  • the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Not only the government but the general public

  • has access to these measurements by visiting our website."

  • Tepco is fighting a battle of its own... as five years on, the operator continues to struggle

  • with clean up work on site. They still don't know how bad the situation

  • is at three of the four crippled reactors.

  • "We are trying to find ways to locate the missing melted fuel rods in three reactos

  • at the plant. We don't exactly know what the condition is like there. The radiation is

  • too powerful for humans to extract and remove the melted fuel rods. We plan to use remote-controlled

  • robots to do the job."

  • Tepco expects decommissioning work to take another 30 to 40 years.

  • Ghost towns surround the plant now, but five years later, there are still more than 6-thousand

  • workers on ground zero... all of them wearing layers of protection.

  • They're not producing any electricity. They are just cleaning up.

  • "Is the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima under control today?"

  • "It's not completely under control. We cannot say that."

  • Yoichi Funabashi, a former newspaper editor, headed an investigation into the Fukushima

  • nuclear disaster back in 2011... the only investigation not sponsored by the government.

  • Since then he's been sharing his conclusions at various global events.

  • "We still have three melted nuclear reactors. We have to keep cooling that. We have to keep

  • injecting water. As a result, we have a lot of accumulated contaminated water. We have

  • to keep purifying that. It make take years. During that process we will be all exposed

  • to serious risks."

  • Out of 300,000 children up to 18 years of age in Fukushima Prefecture, 116 were diagnosed

  • with thyroid cancer months after the nuclear plant disaster in 2011.

  • Health experts say this is much higher than the normal rate.

  • But, after effects aren't limited to health issues.

  • "There are still nearly one-hundred thousands people living in shelters. They are forced

  • to live in shelters. So, the impact of the evacuation is so huge. Nobody expected the

  • evacuation to have such a huge impact, you know."

  • Five years later, many of those people have still been unable to return home. Some live

  • in temporary housing units just outside the exclusion zone... that were only designed

  • to last up to 24 months.

  • "My son's family, my grandchildren evacuated far, far away. They won't come back. They

  • have already settled there. There aren't any young people around here. I don't know a single

  • child living in this zone."

  • "There aren't any young people here. Only old people like myself. Younger people will

  • never come back to Fukushima. It'll just be us, the aged."

  • Tomiyo Kokubun has been studying the social impact the nuclear meltdown has left on the

  • people of Fukushima. He says mass evacuation uprooted entire communities,

  • divided families and resulted in the loss of social support networks.

  • "It's also had a profound impact on married couples. Mothers desperate to save their children

  • from radiation poisoning evacuated far away. Men had to stay behind because they had jobs

  • here. That collapsed families and divorce rate soared in this area in the last five

  • year."

  • Japan's leading daily, Asahi Shimbun estimates that more than 70-thousand people remain prohibited

  • from returning home due to the Fukushima disaster, and another 18-thousand have voluntarily chosen

  • not to return.

  • One of the symbols of anti-nuclear movements in Japan is this tent at a small corner in

  • Tokyo's government office district. It was erected immediately after the Fukushima

  • nuclear disaster... and since then... rain or shine, day and night, there hasn't been

  • a single day it wasn't occupied by protesters.

  • "All we want is a complete halt of nuclear power plants. We want the world to know what

  • happened in Japan because of nuclear plants and join in anti-nuclear movement. It's not

  • just about Japan. Nuclear plants are all over the world. This is a global problem."

  • But, apart from the few days around the March 11th commemorations when global media run

  • features on papers and TV... Fukushima remains largely forgotten in the minds of most Japanese

  • outside the region.

  • "Five years since the world's worst nuclear accident in a quarter century, life seems

  • back to normal here in the Japanese capital. Japan has even restarted some of its nuclear

  • power plants as hundreds of thousands still continue to struggle to cope with the aftermath

  • of the crisis. Is nuclear energy the only way out? It's a question not limited to this

  • country."

But, five years on... the wounds have far from healed for those who lived through the

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Fukushima: Five Years On. The Forgotten.

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    Hao posted on 2016/03/24
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