Novelist Yu Miri: Olympics not Assisting Fukushima rebuilding

The playground is the most important setting of Yu’s award-winning book, “Tokyo Ueno Station,” where the protagonist, Kazu, a seasonal employee from Fukushima, finished up. The older man first arrived at the Japanese funding annually before the 1964 Tokyo Olympics for building work.

Yu said in a Tokyo news conference Wednesday that she visited the park recently and it was amazingly clean, but an area where she was able to interview displaced residents because of her publication has largely been removed.

The book, first released in Japan in 2014, portrays the life span of the seasonal employee with no place to return — a motif for several of Yu’s works.

The narrative was based on her interviews with displaced squatters living in huts made from cardboard boxes and blue plastic tarp over a decade back. She stated she was prompted by roughly 600 Fukushima residents she interviewed while hosting a local radio program she began a year following the March 2011 meltdowns in the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The triple meltdowns in the plant caused enormous radiation flows to the exterior, polluted the surrounding regions, and displaced as many as 160,000 people from the no-go zones and everywhere at the prefecture. The majority of those areas are reopened since the government has attempted to showcase the retrieval before the Tokyo Games, however, people who returned to their own houses are mostly elderly men and women.

Many households, particularly with small kids, say they do not plan to come back to their homes because of radiation problems in addition to the lack of their former communities and jobs.

However, their lives have changed — for the worse — because Yu completed the novel, with an increasing feeling of isolation among Fukushima inhabitants amid preparations before the Olympics, along with the coronavirus pandemic which has made them isolated, said Yu. She’s since moved into Minamisoma, where she opened a publication cafĂ© in hopes of developing a place for sailors to get reconnected after displacement on account of the atomic disaster.

“Many men and women see the problem through a lens of grief rather than a lens of trust,” she explained. “Maybe the narrative fits their thinking and that is likely why the book was read.”

She stated disaster-hit regions haven’t recovered enough and training for the Olympics has removed jobs and resources from the restoration projects, becoming a part of the motives delaying their renovation. “Organizers must have observed the amount of advancement of the renovation before opting to sponsor the Games,” she explained.

The Olympics, originally planned for July 2020, were postponed until the summertime because of the pandemic.

A lot of these Yu interviewed had functioned as seasonal employees in Tokyo throughout Japan’s postsecondary financial progress. When they eventually came back to get a simple retirement existence back in their home, they dropped their houses at the Fukushima crisis. “A man said it was back a fortune, and the word got stuck inside my torso like a thorn,” she explained.

Yu recalled another thorn she’s had in her torso from her previous conversation with a homeless guy. He advised her that individuals who have the walls and roof do not know the feelings of people who don’t.

“I wrote the narrative of how the guy named Kazu dwelt and picked death, not in the exterior but his inner ego, believing that maybe I can convey the way he felt to people who have areas to return,” she explained.