No Nukes Asian Forum 2011

in Fukushima, in Hiroshima

Report on My Visit to Japan

  S. P. Udayakumar  (National Alliance of Anti-nuclear Movements/India)

The NNAF 2011 was truly a life-time experience. In the wake of the Fukushima accident and the 66th anniversary of Hiroshima, the international gathering of anti-nuclear activists from all corners of Asia assumed special meaning and significance. And it was quite an eye-opening trip I have ever undertaken as we all had a chance to compare notes on what exactly had been going on in our respective countries. Our interactions helped us break the ‘nuclear renaissance’ myth and plan together to counter the growing influence of ‘nuclearism’ in our national socioeconomic-political spheres.

July 30, 2011

The seminar on the first day, July 30, 2011, was a great beginning. It was quiet a revelation for me to learn that the Fukushima radiation had gone beyond 200 kms and the Northwest region of Japan was heavily contaminated. It was also shocking to learn that decommissioning of the Fukushima plants would take almost 30 years.

The presentation by Mr. Nakate from “Fukushima Network for Serving Children from Radiation” was very disturbing when he said that the obligatory 20 km evacuation took several days; the people did not know what was going on; and that the mass media kept saying there was ‘no problem.’ There were 1.5 million people in the red area and 300,000 of them were children. In the middle of May 2011, there were still many cases of nose bleeds.

Tea growers were in problem because cesium was found in tea leaves. Contaminated rice straw is ploughed into the rice fields and the rice growing there has cesium. Cows eat contaminated rice straw and get internally exposed to radiation. They eat 1 to 2 kg of rice straw and produce 2.5 kg of cow dung a day. What to do with the contaminated cow dung is an issue. If it is used as manure, vegetables may be contaminated. Food security in Japan has become an issue and may want to import food from abroad.

Evacuation was still an issue. People had no “right to evacuate” as beyond 20-km evacuation was purely voluntary and they may not be compensated in any way. The roads were all crowed when people evacuated and half of the people evacuated themselves to friends and family. Most evacuees thought that they could go back in 2 or 3 days which was not going to be the case.

The Fukushima land was bought up for the NPP in 1963. And the local people were not told about the dangers of the NPP and they saw the plant as advanced technology and part of development. The first unit went critical in 1967. Daiichi was the first complex and Daini was the second complex. All the reactors were imported and the technicians also came from abroad. MOX fuel was used and the capacity factor was low. Although subsidies were given first, the local communities had to bear the cost. Spent fuel tanks were also built in the site.

The Welcome Party we had this evening was a nice experience as we all had a nice and relaxing evening.

July 31, 2011

At 3:54 am there was an earthquake of 6.4 magnitude in Fukushima. Some of the participants left for Fukushima, the “island of luck” which is 240 kms away from Tokyo. We attended a demonstration organized by the Fukushima residents in a park called Machinaka-hiroba. The demo began with a song that said: “we’ll come back to Fukushima, our land.” The participants demanded radioactivity-free Fukushima. They asserted that nuclear power and humankind could not coexist. It is impossible to cultivate in Fukushima and some farmers have committed suicide. Some 46,000 people have lost their jobs in Fukushima. The Japanese government has done nothing. One woman homemaker spoke so powerfully about her family’s predicament. Without gas or petrol, she walked back to her home and found no water or electricity at home and food and clothing were all contaminated. She decided to evacuate with her 7th grade daughter to Tokyo. She said it was time to rise up against nuclear power plants.

We participated in a March to the Fukushima railway station and took part in the 66th Anniversary Gensuikin World Conference at Tatsumiya hotel before returning back to Tokyo.

August 1, 2011

Today’s session was very informative as friends from Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Philippines, India, China, Indonesia and Thailand made detailed presentation on the nuclear situation in their countries with Powerpoint presentations and slides.

August 2, 2011

After a quiet morning, we organized a demonstration in front of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) in Tokyo against nuclear power and TEPCO. It was very interesting to see how we could demonstrate right in front of the Ministry building with little police harassment. We held another demo in front of the TEPCO office with a set of demands before proceeding to their office for a dialogue. The dialogue was courteous and friendly but there was hardly any tangible outcome. When I asked the company representatives about their rehabilitation efforts for the Fukushima children, they did not have much to say. Then the entire team left for Hiroshima.

