So we have an immense cohort of people who have been irradiated, lied to, and permanently (though not explicitly) removed from their homes and communities for the rest of their lives. They are victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, separately from being victims of the Great Tohoku Earthquake and tsunami. Their lives have been pulled apart and they are now scattered, some families living in separate places from each other—parents separated from children, spouses separated from each other—and left to sort these multiple traumas out for themselves. This as many are still in mourning for dead relatives and friends swept out to sea.
Here was the first, and most profound, victimization. For many it was accompanied by discrimination by people living in areas where the refugees have relocated, treating them as though they carry contagion: cars being vandalized, children being bullied in new schools. It is an immense and crushing burden to bear. But now, even more is being added: the Fukushima victims are being victimized again.
Almost from the start, and now reaching a loud chorus, are the claims both here in Japan and also abroad that the unrealistic fears and anxieties of these victims are the real cause of their physical and mental health problems.
Following on the work of those who minimize the radiological impact of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster claiming that depression and anxiety took a much larger toll on the affected population than radiation, some experts have advised that worrying about radiation will have a much bigger impact on the health of the Fukushima victims than the radiation itself. From early apologist declarations like that of Canadian journalist (and hormesis proponent) Lawrence Solomon who wrote ten days after the disaster that, “The only evidence that exists as to the health of humans who have been irradiated at low levels points to a benefit, not a harm. Difficult though it may be to overcome the fear of radiation that has been drubbed into us since childhood, there is no scientific proof whatsoever to view the radiation emitted from the Fukushima plant as dangerous to the Japanese population,” to more recent statements like that by National Public Radio (USA) correspondent Richard Harris who told his nationwide audience this month that “trauma, not radiation” is the key concern in Japan, the people of Fukushima have been fed a steady diet of self-blame.
Continue reading at Fukushima Victimization 2.0