The Japanese Nuclear-Free Movement, has now matched the scale of the Okinawan Movement.
Saturday, June 30, 2012
NOTE THE YELLOW...Post 3.11 Nuclear-Free Japan organizers borrow the color of the Okinawa Movement to express solidarity...
The Japanese Nuclear-Free Movement, has now matched the scale of the Okinawan Movement.
Friday, June 29, 2012
We did it!! Revolution Hydrangea in Japan, where people say there never is a revolution. We figured nearly 100,000 were there.The Diet/PM's office area is the most restricted area for demonstrations, but we flooded onto the streets and started walking toward PM's office in hopes of getting our voices heard.Very peaceful demo. Respect to all who are determined to raise their voices until their fight is won and keep all power plants shut.
Asahi Shimbun: 150-180,000NHK TV: more than last time [next day's report estimated 100,000]Police: about 17,000Rally Organizer: 150,000Sankei Shinbun: less than 20,000TBS TV: 200,000TV Asahi: 40-50,000
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Seismic modeling by Japan's nuclear regulator did not properly take into account active fault lines near the Ohi plant, Katsuhiko Ishibashi, a seismologist at Kobe University, told reporters."The stress tests and new safety guidelines for restarting nuclear power plants both allow for accidents at plants to occur," Ishibashi told reporters. "Instead of making standards more strict, they both represent a severe setback in safety standards."Experts advising Japan's nuclear industry had underestimated the seismic threat, Mitsuhisa Watanabe, a tectonic geomorphology professor at Tokyo University, said at the same news conference."The expertise and neutrality of experts advising Japan's Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency are highly questionable," Watanabe said.After an earthquake in 2007 caused radiation leaks at reactors north of Tokyo, Ishibashi said Japan was at risk of a nuclear disaster following a large earthquake, a warning that proved prescient after Fukushima.While it is impossible to predict when earthquakes will happen, Ishibashi said on Tuesday the magnitude 9 quake last year made it more likely "devastating" earthquakes would follow.
People are aware that they cannot continue in the same old way but are immobilized because they cannot imagine an alternative. We need a vision that recognizes that we are at one of the great turning points in human history when the survival of our planet and the restoration of our humanity require a great sea change in our ecological, economic, political, and spiritual values. - Grace Lee Boggs
More about the Love Celebration for Grace Lee Boggs in Detroit & upcoming speaking events throughout North America at Boggs Center website & The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the 21st Century book website.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
“Going to the Melt Down was a pretty intense experience, I think. When I went with my mom to deliver the letter to the Prime Minister office, wow, that was scary! 27 floors up I came up and I was just dizzy haha, not sure of what we were expecting, but it all turned out fine. I wore a gas mask later for the die-in and that was really strange! People kept staring like umm… okee then… and it was like YEAH. PAY ATTENTION. STUFF IS HAPPENING HERE!
We made all these different cranes that my sister and I dropped on the “dead” people and then finally we died, which was pretty intense. If I had to live in one of those gas masks that would be…. impossible. Not only was it difficult to breathe, it was difficult to see, and at one point I had to cover up one of the holes in the end of my mask to get enough oxygen. When I went to give the origami birds to the two security guards (who didn’t take them, so the cranes were left on the steps) I had the mask on wrong and couldn’t breathe at all. Frightening thought. What if we had to really use those and yours was malfunctioning when you were outside? what then? ”
Willow Rakoncay, 13
Beth Rakoncay, at No Nukes NW, believes "This [nuclear contamination] is not only an issue for the Japanese people and surrounding environment. It is an issue for the world at large."
hand-delivering a letter protesting the restart of the Ohi reactor
Read the rest of her report below on their solidarity march in Portland, Oregon on June 22nd to keep Japan nuclear free:
May 5, 2012 – Japan shut down all 52 nuclear reactors following Fukushima, the worst meltdown in history last year.
June 7, 2012 – About 70 women, including 10 women from Fukushima, did a “die-in” in front of the Prime Minister’s Official Residence to protest against the restart of Ooi Nuclear Power Plant. Before the die-in, 10 Fukushima women visited the Cabinet Office and met with officials to submit a letter of requests addressed to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. This video clip shows the words from the Fukushima women and part of the die-in. On the very next day, June 8, 2012, Prime Minister Noda held a press conference and declared he would restart Ooi Nuclear Power Plant.
Women’s “Die-In” against the Restart of Ooi Nuke Plant (Jun/07/2012) http://youtu.be/zYQNd2ybiDg
June 8, 2012 - Japanese Prime Minister Noda announced his decision to order the restart of two nuclear reactors in the town of Ohi, in the prefecture of Fukuishima in Western Japan. Prime Minister Noda also claimed that nuclear energy will remain an important source of energy for Japan in the future, thereby reconfirming Japan’s nuclear energy policy. This was the call out to action by the Japanese people that we at No Nukes NW felt was a moral obligation to engage:
“Despite all our efforts, despite the strong resistance in the region of Western Japan surrounding Ohi, and despite the fact that a majority of the Japanese people is against nuclear power, the Japanese government is bowing to pressures of the nuclear lobby in Japan.” “We have tried hard on our own, but now we believe that coordinated international pressure on Japan’s government is essential to bring about real and substantial change.” “We believe that the Japanese government and the Japanese public will react very sensitively to international pressure so we wish to ask you for your support to initiate and coordinate international protest against the Japanese government.”
