- Always Staying Close to Naraha
Mei Nishizaki (College of Social Sciences)
There is Something an Out-of-towner can Do for Naraha Town Where Evacuation Order Lifted
“I want to return home, but I can’t.” “I want to return, but I am filled with anxiety.”
Naraha in Fukushima is the first town where the evacuation order was lifted.
Nishizaki took a leave of absence for Ritsumeikan for a year to stay close to those in Naraha and started working there.
She discovered their mixed feeling through her visit to the temporary housings.
There still remain some issues such as radiation fears, infrastructure, and employment.
Less than 10% of the people returned to Naraha. As time proceeds, there has been a gap between the returnees and non-returnees to the Town.
She was strongly concerned about it.
She visited every resident in the temporary housings to listen to what they really felt.
She also planned some events and festivals.
She created several opportunities for all the Naraha people to get together and for non-returnees to stay connected to the Town.
“As I was an out-of-towner, I could remain in neutral,” says Nishizaki.
Everyone loves his hometown, no one wants to see the residents separated.
She is now back to Ritsumeikan and serves as a window for student volunteer activities.
She still cares about Naraha from Kyoto while imagining the day she goes back there.