【movie review】The Disaster Is Over, but the Effects on a Nation Are Not via The New York Times

“Fukushima.” The name of the nuclear power plant that was severely damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated coastal areas of northeastern Japan has become an ominous buzzword. Along with “Chernobyl,” it lurks in the backs of our minds as a symbol of the unthinkable. Maybe if we just forget, we tell ourselves, everything will somehow turn out all right. Yet, from most evidence, the crisis appears to be far from over.
The dread factor is one reason few will want to watch Atsushi Funahashi’s new documentary, “Nuclear Nation,” about the effects of the catastrophe on everyday people. This modest film observes evacuees from Futaba, a small town near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, making do in their temporary shelter. Partly because this version of the movie was drastically edited to 96 minutes from 145, it feels sketchy and disjointed.

“Nuclear Nation” doesn’t take the long view. It doesn’t pretend to be knowledgeable about nuclear power or the politics of the disaster, although the Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company come off as untrustworthy and indifferent. If nothing else, the film will force you to reassess all the arguments for and against nuclear power.

Those whose lives were uprooted seem remarkably stoic, although anger simmers below their resignation at being buffeted by forces beyond their control.[…]Katsutaka Idogawa, who was Futaba’s quietly heartbroken mayor, recalls the economic benefits the Fukushima plant once brought to Futaba and the pride that residents felt in being a nuclear power center. But the official response to the evacuees, many of whom haven’t been tested for radiation exposure, was so tepid that any trust has been broken. Some assume that they were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation long before the disaster. It should go without saying that Mr. Idogawa is no longer an advocate of nuclear energy.

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