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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Amy Goodman & Democracy Now! broadcasting from Japan

On Saturday, January 18th, Amy Goodman will be speaking in Tokyo at Sophia University at 10:00 a.m. at the International Conference Room, #2 Building.  On Sunday, the 19th, 7:00 p.m., she will be speaking in Kyoto with filmmaker John Junkerman and journalist Yasumi Iwakami at Kyoto Kyoiku Bunka Center (Kyoto Education Culture Center). On Monday, the 20th, the broadcast journalist will speak at the Foreign Correspondents Club (Yurakucho Denki Building) in Tokyo.

Goodman's Democracy Now! interviews in Japan this week explore shock doctrine politics, disaster capitalism, the Fukushima nuclear disaster (with a focus on the hundreds of thousands of nuclear refugees), the TPP, the resurgence of government militarism and censorship, and citizen opposition to military landfill at a biodiverse eco-region in northern Okinawa.

In "Shock Doctrine in Japan: Shinzo Abe’s Rightward Shift to Militarism, Secrecy in Fukushima’s Wake," Koichi Nakano, professor at Sophia University in Tokyo and director of the Institute of Global Concern at the university, explains his overview of the how unpopular policies have been forced in Japan during a period of prolonged confusion and disruption following the natural disasters and multiple nuclear meltdowns of 3/11.
KOICHI NAKANO: Right. The state secrecy law that was passed in December last year, just a month ago, basically two years after the big earthquake and tsunami and the nuclear power accident, that still continues to literally kind of shake Japan, and in the climate of anxiety and insecurity, the government basically is pushing in the classic sort of Naomi Klein kind of way of shock doctrine.

And for the Japanese, it is particularly worrisome because it reminds us of what happened before the Second World War, actually, when Tokyo was destroyed by a huge earthquake in 1923. And the peace preservation law that eventually led to the birth of state secret police and the brutality of the military regime was also enacted two years right after the big earthquake that destroyed Tokyo back in the 1920s. So, the parallel is quite spooky.
In "From Atomic Bombings to Fukushima, Japan Pursues a Nuclear Future Despite a Devastating Past," Goodman interviews journalist David McNeill:
...the effects of the radiation are hotly disputed, and they will go on for many years to come. You know, we are seeing reports of an increase in problems with thyroids among children in Fukushima. But the science is yet to be decided.

But what is really very clear, you know, completely without dispute, is that it has caused an enormous amount of disruption to people’s lives. First of all, as you said, 160,000 people were forced to flee from Fukushima. Another number—we don’t know how many—have voluntarily fled from Fukushima...

So, when people say the death toll from the Fukushima nuclear disaster is zero, they’re not correct. People have died from that disaster. And I think people will continue to die in the years to come, whether or not the radiation is the cause or not.
In "For Fukushima’s Displaced, a Struggle to Recover Lives Torn Apart by Nuclear Disaster," Goodman interviews filmmaker Atsushi Funahashi, director of Nuclear Nation: The Fukushima Refugees Story, which follows the lives of nuclear refugees from the small town Futaba, when they were evacuated to an abandoned high school building in Saitama (just north of Tokyo).

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