Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Last week, the inevitable finally happened. The company responsible for the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, has been nationalised. Japan’s trade and industry minister Yukio Edano announced a de facto state take-over of the company with a further injection of $12.5bn, bringing the total of state capital in TEPCO to $33.2bn. Edano has said that: “Without the state funds, (TEPCO) cannot provide a stable supply of electricity and pay for compensation and decommissioning costs”.The total direct costs of the Fukushima Daiichi catastrophe for TEPCO, including compensation and clean up, are estimated at over $100bn. Many Japanese, however, experience in their daily lives that the damages are considerably higher because most of their claims and losses go uncompensated and most of their suffering goes unrecognised.The nationalisation of TEPCO, together with a legal practice called “channelling of liability” in which all liability related to the Fukushima nuclear disaster has to be channelled to TEPCO, means Japanese taxpayers and ratepayers will foot most of the bill.An infuriating aspect of this story is that in a recent presentation by General Electric (GE) about its “success” over the past 50 years, there was not a word about the Fukushima disaster and nothing approaching an apology. Yet the Fukushima disaster was affected by well-known problems related to GE’s Mark 1 design, which was used at all four troubled reactors. Furthermore, GE was involved in maintenance throughout the four decades of the plant’s operation and had 44 on site at the time of the accident.GE, together with its corporate mates from Hitachi, which is responsible for the construction of Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4, and Toshiba, which delivered Reactor No. 3, as well as Ebasco, Kajima, Areva and many others, have mostly kept mum about their involvement...
Monday, May 21, 2012
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Save Jeju Island: Elder Gangjeong villlagers plead for return of homes, farms, village, livelihoods, & Jeju as a "Peace Island"
Friday, May 18, 2012
CUJ is glad to be able to invite US documentary director Robert Kenner to Japan. His film Food Inc. is a great exposure of the way the food industry and especially Monsanto have hijacked farming and food processing, creating a situation where it is almost impossible for consumers to know what we are eating. While the focus is on the US agribusiness, it also applies to practices in many other countries, and the frequent abuse against farmers, food factory workers, animals and the biodiversity on our planet.Robert Kenner is an Emmy-Award winning film maker. He will participate at three screening events and give talks while in Japan. Everyone is welcome!Tokyo: May 19 (Sat) 13:30-18:00Tokyo Women’s Plaza (Omotesando station)http://www.tokyo-womens-plaza.metro.tokyo.jp/Entrance Fee: 1,000 YenTokyo: May 21 (Mon) 14:00-16:00House of Representatives 2nd Bldg, Multi-purpose Hall (1st Floor)(衆議院第2議員会館 1階 多目的ホール)Entrance Fee: FreeOsaka: May 22 (Tue) 13:30-17:30Osaka International House Centerhttp://www.ih-osaka.or.jp/english/Entrance Fee: 1,000 Yen
In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield's Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms' Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Solidarity for Okinawa upon May 15, 2012Yune Pak, one of our village international team members coordinated to make the below video for solidarity with Okinawa. It is Japanese subtitled (translated by one of our team members as well)The video is by Dungree.An activist who has visited Okinawa and Mayor Kang Dong-Kyun have some solidarity messages for Okinawa. The video includes also photo shots of activists residing in the village, who are holding signs of solidarity with Okinawa.We all send our love and solidarity to Okinawa!
