The Ibuki-juku Communication No.13, 2017
How did you start the New Year, 2017? What are your new dreams?
As for myself, I visited the sea shore area on January 19 through 21. I felt I had not been there for a long time. There I visited the Visitation Sisters who had chosen to live with the people in Naraha Machi, to which the government has been urging the former residents to return. They are the Sisters who, as good neighbors, visit those who returned to Naraha to live in the temporary houses.
The frequent visitors are not just us. There are wild boars walking around freely in the area where 90 % of the residents left. Let us be careful when walking around in the town!
“Wild boars have come out to join the citizens of the residential area near the nuclear reactors. They freely visit the area, dig the ground, and go into houses from the windows seeking for the left-over food. The people also experience the danger of running into boars while driving on streets. The human refugees living there are asking the local government to control these animals.”(Quoted from Fukushima Min’yu, January 24, 2017.)
In October 2016, the rice produced in Naraha was shipped, after an interval of six years.
There are frequent express trains of Joban Line to Iwaki from Tokyo Station, and buses also leave every hour for Iwaki. This sounds like favorable information. However, getting from Iwaki to Naraha is the problem. Naraha Station is the last stop of Joban Line coming from Tokyo, and there are trains barely once every hour between Iwaki and Naraha. Moreover, the rail is cut off from there on.
(Naraha Station. The last stop from Tokyo)
(People coming out the train with flowers in hand)
The registered number of residents of Naraha Machi at the end of December 2016 was 2,819 families which consist of 7,282 persons. On January 4, 2017, those who had stayed in the little town for at least four days were 767. This means that only 10.4% of the registered residents had returned home. The breakdown of these people according to their age is as follows.
0 to 4:6, 5 to 9:4, 10 to 14:9, 15 to 19:11, 20 to 42:14, 25 to 29: 8,
30 to 34:9, 35 to 39:14, 40 to 44:26, 45 to 49:25, 50 to 54:48
55 to 59:81, 60 to 64:99, 65 to 69:124, 70 to 74:78, 75 to 79:84
80 to 84:77, 85 to 89:30, 90 to 94:12, 95 to 99:7，100 to 104:1
(quoted from Naraha Machi home page)
The preparation work for creating a living environment for the citizens is steadily advancing. There is a junior high school just a few minutes’ walk from the Sisters’ convent, which is being prepared for opening again next spring. About 80 children will start coming to this school as of April, 2017.
Naraha Elementary and Middle Schools to be open in April
National Highway 6 runs through the town, passing near the Convent, leading to this school. Trucks are seen all day long carrying various things such as industrial waste, from Hirono area to Fukushima Highway.
National Road No. 6. In the back is the Power Plant of Hirono. Cars are heading for Fukushima.
From Naraha I drove toward Minamisoma through the National Highway No. 6, which I had not done for some time.
Tomioka Station had disappeared, but people were working at great speed, and the new station building was almost ready. “Oh, no, this couldn’t be true!” I cried out. The breakwater was of course there, at the same place as before.
The railway is being joined speedily. What is on the right of the rail way looks like the station building. On the left is a small house being repaired.
Since the National Road No. 6 runs through the “forbidden area,”
there is still a fence to prevent people from going in.
(Along National Road 6) (Ukedo area)
Fixing my eyes upon the dosage manifested on my little machine in the
car, I saw 2.6 mSv, while the sign on the high way was 2.83. I took
the picture of it with my camera.
(Picture 12 & 13: National Road from the car)
You cannot enter Yoru no Mori, Ono or Futaba Station from Tomioka. In spite of my experience of driving in this area for six years, I learned how to get to Namie Station for the first time!
( Namie Machi shopping arcade) (Namie Station)
For more than a year and a half I had not come to the elementary school in Ukedo. The school has not changed since then. People were sorting out debris close to the school, and an incinerator was at work in the same area. Side by side to that, newly made tetras were lined up.
( Ukedo Elementary School)
( The school lunch room kept the same as before)
(A fork is still there…) ( Sorting out debris right next to
(Incinerator for debris in Ukedo, beyond the tetra. Incinerator)
(New but temporary houses had been built for the inhabitants of Haranomachi.)
( In Odaka, many swans were resting their wings quietly.)
In many of the newly built houses, communities are being reorganized, and many people have to meet new neighbors. We hope not many of them face the situation of losing friends and ending their lives in solitude.
This year again we would like to continue our humble communication steadily, to join the information as to who, where, what and how.
The “Kinshi pumpkin jam” which we advertised before will be ready for sale in the fall. Please look forward to the result!
Thank you very much, and God bless you!
Sister Yukie Nogami, ACI