Kanako Nishikata and children

Image © Robert Knoth / 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 first story, from 34-year-old mother of two, Kanako Nishikata, who last year attended our anti-nuclear rally in Germany.

Hello, everyone. My name is Kanako Nishikata, a single mom with an eleven-year-old son and a nine-year-old daughter. Before March 11 our days were happy, even though we didn't have much money. But the Fukushima nuclear accident has deprived us of safety, which is what motivated me to come here to Germany together with my children and attend this rally.

Only now that we've moved to Yonezawa City can we finally open the windows and air our clothes outdoors. We no longer need to wear a gauze mask all day; instead I can see my children smile, and as soon as they come home after school they drop their schoolbags and go on outside again to play. These things are nothing that special, yet we feel immensely grateful.

Fukushima mother at anti-nuclear rally

Image © Michael Loewa / Greenpeace

Recently one of my children said to me, "I don't want to go back to Fukushima. I'll get ill if I stay in Fukushima. And getting ill will make you unhappy, mom, because you'll have to worry about the medical bills!" And I thought to myself, when I was my children's age I never had to deal with such a situation. Now many Fukushima children have worries like this.

Aside from the sorrow in my heart, there is also indignation. It's the recklessness of us adults that has led to these dangers threatening the world, and fostered such worries in the minds of children. For the rest of my life I will carry a sense of guilt in regards to these innocent children.

Human beings and animals all feel an instinctive need to safeguard the next generation. This instinct is more powerful than any other force. Let's not forget this, for the sake of our children. I am going to whole-heartedly continue to fight for a nuclear-free world. Attending this rally is only the beginning of my anti-nuclear efforts. It's going to be a lifelong task of all Fukushima residents.

Fukushima anniversary feature