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Etsuko Urashima: "Let’s Turn Mt Kushi into a Forest of Life ...On the 40th Fortieth Anniversary of Okinawa’s Reversion to Japan"
May 15 marks 40 years since Okinawa “reverted” from US military administration to Japan, but the celebrations in 2012 will be muted. While few Okinawans regret the fact of reversion, there is widespread resentment over the fact that the national government continues to insist the prefecture serve US military ends first and foremost.Newspaper opinion surveys taken on the eve of the commemoration found that 69 percent of Okinawans believed they were the subject of inequitable and discriminatory treatment because of the heavy concentration of US military bases, and nearly 90 percent took the position that the Futenma Marine Base should either be unconditionally closed and the land simply revert to Ginowan township or else be moved away, whether elsewhere in Japan or beyond it. That figure exceeds even the opposition of the time of the Hatoyama government (84 percent) less than two years ago.A similar 90 percent oppose the deployment within Okinawa of the accident-plagued MV22-Osprey VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft that the Pentagon, backed by the government of Japan, promises to deploy in Okinawa from July.Such is the strength of this sentiment that Okinawa’s governor, the conservative ex-bureaucrat Nakaima Hirokazu, visiting Tokyo at the time of the announcement, declared that such a deployment would be “extremely impossible “ (sic), and suggested that if the aircraft were really so safe they could be deployed in Tokyo’s Hibiya or Shinjuku Gyoen parks.2 The outrage deepened a week later when it was announced that the aircraft would be assembled and first tested at Naha Military Port, little more than a stone’s throw from Okinawa’s capital, Naha. Naha mayor Onaga described it as the worst proposal ever, and declared that he could not contain his fierce anger at the way the people of Okinawa and Naha were being mocked.3 Medoruma Shun, the prefecture’s pre-eminent novelist, also widely respected as its conscience, called upon the governor to convene a mass meeting of Okinawans to formally declare their opposition.The points of confrontation between Tokyo and Okinawa slowly multiply and deepen in seriousness – Ginowan City, home of the Futenma Marine Base; Nago City, designated site for a Futenma replacement facility; Kadena City, 22,000 of whose citizens are suing (the biggest civil suit in Japanese history) to try to recover their peace from the constant noise caused by landings and takeoffs from the city’s USAF base; and Yonaguni Island, where residents mobilize to prevent the deployment of Japanese Self Defense Forces (for the first time). Throughout the island anger spreads at the prospect of a new threat – the vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, MV22-Osprey (discussed by Urashima) now scheduled to be introduced to the island in July.In the north of Okinawa Island, little attention is paid to the appropriation of forests by the US marine forces based at Camp Schwab. On the commemoration of another, closely related, anniversary, the 60th of Okinawa’s formal severance from Japan under the San Francisco treaty of 1952, the writer Urashima Etsuko, like Medoruma a voice of Okinawan conscience, walked up Mt Kushi to reflect on the price that was being paid by nature itself under the weight of priority to the US military. We are pleased to publish an English translation of her April 2012 essay. (Gavan McCormack)April 28th was the 60th anniversary of the day the San Francisco Peace Treaty came into force in 1952. Under the Treaty, mainland Japan recovered its sovereignty lost in the defeat of the war but Okinawa remained under US military control for a further twenty years. On this day, known in Okinawa as a “day of humiliation,” at the suggestion of a friend I climbed Mt Kushi which overlooks the US Marine Corps’ Camp Schwab training grounds.The twin peaks of Mt Henoko (332 metres) and Mt Kushi (335 metres) rising up in roughly the middle of the island still today are a fine sight and it is easy to believe that the children of Henoko and Kushi villages used to dispute with each other over which was the more beautiful. But today, from as far away as Henoko village, you can see how the red soil of the mountain has been exposed by shelling practice from the live firing range that surrounds it.I had thought it would not be possible to climb [in a military area] but, while one cannot climb from the east sea side one can climb from the west because that side is not used as a firing range. Hearing that the mountain was quite an easy walk, and that you could look out over the firing range from the peak, I put on boots and a rain coat – since unfortunately it looked like rain – and set off on the climb...On reaching the summit I was astonished at the breadth of the shooting range that spread out before me. Being accustomed to look at the mountains from the sea, I had not imagined them to be so vast. The forests of Higashi and Kunigami villages that make up the Northern Training Centre (or “Jungle Warfare Centre”) are so splendid as to be said to be worthy of classification as World Heritage, but this was in no way inferior. Here and there practice sites had been set up and these sites were one source of the firing noises. My friend also said that these sites had been freshly cleared, not existing on the previous occasion when he had come up here. The stick-like poles were, he said, “dummy human targets for shelling.”...Before the US bombing of Okinawa on 10 October 1944 (which not only reduced Naha City to rubble but caused severe damage throughout Okinawa Island) US forces took aerial photographs of the whole of Okinawa Island, so they knew the exact location of everything. It seems that, by analysing these aerial photographs, they drew up detailed plans for use of the island – just as if there were no people here. You can also see this from the nature of the bombing. To take one example, while many villages were burned by bombing attacks, other, neighbouring settlements escaped unscathed and these were later used as refugee encampments.When looking over the forest from the peak, my thoughts turn to the US soldiers that once looked down over this forest from the sky. They must have been thinking about how they could make use of this place for war. I thought once again that this precious forest that has given life to so many creatures and sustained the local people must not be allowed to be used for war. It pains me to look upon the withered brown firing range. I want to take back this forest and resurrect it as a forest of life. Moved by such thoughts, I stood on the summit of Mt Kushi.
