DOCUMENTING THE DISASTER Words with Director Junko Kajino Before She Heads to the Devastated Regions of Northeastern Japan to Document the Effects of Radiation on Local Organic Farms WORDS: Quin Slovek
April 11, the Japanese government expanded the evacuation zone around the damaged Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant from 20 kilometers (12 miles) to 30 km (18 miles) in response to dangerously high radiation levels in the towns, villages and farms surrounding the official evacuation zone. According to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan this extension of the evacuated zone may displace an additional 130,000 people. Yet, just as people are pouring out of Fukushima the Chicago-based, Japanese-born filmmaker Junko Kajino is heading in, armed with nothing but a camera and an incredible degree of empathy for the displaced people of Northern Japan, especially for the farmers.
In her first documentary, set to begin filming early next month, Junko Kajino is going to visit the evacuation zone for around a year to research the question, “Where is the Japanese people’s food going to come from?” To get answers, Miss Kajino is headed near the epicenter of a crisis that has already displaced more than 70,000 Japanese citizens and, among other things, threatens the very future of the nation’s food supply. “Historically all the nuclear disaster sites have been abandoned,” said Kajino, “But in Japan we cannot afford to abandon even a tiny bit of land . . . I have to be there to capture how they find the way to sustain their land.”