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New Year's Message - From Planning to Action - / Idogawa Katsutaka

I send you all my New Year's greetings for 2013.

This is the second time we have welcomed the New Year since the Great East Japan Earthquake and the accident at the nuclear plant occurred.

With people still living as internal refugees and in evacuation shelters, I am determined to present the people of Futabamachi with an agenda for recovery and revival as soon as possible, to take action to implement this agenda, and to promote the reconstruction of Futabamachi by and for the people of the town.

Most worrisome of all is the impact that living as evacuees for such a long time has had on people's mental and physical health. I intend to take every measure I can to support the health of the people of our town.

According to the government's plan for reorganizing the exclusion zone in the area around the nuclear plant, around 75 percent of Futabamachi will fall into a zone to which residents will not be able to return for a long time. I believe, however, that it is not acceptable to divide Futabamachi into different zones according to the degree of radioactive contamination. Given that the nuclear plant is still leaking radiation, I am demanding that the government promptly recognize the entire town as a zone to which residents will not be able to return in the short term.

Some people may think that obtaining compensation for damages will be delayed and the restoration of normal life will become difficult if we do not accept the government reorganization plan. However, what we must demand is not only compensation but also the recovery of health damaged by radiation exposure and long-term evacuation, as well as the restoration of the normal life we used to carry on before the earthquake. It is not an overstatement to say that the reorganization of the evacuation zone has been done without taking into account the health risk caused by radiation exposure. It is difficult to predict when damage to health caused by radiation exposure will surface. As the lifetime radiation dose children will be exposed to is expected to be large, adults with integrity should protect children.

A compensation scheme covering the next five years has been established, but compensation for those who still cannot return to their homes after five years has not been established. It seems that the government wants to limit the amount of compensation by allocating a huge amount of money for radioactive decontamination, despite the fact that decontamination procedures are not technically established, and by making evacuees return earlier. However, as long as we continue to live as evacuees, our right to claim compensation also continues, and we should use this right.

On temporary storage facilities: the government strongly demands that we accept a survey on temporary storage facilities, without providing us with sufficient explanation. We cannot give a green light to this without the understanding and agreement of the people of Futabamachi, in whom sovereignty lies, and I have not obtained this agreement. While the Futabamachi town assembly has demanded that I accept a survey on the temporary storage facilities, I will make a decision only after fully listening to people's opinion and carrying out sufficient discussions, as I have stated before.

The area of Futabamachi is only 51 square kirometers - the smallest municipality within Futaba district - but it was the area most severely contaminated by the nuclear plant accident. A large amount of space will be required to store contaminated materials produced by the decontamination of Futabamachi alone, and the town does not have the extra capacity to accept contaminated materials from other towns and villages. As well as public facilities such as the town hall, kindergartens, and primary and secondary schools, the main parts of the town, such as Shinzan, Nagatsuka and San'aza, are all located within two kilometers of the place planned for temporary storage facilities. The temporary storage facilities will thus inevitably make it far more difficult for people to return to the town.

The Reconstruction and Township Development Committee is currently discussing the recovery and revival of Futabamachi from manifold perspectives. We will fully take into account opinions and proposals raised by the people of Futabamachi, make the plan public by the end of this fiscal year, and act to materialise the plan.

That the children of the next generation should be able to have dreams and hope is the basis of the recovery and revival of Futabamachi. Each and every one of us should stand up to achieve that aim. Let's stand firm.

January 1, 2013

Idogawa Katsutaka, Futabamachi Mayor

Date of last update:2013-01-21 21:40:37 kyo 1thumbs up   del.icio.usに追加   はてなブックマークに追加   twitterに投稿   facebookでshare
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