Wednesday, July 19, 2017

"Boys for Sale" awarded at Outfest!

As Outfest continued, we attended screenings of some amazing films (like the feature documentary "Quest" WEBSITE, one of the best documentaries I have ever seen, and the gorgeous fiction film "I Dreamed in Another Language" WEBSITE).  And in between the screenings, workshops and receptions, Co and I were interviewed about how "Boys for Sale" came to be and about the boys, Co among them, who were featured in the documentary.  On Friday, there was an interview by phone with Mel Magazine's Brian Smith followed by a studio interview with This Way Out Radio's Steve Pride.
That evening, I attended a screening of "‬The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin" (WEBSITE) directed by Jennifer M. Kroot at the gorgeous Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown LA which was followed by an AMAZING q&a with the man himself! 


At the awards ceremony on Sunday morning, I was extremely honoured as the producer of "Boys for Sale" to accept the "Fox Inclusion Outfest Feature" award on behalf of the entire team! The award is new this year and is sponsored by Fox Inclusion, a division of 20th Century Fox, whose support of Outfest and of this award is part of their commitment to social impact, diversity and inclusion in media.

日曜の朝に行なわれた授賞式では、「売買ボーイズ」のプロデューサー、そしてチームの代表として、「Fox Inclusion Outfest Feature」賞を受賞することができ、大変光栄に思いました。この賞は、本年初めて設けられた賞となっており、本映画祭を支援されている、20世紀フォックス社の一部門であるフォックスインクルージョンより提供されました。またこの賞は、彼らのメディアにおける社会的影響、ダイバーシティとインクルージョン(多様性の受容と活用)に対する取り組みの一環として設けられたものとなっています。



L to R: w/ Co, Lucy Mukerjee-Brown, Outfest Director of Programming, & Moira Griffin, Fox Inclusion Executive Director
The next day, Co and I did our final interview for this trip via phone with Q Voice News' Phillip Zonkel from LAX on our way home to Tokyo.


In the past couple of days, we have received some wonderful feedback and several screener requests from other film festivals, and I look forward to sharing news of more upcoming screenings.  In the meantime, some of the interviews we sat for earlier in the week (STORY) have already been published, so here is a cross-section of "Boys for Sale" in the news:
Boys For Sale – Life as a male prostitute servicing gay men in Tokyo (READ)
July 16, 2017 by Tim Isaac

“Boys For Sale” Male Prostitutes in Tokyo (READ)
July 17, 2017 by Amos Lassen
The Straight Male Sex Workers of Japan Who Sell Their Services to Gay Men (READ)
July 19, 2017 by C. Brian Smith for Mel Magazine

Boys for Sale Explores Male Sex Workers in Tokyo (WATCH video)
July 18, 2017 by Ashley Jiang for the Advocate
Tokyo “Boys for Sale”: Straight Lads Need to Pay the Rent, Too (READ)
July 19, 2017 Brandon Judell for Huffpost
OUTFEST Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival Announces 2017 Award Winners (READ)
July 16, 2017 by Clayton Davis for Award Circuit

LAGoss.com goes inside Outfest for its 35th year (READ)
July 18, 2017 By Iona Kirby for LA Goss

Friday, July 14, 2017

Out on Film

I arrived in LA on Monday for Outfest (WEBSITE) where the North American premier of the feature documentary Boys for Sale (WEBSITE) on which I served as a producer was taking place.  Held at the Directors Guild of America, this year marks the 35th edition of Outfest, which boasts sponsors including HBO, DirectTV Now, and Showtime.  I traveled here with Co, one of the young men who were featured in the documentary.
The day after we arrived, we learned from Lucy Mukerjee-Brown, Outfest director of programming, that our screening, originally set to be held in Theatre 2 (with 155 seats) had been moved to Theatre 1 (600 seats) due to ticket sales!  That was both humbling and a bit daunting:  Theatre 1 is the place where Oscar nominees screen their films for the Academy...

"Boys for Sale" premiered last night (INFO), but from the morning we were busy with promotion and preparation.  First, we learned that a review had been published by Eye for Film's Jennie Kermode who wrote (FULL review HERE:
An intriguing piece of work that captures an underexplored side of modern Japan and provides sex workers with a rare chance to speak for themselves, this is a gem of a documentary, and well worth seeking out.
 
Then we had an interview with Gay Essential's (WEBSITE) hilarious correspondent Terrence Moss-Dujardin.

A fantastic, unexpected and fun time on the Cary Harrison show (WEBSITE).

