Last Saturday, 11 March, it was 6 years ago that Japan was suspended by a very large earthquake, followed by a tsunami and nuclear disaster. This was commemorated all over the world, including at Hope Step Japan! 2017 a day later.
Actually, Hope Step Japan! 2017 was planned to take place in a private setting, but it was finally decided to open the doors to the public. With the years, there is less attention for this disaster and its consequences, in the media you hear little about it nowadays, so that it soon falls into oblivion. Yet there are people who continue to be confronted with it on a daily basis, some have been evacuated from Fukushima and are still in temporary enclosures, others have lost a loved one and now have to do without them. The world continues to naturally continue.
During Hope Step Japan! there is space every year to commemorate the disaster, but also to look ahead. What particularly interesting is, is to see to what extent the lives have changed for various people. After all these years, it is good to look at the situation of the nuclear power plants in Japan, for example, and to what extent Japan is advancing by setting up energy through solar energy and wind energy. Of course, it also looks at how other countries are doing in that area.
Especially impressive was the discussion about energy and children through Futures, where children from around 12/13 years came with very interesting questions about nuclear energy. Because how are nuclear power plants related to atomic bombs and what is the advice about eating fish from the Pacific Ocean? It certainly made the audience think, and here and there came answers to these questions. In addition, the public could also come up with questions. HSJ Fact Seekers came with a supplemented overview of facts after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. This eventually became a big list of 13 A3 papers with the news. Despite the fact that a lot is not reported in The Netherlands, people are still busy getting new information to process it into a list every day. The most recent addition to the list is that of 9 March 2017: According to a survey made by NHK, 45% (334 persons) of the 741 evacuated people from Fukushima prefecture indicated that they were harassed or mentally distressed at the evacuation destination. The person who keeps this list, Kazushi Matsumoto, wants to be active for at least 10 years with keeping track of these facts, he thinks that you can only see a certain pattern after so many years which could possibly be informative for the future to learn from it.
Hope Step Japan! 2017 this time took place at the homely Okido Yoga in Amsterdam. The shoes had to be out and on cushions you could sit down to draw attention to interviews, videos and presentations. The meeting had a pleasant atmosphere. Various interested parties came together to inform themselves, but also to participate in the various discussions. From Hope Step Japan! it is always hoped that something will be done with the obtained information, even if only to think about it and discuss it with others.
Photography: Francisca Hagen