"Fresh Currents"--on Japan's renewable energy technologiesWe are delighted to announce that our brand-new Kyoto Journal/Heian-Kyo Media publication, "Fresh Currents," is now available, here:http://download.freshcurrents.org/It can be downloaded without any password, and it's free!We hope that you find it of interest, and will be motivated to pass it around widely.Below, we provide cover letters in English and Japanese, for convenience in forwarding.(英文の後に日本語訳が続きます)To concerned individuals everywhere:Please download your complimentary digital copy of *FreshCurrents,* our book on Fukushima and Japan's energy future, HERE:http://download.freshcurrents.org/We now stand at a critical watershed for Japan and the world ― will we choose to revert to the dangerous, costly and centrally-controlled industry of nuclear power, rely on the CO2-producing fuels of oil and coal, or embrace the exciting new possibilities of decentralized renewable energy technologies?Living only 60 kilometers from the Oi nuclear power plants (reopened in June amidst growing protests across the country), we felt compelled to add something positive to the growing movement towards a sustainable energy future. *Fresh Currents* was put together from a network of writers associated with *Kyoto Journal,* an NPO based in Kyoto that has been publishing in print and digitally for over 25 years.This book would not have been possible without the kind donations of people who visited our Indiegogo campaign or the incredibly hard work of all the volunteer writers, translators, photographers, designers and illustrators. We deeply thank everyone who has been or who will be a part of our project!A print edition will be available at the end of September (¥2000).Look for Fresh Currents & Kyoto Journal on FacebookTranslation by Yukiko Naitoあらゆる地域にお住まいの関係者各位：以下のサイトから、フクシマと日本のエネルギーの将来に関する私たちの本「Fresh Currents (新たな潮流)」の補足版をダウンロードして下さい。http://download.freshcurrents.org/現在、日本だけにとどまらず、全世界が、非常に重要な分岐点に立っています。----危険で、犠牲を伴う（高価な）、一括管理方式の原子力産業に踵（きびす）を返すのか、二酸化炭素を排出する石油や石炭の燃料に依存するのか、あるいは、分散型の再生可能エネルギー技術の心躍る新たな可能性を追求するのか---我々はどれを選んでいくのでしょうか？大飯原発では、全国各地の高まる反対の声にもかかわらず６月に再稼動を始めました。その大飯原発から６０キロしか離れていないところに住む私たちは、矢も盾もたまらず、持続可能なエネルギーの未来に向けて今拡大する運動に何らかのポジティブな行動を賦与したいと思い至ったのです。「FreshCurrents (新たな潮流)」の企画は、Kyoto Journal（京都ジャーナル）---２５年以上前から印刷版と電子版を出版する京都を拠点とするNPO法人---に参画するライターのネットワークから起ち上がりました。この本は、私たちのIndiegogoキャンペーンサイトを訪ねてご寄付下さった方々やボランティアのライター、翻訳者、写真家、デザイナーやイラストレーターの方々の信じがたい程のお骨折りがなければ実現しなかったのです。私たちは、プロジェクトにご参加下さった方々、また、これから、ご参加下さるであろう方々お一人お一人に心から深く感謝します！印刷版（一部２０００円）は、９月末に出来上がります。私たちの取り組みにご参加下さい！「Fresh Currents (新たな潮流)」のプロジェクトでは、あなたにご協力頂きたい四つのことがあります：・ フィードバック（ご意見、ご講評）を下さい！ あなたが特に有益だと思われたテキスト(文書)をお知らせ下さい。・ この「Fresh Currents (新たな潮流)」のPDFを我々のエネルギーの将来に関心を持つ教育関係者や環境関連団体や市民団体の方々、個人、ブログ、あるいは、ウェブサイトにご送付下さい。この出版物が殖え広まりますように！・ 私たちは、日本の出版社を捜しています。この件についてご提案、あるいは、ご助言を頂ければ幸いです。・ 原子力、フクシマ、そして、再生可能エネルギー技術に関するフィルムの上映を京都で行いたいと思っています。お気に入りのお薦めフィルムがおありですか？以下が連絡の窓口です。よろしくお願いいたします。Heartwork Editor：Jennifer Teeter: email@example.com有難うございます！Fresh CurrentsチームフェイスブックでFresh CurrentsとKyoto Journalをご覧下さい。ハイライトのいくつか：「我々はどのようにして此処に至ったのか」から・ マイクル・シュナイダーの提言：我々はどのようにしてフクシマに応える必要があるか・ 日本における原子力の歴史**・ 東北の魂**・ 日本のメディアにおける原発レポート**・ 認められなければならないもの***「これから」から***・ *アイリーン・スミス、硬直した政治体制の矛盾を語る***・ *あなた自身のエネルギーを増やそう***・ *２０１２年の再生エネルギー状況報告***・ *２０５０年における日本の再生エネルギー風景のビジョン***・ *日本の固定価格買い取り制度に関するガイド***・ *再生可能エネルギーと将来を展望するビジネスモデル***・ *積極的に関与する仏教***
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Monday, July 30, 2012
People will start marching from Gangjeong Village on the southern side of the Island and will walk in two directions, east and west.On the last day, August 4, the people will meet in Jeju City on the opposite side of the island form Gangjeong, and express their will to stop the Jeju Naval Base Project and to realize Jeju as a true Peace Island.
