“While we’re cleaning the beach, we sometimes wade into the water for a quick swim”
I’ve taken part in the Usuiso beach cleanup since early July. Our work mainly involved clearing pieces of wood and debris that have cluttered the beach ever since the tsunami. Radiation levels are not particularly high here. This town has suffered much more from the destruction wreaked by the tsunami than from radioactive particles.The town of Iwaki battered by the tsunami in March 2011.While the other volunteers and I are cleaning, we sometimes wade into the ocean for a quick swim. [The beach remains closed to the public.] One time, a few local government workers came to see us while we were swimming. They told us swimming in the water posed no risk to our health, but that we should be careful because there was no life guard to watch us. On this beach, the only people we ever run into are people working on cleaning up and rebuilding the coastline.“The people of Fukushima are having trouble selling their agricultural products outside the region”I would really like to see Usuiso beach cleaned up as quickly as possible so that visitors can go back there. [As of now, local authorities have not announced that they would re-open any more beaches]. However, I think the majority of the population is still pretty suspicious about vacationing near a recent nuclear meltdown. So I’m not sure how long it would take before it could become popular again.I think it’s difficult to change people’s mentalities. For example, the people of Fukushima are having trouble selling their agricultural products outside the region, even if they are not contaminated. At the national level, people are still suspicious of rice grown in Fukushima. However I have seen some local businesses starting to export their products, so the economy seems to be recovering in some ways. [Japan has asked the countries that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to lift restrictions on food products from Fukushima.]Our Observer Brandon shot this video on Usuiso beach during a clean-up session.