Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Links: Tokyo prosecutors drop charges against TEPCO; Nuclear crisis suicide & stress-related death toll: 1,656 victims in Fukushima
No one has been held accountable for the multiple nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima. AFP-Jiji's "Hundreds rally in Tokyo against dropped Fukushima crisis charges" details the injuries to the 15,000 people who brought a 2012 criminal complaint against the Japanese government and TEPCO. (They are among the 160,000 who were evacuated after their communities were contaminated by nuclear radiation, forcing them to leave. 83,000 Fukushima residents are from the highly irradiated 20-kilometer evacuation zone.) In September, 2013, prosecutors decided not to charge any TEPCO or government officials with negligence:
Hundreds rallied Saturday in Tokyo to protest a decision by prosecutors to drop charges over the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns, meaning no one has been indicted, let alone punished, nearly three years after a calamity ruled “man-made.”The Telegraph interviewed Aileen Mioko-Smith, of Kyoto-based Green Action for its report, "Prosecutors drop charges over Fukushima nuclear disaster":
Official records do not list anyone as having died as a direct result of radioactive fallout after tsunami unleashed by the 9.0-magnitude quake of March 11, 2011, crashed into the Fukushima No. 1 plant, swamping cooling systems and causing three reactor meltdowns.
Excluded from those records are Fukushima residents who committed suicide owing to fears about the fallout showered on their hometowns, while others died during the evacuation process. Official data released last week showed that 1,656 people have died in the prefecture from stress and other illnesses related to the nuclear crisis.
“There are many victims of the accident, but no one” has been charged, chief rally organiser Ruiko Muto, 61, told the protesters, displaying a photo of the village of Kawauchi, which fell inside the no-go zone...
Campaigners immediately appealed the decision to the Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution, which has the power to order the defendants be tried. The committee members comprise 11 citizens who are chosen at random by lot. But since the appeal had to be filed in Tokyo instead of Fukushima, campaigners said the move was “aimed at preventing us from filing a complaint against their decision in Fukushima, where many residents share our anger and grief.”
...Campaigners allege that state officials and Tepco executives failed to take measures to bolster the plant against a natural disaster of the magnitude of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. They also hold them responsible for delays in announcing how the radiation was projected to spread from the No. 1 plant...
Hiroyuki Kawai, a lawyer representing the campaigners, said “there were lots of measures that officials could have taken to prevent the disaster.”
“We won’t give up (pushing for) indictment of the officials,” he said.
Campaigners last year filed a separate complaint to prosecutors over Tepco’s handling of the buildup of massive amounts of contaminated water used to cool the No. 1 plant’s wrecked reactors, accusing the utility of committing pollution-related crimes.
Separately, senior Tepco and government officials face several civil lawsuits that were filed by thousands of plaintiffs seeking compensation for mental and financial damage. The plaintiffs are demanding the full restoration of their hometowns to the pre-disaster state.
"The investigation clearly stated this was an accident created by humans, not a natural disaster, but the judicial system here has now decided to side with the powers-that-be," she said.This March 1JT editorial, "Fukushima’s appalling death toll" assigns blame for suicides and stress-related deaths to TEPCO and the Japanese government. Furthermore, it cites studies demonstrating harm from 3/11, is ongoing, as a result of inadequate response by the Japanese Ministry of Health, especially for survivors still living in temporary housing:
"The government will be happy with the decision, but it is completely irresponsible," she said. "And I fear that failing to prosecute in this case will lead to another disaster in the future."
The latest report from Fukushima revealed that more people have died from stress-related illnesses and other maladies after the disaster than from injuries directly linked to the disaster. The report compiled by prefectural authorities and local police found that the deaths of 1,656 people in Fukushima Prefecture fall into the former category. That figure surpasses the 1,607 people who died from disaster-related injuries...
In another report, the first of its kind since the disaster, the lifetime risk of cancer for young children was found to have increased because of exposure to radiation...
These two reports both show that despite the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s claims that things are under control, the disaster continues to threaten the lives and well-being of people in the hardest hit areas of Fukushima, Miyage and Iwate prefectures...
