Thursday, June 27, 2013

Green Action: MOX (mixed plutonium uranium) Fuel Shipment Arrives in Japan with No End-Use Determined

Via Kyoto-based Green Action: 

 27 June 2013, Takahama Town, Fukui Prefecture, Japan-- A shipment of MOX (mixed plutonium and uranium oxide) fuel arrived at Kepco’s Takahama nuclear power plant today located in Fukui Prefecture facing the Japan Sea.

Today’s shipment violates the Japan Atomic Energy Commission's determination, issued in 2003, requiring utilities to specify the end-use of MOX fuel before it is imported.

Kepco has not been given permission to restart its Takahama nuclear power plant. On top of that, the Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority
(NRA) has not even established post-Fukushima accident regulatory standards for MOX fuel and its use.

According to the IAEA, unirradiated MOX fuel is direct-use nuclear weapons material. This shipment adds yet another 900kg (approx.) to the already 960kg of unused plutonium in MOX fuel located at 5 nuclear
power plants in Japan.

As of today, over 70 nations have opposed MOX fuel shipments and past shipments of separated plutonium. Japan, the UK, and France have neglected to undertake an environmental impact assessment on Japanese nuclear shipments. Furthermore, no compensation plan exists for damages in the event of an accident, and emergency planning is grossly inadequate.

Many Japanese prefectures are also on the shipment route. Citizens of local governments which face the Japan Sea have petitioned Kepco and the Japanese government for information on emergency planning and compensation for damages in the event of such an accident.

On 26 June, the Joint Action for Nuclear Free Korea composed of 78 groups including the nationwide Korean Federation of Environmental Movement (KFEM) issued a statement opposing the MOX shipment.

“Crucial quality control data for the MOX fuel has not been released by the French fuel fabricator Areva SA. Not even Kepco, its client, has been given details on the kind of impurities in the fuel and other important data that could affect the fuel safety. The French nuclear authority's remit does not include checking the quality of foreign fuel. Therefore, only Areva is privy to that information” stated Aileen Mioko Smith, executive director of Green Action.

12, April 2013
Joint letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry regarding MOX fuel
shipment to Japan
5 March 2013
Letters sent to countries potentially on the route of the MOX fuel

Monday, June 24, 2013

Kyoto Journal is Back, with New Digital Issue

Via our friends and colleagues at KJ:

Kyoto Journal is Back, with New Digital Issue

With release of our 77th issue, the long-established all-volunteer-based Kyoto Journal is back in production!

Our transition from print to digital publication (and a total rebuild of our website) has been a challenging and time-consuming process. This issue puts KJ finally back on track as a quarterly melding of wide-ranging “insights from Asia,” noted for long-shelf-life content and distinctive design (now iPad-friendly too!)

Based in Kyoto, KJ’s network of contributors extends far afield: the 22 articles in this issue of over 200 pages take readers beyond the ancient capital to Hiroshima, Tokyo and Fukushima, to Korea, China, Nepal, Tibet, India, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines, delving into film and fiction, poetry, “off-the-beaten-track” travels, craft and calligraphy, architectural and archaeological investigations, yoga, post-disaster initiatives, and an informative reviews section.

Featured articles include:

“Strong Children,” on a post-quake Tohoku support project, by Geoff Read

“Engineering the Japanese Islands,” an interview with environmental historian Brett Walker, by Winifred Bird

“Contested Terrain: Development, Identity and the Destruction of an Ancient City in Afghanistan,” a first-hand report by Isaac Blacksin

“Between Darkness and Light: Reflections on Hindu India,” by Vinayak Bharne

“Okamoto Taro; Nuclear Proliferation, and the “Myth of Tomorrow,” by Donald C. Wood and Akiko Takahashi“

Tsa’lam: the Nomadic Route of Salt,” a yak-trail traced by expeditioner Jeff Fuchs

Illuminating profiles of contemporary filmmakers Amar Kanwar, Koreeda Hirokazu, and Asoka Handagama

KJ was highly fortunate to have been supported by Heian Bunka Center from 1986 – 2010. The magazine is now a fully independent non-profit. Our next concern is to expand our subscriber base. Bandwidth and monthly charges for digital publication webtools aren’t cheap; we need to cover ongoing production expenses, hoping also to produce occasional specially-themed publications in print. Without a sponsor, we now depend on our readers — the KJ community — for vital support.

