A mother’s Letter to Governor of Hyogo Prefecture re housing subsidy ending in December 2015

PINKRHODEDENDRON515titled    Nishinomiya from Fukushima city

Ms M.A.’ evacuated from Fukushima City to Nishinomiya City, Hyogo prefecture with her two children in 2012.

She was welcomed to Hyogo with a three year housing subsidy.

In 2012 she thought that three years would be enough time for her hometown to be decontaminated, but now she understands that it will take far longer than this.

Yet the housing subsidy she receives from Hyogo prefecture comes to an end in December 2015.

She wrote the following letter to the Governor of Hyogo and delivered it to the Prefecture Office on May 12, 2015.

It is now 10 June but she has not yet received a reply.

.


May 12, 2015

Hyogo Prefecture Governor

Toshizo Ido

Dear sir,

First of all, I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the kind policy of Hyogo Prefecture to accept Fukushima evacuee families with its public housing subsidy.

My name is M. A. who moved to Nishinomiya city from Fukushima city in December, 2012.

The reason I am writing this letter to you is that I would like to make a petition for the many victims and evacuees created by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accidents.

I had had no knowledge about the danger of radiation like many other Japanese before the accident. However, I started having suspicion that something truly serious had been going on through the repeatedly presented TV programs and the Internet information about radiation and hibaku issue. But the whole society seems to have been split between two opposing groups of people: one saying that the present condition in Fukushima is safe and the other claiming it is dangerous.

Let me first give you my account of the chaotic situation right after the accident. At first, I tried every possible means to protect my family, especially my two little children from radiation exposure while we were still living in Fukushima. My son wore a mask, a long-sleeve shirt and long pants no matter how hot it was. My daughter’s kindergarten forbade the children to play outside longer than 10 minutes a day. Their favorite past time, such as playing with mud and picking wild flowers and plants were out of question. We were living daily with increasing uncertainty and anxiety without any concrete ways or courage to evacuate.

Four months after the nuclear accidents, my two children and I had an opportunity to participate in a recuperation camp held in Toyooka city. It made me so happy that I was moved to tears to see my children enjoying playing outdoors, which had been taken for granted before the nuclear accidents. I was shocked to be reminded that it was the natural, matter-of-fact daily life which we had forgotten in Fukushima because everyone was enduring a forced, unnatural way of life there. The way of living forced upon us was becoming unbearable. For the first time, I questioned our life under strict control with limited freedom while being told by the officials that staying in Fukushima posed no problems. I started to think that we had overly depended on the authorities for our protection. After all, I came to feel that only parents could save their own children. That was how we started to look into an evacuation option seriously.

We encountered many problems such as economic feasibility, gaining understanding from my extended family members, children’s schooling, etc. But we were especially attracted by the reception policy of Hyogo Prefecture among others due to the following three factors.

1. Only a few prefectures, including Hyogo, were still accepting evacuees from Fukushima as of December, 2012, when we decided to evacuate.

2. The national housing subsidy was limited to 60,000 yen a month, but Hyogo offered to pay the difference if the rent exceeded it.

3. Hyogo offered rental air-conditionings, gas cooking stoves, and lighting apparatus if we needed.

I found out from my friends who evacuated to other prefectures that the above policies were made by Hyogo Prefecture’s own judgment. We were deeply touched by the special thoughtfulness of the prefecture as one that had gone through another great earthquake disaster earlier in 1995. That is why we decided to evacuate to Hyogo.

The housing contract was limited to three years; in our case, until December, 2015. I trusted three years would be long enough for TEPCO to put the nuclear accident under complete control so that people would be able to return without any anxiety. However, what is the reality today? Would it be possible to call it “under control” even as a compliment?

Contaminated and radioactive water from the nuclear power plants has been discharged into the ocean every day. Would you be able to move to Fukushima yourself now if you were in our shoes?

There is one great difference between the earthquakes in Hanshin and Fukushima, i.e., there is the invisible disaster in Fukushima. The visible disaster there has shown remarkable recovery from damages now after more than 4 years since the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster hit the area. However, the situation seems to be getting worse for us evacuees from the invisible radiation contamination. Thyroid abnormality was found in both my daughter and myself. We cannot return to Fukushima now with this reality. I plead you to please listen to the evacuees’ voices one by one. You will be able to see a different reality from the recovery news that the media disseminate.

We don’t mean, however, that we want to become your burdens. Please remember how deeply we have been moved by your acceptance, both physically and mentally. When we found out that there were people who would accept us evacuees lost in the ambiguous apprehension with the unknown future of the radiation contamination, it was beyond description how much we were relieved and felt rescued. We hope you will continue your supportive stance and listen to our voices.

We don’t know what policies the national and Fukushima authorities will come up with for us evacuees from now on. We would like to choose an option that will enable us to live on without regrets, no matter what the authorities decide. If Hyogo Prefecture can continue to stand by us, our appreciation will know no limits. We hope you can continue to offer us your housing support since you are well-known as an earlier, another disaster stricken prefecture and have pioneered and established the well-advanced disaster relief policies.

