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更新时间:2017-3-15 11:41:40 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The Lonely Towns of Fukushima

Thousands of people fled from their homes, offices and schools six years ago after a devastating earthquake and tsunami caused a meltdown at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan. To this day, few have returned, leaving behind ghost towns where eerie signs of the departed linger under a caking of dust.


Tomioka, a little more than six miles south of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, was home to 15,830 people before the accident. They left in a hurry. At this ramen restaurant on the main road through town, dishes were left in the sink.


Some towns, like most of Futaba, just four miles from the nuclear plant, may never be reoccupied. Wandering its deserted streets, catching a glimpse of a piece of a child’s artwork here, a worker’s old Rolodex file there, I am hit by an unstinting sense of loss and devastation.


Evidence of sudden flight is everywhere. The earthquake shook an elementary school so vigorously that students could not even stay standing. When the children left, they assumed they would return a few days later. Instead, they left and never came back.


The portraits of past principals lay scattered on the floor, the forgotten history of an abandoned school.


Most of the 21,434 people who lived in the town of Namie have put down roots elsewhere. They are now asking that the town simply demolish their homes. A little over 800 houses and shops have been knocked down already; another 1,280 are on a waiting list.


In Tomioka, I met Chiharu Matsumoto, 68, a former resident who volunteers at a rest center in town for people returning just to clean out or get things from their homes. She lives in a city to the west now and said she did not plan to move back. Her grown children have not visited Tomioka since evacuating after the disaster. “They do not know how much radiation they might receive,” she said.

在富冈町,我走访了68岁的松本原幸(Chiharu Matsumoto,音),她在市内的一个支持中心做志愿者,该中心的目的是帮助那些从家里清理东西或者取回物品的人们。她现在住在西边的一个城市,并说自己没有计划搬回来。她成年的孩子们自灾难撤离后便没有再回富冈看过。“他们不知道自己可能受到多少辐射,”她说。

The government says it will be safe for residents to return in April. So far, 304 people have moved back on temporary permits. With so few people returning, it makes little sense for many commercial operations to restart. Many of the convenience stores, restaurants and pachinko gambling parlors, like this one, have yet to be cleaned up or repaired.


Some scientists say radiation in many towns has fallen to levels that should not cause long-term health problems; others ask whether even low doses are safe. But “the situation is much beyond science,” said Dr. Otsura Niwa, chairman of the Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Hiroshima, who has conducted extensive sampling in Fukushima since the disaster. “It’s the human element which is playing the biggest role,” he said.

一些科学家说,许多城镇的辐射已经下降到不会导致长期健康问题的水平;其他人还在询问是否低剂量辐射也是安全的。但是,“情况远远超出了科学范畴,”广岛辐射效应研究基金会主席丹羽太贯(Otsura Niwa)博士说,自灾难发生以来,他在福岛进行了大量采样。“人的因素发挥着最大的作用,”他说。

The people most likely to return are the elderly. Ichiro Tagawa, 77, moved back to Namie on a special permit in September and reopened the bicycle repair shop that has been in his family for 80 years. “I am so old I don’t really care about the radiation levels,” he said, “and in fact it is very low.”

最有可能返回的人是老人。77岁的田川一郎(Ichiro Tagawa,音)于9月持特别许可证搬回浪江,重新开放了自家已有80年的自行车维修店。“我太老了,我真的不在乎辐射水平,”他说,“事实上辐射水平也是非常低的。”

Another reason he wanted to return was to be near his family’s grave sites. One large cemetery near the coastline was heavily damaged by the tsunami.


“We want to visit our ancestors’ graves,” Mr. Tagawa said. “But we are living in a very lonely town.”