KJ is not a business. Neither staff nor contributors receive any payment.  We believe that KJ fulfils an important role as a place for non-mainstream material that digs deeper into the fertile soil of Asian experience. With the new potential of our website and digital format, we are eager to see KJ’s ongoing evolution, and to welcome new readers and subscribers.

Downloads of individual issues cost 1,200 yen (US$12.50). A full year’s subscription (4 issues) is an affordable 4,000 yen (about US$42). Check out our sampler of 77, and please sign up (or take out a gift subscription!), to help us keep on producing KJ.

We also have a newsletter – please sign up on our homepage and receive a full-length download of a classic issue, KJ 73, for free.

Visit the KJ website for more:

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Power of Okinawa: Irei no Hi 2013

Via The Power of Okinawa's great blog on Okinawan music and culture:

Today is Irei no hi – the day when the end of the Battle of Okinawa is commemorated throughout the Ryukyu Islands. As usual the biggest ceremony was held at lunchtime at Okinawa Peace Memorial Park in Mabuni, Itoman and I was there along with many others. It always seems to be a scorching hot day on the 23rd June and this was no exception as people gathered in the park under a blazing sun and in a temperature hovering around 32 degrees...

Masaharu Kina, the Speaker of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly, made the most pertinent speech in which he noted that there are now 241,227 names on the Cornerstone of Peace (where the names of all those killed in the fighting are inscribed) following the addition of another 62 names this year. He also pointed out that this is a day when all Japanese should think about war even though Irei no hi is still a designated public holiday in Okinawa only. He went on:

"One of the lessons we learned from the sacrifices of countless irreplaceable lives during the war is that a people with no voice will perish. In light of our past being trifled with by national policies, and the currently unchanged situation of Okinawa, the people of Okinawa have held numerous rallies to demand the reduction and realignment of the U.S. military bases and alleviation of our burden. We have voiced our requests.

“Prompted by countless unreasonable actions against Okinawa, we, the people of Okinawa, are about to reach the limit of our patience. The non-partisan petition handed to Prime Minister Abe this January reflects our earnest collective will not to tolerate any more base burdens and to live peaceful lives.

“Under the circumstances we are here with solemnity on this day, which marks the anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa. This is the day to inscribe indelibly into our hearts that such a miserable war should never happen again and to hope for a peaceful bright future.”

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Women's Active Museum on War & Peace: "Military Does Not Protect Women: Okinawa, Japan’s Military Comfort Stations & Sexual Violence by the US Military"

Last 2 weeks  at the Women's Active Museum on War and Peace in Tokyo....
10th Special Exhibition

"Military Does Not Protect Women: Okinawa, Japan’s Military Comfort Stations and Sexual Violence by the US Military"

[ June 23, 2012 - June 30, 2013 ]

“Is it really possible to live in peace next to a military committed to exercising violence that trains night and day in ways to kill people?

This is the fundamental question posed by a woman in Okinawa who has been the victim of sexual violence by American soldiers.

As the Asia-Pacific War drew to a close, the lives of countless inhabitants were sacrificed in a 3-month land battle on Okinawa, which Japan viewed as a “barrier” protecting the mainland. Japanese troops deployed to Okinawa built comfort stations wherever they were stationed, over 145 in all, and turned women from Okinawa, Korea, Taiwan and the Japanese mainland into “comfort women.” After Japan’s defeat, rapes by US soldiers followed. Today, more than 40 years since the return of Okinawa to Japan, there is no end to the on-going incidents of sexual violence. The struggle of women continues.

The military deprived women of their lives and deprived the islands of peace. This exhibition conveys the reality of military as a repressive state apparatus of violence, focusing on the sexual violence of the Japanese military until 1945 and of the long-standing US military in Okinawa. It questions the responsibility of Japan for keeping Okinawa as militarized islands during and after the war.

Main Contents of the Exhibition:

Okinawan History—from the Ryukyu Kingdom to assimilation policy under Japan rule

Deployment of Japanese troops to Okinawa and the establishment of comfort stations

A map of comfort stations throughout Okinawa

The true face of the Okinawan War: civilian suffering, mobilization of school children and ‘mass suicides’

Women who were in the Headquarters Shelter of Japan’s 32nd Army

Women from Okinawa, Kyushu and Korea who were made ‘comfort women’

Comfort stations on the islands of Tokashiki, Zamami and Miyako

The American Occupation and sexual violence

Women taking action against military sexual violence of the present and past