"Okinawa was returned to Japan in 1972, but the Okinawan people's hopes for peace were not fulfilled, and Okinawa was used to strengthen US military power. So, this monument is not an expression of joy nor victory."- Inscription on a monument at Kunigami Village, Cape Hedo, at the most northern point of Okinawa
On May 15, 1972, Okinawa became a prefecture of Japan once again. Up until then, for 27 years since World War II — when the islands endured some of the most intense fighting of the entire brutal conflict — Okinawa had been under U.S. military administration, so reversion to Japanese rule should have heralded more peaceful and prosperous times..."Even if MCAS Futenma is returned tomorrow, it may be decades before it can be put to civilian use due to contamination of the land. Take for example Onna Communication Site; the U.S. military gave it back almost 20 years ago but we still can't use it because that ground is contaminated with seven different toxic chemicals."As for removal of the other U.S. military facilities on Okinawa, there is little impetus to encourage the U.S. to vacate them. Japanese taxpayers contribute ¥190 billion a year for the upkeep of their runways, mess halls and golf courses, making it cheaper for the Pentagon to keep its troops on the islands than bring them home.But even a U.S. exit tomorrow couldn't turn back the clock on the almost 70 years during which the U.S. military has used the bases to store (and sometimes dump) a witches' brew of poisonous materials — from Nike nuclear missiles and mustard gas in the 1960s, to depleted-uranium munitions in the '90s and, currently, irradiated equipment from its relief operations near Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.Recent revelations from the pages of The Japan Times have added Agent Orange — the Vietnam War defoliant containing large volumes of extremely toxic dioxin — to this list of pollutants on the U.S. bases...At the same time, the campaign to win justice for sick former service members and Okinawan civilians has created a never-seen-before solidarity of environmental activists, veterans-rights campaigners, politicians — both in the U.S. and Japan — and lawyers.In the past, no matter what form of contamination, and despite protests from the prefecture and local residents, the U.S. government has repeatedly refused to foot the bill for the massive clean-up costs of former bases. Quite how it will approach the issue of Agent Orange contamination remains to be seen.For Ota, this environmental threat far outweighs the danger most usually cited to justify the continued American military presence — China [an unlikely military aggressor as Tokyo's largest trading partner: Beijing, Tokyo & Seoul have just signed a free trade agreement; the governments plan to expand and deepen neoliberal integration, making their economies seamless].
40th Anniversary of Okinawa's Reversion to Japan: Rally against planned US military use of Osprey aircraft in Okinawa
Friday, May 11, 2012
Known to many as the “Matisse of Japan,” Mayumi Oda has done extensive work with female goddess imagery. Born to a Buddhist family in Japan in 1941, Mayumi studied fine art and traditional Japanese fabric dying. In 1966 she graduatied from Tokyo University of Fine Arts. Mayumi’s unique apprenticeship dying fabric for kimonos influences the color and composition of all of her work.Mayumi has spent many years of her life as a “global activist” participating in anti-nuclear campaigns worldwide. She founded Plutonium Free Future in 1992. On behalf of her organization, Oda lectured and held workshops on Nuclear Patriarchy to Solar Communities at the United Nations NGO Forum and the Women of Vision Conference in Washington DC.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Makiko Segawa: After The Media Has Gone: Fukushima [reopening of Minami-soma], Suicide, and the Legacy of 3.11
The March 11, 2011 disaster attracted thousands of reporters and photographers from around the world. There was a brief deluge of Japanese and international media coverage on the first anniversary, this spring. Now the journalists have packed up and gone and by accident or design Japan’s government seems to be mobilizing its agenda, aware that it is under less scrutiny...