I send support and gratitude to all who are marching, speaking, organizing and working in whatever way they can to save Jeju Island from the irreparable destruction of a naval base on its fragile shores.I have visited twice. Like everyone who has seen or even heard about Jeju Island, I know that it is a unique global treasure in every way, from its coral reefs and fields of orchids to its history as a symbol of ancient culture, freedom and peace.I believe that our unity across the globe can bring safety and an endless future to Jeju Island. I know that we will count our efforts as one of the most important things we have done in our lives.Gloria SteinemWriter and feminist organizerNew York City
As an activist for peace from the United States living in Japan, I have watched the events unfolding on Jeju Island with complex feelings of anger and dread due to its ongoing militarization, combined with deep respect for the tireless ways that local and international activists have bonded together in love and solidarity to protect all forms of life from this destruction.I continue to add my voice to their struggle calling for the immediate end to military construction, and the preservation of the spirit belonging to this great Island of Peace.Warmly,Kimberly HughesPeace Not War Japan
As one of the Okinawan islanders, I am sending a message of solidarity to the Peace Pilgrims in Jeju.Jeju and Okinawa share similar histories and experiences of struggle against military power. We also share a strong will to keep our islands peaceful and to conserve nature for the entire world. Okinawa knows how hard the Ganjeong people have been fighting to protect the Gureombi rocks as symbols of life and spirituality. Jeju understands how hard the people of Okinawa have been fighting to conserve nature and to seek justice in Henoko, Takae, and Futenma. We have been empowered by learning from each other’s struggles.In this Grand March, I believe, every step you take for peace will encourage us and every voice you raise for justice will inspire us.Courage is contagious. I wish your Grand March a success.Masami KawamuraOkinawa Outreach沖縄の島に住む者の１人として、済州島の平和の巡礼者たちに 連帯のメッセージを送ります。済州島と沖縄は軍事力に抗する闘いの歴史と経験を共有しています。また、私たちは私たちの島を平和な島とする、そして全世界のために自然を守 るという強い意思も共有しています。沖縄はガンジョン村の人々が暮らしや精神のシンボルとしてのグロンビ岩を守るためにどんなに懸命に闘って きたかを知っているし、済州島の人々は、沖縄の人が、辺野古で高江で普天間で、自然を守り、正義を求めるために懸命に闘ってきたことを理解し ています。私たちは、お互いの闘いを学びあうことによって、力づけられてきました。このグランドマーチで、平和へとみなさんが踏む一歩一歩が私たちを励まし、正義のためにあげるひとつひとつの声が私たちにインスピレーション を与えてくれるのだ、と思っています。勇気はうつり、拡がるもの。グランドマーチの成功を祈っています。河村 雅美Okinawa Outreach
For centuries, Gangjeong’s fishing and farming traditions have sustained local resources so that its ecosystems are still some of the richest on the planet. In this way, Gangjeong’s traditions hold the key to human security. It is inconceivable to place a 20-warship Navy base at Gangjeong village. The base will kill coral ecosystems, coastal habitats and contaminate drinking water and soil. The base will wipe Gangjeong off the map. The government claims that the base will provide “security.” Only a devil would call that “security.” No wonder the villagers are risking their lives to save their ancestral village. Right and wrong have never been more clear.Koohan PaikFilmmaker & AuthorKauai, Hawai'i
The people valiantly struggling against the creation of a military base on South Korea’s “peace island,” Jeju, are an inspiration to the world and an example of the kind of community, friendship, and beauty that can be created when people are focused on building peace.I send all my support to those who marching in the Grand March for the Peace of Gangjeong. I hope the March will bring more attention and energy to this critical movement to stop the dangerous and unnecessary militarization of East Asia and the destruction of a beautiful island.David Vine, American University professor & author of Island of Shame, USA
Sunday, July 29, 2012