This Solidarity Action was called for by Hideyuki BAN, Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center (CNIC), Kanna MITSUTA, FoE Japan, Aileen Mioko SMITH, Green Action Daisuke SATO, No Nukes Asia Forum, Akira KAWASAKI, Peace Boat, Kaori IZUMI, Shut Tomari.. No Nukes NW of Portland, OR, coordinated actions in solidarity by Coalition Against Nukes – LA, in San Francisco by No Nukes Action Committee, in NYC, and International solidarity at Japanese embassies worldwide!
Friday, June 22 – Portland OR No Nukes NW, the feisty group from Occupy Portland who brought you A15 Hanford Rally in Richland, WA, April 15, 2012, led this action in solidarity with the Japanese people and with the World on Friday, June 22, 2012, at 3:00 p.m. at the Consulate General of Japan in the Wells Fargo Center in Portland, OR, to help bring volume to the Japanese peoples’ voices!
ACTION: A group of about 15 people gathered at 3:00 p.m. on the corner of SW 5th and Columbia, under the shelter of the bike stand and under the windows of the Oregonian. Just prior to the event beginning, my daughter and I went up to the Consulate General of Japan’s office and delivered a letter to the Prime Minister’s representative. We handed the letter and an accompanying poem from a member of No Nukes NW, not present at the event but wanting to provide her voice and thoughts and feelings, through the glass window to the receptionist.
After delivering the letter, we returned outside. We made and hung origami cranes with messages to End Nuclear Death, until the security guard came out and asked us not to because then they would make him tell us to take them down. He said they had issues with Occupy Portland recently. I’m not sure if I laughed out loud or if it was chortle under my breath, but I gave him a flyer for the event and explained that we were here because we were protesting Prime Minister Noda pushing for the restarting of two nuclear reactors despite the 7.5 MILLION people in Japan demanding that Japan graduate from nuclear power. He took the flyer and I asked him to let the other security guards know what we were there for and to maybe take it up to the Consulate General of Japan and explain to them what we were doing out there, too. He did circle around a few times during our preparations for the Die-In; the sign making and face/head painting.
A very wonderful woman, Sarah Hobbs, had shaved her head, as is habit in the summer for her, and I painted a Japanese phrase on her scalp stating “Absolutely against restarting Oi Nuke”. It’s one thing to paint in a foreign language, it’s another thing to paint in a foreign language on someone’s scalp. I hope I did it justice. This is the same phrase seen in signs in Japan with the women in the video above and their visit and Die In Action in Fukushima Prefecture.Photo: Willow Rakoncay, No Nukes NW
We made signs to hang on our bodies as we got ready for our Die-In action. At 4:45 p.m., we walked from the corner of SW 5th and Columbia to the front of the Wells Fargo Tower and the Japanese Consulate to re-enact what it is like to suffer from deadly radiation exposure. We painted tears of blood and bleeding from the mouth and other orifices, as seen in radiation poisoning. My daughters were both at this event and they had gas masks on to bring the visual forward. We had signs such as “Exposed to radiation from Japan…Died of cancer in Oregon” and “There is no Honor in Suicide” to bring out the fact that restarting and continuing this path of destruction was folly and deadly! “History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man…Godzilla!”
I read the letter to the Prime Minister Noda and the poem by the Geisha of Death that was delivered earlier in a loud and strong voice to the people all around us at our staging area under the windows of the Oregonian, and the Die-In began. As we walked out to the front of the Wells Fargo Tower, I’m told they locked their doors. Issues with Occupy, you know. Simultaneously, an Occupy the Banks action was going on across the river at Chase Bank on Hawthorne and they, too, locked the doors of a bank. We, as Occupy, got two that day. I get a kick out of that. There were two security guards standing at the top of the steps watching. There were windows of the Oregonian watching. There were people traveling home from work on a busy Friday afternoon via bus, street car, and after we all fell “dead”, the clickity steps of people walking the sidewalk past and among us. We laid out on the sidewalk on SW 5th Ave. in downtown Portland as if dead in the rain to illustrate the results of continuing down this path of destruction. As we fell to the ground, the girls in the gas masks dropped origami cranes, for hope and inspiration, upon our bodies. And then they dropped dead.
As our bodies were on the ground, steam from the rain rose from us and the raindrops outlined the forms of our bodies, so that after the 11 minutes and 11 seconds that we spent dead you could see the lingering, lengthy image of death traced on the ground. A woman from the Consulate General office came out, spoke to the security guards on the steps, and then came down the steps giving us a nod, smile, and a thumbs up. She was not the only one. After the Die-In was completed, my daughter who delivered the letter, now in her gas mask having just “died from radiation exposure”, went up the steps and offered the two security guards an origami crane. They stood with their arms folded across their chest (we all know the stance) and she left the cranes on the steps next to them and we all left. The cranes had messages on them, “End Nuclear Death” and “No Nukes! No More!”, and were taken by participants of the Die-In and deposited in various places on their way home to illustrate how this contaminant and killer moves subtly.
