LETTERS FROM MOTHERS EVACUATING WITH THEIR CHILDREN #4

I am a stay-at-home mom in my thirties who have three children.

I evacuated from Saitama pref to my parents’ house in Osaka with the children. My husband joined us this March.

 

We were at our nine-month-old house when Great East Japan Earthquake occurred.

My older daughter was at the middle grade of a kindergarten, the younger one was just three years old, and I was eight months pregnant. We have been spending our happy lives.

 

It was a long long quake.

I turned on the TV in order to check the situation, and there the scene of Tsunami swallowing the towns was going on. I couldn’t be away from TV for days after that.

I should have watched the internet, not the TV. I regret it now.

 

Just after the earthquake, I couldn’t get in touch with my husband, couldn’t make sure of his safety, and so couldn’t tell him we were OK.

Although Saitama has no sea so Tsunami won’t come, I was feeling uneasiness very much.

 

I watched the TV news on the accident of genpatsu (note from translator: NP-plant) at night, but I didn’t know what genpatsu is doing well.

It was one of trifles to me at that time, compared with the big earthquake and tsunami I have never experienced.

I received a long e-mail from my younger brother in Tokyo telling to seal up the windows, eat seaweed, not to go outside. But it didn’t ring the bell.

Next day, genpatsu exploded (note from translator: this means the hydrogen explosion that blew out the house covering reactor unit.). Then I was thinking. Fukushima has areas in which people have to evacuate. But the TV says it doesn’t influence us immediately, and our location is away from Fukushima as much as 200 km. We are OK, for we can’t be involved in the explosion.

Even so, I was sort of worried about the e-mail from my brother. I didn’t sealed up the windows, but I stay inside the house as much as possible and keep the windows closed, drying clothes indoors. Such a life started.

And the planned power outage started. It was hard for me to be always ready to the blackout that is unknown when it is carried out, for I, pregnant, was taking care of two children. Fortunately it never occurred to my place, though.

The time of classes of the kindergarten were contracted, so I let my daughter go there. When I went pick her up, I heard that a German father and his son went back to Germany soon after the earthquake, leaving their mother.

I wondered what overseas is thinking of what is happening in Japan.

So I asked a friend of mine in the USA in an e-mail about it, and the answer was something like “It is being reported in news shows every day that Japan’s NP-plant brought on a magnificent accident.”, ”If I were you, I would get away from Kanto area with my children soon.” I got so shocked that I looked into the internet intensively looking for information on NP-plant, and went on reading them. However, we just made our house here and my husband has the job. We were thinking the only way was to continue to live here, doing all kinds of things and being careful to be safe.

At last news shows reported that radioactive materials were detected in the tap water in Tokyo. The water from faucet has poison…I came to have no idea how I should live at once. I rushed buy mineral water but it was naturally sold out. I bought PET bottles of tea and drank them.

We were planning to live a pleasant life welcoming a new family member here, but…

Even when the children want to play in the garden, I can’t let them go out. I once yelled at them who were out in the garden without telling me. On the way to and from the kindergarten, I walk teaching them places where radioactive materials are likely gathering, and telling not to touch plants or flowers.

Children’s stress caused because they can’t play as they like, my stress caused because I have to make them patient. Both of mother and children lived coping with stress and being careful to be radiated as little as possible.

It is a contradiction so impossible to live pleasantly, looking for the foundation of safety.

I learned radioactivity or internal exposure by myself, but the conclusion was “I have no idea about them.” I have no idea whether they damage the health of children in Japan. I have no idea if even low dose exposure is dangerous or not. But there are people who tell it is dangerous, and I have no idea about it. So I decided to stand on the side of “it is dangerous.” and take countermeasures, just in case.

 

Having made up my mind to go somewhere as far as I can, I evacuated to my family home in Osaka on March 31st. I gave birth to a fine female baby here in May. 

After finishing her a-month-after-birth medical check, we went back home once in the last half of June. And we came to Osaka again during the oldest daughter’s summer vacation. We have been here ever since then.

I wrote to my husband’s parents, and they said “we can’t understand your evacuation, for still many children live in Kanto area.” They cut me off.

My husband, my children and I came to Osaka, giving up all of human relationships and properties I had made so far. People here in Kansai area say to me “It must have been tough. But your act is natural, for you have young children.” I wonder if it is right or not. 

If NP-plant accident occurred in Kyushu, Shikoku or Fukui, could people in Kansai escape giving everything up? Probably many of them will make no action. They have their houses, the loan for them, jobs, schools there…..they can easily find the reasons why they don’t move.

Evacuation or immigration is not as easy or optimistic as you mention.

There happened to be my family home here, and we were able to be helped. So it was not so difficult for us to move as those who began it from zero. At the same time, the physical and mental pain to stay there is also beyond imagination.

 

Everybody in west Japan, please learn from this NP-plant accident.

If you are worrying about people afflict by the NP-plant accident and feeling what is called KIZUNA-bond or cement with them, don’t repeat the same fault, please.

I would like you to raise voices “No” against the reboot of Ohi and Ikata NP-plant.

Say “No” against the government’s policy to underestimate the danger of internal exposure and spread radioactive materials in the shape of rubbles or manure.

I was ignorant, so not able to protect my children and baby in my belly.

Now I can’t look forward to their future without any worry.

Do not waste your luck that you weren’t radiated.

Remember your new babies clear eyes.

Do not try to avoid the efforts and trouble to give safe foods to your children.

I would like to say to fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers and adults in the areas.

Please respond to the doubtless trust from children.

 

Now, my children are playing outside freely.

Now that we are able to live together with family, I don’t look back on what I gave up.

It is good if we can aim for a sincere society in which the simple act to protect lives goes on as if it is air.