On July 29, 2012, tens of thousands of anti nuclear power protesters formed a human chain around Japan's parliament building in Nagatacho, Tokyo. The police attempted to herd them into a narrow strip, but this naturally backfired. See how the events evolved in this annotated video clip.
7.29: Nuclear-Free activists completely surround the Diet Buiilding in Tokyo; turn police barricades into "ribbon of light"
Saturday, July 28, 2012
The Green Party 「緑の党」will be officially established this Saturday, July 28th in Tokyo.Then on Sunday, July 29th, there will be a Kick-Off Event with various speakers.【7/28（土）「緑の党」結成総会】11:00～18:00(開場10:30)会場：ＹＭＣＡアジア青少年センター http://ymcajapan.org/ayc/hotel/jp/東京都千代田区猿楽町2-5-5 TEL 03-3233-0611 （JR水道橋駅徒歩５分）【7/29（日）キックオフ！イベント 希望の未来をつかもう！】13:30～16:30（開場13:00）会場：星陵会館 東京都千代田区永田町2-16-2 TEL 03-3581-5650（東京メトロ有楽町・半蔵門線・南北線「永田町駅」６番出口 徒歩３分/東京メトロ千代田線「国会議事堂前駅」５番出口 徒歩５分）For more information: Greens Japan
Friday, July 27, 2012
A short reflection on the Anniversary of the Korean Armistice agreement as the campaign prepares to launch its Gangjeong Grand March for Peace!
See the original publication (and more) at the Gangjeong Village cafe website.A short reflection on the Anniversary of the Korean Armistice agreement as the campaign prepares to launch its Gangjeong Grand March for Peace!By Pat Cunningham'The real and lasting victories are those of peace, and not of war.' - Buddha.Sadly preparations underway by the Korean navy in Jeju smack eerily of preparations not for peace on the 'island of peace' but of preparations for war!!Today 27th July marks the 59th Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice Agreement which stopped the fighting in 1953, and has yet to be replaced by a permanent settlement! The lack of a permanent settlement is a fundamental source of insecurity for both Koreas (the unresolved state of war) and the construction of a naval base on Jeju island and the increasing miitary build up in the region only intensifies a state of heightened insecurity for the people of Gangjeong, the people of the island of Jeju and the whole country!The construction of the naval base is having a devastating effect on the local community with huge consequences for future peace and stability for the people of Jeju and the entire region! The environmental consequences which have been well documented and are sadly becoming clearly evident are unfortunately lost on or conveniently ignored by the Interantional Union of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) the organizers of the World Conservation Congress (WCC) whose conference this year will be ironically held only 7 km's away from the destruction site! One of the main sponsors of the conference is Samsung which happens to be the lead construction company involved in the 'destruction'! The construction of the naval base and the present land grab being conducted by the navy to provide future accomodation for its personnel and is clearly part of an overall US military strategy of encircling and containment of China and it's growing economic power!Beginning on Monday July 30 there will be a 'grand march for peace' in Jeju where up to 10,000 people will walk in solidariy with the villagers and peace activists who have struggled against the Navy's plans to build this base for the last 5 years! Today on the anniversary of the Armistice the Campaign to stop the base will have the Official Seoul launch of the grand march by hosting an event here in Jongkak, Seoul!Please keep the participants of the 'grand march for peace' in your thoughts and prayers next week! After all 'the real and lasting victories are those of peace and not of war'.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Jon Mitchell on US nuclear warheads on Okinawa & the 1962 Missile Crisis: "Seconds Away From Midnight"
