Futaba is a small town of 7,000 residents located just 3km (2 miles) from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. When the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami struck, and the reactors began to meltdown, Katsutaka Idogawa, the then mayor of Futaba Town, went against government orders and decided to evacuate residents immediately. He was the only mayor in Fukushima prefecture to do this (see here). Mayors in other surrounding towns waited for advice and orders from the government. This came on March 15th, when the Japanese government advised people living within a 20 km (12 mile) radius of the plant to evacuate. It wasn’t until 11th April, one month after the disaster began, that the 20km exclusion zone became mandatory.
Last October, Katsutaka Idogawa gave an address to the United Nations in Geneva. What Mr Idogawa says about the early days of the disaster, as he tried to evacuate the people of Futaba, is quite horrifying. Also, having been one of a few outsiders to visit the plant, Idogawa says that Fukushima is an ongoing diaster that could make Japan uninhabitable. It’s interesting to note that it took a month to contain one exploded reactor at Chernobyl, and the Soviets did this by throwing tens of thousands of military personel at it. In Fukushima there are three reactors in meltdown and one fuel pool in danger of collapse, and for the last 20 months they have continued to release radiation into the environment. The Japanese government has left efforts at containment to the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), a corporation that is known to be incompetent and corrupt. Anyhows, here’s Katsutaka Idogawa, the former mayor of Futaba Town, addressing the UN…
In the above video, Idogawa is described as the mayor of Futaba. That was last October. In December, Idogawa was given a no-confidence motion by the municipal assembly of Futaba, and he later resigned as mayor (here). The no-confidence motion was because Idogawa was objecting to a proposed storage facilty for radioactive soil, amassed from decontamination work, which is going to be located in Futaba. You couldn’t make it up.
For more information about unit 4 spent fuel pool, and another recent speech given to the UN, this time by Murata Mitsuhei, Japan’s former Ambassador to Switzerland, see here.