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Nuclear Nation II

Director - Atsushi Funahashi
Run Time - 114 minutes
Language - Japanese w/ English subtitles
Format - DVD / Digital streaming
Year - 2015
Genre - Documentary

Educational Interests: Agriculture, Asia, Business, Economics, Environmental Studies, Family Relations, Human Rights, Medicine, Political Science, Science

Institutional DVD Price: $295

Nuclear Nation II follows a new group of people exiled from Futaba, the region occupied by the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Since the 1960s, Futaba had been promised prosperity with tax breaks and major subsidies to make up for the presence of the plant... until the townspeople lost their homeland on March 11, 2011.

The film portrays their lives as refugees in an abandoned high school, and in temporary housing. The political fallout from the nuclear disaster results in conflict between residents, and the mayor is forced to resign. Many decide to move back to Fukushima prefecture, just outside the evacuation zone. The town finds itself divided by the arbitrariness of evacuation, radiation levels, and compensation guidelines from the plant's operator. And then, the Japanese government announces a plan to turn Futaba into an official, literal wasteland.

Is it possible to truly compensate the townspeople for what they have lost? Through their agonies and frustrations, the film questions the real cost of nuclear energy and unbridled capitalism. But perhaps more important, this film gives a fully textured, all-access account of governmental bureaucracy's attempt and ultimate incapacity to adequately deal with displaced peoples. This is a problem we continue to face: Hurricane Katrina uprooted over a million people in the Gulf Coast region, more than a million migrants and refugees entered Europe in 2015, and over 11 million unauthorized immigrants seek home in the United States. There are over 60 million refugees worldwide.

Teachers and students looking to understand the depth of challenges facing the fair and efficient administration of human rights in times of crisis will be pleased to find Nuclear Nation II.

See also: Nuclear Nation