(Ominous holes: An aerial photo shows the Mace missile base in Onna, Okinawa, in the early 1960s. Photo: APJ, Courtesy of Larry Johnston)Okinawa and Atom Bombs: A Timeline1945 U.S. military seizes control of Okinawa after three months fighting.1952 Treaty of San Francisco ends U.S.-led postwar Allied Occupation of mainland Japan, but grants the U.S. military jurisdiction over Okinawa.1954 The crew of the Japanese fishing boat Lucky Dragon #5 are irradiated in the U.S. H-bomb test at Bikini Island in the Pacific. More than 30 million Japanese people sign a petition in protest. For the first time, the U.S. military secretly stations nuclear weapons on Okinawa.1956 The Ryukyu Assembly of Elected Officials demands the withdrawal of all nuclear weapons from Okinawa and any other islands.1962 The first of four Mace nuclear-missile sites becomes operational at Bolo Point, Okinawa.1965 The U.S. loses a hydrogen bomb from the U.S.S. Ticonderoga 130 km off Okinawa's coast.1966 Iejima Island residents successfully block the deployment of U.S. Nike nuclear missiles.1967 Prime Minister Sato Eisaku first proclaims Japan's three non-nuclear principles: Not to possess, manufacturer or allow the introduction of atomic weapons.1968 A U.S. B-52 strategic bomber crashes near nuclear-warhead bunkers on Kadena Air Base.1969 Japan and the U.S. conclude a secret agreement allegedly still in operation which allows the U.S. to reintroduce nuclear weapons to Japan during times of crisis.1971 Washington demands Tokyo help to pay for the removal of nuclear arms from Okinawa the first official U.S. admission of the presence of nuclear weapons on the island.1972 Okinawa reverts to Japanese control.
An English message to the Ryukyu Shimpo (Ryukyu Newspaper)by Reiko KiyunaThe most important mission of the government is to protect its own people. But, what the Japanese government is about to promote is bringing the dangerous Osprey to Okinawa.Even though we are demanding that the Osprey not be deployed here, the government insists.Isn’t this a kind of rape, a forceful violation against the will of the people, of our consent in this democracy?All media never fail to tell us that we are threatened by North Korea and China. But, I think the immediate threat is right in front of us from both our national government in Tokyo and from the United States.Those governments are not trying to understand Okinawa people’s grief and frustration.We don’t want to hear any more explanations about the supposed necessity of the Osprey on this island. The occupiers do not need to try to prove anymore that this aircraft is safe. The evidence is clear that it isn’t safe. Many crashes prove that it is a danger.I’ve thought about what I can do to show my anger and resentment for not being heard in my everyday life.I can express my feelings on my own car. I can drive my car with the stickers that communicate the message that is apparently not getting through to politicians and to the military.I hope that all cars in Okinawa wear this sticker and fill the streets, roads, and expressway with the message that we want to be heard. “No Osprey!”
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
See this post about the plan to test/flight train V-22 Osprey throughout mainland Japan and Okinawa.The Japanese government has violently resumed again the construction of a U.S. military facility in TAKAE, Okinawa, for the deployment [testing & flight training] of V-22 Osprey.For more than 5 years, we are continuing to protest and keeping non-violent sit-in action here in Takae.We need your voice of "NO" to war and militarism.Please say "STOP CONSTRUCTION NOW in TAKAE!"Express your objection!Ministry of Defensehttp://firstname.lastname@example.orgOkinawa Defense BureauFAX +81-98-921-8168Okinawa prefectural Governor's OfficeFAX +81-98-869-8979*You can send FAX via internet, search by the words "free fax"For more info, please see this"No Helipads in Takae" handout.