We all noted as we peeked from under our signs, sunglasses, or gas masks how people walked by us deliberately not looking, as if they couldn’t look. My daughters and I had a conversation about that on the way home, about how even though next door the Oregonian did not come out to investigate. This is important. They learned first-hand that We are the media now.
“Going to the Melt Down was a pretty intense experience, I think. When I went with my mom to deliver the letter to the Prime Minister office, wow, that was scary! 27 floors up I came up and I was just dizzy haha, not sure of what we were expecting, but it all turned out fine. I wore a gas mask later for the die-in and that was really strange! People kept staring like umm… okee then… and it was like YEAH. PAY ATTENTION. STUFF IS HAPPENING HERE! We made all these different cranes that my sister and I dropped on the “dead” people and then finally we died, which was pretty intense. If I had to live in one of those gas masks that would be…. impossible. Not only was it difficult to breathe, it was difficult to see, and at one point I had to cover up one of the holes in the end of my mask to get enough oxygen. When I went to give the origami birds to the two security guards (who didn’t take them, so the cranes were left on the steps) I had the mask on wrong and couldn’t breathe at all. Frightening thought. What if we had to really use those and yours was malfunctioning when you were outside? what then? Exactly. We don’t need that. But all in all, I believe that the Melt Down was a very powerful event and was extremely fun!!” ~Willow Rakoncay, 13
“I am willing to shave my head and have people stare at me to get out the message, that the restart of these reactors is a bad idea. Sacrificing hair is small compared to the sacrifice of human lives! The loss of one life, in the name of so called cheap energy is one too many!” ~Sarah Hobbs
“This whole thing is a Cluster Fukushima!” ~Sal Reynolds
The disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan continues. Children and the residents continue to be contaminated and the Fukushima Diaichi No.4 reactor could still collapse in another major earthquake with thousands of used nuclear rods giving off even greater contamination.
“The No. 4 reactor is visibly damaged and in a fragile state, down to the floor that holds the spent fuel pool,” said Hiroaki Koide, an assistant professor at Kyoto University’s Research Reactor Institute and one of the experts raising concerns. “Any radioactive release could be huge and go directly into the environment.”
Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon expressed similar concerns during a trip to Japan recently and we are continuing to work on getting the attention and action from OUR representatives to act, to help aid and push forward this campaign for change and objective awareness on a global scale. We must continue to speak out as a World Community to stop the restarting of these plants and demand the closure and decommissioning of nuclear power plants worldwide.
Simultaneous Shut Down, Not Meltdown events took place this weekend all along the west coast of the continental U.S. These actions were a part of an International Solidarity Movement led by a coalition of six groups Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center (CNIC), FoE Japan, Green Action, No Nukes Asia Forum, Peace Boat, and Shut Tomari . No Nukes NW of Portland coordinated actions in solidarity with actions in Tokyo and Osaka in Japan, in Los Angeles, CA, with Coalition Against Nukes LA, in San Francisco by No Nukes Action Committee, in NYC, and worldwide!
This is not only an issue for the Japanese people and surrounding environment. It is an issue for the world at large! The Pacific Ocean has now become polluted with cesium and other nuclear materials which are still pouring into the Pacific ocean from the rivers of Fukushima. Tuna caught off the coast of California have been found to contain radiation from Fukushima. The Japanese government, TEPCO, and the MSM have been silent about their responsibility for the nuclear contamination of the entire Pacific region. We must speak up and help give volume to the voices so directly affected today! We have to speak out to help protect ourselves and our children, and our childrens’ children… Silence of Complicity is a crime of epic proportions!
As Dr. Helen Caldicott put the call out for Occupy to get involved during her speech at the A15 Hanford Rally , we put out the call, too! We need EVERYONE to get involved and making efforts to make changes in the system at large. TEPCO and the US government and the Obama administration continue to tell the people that the nuclear plants are all safe and that the taxpayers should continue to subsidize the nuclear industry.
Please join us at No Nukes NW! There are 104 nuclear plants in the United States and many others worldwide that demand our attention and voice and action!! Shut Down, Not Meltdown!! We need voices and numbers to fight this insidious destructive path into the future! We need your help to forge a new, safer, and productive road! Occupy is a verb, an action word!!! Let’s go, Occupy!
Beth Rakoncay, No Nukes NW and Occupy Portland
Monday, June 25, 2012
I did not hear the term “Hydrangea Revolution” until this morning, when I opened up Facebook to find a post from Jacinta [friend of Ruthie's, who lives in Tokyo], along with her own beautiful photographs of hydrangeas taken in her neighborhood. After reading that one post, the phrase seemed to pop up repeatedly, all day long.The Friday demonstrations have been compared to the big, bold, brazen blooms ( are they not? nothing wimpy about hydrangeas) that are made up of myriads of tiny blossoms pressed together. What began as a series of small symbolic gatherings has become a huge, spirited protest that the media can no longer ignore...I haven’t made it to Tokyo on a Friday yet, but I’m proud to be on the same side as such good people. I’m part of the big, brazen bloom….Woo-hooooo!
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Today we join Okinawans commemorating and mourning the lives of those who died during the unimaginably brutal Battle of Okinawa, and praying for peace for Okinawa and the world. We thank Okinawans for their testimony against the insanity of war, and their deep witness for peace and affirmation of life.