An interview with The Advocate magazine (WEBSITE).
And of course our North American premier and great Q&A led by Outfest programmer Carlos Hatcher.

This was all followed by drinks in Directors Guild of America atrium with Terrence & our awesome publicist Rob Fleming Jr from Prodigy Public Relations after our screening!

This morning, we excitedly announced on the Facebook page (HERE) and Twitter account (HERE) for the film that we have confirmed upcoming screenings in The Durban Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (August 25- September 3 in Durban, South Africa) WEBSITE, Camera Japan Festival (September 21-24 in Rotterdam, Holland) WEBSITE and the Queer International Film Festival Playa del Carmen (November 13-18 in Quintana Roo, México) WEBSITE. Please Like and Follow the social media accounts for the film for up to date information

Thank you all so much for your support!


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Producing, Promoting

Following the World Premier of "Boys for Sale" in Frankfurt, Germany last month (STORY),  this review of the film by Noah Franc was recently published (HERE).  Our entire team is extremely grateful for this thoughtful reflection on the stories of the young men we documented.


And amid filming/ editing a couple of installments of a series of short documentaries I have been commissioned to direct,  I am also busy preparing for the North American Premier of "Boys for Sale" (WEBSITE) on which I worked as producer.

As part of the PR promotion for the July 12 screening in LA's OUTFEST (Tickets and INFO HERE), we are publishing some "extras".  These include over 30 "postcards" (like the one below), which are illustrations from the film that can be saved as wallpaper on smartphones and are being published once a day until the screening on July 12 (they can be found on the film's Twitter account HERE and Facebook page HERE).

Outfestでの北アメリカ初上映までの間、毎日N谷工房のイラストを投稿するよ。スマホの壁紙にいかが?

Also being published are a series of "deleted scenes", short clips that are really interesting/ funny/ shocking but for one reason or another simply didn't make it into the final version of the film. The first one of those was published today (which is below and NSFW!) and will be followed by a new one each week until the screening in OUTFEST.

今週末から毎週、来月ロサンゼルスで開催されるOutfestでの北アメリカ初上映までの間、映画の未公開映像を投稿していくよ!未公開シーン1つ目、ようちゃんがウリ専と高級ハンドバッグの類似点を説明してくれてる・・・。

And we also have a new poster designed by our animator Jeremy Yamamura with our DOP Adrian "Uchujin" Storey's screenshots and our artist N Tani Studio’s illustrations.

新ポスターは、宇宙人の画像とN谷工房の絵をジェレミー山村がデザインしたよ。

And look at how cool this is! OUTFEST has sent us our very own GIF!

すごい!OUTFESTからGIF画像が届いたよ!

Saturday, June 03, 2017

North American Premier of "Boys for Sale" to be held in LA's Outfest 「売買ボーイズ」ロサンゼルスのOutfestにて北アメリカ初上映

After holding an extremely successful World Premier in last week's Nippon Connection film festival (STORY), and as the producer of the documentary, I am honoured and excited to announce the North American premier of 「売買ボーイズ」 (Boys for Sale) in next month's Outfest film festival in Los Angeles!
先週行われたニッポンコネクションでの世界初上映が大成功を収め、来月ロサンゼルスで行われる映画祭OUTFESTにおいて、「売買ボーイズ」の北アメリカ初上映が決定しましたこと、プロデューサーとして皆さんにお伝えできることを光栄に思います。



Screening information is below; thank you all for sharing with people in the LA area who may be interested!  I look forward to sharing more information about this screening as we learn it as well as more about future screenings as they are confirmed.
上映情報は下記の通りです。シェアー頂きありがとうございます。
今回の上映について、また今後の上映情報についても、
これから皆さんにお知らせできることを楽しみにしています。
================================

「売買ボーイズ」 (Boys for Sale) will be screening
Wednesday, July 12 at 5:00PM
in the Director's Guild of America (Theatre 2) 

「売買ボーイズ」 上映情報
日時:7月12日(水曜日)午後5時
会場:
Director's Guild of America (Theatre 2)  


Film Website 売買ボーイズ  ウェブサイト:
http://boysforsale.com/

Film Trailer 売買ボーイズ  トレーラー:
OUTFEST Festival Website 映画祭ウェブサイト:
http://www.outfest.org/fest2017/outfest-los-angeles/

OUTFEST Festival Program 映画祭プログラム:
http://www.outfest.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/2017_OutfestLosAngelesFilmGuide.pdf