Takae under V-22 Osprey helipad construction siege, despite 1996 promise to return forest (used by US for weapons testing & war training) to Okinawa
The residents of Takae, a small village in the hills of northern Okinawa, are no strangers to the American military. Since 1957, they’ve been living next to the world’s largest jungle warfare training center - and many of them are old enough to remember the days when the U.S. Marine Corps hired locals to dress up as Vietcong for its war games.The 1996 Special Action Committee on Okinawa was supposed to reduce the U.S. presence in the area. Convened to quell public fury over the rape of a 12-year old girl, it pledged to return large swathes of military land to Okinawan residents - including over half of the jungle training center. As the months passed, however, the promise failed to materialize. Even when a Marine helicopter crashed near Takae’s elementary school in 1999, the daily bombing runs and roof-high helicopter sorties continued unabated.Then, in 2006, the U.S. military made an announcement. Before returning the territory, it first wanted to build six new [V-22 Osprey aircraft] helipads on the land it was retaining on the outskirts of the village. The residents repeatedly lodged complaints with the prefectural and national governments, but they were ignored. In 2007, construction crews from the Okinawa Defense Bureau arrived to start laying the foundations for the 250-foot helipads. Takae’s villagers were waiting for them. They linked arms to block the gates to the worksite, they surrounded the trucks and appealed to the builders to stop their work. When they refused to listen, the protesters sat in the way of their heavy machinery. But the crews continued to unload bags of cement over their heads. Only when the police arrived did construction stop out of concern for public safety.Since that day, over 10,000 locals, mainland Japanese, and foreign nationals have participated in a non-stop sit-in outside the planned helipad sites. So far, they’ve managed to thwart any further construction attempts. At small marquee tents, the villagers greet visitors with cups of tea and talk them through their campaign, highlighting their message with hand-written leaflets and water-stained maps...
Some animals should be endangered. Consider the V-22 Osprey. The tilt-rotor aircraft, which takes off like a helicopter but flies like a plane, costs more than a $100 million apiece, killed 30 personnel in crashes during its development stage, and survived four attempts by none other than Dick Cheney to deep-six the program. Although it is no longer as crash-prone as it once was, the Osprey's performance in Iraq was still sub-par and it remains a woefully expensive creature. Although canceling the program would save the U.S. government $10-12 billion over the next decade, the Osprey somehow avoided the budget axe in the latest round of cuts on Capitol Hill.It's bad enough that U.S. taxpayers have to continue to support the care and feeding of this particular Osprey. Worse, we're inflicting the bird on others.In a small village in the Yanbaru Forest in northern Okinawa, the residents of Takae have been fighting non-stop to prevent the construction of six helipads designed specifically for the V-22. The protests have been going on since the day in 2007 when Japanese construction crews tried to prepare the site for the helipads.
Despite concerns expressed by the Japanese government and opposition by local government officials in Kyushu and Okinawa as well as ordinary citizens, the U.S. Marines want to push through a plan to test/flight training V-22 Osprey aircraft throughout Okinawa and much of the Japanese mainland, according to Kosuke Takahashi in US Marines eye Japan as a training yard" at The Asia Times:..After being assembled and test-flown at Iwakuni, the Osprey are expected to relocate to Okinawa in early October. But 41 towns and villages in Okinawa, as well as the prefectural assembly and governor, have formally opposed the deployment, making that schedule politically troublesome. The Yamaguchi Prefectural Assembly also opposes the odd-looking aircraft, which can take off and land like a helicopter and fly like a plane.In a further setback for Tokyo's hopes for an early deployment, the National Governors' Association passed a resolution Friday opposing the move...In Iwakuni Monday, protesters said Noda faces a clear political crisis over the Osprey deployment but noted the issue needs to be seen in a larger context."Opposition to the Ospreys is a continuation of the Ajisai (hydrangea) Revolution, the anger people feel and the protests over nuclear power that have been taking place in Tokyo and elsewhere all summer," said Kyoko Taniguchi, a protester from Hiroshima.Iwakuni Mayor Yoshihiko Fukuda said Iwakuni's "forced acceptance" of the Ospreys without convincing the public of their safety or receiving a final U.S. report on the two recent accidents, due next month, has only fueled local anger.