It conveys to the Japanese as well as people of the world, the "spirit of peace" which has developed through Okinawa's history and culture. The names of all those who lost their lives in the Battle of Okinawa- regardless of their nationality or whether they ware of military or civilian status- are inscribed on "The Cornerstone of Peace," serving as a prayer for eternal world peace.
In late March 1945, a fierce battle such as has rarely been seen in history took place on these islands. The "Typhoon of Steel" that lasted for ninety days disfigured mountains, destroyed much of the cultural legacy, and claimed the precious lives of upward of 200,000 people. The Battle of Okinawa was the only ground fighting fought on Japanese soil and was also the largest-scale campaign of the Asia-Pacific War. Even countless Okinawan civilians were fully mobilized.A significant aspect of the Battle of Okinawa was the great loss of civilian life. At more than 100,000 civilian losses far outnumbered the military death toll. Some were blown apart by shells, some finding themselves in a hopeless situation were driven to suicide, some died of starvation, some succumbed to malaria, while other fell victim to the retreating Japanese troops. Under the most desperate and unimaginable circumstances, Okinawans directly experienced the absurdity of war and atrocities it inevitably brings about.This war experience is at the very core of what is popularly called the "Okinawan Heart," a resilient yet strong attitude to life that Okinawan people developed as they struggled against the pressures of many years of U. S. military control.The "Okinawan Heart" is a human response that respects personal dignity above all else, rejects any acts related to war, and truly cherishes culture, which is a supreme expression of humanity. In order that we may mourn for those who perished during the war, pass on to future generations the historic lessons of the Battle of Okinawa, convey our message to the peoples of the world and thereby established, displaying the whole range of the individual war experiences of the people in this prefecture, the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum.
Friday, June 22, 2012
Greetings From the EarthPeace Not War JapanFriday7:00pm until 11:30pm in UTC+09Chikyuya Live House, Kunitachi, Tokyo, Japan☆日本語の詳細が↓↓にあります☆Come listen to the fabulous music and stories of Alicia Bay Laurel, author of the best-selling 1970 Living On the Earth, who will also be joined by the upbeat grooves of the Inoue Ohana band featuring Hawaiian and reggae style tunes.An evening of warmth, love and vibrant energy not to be missed!!Alicia Bay Laurel and Inoue Ohana: ‘Greetings from the Earth’Friday, June 22nd, 2012OPEN/START 19:00/20:00Chikyuya in Kunitachi 地球屋＠国立市Map アクセス: http://chikyuya.info/contents/accessAdvance Price: 2000円At the Door: 2500円☆LIVE・ INOUE OHANA (Hawaiian/reggae)・ Alicia Bay Laurel (acoustic folk)☆TALKAlicia Bay Laurel☆DJRAS FUKUAlicia Bay Laurel's full Japan tour schedule:http://www.aliciabaylaurel.com/2012japantourPhoto/video/highlights from a recent show of hers in Tokyo:http://tenthousandthingsfromkyoto.blogspot.jp/2012/06/artists-bring-message-of-harmony-spirit.htmlアリシア.ベイ.ローレル１９４９年、整形外科医の父と彫刻家の母の間に生ま れたアリシア.ベイ.ローレル。母の影響で、ボヘミアン的な生き方に憧れた彼女は、 高校卒業後、ヒッチハイクの旅に出ます。そうしてたどり着いたのが、カルフォルニアの北部に あるウィラーズランチ、いわゆるコミューンでした。 当時ランチには１００人ほどの自由人が、畑を作り、 牛や馬をかって暮らしていました。電気も水道もない森の中。右も左もわからない彼女 は、少しずつそこでの生活を覚えていきます。そして、ランチでの自分の役割を見つけます。それは得意の絵 と文章で、自然の中で生きる手引書をつくること。 そうしてできあがったのが『地球の上に生きる』です。小さな森の手引書はたちまちベストセラーに。ミュー ジシャンとしても活動しており、２０００年に地球に生き るの音楽編Music from Living on Earth をリリース。続編に Living inHawail style がある。＊Kathie & Keni Inoue (INOUE OHANA)Keni 井上：７０年代より”南正人”、又バンド”久保 田真琴と夕焼け楽団”その後”サンディーアンドサン セッツ”のギタリストとして活動を開始。その後内外の著名なミュージシャンとのセッションを 経て、現在ソロ活動とバンド"INOUE OHANA"で活動中。＊Kathie井上：９０年代より作詞作曲活動をして、サン ディーや内田有紀などに楽曲提供。"Kathie & Keni Inoue"名 義で"Voyage to Paradise"を２００４年に発表。現在はKeni 井上と日本やハワイのメンバー達と"INOUE OHANA"名義で最新アルバム"Island Blend"をハワイで制作発表。作詞作曲活動と共に"INOUE OHANA"のボーカル＆ウクレレ プレイヤーとして活動中。http://inoueohana.com/
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Shut Down not Meltdown: Keep Japan Nuclear Free Simultaneous Events - June 22 - U.S. West Coast and Tokyo
Simultaneous Shut Down, Not Meltdown events will be taking place this weekend all along the west coast of the continental U.S. There actions are a part of an international solidarity movement led by a coalition of six groups Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center (CNIC), FoE Japan, Green Action, No Nukes Asia Forum, Peace Boat, and Shut Tomari .