The government and Tepco could work to speed up the process of compensation. That’s especially important considering that about 90 percent of those who have died since the initial 3/11 toll were at least 66 years old. In so doing, they would considerably lower the stress on people still living in temporary housing or in difficult conditions...
There is still much left to protest about. Included on the long agenda of Fukushima disaster-related problems that still need to be dealt with should be improving the lives of disaster victims.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Via our friends at Beautiful Energy:
Global Candle Chain - 3/11 Third Anniversary Remembrance by Beautiful Energy
When: Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 2:45pm in UTC+11
Where: The World
Light a candle this coming March 11 and join the Beautiful Energy - Global Candles Chain in memory of the triple disaster of March 11, 2011 and in solidarity with the global stand for a nuclear-free world.
March 11 it will be 3 years since the Northeastern Earthquake and Tsunami hit Japan, killing over 15,000 people, destroying numerous villages along the Tohoku coast and disrupting the lives of millions.
On that same day the Fukushima Nuclear Plant disaster also put an end to the peaceful lives of many people living in the vicinity of the plant.
Helps us create a global chain of light to honor those who lost their lives or loved ones.
Last year over 900 people in 47 countries joined our global candle chain. See here for many beautiful photos https://www.facebook.com/events/420275958062841/
You can join from anywhere in the world. Anytime on March 11 between 2.46pm Japan time (the time the earthquake first struck ) and midnight in your country light a candle and stand one minute (or more) in silence.
Send us a photo of your candle, if you will. Upload to this page or send by email to email@example.com.
Or post on twitter or instagram with hashtag #candlesforpeace
And spread the word! Share this event page with your friends. The more people and countries join, the more powerful our chain will be!
Here are the global starting times of the chain:
イベント開始時刻 / Start time
6.46pm New Zealand (Auckland)
4.46pm Australia (Sydney)
2.46pm Japan, South Korea
1.46pm China & Hong Kong, Mongolia, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines
12.46pm Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam
11.16am India, Sri Lanka
9.46am Russia (Moscow)
7.46am Finland, Estonia, Israel, Greece, Rwanda, South-Africa
6.46am Europe: Netherlands, France, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Austria, Switzerland
5.46am Europe (UK & Scotland)
2.46am Brazil, Argentina, Trinidad, Chile
1.46am USA (Washington, New York, EST)
1.46am Canada (Toronto)
10.46pm Canada (Vancouver) (March 10)
> 10.46pm USA: (Los Angeles) (March 10)
> 7.46pm Hawaii (March 10)
Global Candle Chainは、世界中どこからでも、キャンドルに火を灯すことで参加できるワールドワイドなイベントです。
去年の3.11には、900人以上、47カ国の世界中の人々がこのGlobal Candle Chainへ参加されました。
1.Instagram、Twitterを利用する（ #candlesforpeace のタグを使ってください）
311 Global Candles for Peaceは、オープンなイベントです。日本はもちろん、各国にお住まいの友人・家族にぜひこの活動を共有してくださいね。
Saturday, March 1, 2014
March 1: 60th Anniversary of the "Castle Bravo" Thermonuclear Explosion on Bikini Atoll; Fukushima nuclear refugee visits Marshall Islands to learn from survivors of radiation & displacement
March 1, 1954 "Castle Bravo" Thermonuclear Explosion on Bikini Atoll (Photo: Peacecorpsonline.com)
March 1 is the 60th anniversary of the 1954 experimental explosion of a thermonuclear bomb on Bikini Atoll, an island that was part of a United Nations Trust Territory administered by Washington. Codenamed Castle Bravo, the 15-megaton bomb was America's largest nuclear device and one of 67 explosions on Bikini and neighboring Eniwitok atoll.
Nuclear Remembrance Day (Marshall Islands), formally known as Nuclear Victims' Day and Nuclear Survivors' Day is a national holiday in the Marshall Islands honoring the victims and survivors of nuclear testing.
Bikini's fate as a nuclear testing ground was set on February 10, 1946, when Commodore Ben H. Wyatt, the military governor of the Marshall Island spoke with King Judah, the leader of the Bikinians, and told him that Bikinians might be likened to the children of Israel whom the Lord saved from their enemy and led unto the Promised Land if he would agree to them leaving their home “temporarily” so that the United States could explode a thermonuclear bomb on their island “for the good of mankind and to end all world wars."
