Online video messages from evacuated residents of Fukushima town

17 March 2018

Nonprofit entity ONE Fukushima in Iwaki city, Fukushima Prefecture began on March 12 distributing online video messages from evacuated residents of Futaba town, still left entirely deserted since the Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. Teaming up with the municipal government, ONE Fukushima has recorded the residents' messages such as their thoughts and hometown memories in an effort to send out their appreciations for warm support to the world through the internet.

The idea of online message distribution was broached in April last year during an exchange of views between ONE Fukushima and town officials. The two sides then proceeded with preparations for the project in the belief that it would help convey memories of the disaster and retain bonds between townspeople.

ONE Fukushima staffers called on the residents during events and on other occasions to cooperate in videotaping messages, shooting scenes with about 50 people. They talked of various experiences of help being offered by other people, including: "I will never forget all my life the taste of onigiri (rice balls) given with a smile" and "When the road was jammed by fleeing people, a smiling roadside resident let me use a restroom. 'Thank you!'"

"Some townspeople speak of their long-cherished feelings," said ONE Fukushima staffer Noriko Karube, 44. "We would like to value the thought of each and every one."

The online messages are available on Futaba’s official YouTube channel, accessible from its official website.

"We have received countless support since the earthquake disaster. We would like to convey our gratitude and prize exchanges that have emerged since the disaster," said Futaba Mayor Shiro Izawa. "We hope to maintain pre-disaster bonds through the distribution of video messages."

(Photo) ONE Fukushima staffer Noriko Karube (center) checks video clips on personal computer screen.

(Translated by Kyodo News)