Info on Fukushima city – from Billy

This is exactly what Billy, a former CIR still living and working in Fukushima wrote me about 5 minutes ago on the situation in Fukushima city.

March 22 at 9:18pm
As I wrote Vinnie, although life is slowly getting back to being normal, supplies are still pretty scarce in Fukushima City. This is especially true so for those who need to go to work, since most grocery stores and pharmacies are closed after 6pm. A good majority of convenience stores remain closed as well, and even the ones that are open often only have candy and liquor left inside, so you’re pretty much screwed if your looking for food after 6pm. I heard from those who have not had to go to work that bento boxes are pretty easy to get at supermarkets in the day time, while dairy products, bread, frozen foods, instant noodles, boil-in-the bag products, mineral water, and seafood are extremely difficult to find. 

I did confirm this morning during my commute that some of the izakayas are open for business on ekimae. Some are only open for lunch, but last night I saw at least Wara Wara and Tsuki no Akari being open at night time. Hardly any one was in there though (I went downstairs to see if it was really open or not), and I guess people are still reluctant to go out to drink or eat outside due to the never-ending series of aftershocks. Fastfood joints like Yoshinoya, Coco Curry, McDonalds, and Ramen shops remain closed indefinitely. Now that the highway is half-open though, I sense that a lot of them will start running business as usual by next week. The story is quite different for less populated areas like Nihonmatsu, Ootama, and Motomiya, however, where supplies seem to be in stock and fastfood joints are open as well. I went to Plant 5 on Monday, and was able to buy 3 bags full of frozen food and instant noodles. So the problem really is that supplies are not enough in heavily populated areas like Fukushima City and Koriyama City, since no one can drive out of town and demand is thus being concentrated on specific store locations.

Lineups for gas are shrinking, but are still quite long (~2km). I heard this morning that a lot of the gasoline stations are starting to allow cars to fill up (before, they usually caped it at 2000 yen), which is great news as it means the stations are starting to reach their original capacity. I heard that ships are landing in Ishinomaki and Aomori carrying tones of gasoline, and since a lot of people will be back at work on Monday and therefore unable to line up all day, hopefully the gasoline crisis will be over by Monday.

Trains are still not running, and will likely be out until May. Buses are running however, and line ups to get on the buses are stretching across Fukushima Station every morning. The bus system in Fukushima as you know is not that great however, so they are really lacking in bus numbers and routes, making it very hard for some people to make it out to work. I for one had to stand in line for over 30 minutes this morning just to make it on a bus.

Although there is not much panic in town, I sense a lot of people are feeling absolutely exhausted, especially those who have evacuated here from different areas of Fukushima. Thousands and thousands of people have been living on gym floors for the past 12 days now, and I think this is giving the entire city a gloomy feel. I fear what might happen when the stress levels of these people start reaching unbearable levels. The prefecture announced they will be building 20,000 temporary homes within a month, but even that number is far from enough and aid like this is becoming really urgent.

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One thought on “Info on Fukushima city – from Billy

  1. This is amazing. The US news media really hasn’t shown Fukushima city. Most video is from the nuclear plants or the coast cities. The lack of food and transportation shocking. It is going to take years to recover especially with the influx of populations from other areas.

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