Saturday, April 2, 2011

Fight For Own Castle

Soma city is located 45km north of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.  Mr. Tachiya, Mayor of Soma city, released his newsletter on March 24, 2011, titled "Roujou", meaning "fight for own castle".

On March 11, 2011, his town lost over 5,000 houses and lost 10% of population from tsunami, and seven people who were on duty to rescue or announce evacuation during series of tsunami.  As more news came in, people in emergency response team of city became more quiet with fear and anxiety, but determined to serve for their town with their full effort.

On March 12, 2011, Self Defense and local emergency response teams gathered to set up shelters and meals for evacuees, and city started planning replacement for those who lost houses in tsunami.

However, the evil from 45km away from town came close to Soma city - "fear" from nuclear power plant incidents.  News about nuclear power plants just grew fear in everybody's mind, not only in Soma city, but also in all over Japan. Since government announced evacuation warning for 20km (12.4mi.) radius, people in Soma city started preparing for evacuation. At the same time, logistics companies stopped coming into towns in the area. No gasoline, no food, and all they have is the fear of nuclear radiation.
People in Soma city stays in front of TVs, listening to news reporters telling how dangerous it is in the area.
"Isn't it too late to evacuate when things get worse?" 
"Is government avoiding telling the truth to keep people from getting panic, and things are actually bad enough to harm our health?"
"Isn't it actually the time to evacuate from here?"
"If not, why US government announced evacuation warning for 80km radius?"

After evacuation warning, residents of Minami Soma city, closer to Fukushima Daiichi NPP, started evacuating into Soma city. The city opened two more schools as shelters for another 1,000 people, and they are responsible for supplies and food for those evacuees.

Mayor Tachiya declares that he will not advise residents to evacuate before government's advisory or warning to do so. He decided to stay in own town, waiting for improvement in nuclear power plants as soon as possible. He thanks to all of mayors for their help and support in Japan.


In Soma city, 1,700 residents and 500 outside of city residents are living in 7 shelters as of March 30, 2011.  They are short in food, water, and shoes, and asking for donation from NPO and corporates on city's website.

This article manifested that bonding between local governments are stronger than vertical relationship of governments in Japan.

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