The day the tsunamis hit Japan, which would eventually cause the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, will remain etched into my brain for a long time. I was frantically woken up by my mother on March 11, 2011; she ushered me to the television, where I saw footage of the damage that made my heart leap into my throat. I hurried to school and entered the classroom where I had been a part of a Japanese language program for three years at the time. In this room, I found my teacher, a man who had spent twelve years of his time in the area of Japan that was most heavily hit, as well as our three exchange students, one of which whose hometown was in the hard hit area, in tears. I, as well as many other students, joined them.
Over the next few weeks, our program worked to raise money for the Red Cross and other benefits, and we provided as best a support net for our exchange students and teacher as we could. The event was tragic, terrifying, and unforgettable; this point is proven, once more, by the fear it is continuing to strike into the hearts of many as concerns of nuclear radiation begin to make themselves well known.
Residents of Japan have been experiencing the effects of nuclear radiation from the plant since the beginning, and clean up efforts have been doing their best to contain the problem and keep people healthy. Now, fear is rising among U.S. citizens as the radiation that leaked into the ocean shortly after the meltdown makes its way to the West coast.
This impending event has been a cause of concern among many residents near the coast, including those in the San Francisco Bay area, who passed a resolution back in December that would require more regulation and testing of local seafood. However, officials say that such worries are uncalled for, since there is already radiation present in the ocean.
These reassurances have not been helpful to residents, however, who are still very fearful about the effects that may come with the radiation. They are not alone; Korea has ceased imports of fish from Japan’s Northern Pacific coast out of fear of radiation, as well. It seems like everyone is on their toes when it comes to the fear of radiation.
Whether or not the radiation proves harmful to the U.S., it is a concrete reminder of the unexpected tragedy that befell Japan in 2011, as well as grim evidence of how events that have long passed can prove harmful to so many people.
Image via Wikimedia Commons.