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Poetry: “To Survive” by TAKI Yuriko

“To Survive”

Written/Narrated by TAKI Yuriko



Give Me the Right Information TO SURVIVE

  By TAKI Yuriko

 Translated by John & Deborah Saxon


When my cancer verdict came,

They explained every test result in detail.

I discussed the readings and scans

With other doctors and drug specialists at other hospitals.

I chose my treatment methods

For my survival.

I consented to surgery,

To anti-cancer drugs with many side effects,

And to radiation therapy,

Facing my future squarely.


In Fukushima,

Under the guise of “not arousing unnecessary fear”,

The real and potential dangers were covered up.

Had the government immediately

Revealed where the wind had carried the radioactive fallout,

And treated the children with iodine,

The children would not now be so frightened.

When the year began, the children joined hands and softly prayed:

 “Let me live through this year.”

 “Let nothing terrible happen today.”


1 year since the Fukushima disaster,

And they still cannot

Contain the radiation.

Despite this, there are some intransigent grown-ups. 

They say, “Fukushima is now safe.  No more worries.” *

“Fukushima’s radiation levels are already lower than that of

Many major European metropolitan areas.” *


Thyroid cancer from radiation exposure

Manifests only after four years.

Other cancers may take 10, 20 or more years.

“Fortunately, no deaths resulted directly from the accident.” *


As each country compiles its budget

It reveals its chosen path.

This year, Japan’s nuclear power allocation is

Roughly unchanged.

Five times that of the USA, seven times that of France,

It is the world’s largest by far.

Some have likened it to a covert war expenditure.


If my doctor had not wanted to “arouse any unnecessary fears,”

Had not shared my diagnosis and test results with me,

Had just repeated, “Oh, you’re fine, just fine,”

Then I would not be here now.

I would have had 1 1/2 years, maybe 2.


They outlined my ongoing risk factors,

And the various measures

To reduce those risks.

Because they shared all of this with me

I can now give thanks

That I am alive,

And that I can work. 


We must now make sure  

That every Fukushima child grows up!!

This requires open, accurate and complete reporting

On the spread of fallout,

Including radiation in all food products,

To reduce the exposure

To ourselves and our families

And survive.


You adults thinking, “All is safe and worry-free in Fukushima”,

Listen well to the Fukushima children!!! 

None say “I want to be rich” or “I want to be famous”, but

“I want to live!”



* Direct quotes from Dr. Hitoshi Oto, a senior manager at the Fukushima Medical College, from the Asahi Newspaper on January 26th, 2012.




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