As Japan celebrates "recovery" (at least in the stock market), 2020 Tokyo Olympic, maglev bullet train that will run under Japan Alps, there are still 100 people from Futaba-machi, Fukushima still living in the abandoned high school building in Saitama Prefecture, more than two and a half years after the earthquake and tsunami and the nuclear accident struck Tohoku and Kanto.
Time has frozen for them, too.
In my August 16, 2012 post, I wrote there were more than 200 Futaba-machi residents living in shelter in the Kisai High School building in Kazo City in Saitama Prefecture, in partitioned classrooms and gyms, getting boxed meals.
Since September 1, 2012, the residents who live in the high school building have had to pay for the boxed meals, 30,000 to 40,000 yen (US$300 to 400) per month, out of their own pockets.
According to a volunteer group who's been providing the residents, mostly elderly, with hot meals every one to two months since September 2012,
One year since [we started serving hot meals], the number of people living in the shelter have been gradually decreasing. However, there are still about 100 people living here [at the high school], eating three boxed (bento) meals every day.
The plan to close this shelter is rapidly gaining momentum, but there are still many issues to be resolved. Where will the current 100 residents at the shelter go? What about compensations?
It is not a good thing that a shelter continues to exist. But we don't think it is a good thing if this shelter is closed without consensus from the residents.
The residents at the shelter also tell us that despite bad living conditions they find emotional support through human relationship - that they live together with their friends and acquaintances from the same town [Futaba-machi]. If the shelter is closed, they will have to live apart. They have already lost so much and are forced to live in a harsh condition. It would increase the sense of loneliness in the elderly residents and deprive them of their daily joy and happiness.
Katsutaka Idogawa is no longer the mayor of Futaba-machi; he decided not to fight the recall motion by the town assembly. He was a candidate of the Green Party for the Upper Election in July this year, but his campaign didn't get any attention and he lost.
There is no incentive for politicians to do anything about the evacuees in an abandoned high school building in Saitama. The evacuees don't complain, and no one complains for them.
They are going to squander a ton of money (maybe literally) on maglev trains and 2020 Olympic, but they can't even convert this high school building into a more comfortable, habitable living space.