June 22, 2012, at 3:00 pm at:
Consulate General of Japan
Wells Fargo Center, Suite 2700
1300 S.W. 5th Ave.
Portland, OR 97201
Beth Rakoncay, No Nukes NW -
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/150492381751639/
San Francisco, California
June 22, 2012, at 3:00 pm at:
50 Fremont St/Mission Street
Message from the organizers:
While we are taking this action at the Japanese Consulate on June 22, the US government and the Obama administration continue to tell the people of California and the United States that the two nuclear plants in California at San Onofre and Diablo Canyon are safe and that the taxpayers should continue to subsidize the nuclear industry. We reject these policies and views and the lesson of Fukushima is that there is NO Safe Nuclear Power whether in Japan or the the 104 nuclear plants in the United States.Los Angeles, California
June 22, 2012, at 3:00 pm at:
Japanese Embassy in downtown L.A.
From the organizers:
We will gather at 3PM with signs. We'll deliver a letter to the Prime minister's representative and at 4:45 we will participate in a Die-in, where we'll reenact what it is like to suffer from deadly radiation exposure. Body painting will be available to make people look like we are bleeding from our orifices (symptom of radiation exposure).Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/346978435370914/
June 22 at 6-8pm
Location: In front of Prime Minister's residence at the Kokaikishakai Building
Get off at Kokkai-gijoudoumae station- exit 3 (MAP)
Organized by the Metropolitan Coalition against Nukes
June 22 6-7:30pm
Location: In front of Kansai Electric Power Company Headquarters
Osaka-fu, Osaka-shi, Kitaku, Nakanoshima 3chome 6-16 (MAP)
Organized by TwitNoNukes Osaka Yushi
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Alicia Bay Laurel performs "Rinpoche", a song that she wrote for Tibetan Buddhist master Kyabje Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche, which includes an enlightenment mantra, at his request
This past Sunday, in a home that doubles as a café and event space overlooking the stunning vistas of the Hachioji Basin in western Tokyo, one might have thought they had traveled back in time.
Accompanied to the backdrop of a flashing multi-colored light show, artist and author Alicia Bay Laurel—whose 1970 best-seller “Living On the Earth” has inspired generations of hippies and permaculturists across the planet—strummed her acoustic guitar and told fascinating stories of her life as a traveling artist.
“Over and over again, I watched people come to Hawaii and heal their bodies and spirits simply by absorbing the energy from the sun and the ocean,” she said, speaking of Maui island, her home for some 25 years. Her stay there served as the inspiration for her second book, “Being of the Sun”—described by Amazon as a “cult classic among nature-worshippers to this day”.
Laurel has earned a devoted following in Japan, where she has traveled nearly every year since 2006 to play music, sign individual copies of her books and CDs in her trademark flowing script, and collaborate with numerous artists, musicians and designers. She illustrated a book for bestselling author Banana Yoshimoto in 2010, and her works have helped raise funds for environmental nonprofit Artist Power Bank, as well as its sister project Kurkku, a complex of environmentally sustainable businesses. Her designs also helped raise funds for survivors following the 2011 disaster in Tohoku.
This past Sunday’s event, held at the aptly named Holistic Earth Café, indeed featured a distinctly Beatnik vibe. Guests were invited to try on and purchase hemp-based clothing, and the lineup of kitchen offerings even included fresh hemp pasta. “I could easily imagine myself in northern California in the 1960s, but here we are in present-day Tokyo,” Laurel commented. “The popularity of Living On the Earth never decreased in Japan, in large part because of the absolutely phenomenal community of people here who are committed to the ideas represented in the book.”
Event attendee, who told Laurel that he and his wife utilized the advice from her book to home-birth all three of their children
Laurel was joined by actress-turned-environmentalist Ikue Masudo (who was also a featured speaker at Harukaze 2010, a peace and sustainability event held in Tokyo). Masudo left the metropolitan capital several years ago to build an organic café and event space along the gorgeous shores of the Boso peninsula in Chiba prefecture, later going on to the island of Ishigaki in Okinawa, where she is now in the midst of creating a retreat and healing center. “My hope is that more and more people will become connected with the natural world, which will have positive repercussions for society on the whole,” she said, sharing her own personal story of becoming deeply inspired to change her life after filming television documentaries that featured swimming with dolphins in Hawaii and aboriginal communities in Australia.
Sunday’s event, while unmistakably holding a vision for a better world, was most certainly not exclusively idealistic. Kathie Inoue, vocalist and ukulele player for the Hawaiian/reggae band Inoue Ohana, utilized the time in-between the band’s upbeat set to urge attendees to take action by adding their voices to citizen movements to end nuclear power and advocate alternative energies—including a recent worldwide petition urging Japan not to restart its nuclear reactors.
“There are many tools, including social networking sites like Facebook, that we can use to share information with each other and encourage positive social change,” she said, also echoing Laurel and Masuda with her message of simple living.
