07/01/2014, 00.00
JAPAN
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Niigata Bishop: Do not forget the suffering of Fukushima, enough with nuclear power

The bishop took part in a meeting devoted to reconstruction and support for the survivors of the Great Earthquake of 2011, which devastated the Sendai region. "People have been deprived of the ordinary life, and for many of them it will be impossible to go it back. Most people do not care for the daily struggles of the people of Fukushima, but even if we are not directly responsible for the disaster, we have the responsibility to make new choices on the subject."

Niigata (AsiaNews) - Although many in society and even in the same Church in Japan have different views on the use of nuclear energy, "the point is clear. Come and see for yourself what happened at Fukushima. Come and see reality. People have been deprived of the ordinary life, and for many of them it will be impossible to go it back. Most people do not care for the daily struggles of the people of Fukushima, but even if we are not directly responsible for the disaster, we have the responsibility to make new choices on the subject," said Mgr Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi, bishop of Niigata, after he visited the areas affected by the nuclear disaster together with the heads of diocesan bodies involved in the reconstruction.

The visit took place on 24-26 June when participants met in the Koriyama Catholic Church in Fukushima Prefecture. More than 70 people attended the event, mostly diocesan directors appointed by their bishops to run relief and rehabilitation activities in the area in Sendai diocese hit by the 2011 earthquake and the unprecedented nuclear power leak,.

The group was able to visit areas where evacuees found temporary housing. Although local authorities are preparing to re-open the area, they do not know with any certainty if people will come back.

 "On Thursday morning, we met in Koriyama Catholic Church to listen to stories of eight people working for evacuees in Fukushima prefecture," Mgr Kikuchi said.

"There were so many different stories. Even though the rehabilitation programme moves very slowly, those in Iwate and Miyagi have, at least, some hope for future. But those in Fukushima, especially those near to the nuclear power plant have difficulty to find hope for future."

"This is not an issue limited to Fukushima prefecture. It is an issue for Japan as a whole. We should not forget the sufferings people in Fukushima endure every day. Communities are divided. Families are divided. Friends are separated. All of this for what reason?

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