Thursday, June 01, 2017

"Boys for Sale" holds World premier in front of a full house

Traveling with Co, one of the protagonists of "Bai-Bai Boizu" ("Boys for Sale" in English WEBSITE), to Frankfurt, Germany, last Monday, we were warmly met at the airport by Nippon Connection (INFO) festival volunteers.  After dropping off our bags at the hotel, festival programmer Martin Bregenzer accompanied us to 10 gay businesses to hand out postcards for our film; since the screening was on only the second day of Nippon Connection, we had decided to arrive in Frankfurt a day early so we could get in some PR time in before the start of the festival.
After a packed opening ceremony and interesting/ slightly disturbing opening film ("Her love boils bathwater" INFO), it was time to prepare for our screening the next day (and of course see lots of other films as well!). our screening INFO.
Since we had not publicly screened "Boys for Sale" before, I was feeling nervous about what the audience reaction would be...and our screening selling out made me even more nervous even though coming to Nippon Connection for a third time was like coming home.  Athough representing a film as a producer and not the director had made me feel a bit more relaxed in general, the adrenaline rush of watching a film you have worked on with a full house was equally intense and only served to add to the addiction I have to making films.
Since our screening slot was the last for the night and the following day was a national holiday, the Q&A was longer than most- at around 40 minutes.  To be honest, it is still kind of a blur, but I remember feeling the audience had really engaged with the film and had really connected with Co.  Their questions were honest, thoughtful and deep, and I left the theatre feeling humbled that so many people had interacted so thoroughly with the story we had presented.
photo via Twitter @Schlopsi
We have a few more irons in the fire, and I look forward to sharing more about upcoming screenings as we confirm them with festivals.  In the meantime, thank you all so very much for your support.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Boys for Sale

Two years ago, I first began to talk about a film I was making with the working title of "MSM: Men Who Have Sex With Men".  As documentaries often do, the film ended up taking much more time (years!) and much more money (tears!) to complete than any of us had expected.  But I am happy to announce that the film is finally finished!

STORY
Now called 「売買ボーイズ」 (bai-bai boizu) or "Boys for Sale" in English (WEBSITE), the film documents "urisen"- mostly straight, young guys who sell sex to men- in Tokyo's largest gay district.  The trailer, which is NSFW and for which viewer discretion is advised, is here:


SCREENINGS
"Boys for Sale" will be holding its World Premier in Frankfurt, Germany, next week at the 2017 Nippon Connection Film Festival (INFO).  Nippon Connection is also where I was honoured to receive an award for my film "A2-B-C" in 2013 (STORY) and for my film "-1287" in 2015 (STORY).  Incidentally, the subtitles for "Boys for Sale" were produced by Japan Visualmedia Translation Academy (JVTA) as they were the sponsors of the subtitling award I received for "A2-B-C" at Nippon Connection in 2013!

I am really looking forward to announcing more screenings in the coming weeks and months and thank you all for sharing about this film with people you think would be interested!


CHANGES
Two years ago when we first began shopping the rough cut around to festivals and friends in the industry, it became clear that the documentary would benefit from undergoing some significant changes.  At the same time, however, I had become busy with work on what would eventually become two commissions for the NHK World documentary series "Inside Lens" (2016's "Dying at Home" INFO and 2017's "Suturing Cultures" INFO***).  Knowing I needed to turn fuller attention to those documentaries, I felt the best decision I could make for "Boys for Sale" was to step down as director, although I remained producer overseeing the completion of the film. 

I brought on a new director, Itako, who was in charge of taking apart the original edit, shooting new footage and then putting it all back together.  He also directed the two music composers who created an entirely new and original sound track, as well the illustrator who was commissioned to draw over 300 original illustrations for the documentary (of which about 100 ended up being used in the film). 

THE OTHER TEAM MEMBERS
I would like to give a shout out to some of the other "Boys for Sale" team members, for their incredible work:

  • Our amazing DOP/ producer Adrian Storey aka Uchujin (WEBSITE and TWITTER) who handled not only TWO cameras, but also lighting AND sound in some of the smallest spaces imaginable!
  • Our two awesome composers working under the name Kazaguruma, Jack on Shamisen (TWITTER) and Komitetsu on cello (TWITTER).
  • Our illustrator N Tani Studio (WEBSITE and TWITTER) whose sensitive drawings completely changed the film.
  • Our animator Jeremy Yamamura from Denbak-Fano Design (WEBSITE), who animated N Tani Studio's illustrations, as well as painstakingly created special animated blurs to help protect the identity of the young men in the film who requested it.
  • Our talented story editor Sarah Lushia, who worked with Itako on editing the narrative for an international audience.

