Fukushima Daiichi, the Movie




The movie opens, strings swelling in the background, as an aerial shot follows the Fukushima coastline and closes in on the Daiichi site.




Fortunately, it’s not a hammy attempt at retelling the tragic events of March 11, when the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami left the Fukushima Daiichi plant crippled in one of the world’s worst-ever nuclear crises.

But it is a Fukushima Daiichi movie — “Fukushima’s Nuclear Power,” about the plant’s construction in the late 1960s. It is available in digital form thanks to the Saitama prefecture-based Science Film Museum, and now YouTube users Habingo2 and Borrrden (part one here and part two here in Japanese, part one here with English subtitles, part 2 with subtitles here).

It’s a story filled with explanations of how nuclear power works, earnest expressions on the faces of motivated workers handling the most advanced technology of the era, and background music that veers from James Bond soundtrack to sci-fi flick. Some scenes are reminiscent of Ultraman, the ’60s superhero series featuring a then-high-tech, futuristic savior who rescues the planet on a regular basis from Godzilla-style monsters.

There are shots of the construction of a breakwater to protect the nearby harbor, trumpets accompanying the arrival of a helicopter carrying parts, fuel rods in water and workers fitting themselves with 1960s dosimeters. After hours, they swim, play football or practice martial arts.

The events of the past few weeks add poignancy to the film. Whether propaganda for the nuclear industry or a sincere attempt to portray its technology and workers, it is undoubtedly what it was intended to be: a document, now more valuable than ever.


Photo courtesy: The Guardian, London



Source – Wall Street Journal – http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2011/05/02/fukushima-daiichi-the-movie/

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