Women of Fukushima

Paul Johannessen | Japan | 2012 | 23 mins

Women of Fukushima Synopsis

Six Japanese women offer brutally honest views on the state of the clean­up, cover­ups, and untruths since the nuclear accident in Fukushima, and how it has affected their lives, homes, and families.

Women of Fukushima was an official selection of the 2017 WVN Online Film Festival and was the recipient of the Best Documentary Short award.

Watch Producer Jeffrey Jousan’s acceptance speech for Best Documentary Short (2017).

About the Filmmakers

Born in Sydney, Australia, Paul Johannessen has worked in both TV/Film production and music production since 1999. After a brief period in Norway, Paul moved to Tokyo in 2009 and started working freelance as a cameraman and editor. Eight months after the earthquake and tsunami, Paul began a documentary project in Ishinomaki seeking to make something inspiring out of something tragic.

The result was a short documentary, Then and Now, which continues to find success in assisting the people of Ishinomaki by bringing awareness to their plight. This success left Paul and his team of producers, Jeffrey Jousan and Ivan Kouvac, with a hunger to do more which led to them collaborating again for Women of Fukushima.

More from the Filmmakers

The full ramifications of the aftermath of the disaster that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011 will take decades to unfold. Having shifted from the initial visceral drama to a more long­-term almost-invisible threat, there is a real risk that the situations faced by residents of Fukushima Prefecture will simply vanish from the radar screens of the world’s media (or, in the case of Japanese media, remain non­existent). To this day, as a result of the meltdowns, children can’t play outside, families are breaking up, and women are even having abortions for fear of genetic damage to their unborn children. Hope is hard to come by in Fukushima.

However, after meeting a group of outspoken local women, we were compelled to capture their spirit and stories. These Japanese women, traditionally shy and quiet, have taken their anger, anxiety, frustration, and loss of hope, and turned it into a rallying call to move forward to change Japan and the world into a safer place for our children. Their resilience and honesty in the face of the Japanese government’s lies and complacency compelled us to provide a platform for them to speak their minds. The results surprise, shock, and inspire.

Our motivation for making this film was to ensure that an international audience could witness the honesty and courage of these women, who have dared to speak up where others have remained silent.

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