A film about the impact of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster in a country still coping with the legacy of the first atomic bombing.
The New Hibakusha
(“The New Explosion-Affected People”)
UPDATE: Our project has been featured as part of "10 Kickstarter Projects Seeking to Change the World" on Mashable!
Growing up in western Massachusetts, I was strongly influenced by the nuclear non-proliferation movement. Our local plant, the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant, was eventually used as a model for the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. Because of this facility, my community became a hotbed for anti-nuclear activism.
During this time, I developed a close connection with the monks at the New England Peace Pagoda, a local order of Japanese Buddhist monks who were brought together by the atomic bombing in Hiroshima and moved to the United States with the hopes of igniting a movement to end global use of nuclear energy.
Through their support, I recently traveled to Japan and met with those involved in the nuclear non-proliferation movement and those affected by the current disaster in Fukushima.
During World War II, the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed by the first atomic bombs, killing 225,000 people. After the war, the Japanese government adopted the “Three Non-Nuclear Principles,” which stipulated that Japan shall neither possess nor manufacture nuclear weapons.
In the years following the war, Japan quickly rebuilt and grew into one of the largest economic powers in the world. To satisfy increasing energy demands, Japan commissioned its first nuclear power plant in 1961 under the assistance of the United States. Since then, Japan has aggressively expanded its nuclear program to replace the more inefficient coal power plants. There are now 54 nuclear reactors in Japan, powering a country that has the highest electricity consumption per square mile in the world.
The rapid acceleration of the Japanese nuclear program is not without consequences. In the 1990s alone, there were a series of incidents at nuclear facilities throughout the country, including the Tokaimura Criticality, Mihama Steam Explosion, and Chuetsu Earthquake Disaster.
For information about these disasters, please visit here
In 2011, the Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami severely damaged the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, unleashing one of the worst nuclear disasters in history. The reactors at the facility, which sits along Japan's northern coast, went into meltdown and began spreading cesium, strontium, and plutonium (three most deadly forms of radioactive waste) into the air, soil, and water of the region.
For updates on radiation throughout Japan, please visit here
Initially, Japanese government downplayed the damages at Fukushima and denied that cesium, strontium and plutonium were being released in the aftermath of the disaster. However, scientific tests being conducted by the Japanese government's field research program were only testing three feet above ground, and for one type of radiation. In reality, the most significant traces of radioactivity are being found in the soil. The Fukushima region is a significant cultivator of rice and produce, much of which is exported internationally.
Although international protocols require a 50-mile evacuation zone, the Japanese government only instituted a 12-mile “exclusion zone,” which dramatically reduced relocation costs. Many living in the affected region were not offered evacuation plans, temporary housing or other means of support.
This area is also closed to outside media groups as the government seeks to exert control over the flow of information.
The battle to contain the radiation leaks at Fukushima is not over. Recently, nuclear fission has restarted naturally in one of the damaged reactors, which could eventually lead to a potential meltdown if the containment vessels are not repaired in time.
The disaster has not dampened Japan’s dedication to its nuclear program. The government has initiated plans to re-open the Hamoaka Nuclear Plant, built in one of the most volatile earthquake zone in the entire country. Tokyo Electric Power Company, operators of the Fukushima Power Plant, has also initiated plans to construct a nuclear power plant in Hiroshima, minutes from where the atomic bomb was dropped.
Right now, there are several nuclear facilities in the United States built along fault lines. A severe earthquake that hits America’s coastline could potentially create a disaster on the scale of Fukushima. Our film, which covers all of these important subjects, will look to raise global awareness for this important subject out of fear that it could potentially happen elsewhere in the world.
For information about nuclear power plants near you, please visit here
What We Need & What You Get
We need your help to get back to Japan. There is still a lot to film, including the following:
- A man trying to save animals inside the 20km zone
- The workers who are risking their lives to stabilize the plant
- The fishermen around the plant who are worried about contamination of their livelihoods
- The residents of a small island who have been fighting the construction of a nuclear plant for decades
We need your help to cover the following expenses:
- Travel and accommodation expenses for the production team
- Camera and film equipment
- Film editing and finishing
- Stock footage licensing
- Conversion to digital format
In gratitude for your support, please accept the following thank-you gifts, listed to the right. Please join our team! Become a Producer!*Other Ways You Can Help
If you are unable to donate, please help us get the word out. We need your help to get this film funded and seen. Please let everyone know that you are a supporter of our project. Tell everyone you want to show the world what is really happening in Fukushima. Help us show the world so such an accident will never happen again!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
pledged of $5,000 goal
seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful This project reached the deadline without achieving its funding goal on May 21, 2012.
Mar 22, 2012 - May 21, 2012 (60 days)
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A special THANK YOU from the production team. You will be listed as a supporter on our website!Estimated delivery: May 2013
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Become an INSIDER. Get access to insider videos, including full interviews, filmmaker statements and additional footage.Estimated delivery: May 2013
Pledge $25 or more
SEE THE MOVIE. Insider Access plus a code to view the film online once completed.Estimated delivery: May 2013
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GET YOUR COPY. Insider Access plus your own DVD and Digital Download of the film. (For DVDs to Canada please add $2 for shipping, int'l $5)Estimated delivery: May 2013
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BECOME A PRODUCER! In addition to DVD/digital download and insider access, you will get an Associate Producer credit in the end credits of the film and be listed as such on IMDB.Estimated delivery: May 2013
Pledge $500 or more
CO-PRODUCE this film and go to film festivals. You will get all the rewards above plus a Co-producer credit in the end scroll of the film and a ticket to the film's US Festival premiere! *(We cannot guarantee the film will be accepted into any film festival. However, we think this film will be great and we'll screen somewhere awesome.)Estimated delivery: May 2013
Pledge $1,000 or more
HOMETOWN SCREENING! All of the Co-producer level benefits plus director Jesse Barrett-Mills or producer Brian Higdon will come to your hometown and hold a private screening and Q and A.Estimated delivery: May 2013
Pledge $5,000 or more
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER credit in the beginning and end credit scroll of the film. 2 tickets to the Festival Premiere. DVD, Insider access, and your own private screening in your hometown with both the director and producer.Estimated delivery: May 2013