Written by Phyllis Richards
Dear Supporters of the Aizu Radiation Information Center,
It's been nearly three years since the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant disaster. In July 2011, the Aizu Radiation Center was created. The Center is helping in two primary ways: 1) to gather local radiation data and inform the public, and 2) to accompany people who are living in fear and anxiety by lending an ear to their concerns. We are deeply grateful for your prayers and support which has sustained us through these past months.
Soon after the Nuclear Plant disaster in March 2011, the Japanese government repeatedly told the public “there is no immediate health risk caused by radiation“. The government launched a “Safety Campaign” in Fukushima Prefecture led by Professor Shunichi Yamashita, head of the Japan Thyroid Cancer Society.
The Center is assisting the community by taking steps to test people for thyroid cancer, and is keeping an eye on produce and meat using a Food Radiation Detector. The Center has also purchased 1,000 stable iodine tablets, engages in discussions on emergency preparedness, and created an evacuation plan in case the need arises.
Nuclear disaster gives birth to despair. It can appear as anger, sadness, frustration, or a sense of powerlessness. Each time the earth shakes, each time we hear about power shortages at the plants, we fear that the nuclear reactors, which to this date are not under control, will again put our lives at great risk. It will take 40 years before the nuclear plants will fully be closed. It is said that our sense of anxiety will continue for all of that time.
As I sit here, however, I can hear the children playing and the laughter of the mothers as they talk at the Center. This is the HOPE that sustains and supports us. At times we may shed tears together. However, it is a great blessing to have a place where people can connect with one another and support one another.
I am grateful for God who prepared a way for us to serve the public like this, and I also praise God for the many friends both domestic and from around the world who pray for us and support us. These past two years have been made possible thanks to God’s mysterious guidance, and the support of our friends.
Terumi Kataoka, Vice Representative
Aizu Radiation Information Center