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Manga aims to give voice to Fukushima reactor workers

The best way to get inside information on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant may be through pages of a comic book.

A new manga, “1F: The Labour Diary of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant,” tells the story of a cleanup worker, helping to remove the hazardous remains of the disaster site.

Its first print run was a large 150,000 copies — rare for a relatively unknown manga artist. Within its pages, the story contains information about the effort that hasn’t been covered by the media, and a vocabulary true to an insider on the project, mainly because it’s written by one.

The author, who uses the pen name Kazuto Tatsuta, spent six months working for a subcontractor at the Fukushima plant in 2012, before resigning once he reached the legal annual limit of radiation exposure. Once off the site, he decided to give his extensive memories form through artwork, bringing to life what many say is an accurate visual into Fukushima Daiichi.

Tatsuta told the Guardian that the media “left a gap in people’s understanding” and hoped to show people “about things that the media never see,” such as the point of view of the many workers handling the radioactive waste, as he once did.

“I don’t have a profound message to give the reader, other than to point out that these are men who are doing their best to get the job done away from the limelight,” said Tatsuta. “Politicians and experts are always on TV debating Fukushima, but the workers have no voice. I hope to give them one through my manga.”

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