A drive to north Ibaraki

A few days ago, the weather forecast said it would be fine in the daytime here despite of being in the rainy season right now. I thought it was a good chance to visit northern part of Ibaraki along the coast of the Pacific ocean. I wanted to visit there by myself.

There is a road, the route 6, running straight north to south there. In the narrow and slightly sloped land toward the ocean from the hills on the opposite side, there are houses or shops along that road. Of course, there are a lot of farms there. It is always bright and warm throughout a year. I used to drive up there with the family on week ends when they were still young. It has never been a renowned resort at all. Rather few visitors there. It was also favorable to me. Those days, I vaguely thought it would be good for us to move there when I retired. It was a so nice place for us to visit.

The nuclear power plant accident must has made changes there. The power plant is located about 60km, that is, about 40 miles, north of the border between Ibaraki and Fukushima. The main trunk roads, including the above mentioned one and the high way, as well as the railway were interrupted a few km north of the border by the accident. The area in the diameter of several km around the power plant is still strictly prohibited to enter. As told before, approximately 150,000 of people are still evacuated from that area. Northern Ibaraki is just next to the area.

That was shy I wanted to get back there again. A place I used to love so much. A place that has undergone a drastic change due to the accident.

On a beach, near to the border to Fukushima. At the tip of the peninsula on this photo, we could see the devastated nuclear power plant far away.

Of course, I could never go into the area contaminated with radioactive.

It was noon when I left for the area. In addition, I took the way off the highway. That was why I got there around 3 PM. I drove up the route 6, which lead from Tokyo to Miyagi through Ibaraki and Fukushima along the coast. There was apparently nothing changed. Of course, there were new houses and buildings along the road. The traffic seemed as crowded as before.

Carefully watching along the road, there were a few restaurants closed. A famous hotel on a cliff was also closed. Before retiring, I had a patient, a 2 or 3 years old girl, whose father was working as a police officer. He was assigned to this area immediately after the accident. The mother was worrying about the high radioactivity in this area. As the politicians used to announce, the level of radioactivity is not so high that it affects human body at once. Just only "at once". Who knows about the late effect, especially, for young children most sensitive to radioactivity among all age groups? I know quite some children and their families have moved from this area to anywhere else. I wonder if I was taken a strong hold of that idea but felt there were less people on the streets, especially, small children. Closed shops/restaurants or hotels might have deprived the people in this area of chances of employment.

I wanted to have a cup of coffee at a restaurant on a beach, where I had taken lunch with my wife on the way back from Miyagi. It was a trip to see my old mother at a nursing facility. However, the restaurant was also closed. It told they would close the restaurant for a while. But I was not sure how long the while meant. A rock on the ocean in front of this restaurant looked the same as before.

 Some politicians have made a slip of tongue and told what they had thought about this accident. A  politician at an important position in the dominating party told recently there had been no one killed by this accident. She meant no problem to restart the other nuclear plants. She got a powerful objection to it by the people in Fukushima and was forced to withdraw her words. There have been hundreds of people killed, not directly by the accident but by the accident related events. As told above here, so many people are still evacuated from the area around the nuclear power plant as well.

I was convinced not to forget this fact again during this small trip.


  1. SHIN San,

    What you describe is truly sad for everyone. I noted that the politicians in your country are much like the ones we have in our country. Their brains work well to instruct the mouth and voice box to spew out their words that show how small their brains actually are! I have found out that new nuclear power plants are still being built here in the USA! So we are not using the evidence of what happens when an accident occurs at one of these plants, and are apparently not concerned with such things! It must be a political thing, apparently these politicians cannot see and understand the basic reasons why continued use nuclear energy is not a good idea!

    Bob Gates

    1. Bob,

      They must not be responsible for the future. In Japan, they are going to restart some nuclear power plants. Haven't they learned anything from the accident and its sequelle in Fukushima? They think least of the future!

      It is surprising they are constructing new nuclear power plants. Apart from the risk of operation, how do they do with the used fuels? I have heard some radioactive matter was spilled out in the reserver in Nevada or Oregon. Impossible for us to reserve them for ten thousands of years without any risk of contamination in the environment. Once the environment is contaminated, it would cost astronomically much money to do with it.