Yes, if I may be allowed some leeway with my language, three years without a death or serious illness due to the partial meltdowns and losses of containment at Fukushima Daiichi are good years. But this is relative, since there’s still much prolongued suffering. There were the people who died in and after the evacuation, and there are the remaining evacuees, by and large the ones who are kept from their home areas based on Japan’s unusually strict radiation guidelines.
There is of course the fishing industry, which will struggle against public fears of radiation well into the future, as things stand. And many other factors; the situation is not simple.
But compare it to the rest of the evacuees. The rest? The natural disaster survivors? Yeah, it’s still a big issue. The best treatment of their plight is a book from last year by the webmaster of the Hiroshima Syndrome, an experienced educator and nuclear professional. It is titled Kimin: Japan’s Forgotten People, and after reading it and absorbing some informed perspective I have chosen not to refer to Fukushima as anything other than a financial and policy disaster, and have very little regard for the critical interference of the prime minister at the time in what was a highly technical situation calling for training and focused leadership. Further details about the events in the reactors can be found in his other book, The First Five Days.
Again, I recommend reading these books if Japan’s nuclear situation concerns you. “Fukushima” is still unfortunately used as a glib one-word dismissal of discussion of nuclear energy, and in the next week or so will probably be revisited by a commercial media who have hardly ever been interested in providing a competent perspective from nuclear professionals.