King Judah, speaking for his people, devout Christians after decades of missionary activity on the island, replied, "If the United States government and the scientists of the world want to use our island and atoll for furthering development, which with God’s blessing will result in kindness and benefit to all mankind, my people will be pleased to go elsewhere.”
Navy Seabees helped disassemble their church and community house and relocated them to 125 miles (201 km) eastward to the Rongerik Atoll. This uninhabited island was one-sixth the size of Bikini Atoll and lacked water and food supply. The Navy left them with a few weeks of food and water, then abandoned them from July 1946 through July of 1947. A team of U.S. investigators concluded in late 1947 that the islanders must be moved immediately. Journalist Harold Ickes wrote, "The natives are actually and literally starving to death."
Rongelapese (Marshall Islands) child exposed to radiation from the Bravo Test. (Image: Dianuke.com)
Bravo's radioactive snow went far beyond the northern atolls of the Marshall Islands. 82 miles away, fallout drenched the 23-member crew of Lucky Dragon, a Japanese fishing boat, and, in the same vicinity, unacknowledged victims on 1,000 other boats and ships out at sea during Bravo and other explosions. The Asahi has brought to light some of the victims' experiences in "‘Forgotten’ victims of U.S. H-bomb testing dying in despair, hopelessness." The Mainichi noted that U.S. government paid "condolence money" to the Japanese government, but did not compensate the actual victims exposed to the bombs' radioactive"death ash."
The contamination of the Lucky Dragon and other vessels in the Pacific (in an area that ranged from the Marshall Islands to Japan to Taiwan and beyond) gave rise to a vigorous postwar anti-nuclear movement in Japan.
Washington encouraged Bikini islanders to return in 1969, when officials deemed the island "safe" after an attempted "clean up." However, Bikini islanders were forced to leave again in the 1970's when it was revealed their homeland would never be safe for habitation.
In response to the massive Bravo nuclear explosion, Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev ordered nuclear weapons designer Andrei Sakharov to create a bomb even more mind-boggling than Bravo. The result: a series of cataclysmic 20- to 50-megaton nuclear explosions in the Novaya Zemiya archipelago in the Arctic. The largest, the Tsar Bomb was designed to be 100 megatons, however frightened by the potential massive fallout, Sakharov halved its power.
On Oct. 30, 1961, the 50-ton nuclear device's mushroom cloud rose 40 miles (64 km) high after an atom bomb inside the device detonated a series of thermonuclear reactions. It destroyed buildings 70 miles away and its shockwaves shattered windows in Scandinavia.
The Tsar Bomb was one in the last series of Soviet nuclear explosions conducted in the open atmosphere. The shocking levels of destruction from the Tsar Bomb and radiation from Castle Bravo led the US and the Soviet Union to agree to an atmospheric test ban treaty in 1963.
Even before the use of the bomb during the Second World War, in July 1945, 155 Manhattan Project scientists signed a petition to Harry Truman stating they believed the offensive use of the nuclear bomb against Japan would be morally wrong and catastrophic in consequences. Similarly, soon after the explosion of the Tsar Bomb, its creator Andrei Sakharov experienced a moral conversion, and became a witness against nuclear weapons proliferation:
In the decades since the declassification of documents about the secret human radiation experimentation upon the people of the Marshall Islands, we have seen the development of cross-border sharing and solidarity between survivors of the 2,056 experimental nuclear bombs that nuclear nations have exploded throughout the world. The concept of "global hibakusha" has entered public consciousness, and now includes victims of uranium mining, depleted uranium testing and use in warfare, nuclear waste disposal, and nuclear plant meltdowns.
Keiko Takahashi, third from right, attends a Mass for victims of nuclear experiments in Majuro, Marshall Islands, on Feb. 27. (Photo: Hajimu Takeda, Asahi)
A clue to achieving a nuclear-free world will be found when people who suffered damage join hands, share lessons and face challenges.
In 1996, after France's experimental nuclear explosions in French Polynesia resulted in outrage in the Asia-Pacific and worldwide, the United Nations General Assembly adopted
the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty but it has not entered into force because China, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the United States have signed but not ratified the Treaty; and India, North Korea and Pakistan have not signed it.
