Fukushima 50

"Fukushima 50" actually consists of 300 technicians, soldiers and firefighters. They work in shifts of 50 persons. They continue to work at the Fukushima power plant in Japan although their lives are at stake due to the high levels of radiation exposure.

I wish them to be free from sufferings.
May they be well and happy.

Below is an extract of a touching letter that has been published in New America Media.

New America Media, First Person, Ha Minh ThanhPosted: Mar 19, 2011

Editor’s note: This letter, written by a Vietnamese immigrant working in Fukishima as a policeman to a friend in Vietnam, has been circulating on Facebook among the Vietnamese diaspora. It is an extraordinary testimony to the strength and dignity of the Japanese spirit, and an interesting slice of life near the epicenter of Japan’s current crisis, the Fukushima nuclear power plant. It was translated by NAM editor, Andrew Lam, author of East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres.


How are you and your family? These last few days, everything was in chaos. When I close my eyes, I see dead bodies. When I open my eyes, I also see dead bodies.

Each one of us must work 20 hours a day, yet I wish there were 48 hours in the day, so that we could continue helping and rescuing folks.

We are without water and electricity, and food rations are near zero. We barely manage to move refugees before there are new orders to move them elsewhere.

I am currently in Fukushima , about 25 kilometers away from the nuclear power plant. I have so much to tell you that if I could write it all down, it would surely turn into a novel about human relationships and behaviors during times of crisis.

People here remain calm - their sense of dignity and proper behavior are very good - so things aren't as bad as they could be. But given another week, I can't guarantee that things won't get to a point where we can no longer provide proper protection and order.

They are humans after all, and when hunger and thirst override dignity, well, they will do whatever they have to do. The government is trying to provide supplies by air, bringing in food and medicine, but it's like dropping a little salt into the ocean.

Brother, there was a really moving incident. It involves a little Japanese boy who taught an adult like me a lesson on how to behave like a human being.

Last night, I was sent to a little grammar school to help a charity organization distribute food to the refugees. It was a long line that snaked this way and that and I saw a little boy around 9 years old. He was wearing a T-shirt and a pair of shorts.

It was getting very cold and the boy was at the very end of the line. I was worried that by the time his turn came there wouldn't be any food left. So I spoke to him. He said he was at school when the earthquake happened. His father worked nearby and was driving to the school. The boy was on the third floor balcony when he saw the tsunami sweep his father's car away.

I asked him about his mother. He said his house is right by the beach and that his mother and little sister probably didn't make it. He turned his head and wiped his tears when I asked about his relatives.

The boy was shivering so I took off my police jacket and put it on him. That's when my bag of food ration fell out. I picked it up and gave it to him. "When it comes to your turn, they might run out of food. So here's my portion. I already ate. Why don't you eat it?"

The boy took my food and bowed. I thought he would eat it right away, but he didn't. He took the bag of food, went up to where the line ended and put it where all the food was waiting to be distributed.

I was shocked. I asked him why he didn't eat it and instead added it to the food pile. He answered: "Because I see a lot more people hungrier than I am. If I put it there, then they will distribute the food equally."

When I heard that I turned away so that people wouldn't see me cry.

A society that can produce a 9-year-old who understands the concept of sacrifice for the greater good must be a great society, a great people.

Well, a few lines to send you and your family my warm wishes. The hours of my shift have begun again.

Ha Minh Thanh

May All Be Free From Sufferings,
May All Be Well and Happy...


  1. Great salute to these 300 technicians.

    I do not think I can be as great as them.

  2. The world could learn a lot from that little boy. Beautiful photos to go with a humbling story.

  3. A very touching story. It was surely a sacrifice on the part of the boy with all that he lost and to still have such humanity. Plus the 300, the ultimate sacrifice. May they be blessed.

  4. What a heart warming story....drop by, the results are in.

  5. When I was studying in Japan, I did a part-time teaching Bahasa Malaysia. All my students were older than me that time. Instead of becoming a teacher to them, I am also a student learning a lot from them about life. One of them taught me the principle they have been taught at young age since early education the character 公 which in depth mean "sharing". Your post really reflect what I have learn about their culture. Without no doubt they will come out strong from this.

  6. Great selfless sacrifice indeed from those involved in Fukushima! May God protect and bless them all!

  7. Heartbreaking and uplifting all at once. What an amazing boy...I'll share this story with my children. Thank you One, for sharing.

  8. This story tugs at the heart!

  9. This is one of the most touching stories I have heard...how horrible for these people as they cling to whatever they can and fight for survival...it is a lesson for all of us..

  10. wow, my heart ached for that little boy, and he is just one of many.

  11. What a touching story...thanks for sharing. We could all learn from this! Great photos.

  12. It's so sad that Japan got struck by so many disasters in such a short period of time. My heart goes to all the suffering Japanese out there.

  13. wow words fail me. I don't think I'll ever forget this story.

  14. Oh dear! This is very touching! Hope Japan will recover soon!
    May all the soul rest in peace!



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