Saturday, May 5, 2012
JEJU PEACE & JUSTICE - global rallies May 5-12 (Washington, Paris, Berlin, Fukuoka, London, Frankfurt, New York)
Message from Gangjeong Mayor Kang Dong-Kyun to supporters around the world, thanking them for solidarity in the Jeju struggle: "The people of Okinawa, Guam, East Timor and other small islands who have suffered from military bases are standing with us." (English subtitles)
Via Sung-Hee Choi & Save Jeju Island:
CALL FOR GLOBAL PROTEST
Jeju: peace and justice
For the past 5 years, the 1,500 inhabitants of Jeju’s Ganjeong village have been leading a peaceful struggle against the construction of a vast naval base on one of Jeju’s most culturally significant sites. Against mounting local and international objections, the South Korean government recently forced through a bill authorizing the construction of this base, the largest of its kind, and a key component of the US military’s plan to encircle and contain China.
Korea’s historic “Eden Island” is poised to become the focal point of armed tension in East Asia. Villagers and activists who have peacefully opposed the construction have been systematically harassed, beaten and imprisoned by government forces.
We urge the Korean government to put an end to this unjust and anti-democratic assault on Korea’s cultural heritage and to stand up for the rights of the Korean people, whom they are sworn to represent and protect.
We urge them to protect the culture, the national heritage, and the safety of their own sons and daughters; and to stand up for peace, justice, and self-determination, rather than the imposed interests of a belligerent global military-industrial complex.
Initiated by 2012 Nobel Peace Prize nominee Angie Zelter, this international protest is being held in a network of cities throughout the world, including Washington, D.C., Paris, Fukuoaka, London, Berlin, Frankfurt, and New York.
May 5th Washington D.C., USA: Lafayette Park in front of the White House, from 2 to 4 pm
May 6th Paris, FRANCE: Human Rights Court in Trocadero, from 3 to 6 pm (Contact: email@example.com)
May 6th Fukuoka, Japan: In front of Korean Consulate from 2 to 3 pm (Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
May 9th London, UK: In front of the Republic of Korean Embassy from 2 to 5 pm (Contact: Angie ZELTER, email@example.com Phone: +44-1547-520929 and 078-3535-4652)
May 9th Berlin, GERMANY: Paris Square in front of the Brandenberg Gate from 3 to 6 pm (Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
May 9th Frankfurt, GERMANY: In front of Korean General Consulate from 3 to 4pm and in front of City Hall from 4:30 to 6 pm
May 12th New York, USA: Union Square from 3 to 5 pm
Contact Angie ZELTER
Phone : +44-1547-520929 and 078-3535-4652
Email : email@example.com
Thursday, May 3, 2012
In the post-Cold War world, the US has called for Japan to play a greatly stepped up military role (from the 1996 “Guidelines” to the 2005-6 “Beigun Saihen” or US military realignment), and governments in Tokyo have done their best to comply. My understanding of this is that these measures deepen and reinforce Japan’s dependence and therefore its irresponsibility, transforming the long-term dependent and semi-sovereign Japanese state of the Cold War into a full “Client State.” Far from pursuing its own “values, traditions, and practices,” (as other scholars have argued) 21st century Japan scraps them in order to follow American prescriptions, and the present political confusion stems at root from this identity crisis.US Officials...offer Japan a steady stream of advice – pushing, pulling, and manipulating it in the desired direction, to “show the flag” and “put boots on the ground” in Iraq, to send the MSDF to the Indian Ocean (and keep it there), to revise Ampo de facto and the Constitution explicitly. Yet few ordinary Japanese people share these priorities. It is as much these days as most can manage to cope with livelihood problems – pensions, welfare, and jobs - and so governments, torn between their desire to serve Washington and their need to seem to be serving their own people, always incline to attach priority to the former.In the post Cold War decades, the contest in Japan between civil society and state power has nowhere been sharper than in Okinawa...It is just 400 years since the Okinawan (Ryukyuan) king enunciated the principle of Nuchi du takara or non-resistance, in the face of the Satsuma samurai’s Sengun, initiating the process of forceful incorporation by Japan.Sengun militarism has been the bane of Okinawa ever since - under Satsuma, the modern Japanese state, the US, and now the joint US-Japan regime. Article 9 was in 1946 a new and astounding reversal for mainland Japan, but for Okinawa it was a reversion to an ancient ideal, and to the centuries when the culture of these islands was a byword for sophistication, culture and peace..."Only a recovery of Nuchi du takara values (and within them, presumably, a reassertion of cooperative, non-market, yuimaru values) can hope to save it. Plainly the Yambaru can be either militarized or protected, can follow either “Sengun” or Nuchi du takara, not both."