Nuclear Savage: Islands of Secret Project 4.1 (documentary film by Adam Jonas Horowitz that exposes the decades of human radiation testing after Castle Bravo. The people of Rongelap describe an unbelievable level of suffering from recurring cancers, miscarriages, and birth defects that have affected multiple generations)
"Student visits bombed Marshall Islands to find way for Fukushima revival," (Hajimu Takeda, Asahi, March 2, 2014)
"Nuclear Conquistadors: Military Colonialism in Nuclear Test Site Selection during the Cold War" (Robert Jacobs, Asian Journal of Peacebuilding Vol. 1 No. 2, Nov. 2013): 157-177)
"Islanders Want The Truth About Bikini Nuclear Test" (Yoichi Funabashi, The Asia-Pacific Journal, March 3, 2004)
"Nuclear War: Uranium Mining and Nuclear Tests on Indigenous Lands" (Cultural Survival, Fall 1993)
"Secrets of the Dead: The World’s Biggest Bomb" (PBS, 2011)
United Nations Report Reveals the Ongoing Legacy of Nuclear Colonialism in the Marshall Islands ( Robert Jacobs & Mick Broderick, The Asia-Pacific Journal, Nov. 19, 2012)
"BRAVO and Today: US Nuclear Tests in the Marshall Islands" (Tony de Brum, The Asia-Pacific Journal, May 19, 2005)
"Bikini and the Hydrogen Bomb: A Fifty Year Perspective" (Senator Tomaki Juda and Charles J. Hanley, The Asia-Pacific Journal, April 25, 2004)
"Islanders Want The Truth About Bikini Nuclear Test" (Yoichi Funabashi, The Asia-Pacific Journal, March 3, 2004)
"Nuclear War: Uranium Mining and Nuclear Tests on Indigenous Lands" (Cultural Survival, Fall 1993)
"Secrets of the Dead: The World’s Biggest Bomb" (PBS, 2011)
More background, via Our Islands Are Sacred on Facebook:
“History Project," written and performed by Marshallese poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner
Darlene Keju, Speech to World Council of Churches, Vancouver, 1983
Banning nuclear weapons: a Pacific Islands perspective, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) report presented to the Second Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Nayarit, Mexico, February 12-14
http://www.icanw.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/ICAN-PacificReport-FINAL-email.pdf Photo: The Bravo nuclear test on Bikini Atoll, 1 March 1954, part of Operation Castle
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Vote by March 15th for sustainable Tokyo-based solar-sail cargo ship Greenheart - nominated for Royal Dutch Society of Engineers Prize
|Your vote for Greenheart counts- Even in Dutch!|
Creating the world’s first solar-sail cargo ship tailored to fit the needs of marginalized coastal communities is an idea that has propelled a small Tokyo-based international team closer to winning a major engineering prize far from home shore.
International NGO Greenheart Project is but one of 10 nominees for the Vernufteling Prize, to be awarded by the Koninklijk Instituut Van Ingenieurs (the Royal Dutch Society of Engineers), De Ingenieur and Technish Weeblad magazines, and a Dutch association of consulting engineers, NLingenieurs. The finalists were chosen from a field of more than forty submissions based on four criteria: innovation, economic worth, technological advancement, and social value.
The Vernufteling Prize is awarded annually to the initiative that is developing an imaginative project that promises to have a significant social and economic impact. Competitors were asked to respond to the challenge of creating ideas that both embody the social importance of innovative technology. The competition also seeks to make the important work of engineers more visible and widely recognized.
In line with the Dutch word Vernufteling, a portmanteau of inventor, engineer and a lot of creativity, entrants are encouraged to utilize a combination of new and existing technologies to solve real world problems. The winning project also must show potential to attract young people to technical studies and inspire them.
Over the past eight years, 83 engineering firms have submitted a total of 376 ideas, projects and innovative solutions to the Vernufteling Prize. In 2013 Arcadis took home the award for their innovative Winterhard Wissel which keeps railways free from snow and ice in the winter.
As Gert Schouwstra, a Dutch consultant at AA-Planadvies, who nominated Greenheart Project explained, “This project can really work. This year, we shall see how Greenheart will prove itself.”
