Fukushima organic farmer

Image © Christian Åslund / Greenpeace

This time last year Japan was rocked by a deadly earthquake, which also resulted in a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima power plant. We bring you two stories of two mothers from Fukushima, Japan who watched in fear the horror unfold. Here is the second story, from 57-year-old mother and organic farmer, Tatsuko Ogawara, who last year attended our anti-nuclear rally in Germany.

I am Mrs. Ogawara from Fukushima. Over the past 26 years, I operated an organic farm together with my family, growing about 50 crops and raising some cows and chickens.

Although it was 25 years ago I still remember the Chernobyl leak. My eldest daughter was only two months old, and radiation was even detected in Japan, 8,000 kilometers away from the accident. This made me, a breastfeeding mother, very anxious. Considering that my home was only 40 kilometers away from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, I thought it was important to learn more about nuclear power, in an effort to prevent my young children from similar suffering. I also began warning my friends of the dangers of nuclear power and gave public speeches here and there.

However, with five children I found myself busy rearing them and working on my farm. So my anti-nuclear passion began to fade away. In recent years farmers have suffered plenty of hardships brought about by unusual weather, so I found myself saying if nuclear power helps prevent global warming, perhaps it's not a bad thing.

Fukushima mother and organic farmer

Image © Michael Loewa / Greenpeace

On 11 March an unprecedented earthquake occurred in Japan. The mountains were swaying, and the roads cracking right in front of me. After checking that all my family members were safe and sound, a chill suddenly ran down my spine as I looked in the direction of the nuclear power plant. Thinking of the horrors of nuclear leakage, I was struck with guilt because I had already known of the consequence25 years ago but did nothing.

The spread of radioactive substances from Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant continues. As for the measures taken by the country and the Tokyo Electric Power Company to solve this, my expectations are getting smaller and smaller. Not a single drop of pesticide or any chemical fertilizer has ever been used on my farmland, and now it has been contaminated by radioactive dust!

Nevertheless, I will not give up. I plan to continue my participation in the Global Denuclearization Campaign, and do my best to put smiles back on the faces of people in my hometown and Fukushima!

Fukushima anniversary feature