What happens when a nuclear power plant shuts down in a city that
relies on it for much of the economic heavy lifting?
Well, to put it bluntly, it has multifold side effects that
damage the local businesses extensively.
These past two days, I had the opportunity to spend some time at
the beautiful coast city of Tsuruga in the Fukui Prefecture.
With the shutdown of the nuclear power plant due to the dangers
realized from the Fukushima Daiichi Plant incident, the steady
stream of workers that had kept many of the local businesses
afloat suddenly stopped. Consequently, majority of the businesses
had no choice but to close their doors. During this visit, I was
able to talk to the few remaining owners of inns, or better
referred to as 民宿 (minshuku) in Japanese, and find out first-hand the dire
situation of their businesses. There are many projects that the
local government workers have put a lot of effort into to attract
more people to the city and alleviate the economic problem.
After going around and seeing these places and listening to some
of the locals talk about their business, we, the students, shared
our thoughts and discussed together some of the viable solutions
to revitalize the city. It was often hard to offer up a solution
due to the complexity of the problem, but I did come away with
a few things.
It was a reminder that, while many of the problems that we
encounter as students are often black and white, real world
issues are muddling grey to the point it’s frustrating.
However, these are the kind of problems that we’ll face in
the society time and time again.
I also realized that while we may know about certain problems in
our world through the technological tools we have at our disposal
in the digital era we live in, it becomes so much more real when
you see, hear, and experience what is going on first-hand.
Lastly, this opportunity served as a reminder that despite how
small it may seem at first, our opinions and actions have power.
I can’t say how grateful I am for the rare opportunity to see
the beautiful scenery, experience wonderful hospitality, meet
genuinely nice people, and listen to their candid talks.
It was an eye-opening experience. I’ll surely be back in Tsuruga.
And I’m confident many others will too.
EY (Student Staff Leader)