Earthquake related suicide rates are still high. There are certain places people go, a forest, a bridge, a cliff...famous spots to end your life, it's one of the saddest things of all..to survive but wish you hadn't. All kinds of mis-info abound and it can be very scary for people who don't really understand and are confused by so much trauma and do not know who to trust or believe.
On a more positive note, the nuclear situation looks slowly grimly a little better. News that the water hose has been repaired and is not leaking and is managing to continue to decontaminate the radioactive water at reactors 1,2,3 is good news. It is still going to take daily dedication and somebody has to be there every single minute to ensure nothing goes wrong, and this is only stabilizing, not shut down, which will apparantly take another year at least to achieve safely. But, meanwhile bless the amazing plant workers and their courage and dedication as they salvage this mess at the cost of their health.
At street level, one thing has changed very much since the disasters. This is the nation's slow and definite 'satori' over how the government has manipulated them and decieved them generally over the nuclear accident and so many related issues. There is a new awakening. People everywhere are starting to "do it themselves". This involves ordering their own equipment to test soil and water if they can afford to; disobeying govt stipulations over safety levels and procedures. People are relying more on small community centered support groups; housewives, schools, groups to which people are tied, are taking the lead. There are small but major changes going on in how the disasters are going to shape change and alter the status-quo.
Once people start to question authority and their truth, a rebellion is born. However small, however polite and organized, it is definitely happening.
One man I know went drinking with some Tokyo govt diet members. The govt has told Fukushima city residents that they are safe. That their radiation exposure is safe, that their kids are safe to go to school...this city is 60km from reactor 1 and declared a hotspot in terms of nuclide fall out. He was told after some drinks I assume, by a diet member, that this is a lie. That it is not safe, but there is no place or money to evacuate families and so much evacuation does not fit well into political dynamics. Of course we knew this, but the fact that leaks like this are happening and spreading down into general street info, re-inforces the huge wave of distrust that is growing among not just the elite informed but everyone, spanning class and generation. Many lies and cover ups have come to the surface, too many to excuse, and ordinairy people are being made to think out of the box, to make major decisions for themselves.It's good mainly of course, but has a dark side too.
In Fukushima for example, people are taking matters into their own hands, with no specific guidelines from govt, they are topsoiling their yards and dumping the topsoil in forests and mountains creating huge radioactive hotspot deposits. This is one direct result of the govt's lack of advice on protective procedures that will boomerang. Another example is a woman here who is adding charcoal to her kids food because she has heard it will absorb ingested radioactive particles. The whole process of clean up may well end up costing far more than the entire profit of Japan's nuclear industry ever did.