U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Ospreys may fly at as low as 60 meters above ground during training across various areas in Japan after they become mission-operational, according to documents and other information..How high the aircraft fly during low-altitude training along six routes covering parts of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu was specified in a document attached to a report by the U.S. military on the environmental impact of Osprey operations in Japan. It is believed the Futenma Ospreys will stage their mainland drills from the Iwakuni base.The report says the aircraft will fly an average of 150 meters above ground. But an accompanying document says the Ospreys will sometimes fly at about 60 meters except between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., when the minimum will be about 150 meters.
The Asahi's "Objections raised over U.S. plan for Osprey flights outside Okinawa" details the proposed V-22 low-level (60-150 meters) test/flight training routes, which according to this map, include urban and highly sensitive natural landscapes.The low-altitude flight training exercises would have involved training exercises performed at altitudes as low as 300 feet above the ground and generated significant concern among local residents and Colorado military units that also use the airspace.[Senator] Udall, along with Sen. Michael Bennet, wrote to the Air Force to request more consultation with local and state agencies, citing concerns about impacts wilderness areas, wildlife and even ski resorts.
Objections to the Osprey deployment are now being heard in other prefectures following the Defense Ministry’s release on June 13 of an environmental assessment report submitted by the U.S. Marine Corps. It showed that the U.S. military is planning low-altitude Osprey training flights on Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu.
The report--the first time the U.S. military has admitted it was planning low-altitude training flights in Japan--showed six different flight routes named by different colors.
Three routes are planned for mountainous areas of the Tohoku and Shinetsu regions of Honshu. One planned route extends from Shikoku to the Kii Peninsula of Honshu, while the other two routes are over Kyushu and the Amami islands between Kyushu and Okinawa.
The report states that flight and tactical training exercises involving the Osprey would bring the aircraft as low as about 150 meters [actually 60 meters] above ground.
Over the course of a year, 330 training flights are planned for the six routes, with about one-third of them taking place between late afternoon and night, according to the report.
Monday, July 23, 2012
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Ragukaki: Contemporary Music for Koto & Shakuhachi - "dedicated to the pursuit of Beauty and Life on this planet"
In a world powered by military muscle and crass materialism, music and the fine arts may seem weak and ineffectual, but they provide a way to raise consciousness and reverse the march toward increasing violence and intolerance.
"With music," Miki said, "we hope to lead the way in place of leaders who cannot be trusted."
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Friday, July 20, 2012
TAproject: Help us send children in Fukushima to camp, "not some extravagant Puff Daddy style party" but an "opportunity for them to be kids again"
Because of the Nuclear Plant Disaster, the lives of the children in Fukushima have been turned upside down. We want to give back their childhood.The TA project is a group of young Japanese professionals living in Osaka. We're not captain planet and we're not perfect. But we are united with the passion of wanting to help these children in Fukushima and make a difference.The StoryDid you know that children in Kori-machi Fukushima are only allowed to play outside for 1hour because of the risk of radiation.And this is only one of the many side effects caused by the Nuclear Plant Meltdown in Fukushima. Well and truly the lives of people in Fukushima have been turned upside down.Not only have children lost their homes, family and friends. Everyday they have to stress about radiation levels in the food they eat, the water they drink and the environment they play in.No child should ever have to go through this!!Let’s do something for these kids!!The ImpactThe TA project is inviting children from Fukushima for a 4-day camp in Osaka from August 17th to 20th.This is how we’re going to help.......Help the wider communityThis is not just for the children, but for the hard working parents who are trying to survive, keep their children safe and fight against a nuclear free country all at the same time.Help by giving them hopeThe media might have stopped giving them attention but we want them to show them the world still cares.Help by giving them back their childhood.For the past 15months they haven’t had much time to ENJOY life and have FUN.Help by giving them courageHeck we’re not perfect but we want to be good