August 3, 2011

The group visited the Iwaishima island by bus and boat. The local anti-nuclear group members spoke to us. The movement was started in 1992 when the government proposed a NPP some 4 kms away. Although 90 percent of the local people opposed the project, township people and the local council supported the project. They have not managed to do much of the construction work. And now because of the Fukushima accident, the project is in limbo and not much may happen for the next few years. It was a very valuable and enlightening trip. The sumptuous dinner we had after the trip was quite memorable for its variety, taste and company.

August 4, 2011

The gathering at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum was very thought-provoking and inspiring. Steven Leeper pointed out that we have banned chemical weapons but not nuclear weapons because of the nuke industry’s power and money, and the blessings it receives from the military. The Hiroshima bomb had 300 m wide fireball, and 20 megaton bombs can create 3 km wide fireballs today. Ten Hydrogen bombs on 10 cities can create nuclear darkness. There was a time when the US and the USSR decided who got nuclear weapons, but now countries decide for themselves. And nuclear weapon states want to retain nukes.

Like the cluster ammunition (headed by Norway in the Oslo Process) and the landmine (headed by Canada in the Ottawa Process), we must have a nuclear weapons convention. We are looking for a leader. Japan should do the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Process. Although 189 countries want to eliminate nuclear weapons, there is no consensus on nuclear power. So even if we are against both the bomb and the power, we must keep them separately politically in order not to lose the consensus (I disagreed with this stand). Because of radiation, people get cancer, blood diseases and blood-organ diseases. Fukushima is dirtier than Hiroshima because it has cesium, strontium, plutonium etc. The nuclear weapons convention may happen in a year and countries such as Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Brazil, and Uruguay show interest in it.

Hiroshima’s former Mayor also spoke in the event. In the afternoon, we all had a peace march around Hiroshima city, and attended a hall ceremony for peace.

August 5, 2011

We all participated in an international conference on “No More Hiroshima, No More Fukushima” where so many Japanese and international scholars, activists and policymakers made presentations. They were all very informative and thought-provoking. Then we joined an international gathering around the A-bomb Dome in a human chain and chanted “No More Hiroshima, No More Fukushima”.

August 6, 2011

With friends from eight Asian countries under the NNAF banner, some hundred of us participated at the Hiroshima Day function here in Hiroshima on August 6, 2011. Besides the official ceremony headed by the Prime Minister, we also organized a major rally. I had the great privilege of reading the "Declaration of Peace 2011" in English followed by the Japanese rendering. We took out a rally around Hiroshima city; protested in front of the Chuguku Electric Power Company office for their proposed nuclear power plant at Kaminoseki near Hiroshima; and held a public meeting.

There was so much discussion here in the Japanese media about radiation dangers, food contamination, compensation issues, evacuation process, evacuees' rights, Prime Minister Kan's anti-nuclear power stand (which he expressed in his H-Day speech) etc. Fukushima is far from over.

There was a 6.4-strong after-shock with its epicenter near Fukushima when we were all there in Tokyo and sitting on the 18th floor of the Youth Hostel, I felt the building sway like a cradle. It was, to put it mildly, scary. I felt even more strongly that nuclear power plants in Japan must be closed down completely and permanently. And Japan should assume the leadership role in leading the world away from nuclear power and bomb to New Energy and nuclear weapon-free world.

Save Fukushima Now!

    Mitzi Chan
        (Nuclear Free Bataan Movement Network and KPD/ PHILIPPINES)

There is no better time to hold the No Nukes Asia Forum (NNAF) in Japan, than this year, 2011 ? when the Fukushima nuclear disaster has happened. More than sharing of country situations on nuclear energy, the significance of NNAF 2011 is showing solidarity for the Japanese people, especially those residing around Fukushima, and, together with them, urge the Japanese government and the rest of the world to shun the nuclear option for good.