REFLECTION
"Boys for Sale" is certainly one of the edgiest films I have been a part of, and considering some of the projects I have worked on, that is saying something.  ;)  But in all seriousness, working on this film has been a massively interesting experience, and I have learned so much about group dynamics, about how music and animation can be used in a documentary, and about myself.

*** "Suturing Cultures" will be re-broadcast on May 29 TIME SCHEDULE HERE.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Acres of Diamonds

Over the past year, it has been my great to honour to serve as one of the producers of award-winning documentary filmmaker Shawn Small's latest short film, Acres of Diamonds (INFO).


I first met Shawn four years ago at the Global Peace Film Festival (STORY) when he was screening his film "Ru: Water is Life" (INFO), and I was screening my first film about children in Fukushima, "In the Grey Zone" (WEBSITE).  After keeping in touch and offering moral support to each other on various projects, I was thrilled when Shawn asked me to help out on his new film, "Acres of Diamonds".

Focusing mainly on story and narrative editing, I was thrilled when the finished film began to be accepted into festivals.  When Shawn asked me to represent the last weekend's East Coast premier of the film at the Nepal International Film Festival (INFO) while he attended the West Coast premier in LA (where the film subsequently won the prize for Best Short Doc), I was honoured to accept.  One of the festival organizers, Purna Singh Baraily, chairperson of the Human Rights Film Center in Nepal, was also among the friends we had met at the 2012 Global Peace Film Festival (STORY).


In addition to directing my own documentaries, I am really enjoying recent opportunities to assist with the films of other filmmakers, to teach at university and to mentor students through internships.  Thank you all so very much for your continued support of my work.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Mr Hata and T: one year later

For the one year anniversary of Mr. Hata and T's reunion (STORY), over the past three days I have retweeted each part of their story translated into Japanese at the exact same time as the original English Tweets were posted. May their story remind us of what is important-- health, family, happiness-- and of the preciousness of life.

日本語版) 『Mr.ハタとT:余命わずかの男と息子の30年越しの再会』


Original Storify English version HERE

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Imperial Hospitality: Story from the Imperial’s “Toko-an” Tea Ceremony Room

Part 3 of the series I am directing for the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo, has been published on the Imperial Hotel website.  The column, which includes a documentary-style video, features the Imperial’s “Toko-an” Tea Ceremony Room.  A direct link can be found HERE.


A link to Part 1 can be found HERE, while a link to part 2 is HERE.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Documenting the March 11 disaster: six years on

I marked yesterday, March 11, 2017, the six-year anniversary of the triple disasters of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Edmonton.  The event, sponsored by the Prince Takamado Japan Centre, University of Alberta and the Centre for Japanese Research, University of British Columbia (INFO), included a screening of the work-in-progress of my new documentary about the Fukushima nuclear disaster which I also screened earlier in the week at an event at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver (INFO).


Attended both by students and professors from departments as diverse as Japanese studies and Film-making, the post-screening Q&A allowed me to hear how this work-in-progress is being seen and understood an opportunity for which I am extremely grateful. This was the second time for me to screen some of my Fukushima-based work in Edmonton, after having the honour of screening my films "A2-B-C" and "In the Grey Zone" during the Global Visions Film Festival (now called Northwestfest) three years ago (STORY).

Each year on the anniversary of March 11, I have reflected on some of the experiences I had in the days and months after the disaster framed around the short documentaries I filmed during that period. I have re-posted below two entries I would like to share again this year.

Thank you all for your continued support and for keeping those people still affected by these terrible events six years later in your thoughts and prayers.

Peace,
Ian Thomas Ash
Edmonton, Canada

   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

originally posted March 4, 2013 (LINK)

On March 13, 2011, two days after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, I described the situation in Tokyo in an open letter to my friends and family (HERE).  I posted it along with a short documentary about panic buying and the following explanation:
I simply couldn’t stay inside today and just watch the news coverage, so I took my brother-in-law’s advice: I took my camera outside to see what was happening in my neighbourhood. The result is (this) ten-minute video about “panic buying”.
I could never have imagined at the time that this would be the first in a series of short documentaries that would eventually evolve into two feature films documenting the nuclear crises in Fukushima spanning the following two years.

As the two-year anniversary of the March 11 disaster approaches, I find myself reflecting on how it all unfolded.  As part of this reflection, I have re-visited my early documentaries and edited them together to see how my journey began.