Greenheart ships are customizable to meet the needs of the end user, whether they be used for fishing, fisheries monitoring, , ecotourism, cargo or passenger transport.
A unique feature is an open source platform which ensures that the end-users can have a say in how future ships are built without the financial and technical burdens of paying for patent rights.
Intentionally designed to be small scale at 32 meters in length and 220 tons, the vessels are designed to be easy to repair and service while maintaining the elegance of a yacht. Through its foldable mast/crane the ship can be maneuvered under bridges allowing greater upstream access, and lift items large and small on and off of shore, whether cargo, a haul of fish or even floating debris such as nets during an environmental cleanup mission.
Greenheart class ships promise to play a hefty role in restoring economic and ecological balance to transport in vulnerable and remote coastal communities, while setting an example that vessels powered by renewable energies are a practical alternative to fossil-fuel based fleets.
Voting by the general public is open from February 25th to March 15th through the Van Dag de Ingenieur (Day of the Engineer) website. After tallying up the votes, the Vernufteling prize winner will be announced on March19, 2014 at High Tech Campus Eindhoven.
To vote for Greenheart...
1. Go to this site: http://www.dagvandeingenieur.nl/vernufteling/publieksverkiezing-2014/
2. Choose "AA Planadvies-Groen vrachtschip voor eilandengroep" from the pull down menu at the top of the page
3. Put in your name and email address
4. Click Stemmen (Vote).
*No need to check any of the boxes there (The page is in Dutch and English)
The Vernufteling Prize is awarded annually to the initiative that is developing an imaginative project that promises to have a significant social and economic impact. If we win it will give us the wide public exposure that will propel us to finishing the construction of the boat and getting more people interested in joining us in changing the paradigm of shipping and waterway transport.
Drawing upon, and endeavoring to be compatible with, the rich sailing traditions of coastal communities, Greenheart is working to radically amplify access to the oceanic commons and distant markets, while interacting with the environment in a more equitable and just manner. Greenheart is intentionally open source small-scaled, durable, adaptable, affordable, energy-efficient, solar/sail cargo ship that is easy to service and repair. It expects to rearrange the balance of opportunities among rich and poor by making safe, long distance sea travel accessible to marginalized and excluded sectors of the world population.
ABOUT GREENHEART PROJECT
The Greenheart Project is an international non-profit organization founded in Tokyo, Japan with offices in Europe and Japan, preparing to build the world’s first fuel-free, container-ready commercial vessel. The small sail-solar ship is specially designed for use by communities in marginalized coastal communities and can serve as a mobile solar power station. It will be built in Chittagong, Bangladesh and launched as early as this year.
To learn more about Greenheart Project visit: www.greenheartproject.org
Pat Utley, Greenheart Director
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.(8:10) Katsutaka Idogawa, former mayor of Futaba:
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...)
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.(10:15) Kenichi Hasegawa, former dairy farmer:
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.
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.(13:08) Jean-François Juliard, Greenpeace France Executive Director:
So, what we need is for foreign countries to put pressure on Japan and hopefully bring the truth to light.
...This is not just a natural disaster. You can't just build new houses...new infrastructure...and say, 'Okay we can forget about the accident.'(16:45) Sundarrajan Gomathinayagam, director, Hard n soft technologies pvt:
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...
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.Yoon Ho Seob, Green Designer and Professor Emeritus in Kookmin University:
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...
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...(38.08) Hisako Tanaka:
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...
Currently about 12-13 percent of Japan's energy comes from renewable sources. That includes hydropower from water dams.
Monday, February 24, 2014
Rensho-an, Koriyama, Fukushima (Photo: Kyoto Journal)
A week ago, Sunday, we had a delightful small, reflective dialogue at a place called Rensho-an in the town of Tamura near Koriyama, Fukushima. There was a group of maybe twenty people, most of them from the Tamura area, a few from other parts of Fukushima and elsewhere. Rensho-an is a beautiful space built by one Watanabe Shumei, a prolific artist and a man who enjoyed life. Over the course of Watanabe’s life — he died 7 years ago — it was a retreat space for people who knew of Watanabe’s work to come and spend time with him and Jinko, his wife. Jinko is now turning Rensho-an into a “learning center for life.” So, people came together just to be with each other, and to look back over their journeys these past few years.Bob Stilger charts his observations in "Fukushima's Future," published at Open Democracy:
After that dialog, I hosted a gathering of leadership from the Transition Town Movement in Japan and others from our Tohoku Futures Network. We spent two days to exploring what has transitioned in learning that might be useful in Tohoku at this important time.
