Where the World Comes to Windham County…

The Windham World Affairs Council is pleased to announce an online Zoom panel discussion
Sunday, March 21, from 4 to 5:30 pm
“Ten Years and Counting: Our Fukushima Journey”
A Conversation with Chiho Kaneko and Norma Field

March 11, 2021 marks 10 years since an earthquake and tsunami touched off three nuclear meltdowns and multiple hydrogen explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, an ongoing nuclear disaster some scientists say will continue for the next 100 years. The Japanese government’s focus on an eventual summer Olympics in Tokyo, despite the need for rebuilding and on-going radiation concerns, is a contentious topic in and outside of Japan.

On Sunday, March 21, from 4:00 to 5:30 pm, Windham World Affairs Council (WWAC) will host a Zoom conversation with two women with close ties to Fukushima. Chiho Kaneko and Norma Field will share their perspectives on the ‘distortions’ inherent in the accident’s ongoing environmental, social and economic impacts in an attempt to clarify the Fukushima reality and the lessons it contains. WWAC board member Lissa Weinmann, a citizen appointee to the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel, will moderate. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required on Zoom using this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_4v4WJJOmSYa6DVAvKNtPog

Chiho Kaneko maintains close ties to family and friends in Iwate prefecture, 150 miles from Fukushima Dai-ichi, which continues to suffer from the effects of the nuclear disaster. She interpreted for former Japanese Prime Minister Kan on his trip to the United States following the Fukushima disaster and has served as an interpreter for atomic bomb survivors in various international venues.

Chiho was born in Japan’s Iwate Prefecture and graduated from Hokkaido University with a degree in agronomy. She attended University of Massachusetts at Amherst as a graduate student in its Landscape Architecture program, when she realized she wanted to take her life’s path to a different direction. Influenced by Kenji Miyazawa (1896 – 1933), a writer and poet from Iwate, Chiho has dedicated her life to exploring the conditions for universal happiness and peace through her work as a visual artist, as a language translator and interpreter, as a newspaper columnist, and as a vocalist. In the last twenty years, she and her husband have lived in Hartland, Vermont, growing most of the vegetables they eat year-round. She is a board member of Fairewinds Energy Education.

Norma Field grew up in Tokyo, Japan, with an American father and Japanese mother. Listening to her parents’ conflicting views on Pacific nuclear weapons testing turned out to be her introduction to the atomic age. The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster occurred just as she was preparing to retire from thirty years’ of teaching at the University of Chicago. That disaster brought together questions that have always been important to her : what are people able and willing to understand, given economic, social, and political constraints, in such a crisis? How do taboos get set in place, silencing people and alienating them from profound anxieties about themselves and their children because of radiation, the invisible intruder? How do these reverberate with the still unresolved history of atomic bombing?

Until the pandemic, Field traveled on average twice a year to Fukushima. She has organized symposia, translated and written on Fukushima. Recent publications include  Fukushima Radiation: Will You Still Say No Crime Has Been Committed? (editor and co-translator, 2015) and “This will still be true tomorrow: ‘Fukushima ain’t got the time for Olympic Games’” (2020).

One of the speakers’ contacts in Japan is filmmaker Hitomi Kamanaka, whose film Little Voices From Fukushima is available for streaming from March 1 until March 11 at 5:00 PM (PST) for $8, access by visiting: https://www.oregonpsr.org/remembering_fukushima_ten_years_later

There is much more to learn about the topic of this discussion. Here is a link to a page which lists suggested readings:
Resources for Understanding Fukushima

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