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The Man From Soma-han
By Yoichi Shimatsu
Introduction by Yoichi Shimatsu
The Honorable Katsutaka Idogawa (井戸川克隆), surname sometimes pronounced in its modern variation "Ishikawa", is former mayor of Futaba township, once part of the feudal Soma-han domain, which borders on the melted-down reactors of TEPCO Fukushima No.1 nuclear station. In a lawsuit recently filed in Tokyo court, he charged the national government suppressed an advance warning of an impending quake and tsunami issued 8 days prior to cataclysm on March 11, 2011. The seismologists forecast accurately predicted a massive tsunami along the Honshu coast from Aomori to Chiba prefectures.
Mayor Idogawa has thrown down the gauntlet to the all-powerful nuclear industry, major banks and their puppet politicians, accusing them of deliberately refusing to issue an emergency evacuation order to coastal communities a week prior to the triple disaster, thereby actively contributing to16,000+ deaths in the triple disaster. Neither were workers at TEPCO Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant informed of the tsunami prediction and therefore precautionary measures were not taken to heighten emergency preparedness and engage the control rods to halt nuclear fission in reactors Nos. 1, 2 and 3.
In the video titled "The Man from Soma-han" posted at rense.com, Ishikawa explains that advance notice of the impending disaster was sufficient to prepare a mass evacuation from the coastline , limit damage to key infrastructure especially the four major nuclear plants along the northeast coast, and bolster nationwide emergency-response systems. Such preparatory measures would have resulted in a much lower count of drowned, missing and injured residents.
Idogawa's revelation of the lethal news blackout is yet to be covered in the Japanese press or by the international news media. Pending a court decision, the public may well have a chance to examine that seismic warning report. Given the politicization of the justice system in Japan, a long delay in court proceedings can be expected. The video of him on the campaign trail was shot in the heart of Tokyo near Hibiya Park and the Imperial Palace, close to the Justice Ministry. The sash is worn by candidates in the Upper House elections, scheduled for late June, the last nationwide elections prior to the Tokyo Olympics.
Traditional Values Under Attack
As for the English captions, many of his arcane terms posed a challenge in translation due to colloquialisms from the traditional moral code of that rural region. For instance, I haven't heard the terms "Shigan" (this world) and "Higan" (the afterlife) since my schoolboy days in attendance at a Buddhist temple on the slope of Mount Fuji. "Higan" refers to the spring and autumn equinoxes, the seasons of planting and harvest, which imply the cycle of birth, growth, maturity and death, in turn referring to household loyalties over the centuries in the former Soma-han Domain in the Fukushima region. The equinoxes are a time to pay respects at ancestral graves on each family's property and, in the recent centuries behind the local temples.
These associations of Higan to familial descent recall the shock and sadness of the Fukushima evacuees who had to abandon the graves of past generations from ancient times, separating children from their roots and for some families perhaps forever. Also evoked by that expression are the tears of farewell for their Soma horses, livestock, pets and local wildlife, left behind to die untended from radioactivity exposure or starvation, on strict orders from the Agriculture Ministry. A single word discloses unbearable tragedy.
His curious double-surname is due to archaic clan nomenclature no longer in common use, comprised of ideograms for a "well, spillway and river", indicating his forebears' role as caretakers of a clear-water spring. Heritage can have an enduring influence. His clarity of reason contrasts with the contemporary idolatry of nuclear power, a quick fix for industry that has obliterated the way of life for an archetypal community that practiced a pastoral existence completely in tune with nature at the heart of Japanese cultural identity.
Rather than admit their own crimes and errors against countless generations, the living and future generations, the "nationalistic"government of Prime Minister Shinzao Abe and his clientele of corporate executives sincerely hope the Fukushima evacuees will go back to the nuclear zone and die quietly, but Mayor Ishikawa is standing tall in the heart of Tokyo to confront these criminals in power.
A Dying National Treasure
His home turf of Futaba township is part of the former Soma "han", or feudal domain, renowned for a rugged tradition of hard-riding samurai and fearless warhorses. One of the saddest sights I've ever witnessed were those long-maned thick-furred Soma mares abandoned in their pastures to the radioactivity from the Fukushima No.1 reactor meltdowns. It was just heart-breaking to look into their questioning eyes, brimming with tears of hope for the return of their human kin, and then to see a dosimeter meter of 12.5 microSieverts, leaving no hope for their survival. I took the snapshot of Takashi Morizumi taking a reading. Levels as high as 29-plus were detected from dead and dying Soma horses at the Hosokawa ranch, as reported in a research paper by Adam Bronowski.
Some of the Soma breed still survive in somewhat less threatening distances, but the genetic pool may well be fatally damaged. I have noticed a lot of Arabian thoroughbreds being slipped into the annual racing festival instead of the authentic bloodline that has more than a thousand years of history in the region. The Soma herd, still listed as a National Treasure, could cease to exist within a few years.
Wrestling with one's own righteous anger is the hardest struggle in this utterly desolate situation since it is the most frustrating. Not so long ago, my clan responded to grievous injustices from a corrupt shogunate, their henchmen and arrogant foreign thieves by drawing swords and firing hand-bored rifles with shouts of joy. Today, in this galling condition when cowardice is enforced by law, we are trapped in a postwar Japan where moral values are reduced to treacherous falsehoods and when appeals to reason die in vain. Another way of putting the situation, as stated by Idogawa: "Every step for the people is cut down, all progress is slashed to death."
Marginalized New Hibakusha
His township of 6,000-plus residents was evacuated to "temporary shelters", cramped quarters built to last only three years and most are still trapped in those forgotten encampments. A couple of years ago, the strips along the"decontaminated" Joban Expressway, reopened for commercial traffic, enabled access for those particular residents to recover some belongings but none were allowed to spend the night due to the streaming radioactivity in the wind and rain. As yet Futaba and for the foreseeable future is uninhabitable, and therefore is being used as a dumping ground for a steady line of trucks out the northside of the TEPCO Fukushima plant.
A Stream of Lies
Photo-journalist Takashi Morizumi was active in the Soma region in the first days of the nuclear disaster, when local police emergency teams were ordered to stop all rescue operations and pull back from the coastal areas of Futaba, Namie and Minami-Soma districts after a sudden spike in radioactivity levels. With tears in their eyes, as Morizumi recalled, these tough cops were dismayed to abandon family members to the freezing cold and lethal radiation exposure. More than 2,000 residents died there, giving lie to the government claim that only one person was killed by Fukushima radioactivity.