After my meetings in Fukushima, I went to Otsuchi for the last of a series of four Future Sessions meetings, where people had come together to discuss what they could do themselves to make Otsuchi a better place to live. Some people in Otsuchi complain there that there are no longer any jobs; almost all fishing boats were destroyed in the tsunami. But those who attended the meeting are taking a different perspective and saying, “What do we have and how can we use it?” One of the ideas that they are working on is to make use of a local network of underground streams known to be incredibly pure and fresh, which enabled them in the past to cultivate wasabi, and also produce tofu. Now one idea is to recreate an industry centering on wasabi and tofu that last existed in the 1800’s, and tourism as well...
...one thing that has come up in many conversations is that conditions in each part of Tohoku are extraordinarily different. It is evident the coastal areas of Miyagi and Iwate have more in common with each other than they do with more inland areas of those same prefectures. When you visit Sendai, which is inland Miyagi, you find most people just want to get back to the old normal, whether or not they liked the old normal. That is not what is going on in the coastal areas. There is a sense that 3/11 opened up a new future, now it is a matter of finding out what it is and how to we create it...
There is a growing discontent over globalization, and in Japanese businesses much of this stems from not feeling connected to the people who buy and use their goods and services. Many are asking, “How do we relocalize?” This is one example of collective culture, in which the good and relationships of the whole takes precedence over that of the individual. The negative side of that is of course the idea that “the nail that sticks out gets pounded down” and feelings of “I don’t want to stand out.” That said, I have noticed over the past three years that the challenge of individuating from a collective culture is smaller than that of creating a collective out of an individualistic culture. 3/11 was a kick in the ass for people to stand up for what they believe, but they are doing this while staying connected to the collective at the same time. I think this is the energy we need all over the world: the capacity to differentiate while staying connected.
In less than a day, nearly 18,000 people were dead or missing, and almost 300,000 were homeless. The old normal was gone. Today, communities in the region are struggling to reinvent their lives, but what will their future look like in a context that is permanently changed?
...People in Fukushima live in one of three broad realities. Some are still overwhelmed with despair, since everything they know and love has vanished. Some would leave Fukushima in an instant if they had a way to relocate elsewhere. And others have declared that “this is our home, so we will make a new life here together.” They know that the past is gone and that an unknown future is waiting to be born.
For many, this is not just a matter of regaining property or livelihoods, it’s a profoundly spiritual question that centers on the meaning of happiness and the quality of life...
This transformation is one of ordinary people who are raising their voices and using their hands, reaching out to each other, taking one step forward and then another, to build new lives in a place that they call home.
Friday, February 21, 2014
IMA 3-Year Anniversary @ Tokyo this Sunday: Celebrating awakening, resilience, compassion, community as we transition to a Post-3/11 World
Right: Poster for Jeffrey's Jousan's "Tohoku Laughing"; Right: Dean Newcombe and Justin Berti of IMA.
Until 3/11, nuclear plants supplied one third of Japan's energy; they're all offline now. However, they're poised for restarts in March. Instead of systemizing the radical energy conservation efforts instituted right after the Fukushima meltdowns and aggressively supporting a shift to renewable energy, the Japanese government and energy companies have turned to global-warming fossil fuels: oil, coal, LNG (liquified natural gas) to make up for the loss. Because of this increase in imported energy (compounded by a monetary policy aimed at devaluing the yen), Japan posted a record trade deficit in 2013, an economically unsustainable situation used to justify the planned return to nuclear power.
However, the proposed restarts won't be met with complacence. Heightened awareness and social energy in post-3/11 Japan has given rise to deepening collaboration between old and new Nuclear-Free activists, Japanese people and expats, across interrelated issues (organic, local, slow, low-consumption, fossil-free, renewable energy, fair trade), and across borders.