   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

originally posted March 12, 2015 (LINK)

Documenting 3.11: the first ten days
My journey documenting 3.11 started with the first entry I wrote (HERE) and a short documentary I filmed about panic buying in Tokyo a couple of days after the disaster (story HERE).  This was followed by several short documentaries posted in quick succession.  A compilation VIDEO of all of these early short documentaries that I edited together and posted for the 2nd anniversary... and the accompanying guest blog published by Discovery News is HERE.  The full collection of my early short documentaries about the disaster is HERE and all of the guest blogs I wrote for Discovery News can be found HERE.

Documenting 3.11: One month later
After reading a newspaper article describing the government's plan to re-open schools near the zone 20-30km from the nuclear power plant just one month after the nuclear disaster, I traveled to Fukushima with friend and cameraman Colin O'Neill.  We documented the children living there, and soon after we returned to Tokyo we posted a four part "making of" documentary, beginning with this Video (part 1 below, all 4 parts HERE):


This would become my first feature documentary about the disaster, 'In the Grey Zone' (TRAILER below and website HERE):


Documenting 3.11: Six months later
Six months later while editing 'In the Grey Zone' in Japan with friend and colleague Ed Ison, Colin and I traveled back to Minamisoma City in Fukushima where we filmed an update that we posted in three parts (Part 1 story HERE and VIDEO below, stories about Part 2 HERE and Part 3 HERE, with all three VIDEOS HERE).


Documenting 3.11: One year later
For the 1st Anniversary of the disaster in March 2012, I filmed a three-part update about the children living in the 20-30km zone which I posted to my channel (Story Part 1 HERE, Part 2 HERE and Part 3 HERE, VIDEO part one below, all three videos HERE):


Documenting 3.11: Fifteen months later
A couple of months later, I returned to Fukushima, this time with friend and cameraman Koji Fujita, and in the summer of 2012, I posted two short films about the continuing nuclear disaster.  The first of these was 'Nuclear Refugees: the people of Iitate Village, one year later' (story HERE and VIDEO below):

The second short documentary I posted that summer was 'In Containment', a five-part series that documented some shocking revelations about life in Fukushima after the disaster and found me entering the no-go zone for the first time (VIDEO for Part 3 below and those for Parts 2, 3 and 4 HERE).  During the filming and editing of 'In Containment', I realized I was uncovering a story much larger story than just an "update", and that I had in fact started making a new film.  Parts 1 and 5 would eventually form the beginning of my second feature documentary about the Fukushima disaster, 'A2-B-C' (website ENGLISH/ 日本語).


 Documenting 3.11: The children in Fukushima

I continued filming throughout the autumn of 2012 and early winter of 2013, focusing on the children and families living in Fukushima.  Posting the trailer in February of 2013 (TRAILER below), it was serendipitous that the last day of editing I did on the film before handing it off to Ed and Colin back in the UK to finish the post-production was on March 11, 2013, the second anniversary of the disaster (STORY).

Documenting 3.11: The story continues
In between the continuing international and domestic screenings of 'A2-B-C', I am currently filming the follow-up to 'A2-B-C', in what will be the third film in my series about Fukushima.  Thank you all so very much for your continued support and encouragement.

                                               ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Politics of Invisibility: Fukushima, 6 years after 3.11

Yesterday, the event "The Politics of Invisibility: Fukushima, 6 years after 3.11" (INFO) was held at the University of British Columbia with sponsorship from the Centre for Japanese Research.  I was honoured to present at the conference, which was organized by Geography Professor David Edgington.  I had the honour of presenting here two years ago also at the invitation of Dr. Edgington.

Split into two sessions, the lunchtime workshop began with Dr. Edgington's presentation "A day out in Fukushima: Reflections on a field trip to the Dai-chi Nuclear Power Plant" focused on his recent experience touring the crippled facility complete with photographs from inside the plant.  Dr. Matsui, Professor of Law, presented his talk "Restarting Nuclear Power Plants in Japan After the Fukushima Disaster", which focused on law, policy and public opinion regarding nuclear power in Japan following the meltdown.

In the evening, there was a screening of the work-in-progress of my documentary "Sezaruwoenai" ("Unavoidable", working title), which eventually will be the 3rd film in my series about young people living in Fukushima, following "In the Grey Zone" (2012) and "A2-B-C" (2013).  It was a rare and extremely meaningful experience for me to share this work-in-progress, and the feedback I received from this study session held at the university will stay with me as I move forward in thinking about the direction I will take with the film.
photo courtesy Savannah Li
At the lunchtime presentation preceding the screening, Dr. Edgington had asked me to focus on the plight of the so-called "voluntary evacuees" who are facing tough decisions as financial support for them is being terminated at the end of this month.  In addition to sharing about the press conference for which I served as the MC in January (INFO), I had decided the best way to for the audience to understand the situation for these families was through their own words.  I asked Noriko Matsumoto, who I had first met at the press conference, and another young mother who wished to remain anonymous (and whom I had met through one of the mothers who appeared in my documentary "A2-B-C") to write statements about how they would be affected by the termination of financial support for those who had chosen to leave Fukushima with their children.

