Fukushima’s shattering effect on Japanese democracy (like Katrina’s on democracy in New Orleans)



In the lead-up to the fifth winter since the 2011 disasters, a man from Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, was speaking into a microphone at the side of Hachiko, the iconic statue of the faithful dog, in front of Tokyo’s Shibuya Station.

“I am giving this stump speech here because I don’t quite understand,” said Keizo Oguro, who was running in the Namie mayoral election, on Nov. 9.

Oguro, 59, a former chairman of the Namie town assembly, was canvassing for votes from residents of his town who had evacuated from the nuclear accident. He was unsuccessful in his bid on Nov. 15.

Namie is located to the north of Futaba and Okuma, the two towns that co-host the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. With some 21,000 residents, Namie was also hit hard by a towering tsunami and the nuclear disaster in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011.


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