From Chernobyl 1986 to Fukushima March 11, 2011
From Hiroshima to Fukushima
By JONATHAN SCHELL | THE NATION / AGENCE GLOBAL
Published: March 16, 2011
After March 11, 2011 many reports started to come in about what happened. The first linked the nuclear disaster to Hiroshima, but on a second look it was much more comparable to Chernobyl.
The world was astonished about an earthquake being capable of creating such an enormous tidal wave. Although warned by similar tidal waves in previous years, this Tsunami struck the northeastern shores of Japan. It overrolled easily in its wake a ten meter high wall sought till then to protect precisely against such a disaster. It left everything within the vicinity of six miles inland unprotected. It included the nuclear plant at Fukushima built directly besides the coast.
"But this was not all. Another shock soon followed. Succumbing to the one-two punch of the earthquake and the tsunami, eleven of Japan’s 54 nuclear power reactors were shut down. At this writing, three of them have lost coolant to their cores and have experienced partial meltdowns. The same three have also suffered large explosions.
The spent fuel in a fourth caught fire. Now a second filthy wave is beginning to roll — this one composed of radioactive elements in the atmosphere. They include unknown amounts of cesium-137 and iodine-131, which can only have originated in the melting cores or in nearby spent fuel rod pools. Both are dangerous to human health."
Japn after 3 March 2011 - Kids' Guernica related actions
After the earthquake - a broken sculpture
When Takuza Kaneda attended the Kids| Guernica conference held in Ghent on Feb. 18th, he had no notion that he would soon be doing something similar to what Boudewijn Payens described as an action in the affected area of Chernobyl. The action took place ten years after the accident in 1986. Together with the people not knowing if the food on the table was safe to eat, he created a boat on a frozen playground with all sorts of parts lying around. Once the boat was ready, they all climbed on board to go on an imaginary voyage. It was a way to escape the invisible danger of nuclear radiation. Together with land artist Insa Winkler and other artists Boudewijn Payens had conceived this peace as part of his special skill in using art to further social communication.
It is most tragic to know similar conditions to Chernobyl prevail in Japan after what happened on March 11th, 2011. A key disaster area was declared around the nuclear plant in Fukushima after a powerful Tsunami wave caused by an earthquake hit the nuclear power plant.
"The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster (福島第一原子力発電所事故 Fukushima Dai-ichi ( pronunciation) genshiryoku hatsudensho jiko?) is a series of equipment failures, nuclear meltdowns, and releases of radioactive materials at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011. It is the largest nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl disaster of 1986." Source: Wikipedia
Before and after in Sendai
Sendai mural painting done one month before
The Kids' Guernica mural of Sendai Feb. 2011
Takuya Kaneda, international coordinator of Kids' Guernica in Japan, wrote after the earthquake and then the Tsunami had struck on March 11th, 2011:
"Coincidentally, one of the founders of this project, Prof. Toshifumi Abe and his colleague, Prof. Yoshiko Motoya coordinated a Kids' Guernica workshop last month in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, and a part of the affected areas by this massive earthquake on March 3, 2011. The workshop was organized by a group called MAGO3 aiming to realize a lifelong learning project from grandparents to grandchildren. Sendai City is a native place of Prof. Yoshiko Motoya, a leader of this group. Her house was not damaged but an elementary teacher who had supported this workshop lost her house. They are now working for the victims in Sendai city."
- Takuya Kaneda, 19.3.2011
Kids' Guernica related actions in Japan
There has been a lot of criticism about the Japanese culture having kept the general public silent despite many realizing the coalition of interest between atom lobby and government officials meant ignoring the dangers of nuclear energy. Of interest is to hear, therefore, from Takuya Kaneda that amongst the supporters of Kids' Guernica, there is in particular Takao Nagahara who did voice his doubts and sought to impart his knowledge to his students.
Takao Nagahara - his early warnings were not heeded
“Takao Nagahara, physics teacher at high school in Tokyo, has been supporting together with Keiko the Kids’ Guernica project both inside and outside of Japan for more than ten years. Once I asked him why he was teaching physics to young students. His answer was very clear: not to give students scientific knowledge to get good marks in their examination but to provide them enough scientific knowledge to think about their daily life issues such as environmental problems and nuclear power problems 'by themselves'. He always tried to explain the danger of nuclear power in his physic classes but the principal and other teachers didn’t understand his intention well. However, the situation has changed after the catastrophic earthquake of March 11th and now more teachers ask him about the current accident of Fukushima power plant. He also visited the affected areas last month.”
Takuya Kaneda 26.6.2011Photos of the destroyed areas taken by Takao Nagahara can be viewed at:
A Kids' Guernica peace painting was created in Katano City, Osaka, Japan
"Participating children thought on peace very seriously. They expressed their feelings of peace: Our globe has many countries as well as Japan. Various living things and plants are coexisting on the globe, which is connecting to the moon and the universe. Even though their languages are different, they can communicate with each other through music, which is a common language. We really feel happy, when we can play together with our friends or do whatever we like. This is a peaceful moment. We wish for such a lasting peace which gives us a warm and joyful feeling."
All the participating children completed this peace mural with a single purpose as indicated by the symbolic characters of Katono-city having been painted on a rocket and a keybpard of a piano."
Overcoming traumatic experiences
Takuya Kaneda 22.8.2011
Solidarity between children in Haiti and Japan
Now, children who have experienced the earthquake in Haiti will paint together with children in Japan who suffer from traumatic experiences since March 11th, one peace mural.
Reviving cultural heritage