Their statements, translated by Anthony Davis, are in full below:

================================================================

2017年3月1日
松本 徳子、避難者(川崎へ母子避難)

本日、朝日新聞にてトップに今まで避難指示区域に成っていた福島第1原発から20キロ圏内の一部の浪江町、川俣町、飯舘村そして富岡町と3月31日、4月1日と避難指示が解除される事に成ってしまいました。

この未々放射線量の高い地域に子ども達まで帰還をさせようとする国や福島県に何故避難の権利を与えないのか?

怒りと悲しみで言葉では上手く表現出来ません。しかし、そうなると私達の様な警戒区域外の避難者は更に避難の権利を得ることは難しく成り、これは人権問題です。どうすれば弱い立場の人、子ど、障害を抱える人達を助ける事が出来るのでしょうか?

いつも、経済豊かな人間達だけが権力を握り弱者を切り捨てる日本という国の愚かさに深い悲しみでいっぱいです。

何とか、正しい情報で子ども達を守りたい! そのためには是非沢山の方々のお力をお借りしたい。切に願います。

March 1, 2017
Noriko Matsumoto (evacuated to Kawasaki with her children)

Today, the lead article in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper stated that on March 31 or April 1, evacuation orders will be lifted for some areas within 20 kilometers of Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant—the towns of Namie, Kawamata, Iitate, and Tomioka.

Why do the Japanese and Fukushima prefectural governments not give us the right of evacuation, instead attempting to return even children to these areas where the level of radiation is still high?

I am so angry and sad that it is difficult for me to express it in words. However, once this happens, evacuees like us from outside of the restricted zone will find it harder to obtain the right of evacuation, which is a matter of human rights. How can we help people in a position of weakness, and those who care for children or disabled persons?

I feel a deep sadness at the foolishness of Japan, where only the affluent ever hold power, and the weak are discarded.

I want to protect the children somehow, with accurate information! I hope for the support of many people to this end.

Translation: Anthony Davis, Kobe, Japan, March 2017

================================================================

2017年3月4日
新潟へ母子避難(匿名希望)


私が自主(母子)避難を決断した経緯には、以下の出来事を総合的に判断し決断に至った。
事故前の一般公衆の被ばく限度が年間1ミリシーベルト(毎時0.23マイクロシーベルト)と法律で定められていることを事故当時に知った。
福島市内の原発事故前の放射線量を毎時0.03マイクロシーベルトとすると・・・
2011年の事故直後は自宅の中でも毎時0.6マイクロシーベルト(平時のおよそ20倍)あり、外に出れば毎時2マイクロシーベルト(平時のおよそ66倍)以上が普通にあった。計算すると年間1ミリシーベルトなど、はるかに超えていた。これは異常なこと(法律違反)だと思った。
2011年4月19日福島県内で子供たちが屋外活動を行って良い基準値が年間20ミリシーベルト毎時3.8マイクロシーベルトになった。
それまで年間1ミリシーベルトだった基準値が20倍に引き上げられたのである。
5月からは教育員会が小中高生の屋外活動時間を1日3時間以内に制限する通知を出した。
4月29日には基準値の高さに抗議する小佐古敏荘内閣官房参与が辞任会見を行った。

『年間20ミリシーベルト近い被爆をする人は原子力発電所の放射線業務従事者でも極めて少ない。この数値を乳児、幼児、小学生に求めることは学問上の見地からのみならず、私のヒューマニズムからしても受け入れがたい』

小佐古敏荘内閣官房参与は涙ながらに主張した。
報道では、政府が『直ちに人体や健康に影響を与える数値ではない』と説明を繰り返す。
このほかにもあらゆる情報が錯乱する中、私は子供を安心して安全な環境で守りたい想いで、覚悟を決めて伊達市から新潟へ避難を決断したのである。

