jérémie souteyrat P H O T O G R A P H E RTokyo, Japan
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jsouteyrat (at) gmail (.) com

Publication :: Fukushima, 6 months on

(A late notice for those who are not following me on Facebook or Twitter.)

The Fukushima crisis has not ended yet. Everyday, there are updates about the nuclear accident in the news. The news are less worrying than before but more detailed information are progressively coming up: tainted beef meat, hot spots in the Kanto area (200km from Fukushima nuclear power plant), children with high internal radiation exposure, etc…

For an assignment from The Guardian weekend magazine, I went to Fukushima area again in August, with Jonathan Watts, a Beijing-based British journalist. The Guardian planned to run a story about the life of Fukushima residents six months after the tsunami. Our story was the headline of the magazine.

In July, I had also proposed to French magazines I am in contact with, to work on a similar story . But since the 6-month tsunami anniversary in Japan coincided with the 10-year anniversary of the WTC terrorist attacks in New York, French magazines were not interested in stories about Japan. Eventually The Guardian picture editor contacted me late July for this job.

During my visit to “Citizen’s Radioactivity Measuring Station” NGO in Fukushima City, I discovered this device to measure food radioactivity. I am not sure who paid for it but the CRIIRAD is an independent French NGO, created after Tchernobyl accident, which specializes in the analysis of radioactivity in the environment. DAYS Japan is a photoreportage magazine in Japan, led by Ryuichi Hirokawa. Using his long experience of Tchernobyl disaster, M. Hirokawa has been helping Fukushima residents since the accident.

Fukushima city, July 31st - At the Citizen's Radioactivity Measuring Station, a Japanese NGO, residents can bring food to check its level of radioactivity.

 

Fukushima city, August 1st 2011 - Worrying about radiations, Masami Takano, 34, is moving to Shiga prefecture, 450 km away. His mother is in tears watching his departure. She also plans to leave, within a few months.

 

You can see more pictures here.

I also photographed a pregnant women taking shelter in Tokyo who was suffering from depression. We first went to the local supermarket she used to go but we were kicked out for taking pictures without authorization.

 

 

Tokyo, August 9 2011 – Sachiko Masuyama, 29, checking the origins of vegetable in a supermarket. She escaped from her house in Minami-Soma (Fukushima prefecture), 25km from the nuclear power plant, in May. She took refuge in a public housing unit in Tokyo with her 2 children and her husband. She is pregnant and will give birth in November.

 

Then she agreed to drive me to the place where she lives with her husband and her two children. A 34 stories public housing building in the Tokyo bay area. She was so worried about the health of her baby that one time she thought about suicide.

Tokyo, August 9 2011 - Sachiko Masuyama, in her new appartment in Tokyo on the 29th floor.

Sachiko Masuyama is better now. She still lives in Tokyo and is supposed to give birth on November 11 2011, a lucky day I hope!

Here are the tearsheets of the story in The Guardian WE magazine. The text was longer than expected so the pictures are quite small. But I like the layout.

 You can read the powerful text of this story here.

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