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New Film Shows Human Cost of Fukushima

According to the film director Atsushi Funahashi, the displaced inhabitants of evacuated areas are still forced to live in temporary accomodations without hope of returning home.

MOSCOW, October 21 (RIA Novosti) - A new film opening in Japanese cinemas next month follows the fate of residents evacuated from their homes after the Fukushima nuclear disaster which occurred in March 2011.

The displaced inhabitants of Futaba, after over three years, are still “forced to live in this temporary housing without hope for the future,” Reuters reports the director, Japanese film director Atsushi Funahashi, as saying.

Futaba, which before the accident had a population of 7,000, was exposed to radiation and its residents were forced to leave their homes. The film “Nuclear Nation 2” details the futile waiting which the people of the town are forced to endure; over time it becomes clear that they will never go home, since the town is now set to become a site for radioactive soil containment. After a screening of the film at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan last week, Funahashi described their treatment as “almost a human rights violation.”

The new film covers two years in the lives of evacuated residents, who become increasingly desperate as their hopes of returning to their homes dwindle. In a first instalment, “Nuclear Nation”, which was released in 2012, the director chronicled the residents’ lives as they stayed in temporary shelters in an abandoned high school close to Tokyo.

“My strategy was to just boil it down to this microcosm which is this small town, Futaba, which was situated, including their own town hall, in a high school,” Funahashi told Filmmaker Magazine in December last year.

An estimated 160,000 people were evacuated from a 20km exclusion zone created around the plant after the disaster, when an earthquake and tsunami caused a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, and contamination of the surrounding area. Around 120,000 people evacuated from a wider territory are also still living in temporary accommodations.

Since the disaster, nuclear reactors in Japan have been banned from operating, though the Japanese government has plans to restart nuclear reactors despite the misgivings of the general public. Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority has given the green light for two nuclear reactors to be reopened in southern Japan, however, consent of local communities wary of the risks of nuclear power must be gained.

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