いま福島県は『復興加速化』の名のもとで避難者の切り捨てを始めている。
2015年6月福島県は2017年3月末で自主避難者の借り上げ住宅の提供打ち切りを発表した。自主避難者に対して無償で提供されていた住宅がなくなるのだ。
この5年間、福島県から新潟へ自主避難し、ゼロからのスタートだった。
地域の人に出会い、子供たちの学校を通し、沢山の優しさに支えられてきた。
5年でようやく積み上げた暮らしが奪わられ、被爆を避ける権利も奪われる。
福島では住宅敷地除染により放射線量は事故後の値よりも低下したが、事故前の数値には
達していなく、勘違いの安心感が広がっている。
国は東京オリンピックの開催2020年を見据えて避難指示解除や賠償の打ち切り、そして自主避難者の住宅支援を打ち切る方針を固めた。経済的に段階的な住宅支援の打ち切りを行い、貧困させてから帰還へ導き、切り捨てられていく国のやり方に強い憤りを感じる。
安部総理がオリンピック開催の為に発言した『アンダーコントロール』・・・ではなく
『ONE FOR AII AII FOR ONE』一人はみんなの為に、みんなは一人の為に・・・
このメッセージを安部総理に伝えたい。

安部総理は、東電は『アンダーコントロール』のもと、震災で大変な想いをした人々全てに『ONE FOR AII AII FOR ONE』一人はみんなの為に、みんなは一人の為に・・・支援を続けていると、発言を撤回し世界へのメッセージとして伝えてもらいたい。

かつて避難指示された人々は強制避難者と呼ばれた。
世間では自主避難という言葉を使っている。しかし決して自主避難ではない。
避難指示のあった『強制避難』に対し『自主避難』は自らが勝手に選択したという意味合いを持つため、本来は『避難指示指定区域外避難』というべきである。
措定外とされた自主避難者たちにいわば強制帰還、強制退去が行われようとしている。

今この福島で起こっている現実を全世界へ伝えたくこのメーセジとしたい。

March 4, 2017
Mother who evacuated with her children to Niigata (wishes to remain anonymous)

The background to my deciding to voluntarily evacuate (with my children) came after I comprehensively evaluated the incidents which I describe below.

At the time of the accident, I learnt that, previously, the radiation dose limit for the general public was stipulated by law as one millisievert in a year (or 0.23 microsievert per hour).

Before the nuclear power plant accident, the radiation level in Fukushima city was 0.03 microsievert per hour. Immediately following the 2011 accident, even inside homes, the level was 0.6 microsievert (approximately 20 times the normal level), and outside, the level was commonly 2 microsievert or higher (some 66 times the normal level). This amounts to levels far in excess of one millisievert per year. I thought that this was abnormal (and a violation of law).

On April 19, 2011, in Fukushima prefecture, the level at which children were permitted to engage in outdoor activities was changed to 20 millisievert a year, or 3.8 microsievert per hour. Thus, the former standard of 1 millisievert per year was raised to 20 times that level.

In May, the Board of Education issued notice limiting the outdoor activities of elementary, junior high, and high school students to a maximum of three hours per day.

On April 29, Toshiso Kosako, advisor to the Cabinet Office, held a press conference announcing his resignation in protest against the height of the levels. In tears, he stated the following:

“It is very rare even among the occupationally exposed persons to be exposed to radiation levels even near to 20mSv per year. I cannot possibly accept such a level to be applied to babies, infants and primary school students, not only from my scholarly viewpoint but also from my humanistic beliefs.”

The press repeatedly reported the government’s explanation that “the levels would not have an immediate effect on the human body or on health.”

Meanwhile, amid a confusion of various other information, I resolved to evacuate from Date city to Niigata, wanting to take care of my children in a safe environment in peace of mind. Now, Fukushima prefecture has started to discard evacuees, under the banner of “Acceleration of Reconstruction.”

In June 2015, Fukushima prefecture announced that it would stop providing rental housing for voluntary evacuees at the end of March 2017. The provision of free housing for voluntary evacuees will end.

Five years ago, when I voluntarily evacuated from Fukushima prefecture to Niigata, I had to start from zero. Many people were kind in their support, including local people I met, and those at my children’s school. But with the upcoming changes, the livelihood which I have finally built up after five years will be taken from me, and I will be deprived of my right to evacuation.

In Fukushima, decontamination of residential grounds has reduced radiation levels from the post-accident levels, and a false sense of security is spreading, even though radiation has not reached pre-accident levels.

With its eyes set on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Japan is lifting the evacuation orders and discontinuing compensation, and it is firming up policy to end housing support for voluntary evacuees. I strongly resent that Japan is gradually cutting financial housing support, and forcing people into poverty, after which they are encouraged to return home and are then abandoned. Rather than the proclamation which Prime Minister Abe made for the Olympics that everything is “under control,” I want to convey a message to him of “One for all, all for one.”

I want Prime Minister Abe to retract his statement, and instead, I want him to tell the world that support will continue “One for all, all for one,” for all of the people who suffered so much from the disaster, while TEPCO was said to be “under control.”

