“Nuclear Nation II,” a sequel to Atsushi Funahashi documentary that showed the world how the Fukushima nuclear disaster destroyed a local community, will hit theaters in Japan on Nov. 15.
The new film shows the continuing plight of people from Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, where the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is located.
“Nuclear Nation” released in 2012, covered the nine-month period after the disaster unfurled in March 2011. The documentary was shown in 40 countries, including the United States and Germany, and received positive reviews.
To complete the sequel, Funahashi, 40, continuously filmed the daily lives of Futaba residents, who have lived as evacuees in and outside the prefecture, for nearly three years. He financed the project partly from donations collected from the public through crowdfunding on the Internet.
Funahashi’s camera keeps track of how the protracted evacuation has further damaged the Futaba community.
His main subjects include a man with mixed feelings about his work in decommissioning the reactors at the stricken nuclear plant.
Members of a family that has lived in Futaba for six centuries also face an agonizing choice. Their property was designated as a site for a planned interim storage facility for contaminated debris.
Although the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has contributed to the local economy for 40 years, Funahashi’s films show that the residents ended up losing more after the triple meltdown in 2011.
The filmmaker said he paid special attention to details of the lives of the Futaba residents so that viewers can feel the experience of life as an evacuee.
In the sequel’s climax, a Futaba woman describes the residents’ agony at a government-organized meeting held to explain the interim storage facility plan.
“We, the town residents, have been divided and isolated again and again–first by the nuclear accident, second by government decisions regarding compensation, and then by those on the evacuation order,” the woman tells the government officials.