Kathie and Keni Inoue performing a chilled-out acoustic version of their song "Touch the Sun"
Alicia Bay Laurel and the full Inoue Ohana band play Yokohama Thumbs Up on June 21st, and Kunitachi Chikyuya on June 22nd. Laurel’s complete Japan tour schedule may be found on her website. In addition, this article provides a lovely introduction to her work and her long-standing connection with Japan.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Monday, June 18, 2012
Help Kickstart a Renewable Energy Future!Kyoto Journal is seeking financial support to produce a new investigative publication, “Fresh Currents: Japan’s Flow from a Nuclear Past to a Renewable Future.”More than a year after the triple meltdown at Fukushima, Japan and the rest of the world continue to grapple with the short- and long-term consequences. The myth that nuclear power can deliver us from the long-term hazards of fossil fuels has been shattered. Renewable energy, long dismissed as impractical, is being given serious reconsideration. Japan can and must take advantage of this opportunity to rethink and refocus its energy strategies. Doing so, Japan will set an example for the world to follow.In Kyoto, birthplace of the Kyoto Protocol, a dedicated all-volunteer team of reporters, writers, artists, editors and photographers associated with Kyoto Journal is working on a new publication which takes a fresh look at alternative, renewable energy technologies and the potential for their application in Japan.Kyoto Journal has started its first-ever fundraising campaign on indiegogo.com.* We aim to raise $9,500 by July 2nd. With these funds, "Fresh Currents" will be released later this year in both print and PDF versions (with the eventual possibility of it subsequently being published in Japanese), which we will do our best to get into the hands of key policymakers, local government officials, community leaders, educators, and media outlets.We offer unique rewards in return for donations. Pledge $25 to the project and you will receive a copy of Kyoto Journal’s brand new digital issue 76, and your name will be listed in "Fresh Currents"; for $100 receive a subscription to Kyoto Journal (5 issues) and a digital copy of Fresh Currents. Donors of $300 or more will be mailed an original artwork by renowned Kansai-based artist Brian Williams: a limited-edition, hand-drawn gravure etching of an ancient cedar growing in Yakushima.Please visit indiegogo.com/freshcurrents to view our campaign video, find out how we will utilize donations, who Fresh Currents contributors are, and more.The writings in "Fresh Currents" explore Japan’s path forward from Fukushima to a renewable energy future — and why it is important, wherever you live. Please help us to make a real difference, benefiting present and future generations!
Saturday, June 16, 2012
This video, capturing the diverse views of four Fukushima activist farmers, screens beginning June 16 in the Rio+20 United Nations Sustainable Development Conference, where one of the main subjects of the documentary Uncanny Terrain, Seiji Sugeno, director of the Fukushima Organic Farmers Network, is presenting.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Filmmakers Junko Kajino and Ed Koziarski with organic farmer Seiji Sugeno in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima
This past January, while most participants at the Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World in Yokohama were angrily demanding that the government relocate endangered Fukushima citizens to safety, a small delegation of organic farmers had a different message to share. They had no intention of leaving their family land, they said, and as long as radiation levels remained within prescribed safety limits, others were urged to continue consuming Fukushima crops in support of the prefecture’s revitalization.
Fast-forward nearly five months. Consumers nationwide remained mistrustful of food grown within Fukushima prefecture, and outrage loomed large against Prime Minister Noda’s likely decision to restart the Ohi nuclear power plant, while a group of Fukushima citizens were calling for criminal charges against the officials responsible for the disaster. Within this social climate, I wondered, had the farmers’ message changed in any way?
To find out, I decided to take a day trip one recent Friday up to Nihonmatsu, located approximately 50 km from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. There, I would accompany documentary filmmakers Junko Kajino and Ed Koziarski on a visit to the farm of Seiji Sugeno, one of the several farmers to be profiled in their upcoming film, “Uncanny Terrain”. A leader of the Fukushima Organic Farmers Network, I recalled that Sugeno had been one of the more staunch bearers of the “stay on the land and continue to eat local” message.
As the three of us made our way through winding roads to Sugeno’s farm, the rolling green fields and gorgeous blooming flowers reminded me of the prefecture's stunning beauty—also prompting me to reflect that Fukushima has inherited the painful legacy of Chernobyl, its name now automatically equated with the nuclear accident itself in the minds of people around the world.
Sugeno was out when we arrived onto his land, whose name translates roughly as the “Playful Cloud Farm”. We found his daughter Mizuho inside the greenhouse, tending to the family’s 1800-some tomato plants.
“Last year after the disaster, people still had hope that things might turn out okay, and most farmers decided to stay here and plant,” she said. “But due to the new restrictions on acceptable radiation levels, nearly half of the farmers in our area have given up and figured it just isn’t worth it to grow their crops this year. It’s really too bad.”
After rolling up in his sunflower oil-powered tractor, Sugeno echoed his daughter’s sentiments. He was adamant about staying on his land this season to plant, he said, despite the extra labor necessary to measure all food for radiation levels and sprinkle zeolite in local rice fields on government order—and despite the possibility that crops from an entire region could be judged unfit for shipping onto the market if even one local field were found to exceed radiation limits.
“This year is really critical, particularly for people who didn’t plant last year,” he said. “If they let their land go for one more season, it may be ruined permanently.”
