Senior advisor at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research in Hiroshima, Nassrine Azimi
travelled to Fukushima
as part of a Hiroshima-based fact-finding group to assess the current situation.In an article published in the New York Times – Cherry Blossoms in Fukushima
– Nassrine reports that even an unprecedented disaster such as the one that struck the Tohoku region in March 2011cannot entirely sap the people’s resolve.
“People are getting back on their feet, and most of the larger Tohoku area is slowly coming to life. For all the messy political gridlock in Tokyo, reconstruction funds are flowing in, even creating something of a local economic bubble.”
While in the area, the group met several Hiroshima City government employees who had been dispatched to Fukushima as part of the Japanese civil service rotation system. Hiroshima city has sent architects, water and sewage specialists, civil engineers and planners on year-long rotation to the region.
The fact-finding group also visited Iwaki City, 50 kilometers south of the plant, and heard young mothers explain how they were measuring radiation levels in school lunches every day. (See Elizabeth Baldwin’s blog post: No Easy Path for Fukushima
Fukusima is famous for its ancient cherry trees. The cherry trees were in blossom while Nassrine was in the area and the group some of them have been there for 1000 years. Nassrine reports that the people she met told her that,
as long as our trees, our waters, our air and our mountains are alive, we too shall be fine.