role models for these kids. Teach them how to be strong and show them how to deal with difficult times.We need your helpWe need to raise $1500 (at least!!!!)We’re not planning on putting on some extravagant Puff Daddy style party. But we want to put on a camp where the children feel inspired. We want to give them courage, hope, love, memories and the opportunity for them to be kids again.Although we’ve been working our butts off raising funds through events, flea markets,music events and donation boxes, we REALLY need a hand.TA is an ongoing project, this camp is not a one off but we want to invite children from Fukushima every year for these camps.Who are the TAproject?TA stands for Tanoshiku Asobou. Translated into English it means "Let’s play and have fun."We’re a group of young Japanese professional living in Osaka who are united with the passion of wanting to help these children. Some of us have lived overseas and have seen the power of how communities get together and help each other. Earlier this year, a few of us went to Fukushima and saw the devastation and knew we couldn’t just turn a blind eye.We hope to inspire other young Japanese people to start their own project!Please help us show these kids and Japan, what we’re doing is possible and what awesome people are out there in the world!!!
There is an article about us on the Deep Kyoto blog.
If you can read Japanese please check us out here on Facebook.We need money for-Round trip Bullet train tickets from Fukushima to Osaka-To hire out the camp venue-Food (These are growing kids, we can’t just feed them carrot sticks!!)-Activities (We have so much planned!! They can kiss goodbye their Nintendo DSs)How else can you help?You really want to help but money is a bit tight?You can still help us by spreading the word. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASEYou can help us by sending us and the children words of encouragement. Fuzzy warm words are the best!!Or you can help us by telling your mum to donate us some money;)Thank you so much for your time and kindness.PerksCheck out the perks on to your right at the IndieGoGo link (above).Perks, perks, perks galore. We are so grateful for your support and even just taking the time to see what we’re all about. You are our super hero!!!
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
170,000 passionately take to Tokyo streets for Sayonara Nukes Rally: “We HAVE made change! Now, it’s time to take it to the next level."
I have been fortunate enough to take part in many vibrant demonstrations calling for social change in such areas as peace, clean energy and other justice-related causes in various cities around the world for years. Here in Tokyo, Japan, where I have lived for the past decade, I have felt the demonstrations against nuclear power following last year’s Fukushima nuclear disaster growing steadily. Nothing, however, compares to the size and intensity of yesterday’s Sayonara Nukes Rally, held in and around the city’s Yoyogi Park.
Deciding to take advantage of the summer sun by biking to the event, I understood that this demonstration was going to be different as soon as I approached police officers stationed more than a kilometer outside the park, followed soon thereafter by endless throngs of people clamoring to enter the demonstration grounds from all sides. Although the scene was familiar—event-goers of all ages waving placards, playing instruments, and shouting out various messages—the sheer immensity of the scale was absolutely unlike anything I had ever before experienced. The event had been extremely well-organized, catering to the many different demographics of protesters by arranging different marching contingents for the three major categories of attendees that were expected to attend: leftist labor groups, Gensuikyo and other anti-nuclear organizations, and NGOs/grassroots groups together with individual citizens—the latter of which constituted the newest historical element to protest culture in Japan. There was something here for everyone, and the combined energy felt vibrant, palpable—unstoppable.
The journey to the park (and adventure trying to find a space for my bike) took quite a bit longer than I had anticipated, and I ended up missing the first part of the day’s program, including speeches from numerous figures including musician/activist Ryuichi Sakamoto, author/nun Setouchi Jakucho, and performing artist/human rights activist Kaori Kanda, whose work I had become familiar with at a 2010 event. No matter, however; the day was just beginning, and there was plenty more to take in.
After swimming my way through the crowds, I was finally able to join members of the Namida Project to set off on the demonstration route through the streets of Shibuya. Needing more hands for our banners, we befriended a woman along the way who said she had never before attended a demonstration, but was moved to do so when thinking about the future for her two year-old daughter—a typical story I had heard many times during other post-3.11 demonstrations.