Both Sugeno and his daughter were honest about the discouragement they sometimes felt regarding what was essentially a lonely battle, but pointed out the strength and encouragement that they received from the relationships that they have created with others around the world following the 3.11 disaster. Mizuho has traveled overseas several times to meet with organic farmers in Thailand and New Zealand, and her father heads shortly to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as a delegate to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development—a forum he most certainly intends to utilize to the fullest in order to share his experience with others.
“Large corporations talk about the future of our world in terms of economics, but the truth is that it is small, sustainable farms like ours that make the most important contribution to biodiversity—with rice fields acting to prevent flooding, for example,” he emphasized. “And it was only after the nuclear accident that this truly became clear to me.”
Sugeno then rolled back out into his fields, while Mizuho took Ed, Junko and myself on a drive through more vibrantly beautiful landscapes to visit the family’s canola farm, which her father had decided to grow for another season after determining that radiation levels in the area were low enough to warrant planting.
After later parting ways with Mizuho, the three of us headed to the local michinoeki, a facility featuring local wares and produce that may be found in many small towns around the country. Sugeno is one of the directors of the Nihonmatsu branch, where radiation detection machinery has been installed in order to make sure that every food item sold falls below the maximum acceptable level of 100 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram, and where residents may also come to be measured by a whole-body counter that can detect existing radiation levels. When we arrived, a television installed at the entrance was repeatedly broadcasting a national television news program whose interviewer was emphasizing the farmers’ struggle to appeal to citizens regarding the safety of the local food.
"For a Fukushima Full of Smiles"
As we hiked later that afternoon in the gorgeous sunshine around the grounds of the Nihonmatsu Castle—which was completely deserted except for our presence—Junko, Ed and I had a chance to chat about the bizarre new post-3.11 world, which seems in a certain sense to have fragmented into various parallel realities, depending upon which news sources people read, and how they might personally be inclined to believe. This was certainly the case in Tokyo—and, I imagined, was likely numerous times more so the case for residents in Fukushima.
While government-mandated maximum safety levels for food stand at 100 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram, many activists, including filmmaker Hitomi Kamanaka, argue strongly that any possible exposure to internal radiation through measures including food consumption should be avoided entirely. As a measure of support for the Fukushima farmers, however, the filmmakers have consumed almost exclusively local food during their most recent two-month stay—explaining that many crops have tended to hover in the area of 20-30 becquerels, which is well within the government-set safety zone.
“Are these levels dangerous? You’ll find any number of opinions on the matter, because frankly, nobody knows,” Junko commented. She pointed out that Aya Marumori, the Executive Health Director of the Citizens’ Radioactivity Measuring Station (and a speaker during a recent event held in Tokyo) visited numerous doctors, who fell into one of two categories: either claiming that radiation was totally harmless, or else that it was completely deadly. “She finally came across one doctor who said: ‘We don’t know.’ And that’s who she decided to trust.”
“Radiation effects will most certainly be one of the long-term aftermaths of the disaster, although—as with Chernobyl—the causality cannot be proven,” added Ed, pointing out that this matter was taken up in-depth within the recent Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ feature issue on low-level radiation. “In addition to this, though, are the other ill health effects such as diabetes and cancers that will result from the existing stress and fear, as well as the social phenomenon of uncertainty. Honestly, no one has any idea how the situation here will continue to play out into the future.”
The Uncanny Terrain blog follows the progress of the film, including Ed's thoughtful piece titled “Would You Stay?” documenting the ways that communities in Fukushima have fragmented following the crisis. The filmmakers are also gratefully accepting donations via Google to help them complete their project, as well as assistance with volunteer translation.
A recent article from the Japan Times also sensitively describes the many complexities that continue to face farmers--and food consumers--in Fukushima following last year's disaster.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
The coalition is urging support to conduct the following acts of civil protest, preferably on Wednesday to Friday this week / June 13~15, 2012:
- Please assemble in front of the Japanese embassies in your capital to voice your protest against the decision and policy of Prime Minister Noda.
- Please try to submit a letter of protest -addressed to Prime Minister Noda- to the Japanese Ambassador in your country and request the Japanese Ambassador to forward this letter of protest to the Japanese Prime Minister
- Please try to seek coverage of this action by your local and international media, especially Japanese media, as well as on the Internet
- Please give us notice about your planned action, so we can organize a press event in Japan to reinforce your message to the Japanese government.
Time: Friday, June 15, 2012, 6 to 8 pm.
Location: In front of the prime minister’s official residence. (In front of Kokkai Kisha Kaikan, right outside #3 exit at Kokkaigijidomae station.)
Organizer: The Metropolitan area anti nuclear power plant alliance members.
Time: Friday, June 15, 2012, 6 to 8 pm.
Location: In front of Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) headquarter. (6-16 Sancho-me, Nakanoshima, Kita-ku, Osaka-city, Osaka Prefecture)
More information at Fukushima Voice.
Send YOUR event information to: email@example.com or share it with us here at Ten Thousand Things.