This month a lot of this amazing energy is visible above radar. Canadian environmentalist Severn Cullis-Suzuki (daughter of David Suzuki) is traveling throughout Japan, screening Occupy Love, Velcrow Ripper's third film in his "Fierce Love" trilogy about nonviolent grassroots environmental and social change movements.
And one of the founders of Beautiful Energy, Dean Newcombe, has been spotlighted in a nice feature by Liane Wakabayashi at JT. The Japan-based Scottish model, founder of Intrepid Model Adventures, shared his story about how he was spurred to personal action after witnessing the plight of 3/11 survivors.
Knew Dean Newcombe and his colleagues are dynamic, but didn't realize the breadth, depth, interconnections of their activities. It's a little hard to keep up: volunteering and raising funds for reconstruction in Tohoku; bringing hot meals to and supporting nuclear evacuees from Futaba; supporting fair trade; raising funds for typhoon reconstruction in the Phillipines; instituting a scholarship fund for an orphanage in Bali; supporting Hafu David Yano's NGO which is building a school in Ghana; initiating Beautiful Energy's Nuclear Free/Renewable Energy advocacy every Friday in Tokyo; and screening socially significant films.
The charismatic leader and networker explained how serendipity, combined with intentional support of authenticity, snowballed his initiative in Tohoku into many directions :
Events include the screening of Tohoku Laughing" (笑う東北), a 30-minute documentary by Jeffrey Jousan:
“One of the surprises that perhaps I didn’t expect,” says Newcombe, “is that the volunteers that worked with me in Tohoku would step forward to suggest Tohoku-related support projects that we could do in Tokyo.”This Sunday, IMA and related groups are celebrating their three-year anniversary all day at the Pink Cow in Tokyo.
“I want them to apply skills they were born with to make right what they believe is wrong. Deep down we all see what is wrong and unjust in this world. It’s just our choice whether we do something about it!”
2pm – A documentary film "Tohoku Laughing" (笑う東北) by Jeffrey Jousan (30 minutes)
Filmed in September 2012 in Miharu, Fukushima, Ishinomaki, Kitakamigawa, Oiwake Hot Spring and Minami SanrikuThis post sounds like a valentine, because it is, to all at Beautiful Energy, Hot Meals for the People of Fukushima (双葉町交流プロジェクト( and IMA, MTM, et al., with appreciation for their efforts (born out of compassion), creating ripple effects, bringing people together in unexpected ways to help actualize the best in each other and a peaceful, affirmative, life-sustaining world.
It took about 2 years after the Tsunami but people in Tohoku that we met started saying that they could finally laugh again,as if they had entered a new stage in dealing with their horrific experiences. Everyone's process of dealing with these events continues and will continue for some time.
This is a little film to share the healing and life affirming power of laughter, from the awesome people of Tohoku. Please come to Tohoku and laugh!
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Irankarapte! Ainu to Aou Concert event 日本語以下
Sunday, February 23rd 13:30 to 15:30 (Doors open at 13:00)
Irankarapte Ainu to Aou! Irankarapte- Let's meet Ainu!
Song and dance concert based on beautifully illustrated Ainu picture books. Through this concert event children can learn about Ainu in an easy to understand way.
For more information contact:
Osaka Shimin koryu Center North
(*Still looking for people to help out with the event, so if you are available get in touch through the minaminanokai facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/minaminanokai)
主催:大阪市立市民交流センターすみよし北 指定管理者 公益財団法人住吉隣保事業推進協会
【最寄駅】 南海高野線「住吉東」下車 5分 阪堺電気軌道「神ノ木」下車 5分
Ainu Art Project founder, artist and storyteller Yuki Koji will be in Kyoto for the first time in years to share his new hanga (woodblock prints) and stories from the world of the spirits. Nagane Aki will also be performing on the mukkuri and tonkori and tea and snacks will come with entry. **English translation not available.
Stories from the spirit world and heart of Ainumosir (note the play on words in the Japanese title!)
2/22 (Saturday) 15:00 doors open 15:30 event starts
Location: Sakaimachi Garow (http://sakaimachi-garow.com/blog/?page_id=110)
Nearest station: Karasuma Oike
Entrance fee: 2800円（with reservation 2500円）
For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org