Japan's surfers express grief and sadness over their radioactive coast

Japan has re-booted a nuclear reactor ever since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

Many Japanese are concerned that the restart of the nuclear reactor on the west coast of Japan is equally as susceptible to earthquakes and tsunamis as the devastated Fukushima reactor. One group of people fighting against the restart of the nuclear reactor are Japans professional surfers, who argue that their coast line was once one of the best surfing breaks within Japan. Hiroki Watanabe a surfer from the west coast of Japan has been surfing on the west coast since he was a child. However, after the nuclear disaster Hiroki Watanabe and his brother are the only professional surfers left in Fukushima. Hiroki says "I love surfing and the ocean, it's been my life since I was a kid," "But for a year I didn't go in the water because of the radioactive contamination. But I decided I must return to the waves because if I don't surf here no-one will go in,”.

There has been heightened publicity about the contamination of the fishing grounds on the west coast. However, very little has been mentioned in the press about the effect the disaster has had on beach goers and surfers. It looks like Hiroki Watanabe is pushing forward to the world that people should come back to the beach and ocean. However, he even states that he’s not confident that the water and beaches are free of radioactive contamination. "I started to go back in because it was reported that radiation hadn't been detected in one test," says Manabu Watanabe. "But I can't be confident because I believe the plant operator TEPCO is hiding the truth,. "My message to TEPCO is seriously don't mess with us," says Hiroki Watanabe. "Just tell us the truth," says Manabu Watanabe.

It’s amazing to think that these guys will enter the water not fully knowing if they are going to be effected by radioactive contaminants. We must take our hats off to these guys because they surely know the definition of a ‘desperate for a wave’. I don’t know if i would have the guts to surf in water which maybe contaminated with chemicals, sewage, let alone radioactive contamination! We hope their situation gets better, but it doesn’t look like the Japanese have learnt their lessons from the previous nuclear disaster. Let’s hope people like Hiroki and Manabu Watanabe keep pressure on companies and the government from adding more nuclear reactors on their coastline.

More information can be found at these websites

Greenpeace
Radio Australia