Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
GOD SAVE HRC, FROM REALITY — Jeffrey St. Clair on Hillary Clinton’s miraculous rags-to-riches method of financial success; LA CONFIDENTIAL: Lee Ballinger on race, violence and inequality in Los Angeles; PAPER DRAGON: Peter Lee on China’s military; THE BATTLE OVER PAT TILLMAN: David Hoelscher provides a 10 year retrospective on the changing legacy of Pat Tillman; MY BROTHER AND THE SPACE PROGRAM: Paul Krassner on the FBI and rocket science. PLUS: Mike Whitney on how the Central Bank feeds state capitalism; JoAnn Wypijewski on what’s crazier than Bowe Bergdahl?; Kristin Kolb on guns and the American psyche; Chris Floyd on the Terror War’s disastrous course.
"Are You Buying Human Lives with the 'Figure'? Can Such a Thing be Accepted?"

Testimony of a Fukushima Mother

by SACHIKO SATO

At the first and third negotiation with Ministry of Education and Science, April 21  and May 23, 2011  Fukushima mother Sachiko Sato appeals “ Please help making our wish a reality ? give back normal life to our children”

My name is Sachiko Sato.  I have worked on land as a farmer for 30 years and I am a simple housewife. I am a mother for 5 children.  I do not have such a high education or knowledge like those of you who are here today representing Ministry of Education and Science.  We got only junior high or high school education.  We do not understand figures.  Please explain it so that we who are not educated can also understand it.

Since the disaster happened, our children in Fukushima have been locked inside a school building which is overcrowded. But the very day when the figure 20mSV was released by your Ministry, the Education Committee of Fukushima prefecture made an announcement that the children could play outside a school building.  Really, really we do not know if it is safe, yet many mothers send their children school with a lot of anxiety.  At home the mother and the father disagree if it is safe for their children.  The grandmother and the grandfather disagree.  And children are confused in the middle.

There are many families which are breaking up because of this. Some mothers cry from guilt every morning after they see their children off to school.

Please could you explain to us mothers who do not have much education.  We are not from that elite like you who graduated from Tokyo university, Kyoto university, Keio and Waseda universities are living in Fukushima. We graduated only junior high or high schools.  But the wish of mothers who want to protect the lives of own children is the same wherever you are in Japan, in the world? in Japan or in the world.  We do not want elite like you who live in comfort in a safe place to decide the fate of our children.

Bring your headquarters to Fukushima.  Move the Ministry of Education and Science to 10km from Fukushima Daiichi!

Do you know our feeling why we remain in Fukushima?  We cannot leave that place.  We have lived in the area since we were born. Children, grandmothers and grandfathers?.. they can not leave their home place.  There are many grandmothers and fathers who died on the day they were evacuated.  You have done such a cruel thing to us, furthermore, you tell us we got “the figure”.  Do not make a joke!

Are you buying human lives with the figure?  Can such a thing be accepted?

I can no longer even stay standing here calm.  Mobilize all your money and your family to help Fukushima!  Employ all Fukushima residents for Tokyo Electric!  And pay salaries!   And please guarantee our safety.

We want to give back a normal life to our children.  Our group is consisted of such mothers who wish so.  Please, please let us make this wish a reality, let one of these mothers’ wish happen.

May 23 Tokyo

Fukushima parents and their supporters make a human chain and appeal for rolling back 20msV for their children in front of Ministry of Education and Science.

I have been trying my best to minimize the level of radiation exposure for my children.  I do not understand why our government is doing this to us, exposing our children to radiation. I do not understand why it is 3.8micro mSV/hour standard is set as upper limit for children.  What shall we tell our children when they cry and ask us parents “why did not you stop 20mSV for us?” when they get cancer after 5 or 10 years from now? I do not want to tell our children “you got cancer”. I came here today because I want to do what I can do now.  Nuclear power plants are all over in Japan, and please imagine how you will feel if an accident happens near your place, and experts say that 100mSV for adults and 20mSV for children are fine.  Imagine how you will feel if you are in our situation and the authority refuses you to evacuate you and your family.
I want many people to help us. Please help our children in Fukushima.

Translated by Kaori Izumi