FUKUSHIMA Lives on the Line
158——So we have to rethink on what we can do as Fukushima residents, right?Kikuchi: Yes, all Fukushima residents must share this sentiment. The central government cannot funnel all its program and budgetary resources to Fukushima Prefecture. If the prefecture receives a string of subsidies from the central government, the country will not be able sustain itself.—— Specifically, what should residents do?Kikuchi: First, we have to be smart. It is important for each of us to take personal responsibility for our safety. The U.S., for example, is steeped in an ethos of taking personal responsibility for protecting themselves, due to lessons learned from history. I think the Japanese people, more often than not, are caught off guard. With health care, for example, Japan is the only country where the entire burden is put on the shoulders of physicians—no matter what happens, when, where, or to whom, doctors are expected to take care of it.——So you are saying that we should do everything we can with the available resources?Kikuchi: Yes. Also, we need to immediately address the urgency of training more people. We have to educate the youth of Fukushima and train them to become nuclear power engineers. An increasing number of people are moving out of the prefecture, and we cannot expect elite human capital to flow back in. We may have the technical knowledge to decommission the undamaged nuclear power plants, but we do not have the knowledge to decommission those ruined by the hydrogen explosions. We have to educate the younger generation within the prefecture and provide them with the expertise to shut down such reactors. We can restructure existing educational institutions within Fukushima to train nuclear power professionals. To me, this is the type of thinking that we need.