Here is a draft letter of protest created by the coalition with contact details for the Prime Minister posted below:
Letter of Protest
To: Mr. Yoshihiko Noda, Prime Minister of Japan
We protest your decision to restart two nuclear power reactors in the town of Ohi in Fukui Prefecture. We ask you to reconsider and instead impose a moratorium on nuclear power in Japan. We ask you to come up with a responsible energy policy for a Japan without nuclear power and based on energy conservation and renewable energies.
Here are our reasons:
1. Your decision is undemocratic. The Japanese public is not supporting you. Many members and parliamentarians of your own party are not standing with you.
2.The full truth about the meltdown of the three reactors in Fukushima has not been established, yet.
3.The prevailing, temporary safety standards that have been applied by the stress tests and that you referred to when you declared the Ohi reactors to be safe, are insufficient. At present, essential safety measures that are required by the stress tests have not yet been implemented in Ohi. It is not verified whether the reactors can be shut down safely if a serious earthquake were to occur.
4.Any new regime of safety standards must be formulated and overseen by a truly independent Nuclear Safety Agency. This agency has not yet been established, and parliamentary procedures have just been started.
5.The sharp increase in seismic activities in Japan since the earthquake and tsunami catastrophe of March 11 is alarming. The fact that there are active fault lines in the vicinity of the Ohi reactors, and perhaps even under the site is a major reason of concern.
You may reject this letter as an outside interference into the internal affairs of Japan. However, we know since Chernobyl and Fukushima that the fallout of nuclear accidents does not know national borders, but severely impacts the global environment and bears unknown risks to the health of all mankind. We believe it is our moral obligations to voice our concerns to you.
We also know that our concerns are shared by many people in your country and that a majority of your people does not agree with you. We have high respect for the people of Japan, for their sense of community and service in times of great harm. We believe in their creativity and strong will to overcome these difficult times, and to rebuild a Japan without nuclear power.
We, therefore, ask you to kindly reconsider the restart of the Ohi reactors and to declare a moratorium on nuclear power. We ask you to come up with a responsible energy policy for a Japan without nuclear power based on energy conservation and renewable energies.
Contact Details for Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda
●Prime Minister’s Office TEL:+81-3-3581-0101 FAX：+81-3-3581-3883
Opinion box to Prime Minister (in Japanese) https://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/forms/goiken_ssl.html
●Diet Office TEL：+81-3-3508-7141 FAX：+81-3-3508-3441
●Local Office TEL：+81-47-496-1110 FAX：+81-47-496-1222
June 12th will be the 30th anniversary of the anti-nuclear rally that drew a million people to New York City. That event was a major touchstone for Nipponzan Myohoji-- 5 peace walks converged on NYC with their teacher, Venerable Nichidatsu Fuji (Guruji). Here is some great archival footage (in Japanese) of Nipponzan Myohoji & Guruji in NYC and then Bainbridge Island Seattle.
Monday, June 11, 2012
"They chose the most stunning places in Japan for nuclear plants," says Jiku Miyazaki, and it is hard to disagree when you are in Oi. The small fishing town shelters in a rugged cove ringed by rice paddies and mountains which once cut it off from Kyoto and Osaka. The postcard beauty is only slightly marred by towering orange pylons and cables which traverse the mountains to the four-reactor power plant near the bay.Since the 1970s, these power lines have fed electricity to Japan's second-largest concentration of people and industry, the vast urban area called Kansai. In return, the plant's remote host – population 8,800 – has become strikingly prosperous. New schools, hospitals and recreation centres dot the countryside. A hot spring resort and a baseball stadium dominate either end of Oi.The reactors that generated this largesse, however, have been shut down since last year and are being kept idle by Japan's post-Fukushima fear of nuclear energy...Anti-nuclear protesters camp permanently in the town...If the government has its way, Oi will become the first host town since the crisis to restart its idling reactors. On Friday, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda made a televised appeal for the country to get behind a restart at two of Oi's reactors, saying it was crucial to ensure a stable power supply. But despite many sympathisers in Oi, the government has a long way to go in broadening that support outside the towns which directly benefit from the plants. The further you go from Oi, support for a restart melts away.Oi belongs to one of the planet's heaviest concentrations of nuclear power generation: 13 reactors at four plants strung along a 50km-odd stretch of the Japan Sea coast – an area known as the "nuclear Ginza". Further up the coast is the seven-reactor Kashiwazaki complex, the world's largest – part of a 50-reactor network that supplied about a third of Japan's electricity before March 2011. One by one during the past year, the reactors have been powered down for inspections, leaving the nation nuclear free for the first time since the 1970s. Before they can restart they must pass new stress tests and win the backing of their hosts...
On June 7, 2012, about 70 women including 10 women from Fukushima did a "die-in" in front of the Prime Minister's official residence to protest the restart of Ooi Nuclear Power Plant [in Fukui prefecture]. Before the die-in, 10 Fukushima women visited the Cabinet Office and met with officials to submit a letter of requests addressed to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.This video clip shows the words from the Fukushima women and part of the die-in.On the very next day, June 8, 2012, Prime Minister Noda held a press conference and declared he would restart Ooi Nuclear Power Plant.The original video by OurPlanet-TV: http://youtu.be/ODNhDhw_-VYTranslation and captioning by tokyobrowntabby.Video editing by sievert311 (http://www.youtube.com/user/sievert311).