The on-going nuclear crisis in Fukushima Daiichi is proof that then and now, nuclear energy remains to be a costly, dangerous and deadly energy option. Fukushima had once again confirmed that the safety of nuclear energy is no more than just a myth. The radiation nightmare is a reality that the people of Fukushima is living right now. And not even a nation like Japan, a major nuclear power player with the most advance technologies, can stop this nightmare from happening.

The lives of children and communities, most especially in Fukushima are on the line. More than one million people still live in areas where levels of radiation pose as a great health risk to people especially pregnant women and children. Sadly, the government and TEPCO, the company responsible for the Fukushima Daiichi plants continue to downplay the social costs of exposure to radiation of the Japanese people and their livelihoods.

As threats to life grow more immense daily, in the face of the nuclear crisis, the Japanese government should focus its attention on where it is needed, give its priority where it is called for. NNAF joins the call to “Save Fukushima Now!”.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s statement that “we should aim for a society that is not dependent on nuclear power generation" must be backed up by something concrete like an overhaul of Japan’s energy policy, issuing an order for a nuclear phase-out like what Germany immediately did or start moving towards alternative sources of energy and helping out the victims of the still ongoing nuclear crisis as best as it could. Sincere political will and the courage to take action as warranted is what is called for.

The continuing tragedy in Fukushima is a lesson that the rest of the world must be quick to learn from. This is the message of NNAF 2011.

What Fukushima did to this generation was what the Chernobyl incident did two decades ago. It underscored the fact that nuclear energy-generation poses great risks and dangers that cannot be dismissed or ignored by a logical human being.

As NNAF calls on governments of Asia and the world to start the era of nuclear phase-outs, NNAF also calls on the people to be ever more vigilant. A vigorous resistance requires building a movement. It requires us to gather the biggest number of people that can unite around a common goal, methods, and actions and tirelessly gain strength until we succeed in our fight for a nuclear free Asia and the world.

The past is Prologue?
--- Three ‘Shimas’ in the march of civilization ---
         Pi-Yao Lin 
(Tunghai University, Taiwan)

NNAF 2011 Tokyo led us a very special journey from Fukushima, through Iwaishima to Hiroshima. On foot, we have deeply appreciated the path of Nuclear Technology developed in Japan. Fear of radiation is our key theme to study for this field trip. Response of Japan community is our main observation just right after Fukushima crisis occurred. However, these are real Nuclear stories happened in Japan with respect to Western Technology Civilization.

I. Fukushima: Present progressive Tense!

On July 31, with Fukushima people, we shared their fear of radiation and joined their outcry for free from nuclear disaster. Under the dark rain of radiation drizzling all the way of the rally, the outdoor radiation level was 5-6 times higher than the normal background value. Fukushima city is obviously a radiated. Just returned to Tokyo in the evening, NHK reported an off-scale reading, higher than 10 Sv/hr released from TEPCO NPP reactors. The fact showed the disaster is not totally under control. The whole consequence is to be investigated.
Is the past prologue? It is obviously yes in Fukushima.

II. Hiroshima: Past Tense.

Nuke is evil! Hiroshima Nuclear Bomb Dome has testified the visible destructions of nuclear technology for 66 years. The bodies and bloods had been washed out ‘completely’ by water of Motoyasu River. Meanwhile, the national policy of “Peace and Prosperity” has been successfully realized in Japan. Although hibakushas repeat the pledge: “we shall not repeat the evil”, which is inscribed on the cenotaph in the Peace Park, the evil has come out in Fukushima this March. People finally admonish that “nuclear energy and humankind cannot coexist”. It is the first time that the Peace Declaration asks the Japanese government quickly to review the energy policies. PM Naoto Kan responded: "Japan will reduce its level of reliance on nuclear power generation with the aim of becoming a society that is not dependent on nuclear power," in his speech during the ceremony.
Is the past prologue? Likely the page of ‘Nuclear Myth’ is going to be torn up.

