What is it like to live in the aftermath of disaster?
For many people in Fukushima, Japan, it means sleepless nights worrying about radiation contamination and recalling the punishing jolt and “Iron Wave” that ravaged their homes and families. While tens of thousands still live in limbo, others are rebuilding their lives and communities, hoping for a brighter future.
This is what a group of San Francisco State University students learned during a reporting trip to Japan to find out what has happened the people who are recovering from the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant meltdown that struck Japan’s northern coast on March 11, 2011.
To commemorate the disaster’s fourth anniversary, the SF State student team will present their stories at a community forum to be held from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 4, at the Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Northern California, 1840 Sutter Street, in San Francisco’s Japantown district.
To reserve a seat for the event, please RSVP via https://fukushima-we-are-here.eventbrite.com.
The project “Facing Fukushima: We Are Here,” is meant to draw attention to the continuing recovery needs of the people most affected by the disaster. The students also will unveil a special project website showcasing their stories.
The April 4 forum also will feature presentations by two guests who have dedicated much of their daily lives to monitoring the recovery process in Fukushima. They are:
- Dr. Sae Ochi, Director of Internal Medicine, Soma Central Hospital, who has studied the continuing impact of the evacuation policies ordered by the Japanese government in the wake of the disaster.
- William McMichael, Assistant Director, International Center, Fukushima University, who has organized volunteer activities for students at his university as well as tours for students from other countries so that they can better understand the dimensions of the disaster.
The SF State students were invited by the International Center at Fukushima University and sponsored by the Dilena Takeyama Center. The members of the team were Guadalupe González, Gavin McIntyre, Corinne Morier, Lorisa Salvatin, Debbie Svoboda and Natalie Yemenidjian. The team was led by Jon Funabiki, Professor of Journalism and Director of Dilena Takeyama Center, and Sachi Cunningham, Assistant Professor of Journalism.
The Dilena Takeyama Center also invited radio reporter Ali Budner, who produced a documentary on food safety, Fear and Eating in Fukushima, for KALW-FM.
The Dilena Takeyama Center received a generous grant from the Sasakawa Peace Foundation of Tokyo to undertake the project.