Marching with members of the Namida Project carrying a banner designed by Crystal Uchino, author of the poignant piece "Rise like Tsunamis after the Earthquakes"
Shortly thereafter, I had to turn back to meet up with a student of mine whom I had missed earlier in the park. The timing turned out to be perfect, since just as I returned to the event grounds, I heard wafting through the warm breeze the now-familiar guitar refrains from “Human Error”—the epic song from Kyoto-based band Frying Dutchman that had become the voice of the anti-nuclear movement following the 3.11 disaster. This was the song that had changed the views held by many of my previously pro-nuclear students, and I had been wanting badly to see it performed live. To do so here, surrounded by the powerful energy of the Sayonara Nukes rally, was beyond incredible. (Someone called my iPhone midway through, cutting off the filming. My apologies...)
I headed next to the other main stage, where another series of speakers were in the midst of delivering rousing speeches regarding the historical moment now taking place in Japan. I was pleased to see that Nobuto Hosaka—the mayor of Setagaya ward, where I just recently moved, and a staunch opponent of nuclear power—onstage discussing the Transition Setagaya movement (part of the global Transition Network), as well as Japan’s need for implementation of a “zero nuclear” policy. He was followed by Hiroko Uehara, former mayor of Kunitachi City, who minced no words in saying that the reason why the Ohi reactor was restarted boiled down to economics, pure and simple. “There is immense money to be made from nuclear power, and the nuclear mafia will not give up easily,” she said, “but the power is in our hands. If citizens raise their voices and pressure their local lawmakers to take up this issue at the national meeting of city mayors, we CAN make change!”
The need for political change was strongly echoed by Hajime Matsumoto, the owner of a recycled goods shop in Tokyo’s Koenji district, who successfully organized a large-scale anti-nuclear demonstration last April—mostly by word-of-mouth and social networking sites such as Twitter. “The attitude of this governmental administration following the Fukushima crisis has been beyond contemptible,” he alleged. “When citizens are demanding and pleading with regard to a specific issue—in this case the restart of the Ohi nuclear reactor—any respectable government would take some notice. Not these bastards, who just went right ahead and did what served them. Truly, it’s time for citizens to take back our country.”
Taro Yamamoto, the actor who lost work over his vocal anti-nuclear stance following 3.11, took the stage next and voiced his deep emotion at viewing the crowds of attendees from the chartered helicopter flying above the crowd—an initiative spearheaded by author Takashi Hirose and funded by the Johnan Shinkin Bank, which had begun weeks earlier in order to ensure media coverage of the weekly demonstrations outside the Prime Minister’s residence. “Honestly speaking, I had been losing hope that we as individuals would be able to make change. But when I saw the endless sea of people extending out from the park in all directions, I realized I was wrong: We HAVE made change,” he said impassionedly. “Now, we must take this to the next level. Politicians must know that if they do not respond to the peoples’ wishes, their jobs are finished.”
“The world is watching to see Japan’s next moves regarding nuclear power, which will reveal whether or now we have learned from the pain of the Fukushima nuclear accident,” said Akira Kawasaki from the Peace Boat NGO, director of the Global Conference for a Nuclear Power-Free World held in Yokohama in January. “This is truly a pivotal moment in history.”
The New York Times has a good article on the demonstration, and this Daily Kos article gives a brilliant overview of the day’s events, including organizers’ rebuttal to the short-sighted argument that the disaster is owing to “Japanese culture”. Kanagawa-based blogger Ruthie Iida also has an interesting account of her experience during the demo at her beautiful photo site, Faces of Japan.
Top: "The Ohi Nuclear Power Plant and Osprey helicopters are destroying our lives and nature"
Bottom: Keibo Oiwa of the Sloth Club (left), whose sign reads "Nuclear power: Thank you and goodbye."
Above: Discussing the day's events together with a group of like-minded friends, including social and food justice activists, organic farmers, and filmmakers