Nowadays in Japan, there are a lot of comedy programmes on TV, and heart-warming news on the newspapers on the cherry blossom festival resumed in Kesennuma (tsunami-hit city), a baby girl who was born on the day of the earthquake is growing steadily, a soccer ball of a boy who lost everything by the tsunami was found all the way across the Atlantic, etc. etc. All these cheerful news and programmes give us an impression that everything went back to normal and people in the affected area are standing up strongly to live their new lives, which is all wrong.
In tsunami-affected areas, people are still living in the temporary houses, which are the cheaply-build prefabricated tenement houses built in inconvenient areas. People whose houses were not completely destroyed are either living in the half-destroyed house or living in the apartment houses they found (for they are not qualified to live in the temporary houses the government provided), and both of them are at a loss facing the remaining loan of the house and in addition a cost to demolish the partially broken building.
In Fukushima, the situation is more complicated. Cities and towns that luckily escaped the damage of earthquake and tsunami had to evacuate because of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. Delayed warning might have forced thousands of people have the risk of irradiation. In this regard, Iitate Village, northwest of the plant, is said to be the most tragic place. When the plant was exploded, people near the plant evacuated to Iitate without knowing the radiation plume was just heading Iitate. The village itself was not designated as the evacuation zone because of the distance from the plant, but radioactive contamination was severe. Many of the young families in Iitate made a bitter decision to leave the village, and this made a gap between the elderly who wanted to revive the community. Whether the gap can be filled or not, we never know.
Some fathers decided to remain in Fukushima due to their jobs. Their wives and children started to live in neighboring prefectures to escape the effect of radiation. Families are torn apart like this, with increasing cost of visiting each other, and children facing the risk of bullying and discrimination (actually there was a case that a child from Fukushima was told by his new classmate "Don't come near me, you are radiation contaminated").
Even in other parts of Japan, people fear the risk of irradiation from food or shared disposal of disaster debris. It seems to me that the problem of radiation had torn apart Japanese people... people who fear radiation too much to pursue zero risk, scientific academia who says it is safe, and people who pay less attention to these problems.
Indeed, nothing ended. Look at this picture. Who thinks the children with a radiation monitoring badge represent a "normal" life? After all, it seems we've entered into a totally different world after 311.
(photo from a mail-order catalogue. "7. Easy-to-use radiation monitor for protecting your child's future" on the upper left)