Thank you for reading my long letter. I appreciate your consideration for our future very, very much.

Sincerely,

M. A.

2015年5月12日兵庫県知事 井戸敏三 様

突然のお手紙失礼致します。
2012 年 12 月より、福島県福島市から西宮市の被災者受け入れ住宅に入居させていただいております M. A. と申します。井戸知事にお願いをしたく、不躾ではありますが、筆をとらせて頂きます。

東京電力福島第一発電所の爆発事故により、多くの犠牲が生まれ、沢山の人が避難決めました。私自身、原発事故が起きるまで多くの日本人がそうであったように、放射能の危険性について全く知識を持っていませんでした。しかし繰り返し流されるテレビからの映像、インターネットで調べる情報から、とんでもない事が起こっている、という認識を持ち始めました。しかし現在でも続いている事ですが、今の状態を危険だという人もいれば、安全だという人もいます。事故直後はなおさら、混乱していました。私は福島に住み続けながら、出来る限りの放射能防護をし、生活をしていました。息子は毎日マスクをし、どんなに暑い日でも長袖長ズボンで登校しました。

一日の外遊びが 10 分までと決められながら、娘は幼稚園に通いました。
大好きな泥遊びや、草や花を摘むことも禁止されました。おかしいおかしいと感じながらも、避難をするあてもなく、勇気もなく、毎日不安に思いながら生活していました。

震災から 4 か月後の夏休み、兵庫県豊岡市で行われていた保養のキャンプに親子で参加しました。

そこでは原発事故前までは当たり前に出来ていた外遊びを子供たちがしている姿を見ただけで、涙が出るくらい嬉しかったのを覚えています。そうだ、これが当たり前の日常だったと、福島の中で生活していると周りのみんなが一緒なので気づかない日常でした。知らず知らずのうちに沢山の我慢を強いらされている現実に打ちのめされてしまいました。住み続けていて問題がないと言われながら、制限されながらの生活に初めて疑問を持ちました。それまでは国や自治体が私たちの生活を守ってくれると過信していましたが、子供を守れるのは親しかいないのではないか、と考えるようになりました。それから真剣に避難して生活していく選択肢を考え始めました。お金の問題や、家族の理解、子供たちの学校の問題、など解決しなければいけない事は山のようにありました。日本中の地方自治体が受け入れ表明をしてくれていた中でも、兵庫県の受け入れ態勢は目を引くものがありました。

1私が避難してきた 2012 年の 12 月時点、多くの自治体が受け入れを終了しているなか、継続していたのは、兵庫県を含め 3 つほどしかありませんでした。
2国からの家賃補償は 6 万円までなのに、差額を避難者負担にしていませんでした。3入居物件には、希望すればエアコン、ガスコンロ、照明器具を貸与してくれました。

以上、他県に避難した人達から聞いた限りでは、兵庫県独自の判断でやってくれている施策なのだと分かりました。もと被災県ならではの心遣いに感激し、縁もゆかりもない兵庫県に避難を決めました。

入居当初から住宅延長は最大 3 年という約束でした。私の場合 2015年の 12 月まで、ということになります。
その時は 3 年も経てば原発事故も収束を迎えて、安心して福島に戻れるだろうと信じていました。

しかし、どうでしょう?お世辞にも原発問題が収束したといえるでしょうか?汚染水が海に流され、毎日放射性物質が大量に大気に放出されています。
自分や家族に置き換えて、福島県に住み続けられますか?阪神大震災との大きな違いは、目に見えない被害があるということです。
東日本大震災から 4 年の歳月が流れ、目に見える被害は、めざましい復興をとげました。しかし放射能汚染を懸念し避難を決めた私達にとっては、ますます状況が悪化しているとしか思えないのです。どうか、兵庫県下に避難している一人一人の声を拾ってください。報道される復興の情報とは全く異なる部分が見えてくると思います。私と私の娘にも、甲状腺に異常が見つかっています。このような状況で福島に戻って下さいと言われても、とても受け入れられません。しかしながら、私達はお世話になっている兵庫県に迷惑をかけたいわけではないのです。受け入れ当初そうであったように、誰にも分からない放射能汚染の将来の懸念を持っている人は逃げてもいいんだと、自分達を受け入れてくれた所があったことに、私達は本当に心も体も救われ感謝しました。是非今後も継続して、私達に寄り添い、声に耳を傾けてほしいのです。これから先、国や福島県が、私達避難者に対してどのような措置をしてくるのか分かりません。どのような決定がでても、最後まで後悔のない選択をしたいのです。

兵庫県が私達に寄り添っていただけたら、どんな結果が出ようと感謝の念に絶えません。願わくば被災県の経験を生かし、独自の判断で住宅補償を継続していただけたらと思います。

長々と失礼致しました。今後ともよろしくお願い致します。

西宮市

M. A.

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