III. Iwaishima: Future Tense?

We arrived at Hiroshima on Aug. 3. It is the first time to enjoy the beauty of Seto Inland Sea National Park. Unfortunately, Kaminoseki nuclear plant is under construction there. The story of this kind of nightmares is completely similar to that in Taiwan. People on Iwaishima Island get our supports to protect their homeland. We wish their project to create “Millenary Iwaishima" with 100% natural energy will come true, especially after Fukushima Crisis. That would be a great landmark of No Nukes Japan. The hopeful future of Iwaishima Islanders is well blessed.
Is the past prologue? Hopefully it is unlikely yes at Iwaishima. Not suprising, the latest news: “Japan’s Prime Minister Kan, soon to step down, pushes nuclear phaseout” is encouraging.

Joint Declaration

Let us work hand in hand to create a nuclear-free society

                  1 August 2011 Participants of NNAF2011

NNAF2011 began on July 30 with 100 participants from eight countries, took place in Tokyo and Fukushima, and is scheduled to continue until August 6 in Hiroshima.

From reports about the reactor meltdown accident at Fukushima Daiichi NPP and the resulting large-scale radiation pollution we have reconfirmed the following. 1) Once a nuclear accident occurs, the damage from radiation is long term, and also has a great impact on the children, who will bear the future of the Earth. 2) Not only agriculture and dairy farming, but the whole of the regional economy and society is completely destroyed. We have also reconfirmed anew that radioactivity produced by nuclear power plants threatens the survival of humanity.

We have heard and shared reports concerning the situation of nuclear power in each of the participating countries and have renewed our determination to work towards a nuclear phase-out.

We, the participants in NNAF, demand that Tokyo Electric Power Company carry out full compensation to the residents of affected areas. In order to protect the health of children living in highly radiated environments, we demand that various measures such as the evacuation of children be carried out. We demand that the government proceed with active efforts to decontaminate polluted areas, and create an environment where people can live in greater safety. We also demand that all of Japan’s nuclear reactors are decommissioned before a ‘second Fukushima’ accident occurs and that all plans for new nuclear power stations or expansions of existing power stations be irrevocably withdrawn.

We, the participants of NNAF, demand that all nuclear power plants in Asia be decommissioned. We also oppose all plans for nuclear power plants in any Asian country. We strongly demand the creation of a nuclear-free society.

We have pledged to further strengthen our solidarity within NNAF in order to eliminate all nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons from Asia at the earliest possible date and create a nuclear-free and peaceful society. This is also a struggle to demand the democratization of societies and at the same time to create true sovereign nation states. Let us work hand in hand to create a nuclear-free society!

Banri Kaieda, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry
Toshio Nishizawa, President, Tokyo Electric Power Company

                  2 August 2011 Participants of NNAF 2011

We, 50 representatives of 20 organizations from Asian countries (Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, China and India) and the Japanese participants of this meeting, make the following requests of you, who are responsible for the occurrence of the Fukushima nuclear accident, which is on the same level as the Chernobyl nuclear accident.

1. Please apologize to the people of the countries of Asia for the radioactive pollution of the ocean waters and the atmosphere.

2. Please bring the accident to a speedy resolution so that no further radioactivity will be released into the environment

3. Please release all information concerning the accident and give a clear explanation of the truth of the accident.

4. We, the NNAF 2011, have listened directly to the voices of the people of Fukushima Prefecture. Please evacuate all children and pregnant women from the areas polluted by radioactivity. Please take full responsibility for respecting the rights of and providing financial assistance for all people who wish to voluntarily evacuate from polluted areas outside the officially designated evacuation zones. Please take responsibility for the radioactive exposure of the people of Fukushima and the workers at the Fukushima Daiichi accident site, and also pay compensation for regular health checkups and for treatment when illness occurs. Please also pay full compensation to people facing problems in their daily lives and for damage to agricultural and fishery production.

5. In order not to repeat this enormous mistake, please decommission all nuclear reactors and totally withdraw from nuclear power.

6. It is not acceptable that Japan, where the Fukushima nuclear accident has occurred, should export nuclear power to other countries. Please dismantle the "International Nuclear Development" company that Japan established last year. Please state definitively that Japan will not be involved in any way in exports of nuclear power to any other country.