People who were previously under evacuation orders were known as compulsory evacuees. The term “voluntary evacuation” is widely used. However, this is in no way voluntary evacuation. Using the term “voluntary evacuation” in contrast to “compulsory evacuation” implies that people made a choice of their own volition, therefore the term which should be used is “evacuation from areas outside of areas designated under evacuation orders.” Voluntary evacuees from outside of designated areas are being forcibly returned home, or forcibly evicted.

I want to tell the whole world that this is what is really occurring in Fukushima now.

Translation: Anthony Davis, Kobe, Japan, March 2017

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Marking Fukushima disaster in Canada

As the 6th anniversary of the March 11, 2011, triple disasters of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown approaches, I am honoured to be traveling to two Canadian universities to participate in educational events.

I will be screening the work-in-progress of the third feature documentary in my series filmed in Fukushima.  With a working title of "Sezaruwoenai" ("Unavoidable"), it follows my films "In the Grey Zone" (2012) WEBSITE and "A2-B-C" (2013) WEBSITE.  While I do not know yet when the film will be finished and released, I am extremely honoured and grateful for the opportunity to screen "Sezaruwoenai" as a work-in-progress and to be able to both share the interviews in the film with the viewers and to receive feedback and comments of support from them that I can then share with the participants in the film.  I first screened an early cut of the film in Berlin last year at the IPPNW congress organized for the 30th anniversary of Chernobyl and the 5th anniversary of Fukushima (STORY).

Following the screenings in Canada, I will also be sharing statements from two young mothers who are so-called "voluntary evacuees"; that is, they have decided to evacuate from areas in Fukushima not officially under mandatory orders to evacuate.  With the government set to end financial support for such "voluntary evacuees" at the end of this month, these families are facing the painstaking decision of whether or not to return to Fukushima with their children.   More about these "voluntary evacuees" can be found in my post about a press conference for which I served as the MC at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in January (STORY).

On Wednesday, March 8, I will be presenting at the University of British Columbia at the workshop "The Politics of Invisibility: Fukushima, 6 years after 3.11" which is sponsored by the UBC Center for Japanese Research.  Two years ago, I had the honour of screening my film "A2-B-C" at the same event (STORY).


Then on Saturday, March 11, the 6th anniversary of the disasters, I will be presenting at the University of Alberta in Edmonton at an event sponsored by the Prince Takamado Japan Centre for Teaching and Research.  

It is an honour to take part in these activities being organized to educate and ensure that the events of March 11, 2011, are not forgotten.  

Thank you all for your continued support and encouragement.

Peace,
Ian Thomas Ash
Haneda Airport, Tokyo, Japan

Friday, March 03, 2017

Events marking the 6th anniversary of 3.11 begin

It is hard to believe that the six-year anniversary of the March 11 triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster is approaching.

Yesterday, I was honoured to serve as the MC for the press conference "Yoshiko Aoki, Fukushima storyteller" at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan (FCCJ press release HERE).  Although Ms. Aoki is a former principal of the Tomioka High School, located in one of the towns badly affected by the nuclear disaster, she began her speech by saying "I am not a politician, philosopher or professor.  I am speaking today as an ordinary citizen".

During the Q&A, when asked if she felt "abandoned" by the government, she replied "no".  Rather, Ms. Aoki said, since the accident, which she emphasized had been a man-made disaster, she had become more independent in her way of thinking and no longer depended on the government.  Now when a government official says something "stupid", she said she no longer even becomes angry as that is what she has come to expect.  Ms. Aoki's full comments and the Q&A that followed can be found on the FCCJ Channel here:


Then this morning (Thursday evening in the US) was the event "The Politics of Uncertainty: Reassessing Japan After the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster" arranged by the Japanese Cultural Association at Brown University (event info HERE).

Following a screening of my documentary "A2-B-C" (WEBSITE), I was honoured to join via Skype the panel discussion, which included:
* Taro Kono - Member of Japan’s House of Representatives and Former Chariman of the National Public Safety Commission (via Skype)
* Kerry Smith - Associate Professor of History and East Asian Studies at Brown University
* Daniel Aldrich - Director of the Security and Resilience Program at Northeastern University
* Ian Thomas Ash - Documentary Filmmaker and Director of "A2-B-C" (via Skype)
This was the first of several events I will be taking part in at universities holding events to mark the 6th anniversary of 3.11.

******** UPDATE March 6, 2017 ******

An article about the screening has been published by the Brown Daily Herald.  READ