Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Don't Forget Fukushima: "...if people don't make an effort to raise my voice, then no one outside of Japan will know what's happening. And that is...soul-destroying."

Via Greenpeace:  Over one hundred thousand Japanese people have been forced to leave their familial homes and livelihoods because of the second largest nuclear plant fallout in history. They have been ignored by their government and TEPCO, owner of the disaster site. They fear life will get even worse if they are forgotten by the world.  So Greenpeace brought six activists to Fukushima to see and listen.

Here is the page with links to the stories of Minako Sugano (mother of young children), Kenichi Hasagawa (former Iitate Village dairy farmer, now a nuclear refugee), Hiroshi Kanno (another former Iitate farmer, now a nuclear refugee), Tatsuko Ogawara (organic farmer) , Katsutaka Idogawa (former mayor of Futaba, an evacuated village), and Kenji Fukuda (a lawyer who advocates for 3/11 victims): "Fukushima: Don't Forget"

Many thanks to Fresh Currents on FB for a head's up re the video of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan (FCCJ) press conference of the six activists, "Bearing Witness to the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster."

The press conference began with testimony from the Fukushima victims who all shared that it is their moral duty to tell the world about the nuclear catastrophe, especially given the inadequate response by the government and Japanese media to the catastrophe, and to a clean energy future for Japan and the world.

One of the striking themes from the global witnesses for Fukushima is how the catastrophe has raised global awareness about  the dangers from the nuclear industry. (In the years since 3/11, locals worldwide have began to speak out about nuclear issues in their own backyards, attributing their newfound outspokenness to Fukushima.  People are speaking out about uranium mining pits, nuclear waste, nuclear fuel plants, nuclear weapons, depleted uranium plants and depleted uranium weapons in their backyards).

Another theme is that people now realize governments and nuclear energy companies are incapable of controlling nuclear accidents. Chernobyl was written off as the an accident by a bumbling managers. Initially 3/11 was excused as the result of an unpreventable natural disaster, but we know now that the nuclear disaster at Fukushima was preventable. TEPCO was incompetent and negligent.

A final theme is that Fukushima is an ongoing, planetary issue. It's not over.

Hisayo Takada. Greenpeace Japan Climate and Energy campaigner, pointed out that it's possible forJapan to end dependence on nuclear and fossil energy, and shift directly to renewable energy, combined with increased conservation efforts. In so doing, Japan could be a global model for clean energy policy.

(7:28) Minako Sugano, mother and former kindergarten teacher:
This is time I should be spending with my children -- and losing that makes me hate nuclear power plants even more.

So when I come to speak to you about my experience, I'm also thinking, 'Why do I have to do this?' I'm just a mother. Why should I spend time doing this when I should be spending it with my children?

But if people don't make an effort to raise my voice, then no one outside of Japan will know what's happening.  And that is even more soul-destroying. (crying...)
(8:10) Katsutaka Idogawa, former mayor of Futaba:
While the primary cause of the disaster was the tsunami, in fact, the real underlying cause of the disaster was that the managers had fallen asleep at the wheel and evaded their responsibilities.

Right at the moment in Japan, the regulatory authority only debates in terms of natural disasters being the only threat causing nuclear power plant accidents

And unbelievably and terrifyingly, among the regulatory authority and the managers, none of them have experienced on the front line themselves. And the real cause of the accident was that the people in charge don't have any experience, on the front line, where it counts. And without reflecting upon this at all, or thinking about why this is wrong, they are now, trying to restart nuclear reactors in Japan.
(10:15) Kenichi Hasegawa, former dairy farmer:
The biggest problem in Japan now is the deliberate cover-up of the levels of radiation that people have been exposed to and the health problems they have. There is a continual, purposeful concealment of facts that the media in Japan will not properly report.

So, what we need is for foreign countries to put pressure on Japan and hopefully bring the truth to light.
(13:08) Jean-François Juliard, Greenpeace France Executive Director:
...This is not just a natural disaster. You can't just build new infrastructure...and say, 'Okay we can forget about the accident.'

We cannot convey how important it is for the people of Fukushima to keep their stories alive....This is why I'm here, to take these stories back to my country...

Japan should not export nuclear materials to other countries. Japan should not relaunch new reactors. It has to be a nuclear-free country forever. This is not just a responsibility for the Japanese people, but for the whole world...
(16:45) Sundarrajan Gomathinayagam, director, Hard n soft technologies pvt:
The people of  a small village in the southernmost part of India have been putting up a spirited fight against the Koodankulam nuclear plant for more than two years. We owe this spirit to Fukushima. People have learned about the dangers of nuclear power after the catatrophic accident that happened in Fukushima. We woke up and are standing against the dangers because of Fukushima.

We know all is not well in Fukushima...Minako Sugano has charged us to take her voice to all the mothers across the globe; she believes it is the voice of the mother has the power to change things in the future...
Yoon Ho Seob, Green Designer and Professor Emeritus in Kookmin University:
The Fukushima disaster is clearly an ongoing global catastrophe, an unmistakable mistake in our era. The rights of Fukushima people to live healthy and happy lives have been violated...

Right after the March 2011 disaster, I felt the disaster was different from other disasters; something is very wrong, to the point I can't ignore. Then immediately I had a discussion with my family to decrease our energy consumption as much as possible...

The current situation of the victims and what they have gone through gives a clear impression that no government and no company can control a nuclear accident and protect people...Still the South Korean government is planning to increase nuclear reactors from the current number of 23 to 39, although the nuclear density is the highest in the world.  Also, we have millions of people living near nuclear power plants in Korea. If a nuclear accident happens in South Korea, the scale will be the highest in world history...

If we put our knowledge together, we already have cleaner and better options...
(38.08) Hisako Tanaka:
Currently about 12-13 percent of Japan's energy comes from renewable sources. That includes hydropower from water dams.
In-depth Background: "Toward a Peaceful Society Without Nuclear Energy: Understanding the Power Structures Behind the 3.11 Fukushima Nuclear Disaster" by Nishioka Nobuyuki, Translated by John Junkerman (APJ: Dec. 26, 2011):
Japan has experienced more exposure to nuclear bombs and radiation than any country on earth. August 6, 1945—Hiroshima. August 9—Nagasaki. March 1, 1954—Lucky Dragon No. 5. And March 11, 2011—Fukushima. Japanese people have repeatedly been the victims of radioactive contamination. And each time, they have pledged their opposition to nukes. With 3.11 as a starting point, the world is attempting to pursue a new way of living.

We aim to create a society without war that has no use for armies, bases, soldiers, and weapons. That society is also a no nukes society, free of nuclear power.

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