Day 19, Mar 18, Kamaishi 釜石

My friend, Takashi, texted me yesterday. “Radiation level around Fukushima No1 nuc plant is doubled in the last few days. Maybe something is happening in damaged reactors. I recommend you wear mask.” I have not turned on my Geiger counter for a while. I checked, and the reading was hovering slightly above the baseline. I am about 300 kilometers away from Fukushima Daiich Nuclear Power Plant. This should not affect the rest of my walk. But it does bring back the issue of nuclear safety.



There are major debates in Taiwan about the Number 4 nuclear power plant. Some of my friends suggested to associate my walk with the the protest. Fukushima and other nuclear crises showed that there are always factors beyond the human foresight. The consequence of failure has devastating and far reaching impact. But what about our insatiable hunger for energy? The self-perpetuating drive for more consumption is considered progress in our culture of excess. The Japanese learned it the hard way. There is an effort to pursue the renewable energy. I have been seeing solar panels on new and old houses everyday. Japan is currently the 3rd largest solar power producing country in the world. However, considering all of Japan’s solar energy is about equivalent to the output of one nuclear power plant, we still have long way to go.

私の祖国台湾では、第四原子力発電所が大きな論争の的となっている。友人のなかには、私のこの日本での震災地域巡礼プロジェクトを、台湾の第四原発への抗議と結びつけてはどうかと言う人も何人かいた。福島を含む様々な場所での原発事故は、原子力発電には常に必ず人智を超える要素がついてまわるという事実を示している。いったん事故が起きてしまったら、それは壊滅的で予想をはるかに上回る深刻な結果をもたらさずにはいない。だが、我々のエネルギーに対する飽くことのない欲望は? 我々の過剰消費文化においては、さらなる消費へ、さらなる消費へと自己永続的に欲求を生み出し続けることこそが進化だと考えられている。このことの意味を、日本人は今回身をもって体験し、痛感したのではないだろうか。日本では、再生可能エネルギー利用率を増やそうとする試みが広がりつつある。家の新旧にかかわらず、屋根に太陽光パネルのついている家を毎日のように見かけるし、日本の太陽光発電量は現在世界第三位だ。だが、日本全国の太陽光発電量を全部合わせても、原子力発電所ひとつぶんの発電量にしかならないことを考えると、先の道のりはまだまだ遠そうだ。

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I stayed in Kamaishi today, a break after the stretch of 7 days walk. Miyako is just a few days away. I was not sure if I could come this far. Looks like I am actually going to make it.


Japanese translation by Michiko Owaki    日本語訳:大脇美智子

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