In 1995, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, the Queens Museum in New York City hosted an exhibition called “Project Article 9.” For this exhibition, Yukinori Yanagi superimposed two 17-foot-long fabric panels, one printed with the image of a mushroom cloud above an opened box engraved with the name, “Little Boy,” the name of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. On the front panel, he printed the original draft of Article 9, as a blurred image. There is an image of the mushroom cloud on the fabric, also.Mr. Yanagi evokes the image of Japan as a victim of atomic bombings, but he never forgets that Japan was also an aggressor. His work, “Asia-Pacific Ant Farm,” for example, consists of thirty-six clear boxes in which ants crawl through colored sand depicting the flags of the “Great East Asian Co-prosperity Sphere” nations, evoking Japan’s colonial past.“The Forbidden Box" is the first fine art collaborative work between American art institutions – the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia – and a Japanese artist focused on the atomic bombings. By using a process of collaboration involving descendants from both sides, Yanagi confirmed art as a method of communication across historical barriers, during the 1990’s, when the issue of the atomic bombings of Hiroshiima and Nagasaki was very controversial, as the cancellation of the Enola Gay Exhibition at the Smithsonian demonstrated.The 'hope" [in this piece] reflects the "hope" of atomic bombing survivor anti-nuclear activists who strive to assure that there will be no future victims of nuclear bombings. Article 9 is a renunciation of war, whose premise is that Japan must never again be responsible for the creation of more war victims.- Shinya Watanabe, "Into the Atomic Sunshine: Shinya Watanabe’s New York and Tokyo Exhibition on Post-War Art Under Article 9", The Asia-Pacific Journal, 2008
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Buddhists, Christians, Shintoists, Rightists, Leftists, Centrists Join to Co-create Nuclear-Free Japan
Buddhist monks in Matsuyama City in Ehime Prefecture in Shikoku are staging the sit-ins to protest against the prospect of restarting Ikata Nuclear Power Plant, which sits just outside the largest active fault in Japan (Median Tectonic Line) and part of the plant is built on the landfill. The monks are calling out to Christian churches to join them in the protest.
International radiation protection standards have historically weighed radiation risks and cost-benefit considerations in such as way as to protect the nuclear power industry at the expense of radiation victims, a Japanese interfaith network has said.
The Interfaith Forum for Review of National Nuclear Policy held a meeting from April 17-19 in Fukushima to debate claims by the Japanese government regarding the effects of radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, which took place in March 2011. The government, following standards set by the International Commission on Radiological Protection, a Canadian organization of scientists and policy makers, has said “there is no immediate [radioactive] impact on human bodies” from the disaster.
The Tokyo-based IFRNNP ― an 800-member anti-nuclear network co-led by 40 Japanese Buddhists, Christians, and Shintoists ― invited Kozo Inaoka, a Japanese physicist and author of a book about radiation exposure, to the meeting to lecture about the ICRP’s history and “ideological character.”
In his book, A History of Radiation Exposure, Inaoka claims the radiation protection standards are “scientifically disguised social standards” allowing the industry to impose exposure levels that suit its needs as it develops nuclear plants.