Netflix ‘The Days’: The Fukushima Nuclear Accident in Japan

In an unprecedented disaster that shook Japan, the colossal earthquake and the ensuing tsunami left a trail of devastation. However, ‘The Days,’ a compelling Japanese drama on Netflix, sheds light on the unaddressed calamity of the Fukushima nuclear power plant due to inadequate responses.

Chronological Unraveling:

The drama takes viewers on a chronological journey, starting just before the earthquake struck. In the immediate aftermath of the quake, most people maintained their composure. Yet, tension heightened as the tsunami engulfed the region and the catastrophic nuclear plant explosions became apparent.

Central Stages:

The story primarily revolves around several key stages, each showcasing a rising sense of urgency and despair. These stages include the Fukushima nuclear power plant site, the Prime Minister’s Office and Command Center, the briefing room responsible for communicating updates to the public, and the hometown residence of TEPCO employee Kirihara Koki.

Divergent Responses:

Throughout the unfolding crisis, the responses of those involved differ significantly. At the nuclear plant, TEPCO employees tirelessly strive to avert disaster. A poignant scene captures their selfless determination to enter the radiation-contaminated reactor building to release steam through a “vent.” Despite the evident risks, these employees volunteer with unwavering dedication, while an older colleague urges them to reconsider, hoping to spare the younger staff from potential harm.

Lamentable State:

In stark contrast, scenes at the Prime Minister’s Office and Command Center, and the briefing room, reveal a more lamentable sight as the situation grows dire. The head of the Nuclear Safety and Security Agency, when questioned by the Prime Minister, fumbles to provide coherent answers. To the Prime Minister’s query of his expertise, he replies, “I graduated from the Tokyo University Economics Department.”

Diminished Tension:

‘The Days’ prioritizes character emotions over grand disaster visuals, offering an immersive experience. However, this approach inadvertently slightly diminishes the expected tension found in disaster dramas. Moreover, the drama spans seven days in eight episodes, with much time spent away from the disaster site, at locations like the Prime Minister’s residence. This presentation through character dialogues rather than visual cues reduces the overall density of tension.

Comparisons and Criticisms:

Some viewers have compared ‘The Days’ to HBO’s ‘Chernobyl’ (2019), a drama that delved into Russia’s nuclear disaster. They argued that ‘The Days’ lacked the same level of tension and artistic brilliance. Criticisms arose as certain important background information regarding the accident seemed omitted in ‘The Days,’ according to one viewer on the US review site IMDB.

The Balance of Emotions:

While ‘The Days’ effectively conveys the dedication and struggles of frontline TEPCO employees, accentuating the tragedy and evoking emotions, some critics contend that it might have obscured the disaster’s essence by romanticizing the narrative of dedication.

Release Controversy:

‘The Days’ faced controversies as its release date in Korea differed from other countries. Some speculated that Netflix yielded to pressure from the Korean government. However, it was clarified that the release date was aligned with the implementation of the ‘OTT Self-classification System.’


‘The Days’ serves as a poignant reminder of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, delving into the human element amidst the crisis. While showcasing the valiant efforts of those at the forefront, the drama sparks discussions on the essence of calamity and its portrayal in the realm of fiction.

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