"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Sunday, April 3, 2011

HEROES: Inside story of the Fukushima 50

FUKUSHIMA 50 (more than 1,000 actually): "We expect to die,""There is nobody but us to do this job, and we cannot go home until we finish the work."

Here are extracts from three different sources: personal interviews with a Fukushima nuclear plant worker, an interview with the mother of a worker (they're anonymous so we don't know if it is the same worker) and a description of the living conditions for the pool of workers as they take turns going into the plant. 

1. From interview with a worker's mother in Fukushima 50: We expect to die 
on FoxNews via matzav.com

     Speaking tearfully through an interpreter by phone, the mother of a 32-year-old worker said: “My son and his colleagues have discussed it at length and they have committed themselves to die if necessary to save the nation. . . He told me they have accepted they will all probably die from radiation sickness in the short term or cancer in the long-term.”
     The woman spoke to Fox News on the condition of anonymity because, she said, plant workers had been asked by management not to communicate with the media or share details with family members in order to minimize public panic.
     She could not confirm if her son or other workers were already suffering from radiation sickness. But she added: “They have concluded between themselves that it is inevitable some of them may die within weeks or months. They know it is impossible for them not to have been exposed to lethal doses of radiation.”

2. From Interview with Fukushima worker 
on Yahoo.com

     One worker told national Mainichi newspaper said when he was called in mid-March to help restore power at the plant, he did not tell his family because he did not want them to worry. But he did tell a friend to notify his parents if he did not return in two weeks.
     "I feel very strongly that there is nobody but us to do this job, and we cannot go home until we finish the work," he said.
     Early on, the company ran out of full radiation suits, forcing workers to create improvised versions of items such as nylon booties they were supposed to pull over their shoes.
"But we only put something like plastic garbage bags you can buy at a convenience store and sealed them with masking tape," he said.
     He said the tsunami littered the area around the plant with dead fish and sharks, and the quake opened holes in the ground that tripped up some workers who could not see through large gas masks. They had to yell at one another to be heard through the masks.
     "It's hard to move while wearing a gas mask," he said. "While working, the gas mask came off several times. Maybe I must have inhaled much radiation." 

3. From Fukushima famine by Jamie Dean
on worldmag.com

     . . . [C]onditions are grueling for the hundreds of workers [later article at yahoo.org cited "more than 1,000 engineers working around the clock since the incident began"] battling radiation leaks and contaminated water at the badly damaged [Fukushima nuclear] plant . .. As many as 580 workers at a time pack the halls and offices of a two-story, earthquake-resistant building serving as emergency headquarters at the nuclear power plant. (The building stands about a half mile from Reactor No. 1.)  The workers pull three-day shifts, returning after one day off-site.. .
     Breakfast is a package or two of cookies and a small carton of vegetable juice. Dinner is usually rice with vegetables and a can of meat. No lunch. Fresh water is also scarce: Since workers are limited to 1.5 liters of water a day. . . they wash their hands with alcohol and usually don't bathe. . .
     Christian relief group CRASH (Christian Relief, Assistance, Support and Hope) sent an assessment team to Fukushima to assess relief needs. CRASH worker Scott Eaton formerly worked as a teacher in the region, and was a member of Fukushima Daiichi Seisho Baptist Church. He reported that seven of the church's members work at the power plant. (JR: It is my understanding that Team Leader Naoyoshi Sato is one of these 7 members.)
      Eaton also reported that a church in an area beyond the evacuation zone had offered to host all of the displaced members of the Fukushima church. And a Christian campground in Okutama had invited all the church members to move into the group's facilities. Eaton said he was relieved to see Japanese churches offering support: "This is the body of Christ.” 


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