A Letter from the Shroud

Hisao Suzuki (1954- ) Born in Tokyo. Lives in Kashiwa, Chiba.

Even now big waves may be surging upon the shores
of Fukushima where my father and mother were born.
Waves dragged me as a boy to the sandy bottom of the sea,
making me gulp down brine, and then cast me ashore.

Are waves still cooling the heated water discharged from the nuclear power plant?
What prompts men to become inured to madness?
When the man falsified the inspection data,
he must have felt a sting of conscience in his heart.
His heart may have almost burst because of the lie,
and he may have lost sleep on account of heat and fatigue in the reactor’s shroud.

In July 2000,
the man was afraid the crack in the shroud might get larger and burst open.
Someone on the inside charged that Tokyo Electric Power Company
had been hiding the crack for ten years,
and two year later, in August 2002, the charge was found to be true.

I would like to inquire about the conflicts in the man’s heart.
I would like to praise the heroic and conscientious act of the informer.
Without a climate where problems can be made public,
the day will surely come when northeastern Japan is laid waste like Chernobyl.
Six reactors in the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Four reactors in the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power plant.
Three reactors in the Niigata Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power plant.
Of the 13 reactors, five are being operated with cracks, unrepaired,
by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and Tokyo Electric Power Company.
The status of the remaining eight reactors is also dubious.

The government and electric power companies never tell the truth.
Organizations continue hiding the faults in their technology.
When will the next letter come from the reactor’s shroud
to the people along the shores of Fukushima and Niigata?
Will the next letter that comes tell how cracks in the reactor’s shroud
have grown into cracks in the entire structure of deteriorating nuclear technology?

When I played on the beach in Fukushima as a boy, there were no nuclear power plants.
How many thousands of years will it take for the beach of my childhood to be restored?
Will that man’s name be inscribed on an anti-nuclear monument on that beach in the future?
And will children be playing in the waves around it?

(First appeared in 2002)
Translated by Naoshi Koriyama