By John LaForge
Nukewatch Quarterly Winter 2018-19
The film “Fukushima 50,” scheduled for release in 2020, is focused on the 2011 triple reactor meltdowns in Japan. A popular Japanese movie star will portray Masao Yoshida, the superintendent on duty when the Great Northeast Japan Earthquake smashed the foundations of Fukushima’s reactors, which were then flooded and destroyed by the tsunami. Mr. Yoshida was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and died in July 2013 at age 58. Yoshida and other workers who stayed on site at the 6-reactor complex trying unsuccessfully to prevent the meltdowns were lauded as the “Fukushima 50.” One obituary said he “ultimately failed to prevent the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.” The film is based on the 2014 book by Ryusho Kadota, On the Brink: The Inside Story of Fukushima Daiichi. Amazon books online notes that On the Brink claims: “the men and women at the plant succeeded in their efforts, gradually bringing the reactors under control, restoring power, and edging back, one inch at a time, from the very brink of disaster.”
—Hollywood Reporter, Nov. 19, 2018; New York Times, July 9, 2013.