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Mar 31, 2011

The so-called nuclear 'experts'

by PhilLee — last modified Mar 31, 2011 02:16 PM

Our colleagues at Friends of the Earth Japan are writing a blog on life after the earthquake and tsunami. They will be documenting how they, and fellow citizens, are rebuilding their lives and addressing some of the issues that have arisen as the country recovers from its biggest crisis since World War II.

I have often been upset by so-called 'experts' when I watch nuclear issues being covered on the TV in Japan. 

 

A nuclear expert who used to work at Toshiba said, one day, 

 

"Japaese nuclear technique will possibly be praised and we should be proud of it, as we could avoid the worst of the worst." 

 

How could he possibly say such a thing in such a way, almost ignoring those affected already in many ways!? And, he still continues to be on TV.

 

Yesterday, another expert on radiation in the sea, said that the fish are safe to eat, as we have already been taking in plutonium previously releaed in the pacific from elsewhere. 

 

This cannot be the reason why we are safe!! 

 

I do not blame all the experts. But, it strikes me some experts are exposed to media just to defend safety or protect themselves.

 

NS

Mar 30, 2011

Social and economic impacts caused by nuclear accidents becoming evident

by PhilLee — last modified Mar 30, 2011 12:20 PM
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Our colleagues at Friends of the Earth Japan are writing a blog on life after the earthquake and tsunami. They will be documenting how they, and fellow citizens, are rebuilding their lives and addressing some of the issues that have arisen as the country recovers from its biggest crisis since World War II.

On 24 March a 64-age vegetable farmer in Fukushima committed suicide. It was just one day after the Japanese government declared restrictions on  eating several kinds of vegetables produced in Fukushima and neighbouring areas.

He had a cabbage patch growing 7500 cabbages. According to Mainichi Newspaper, his son said 'If we did not have the nuclear accidents, he would still be here today.'

In addition, last night, I saw on the NHK news that a very old Ryokan (Japanese Inn) in Fukushima was closed for the first time in more than 100 years due to cancellations after nuclear accidents.

The Ryokan was not affected by earthquake and tsunami, but it was 60km from the nuclear plants, outside of the evacuation zone. Rooms were fully booked up until mid-May. However, they were all cancelled after the nuclear accidents.

These are the stories covered by the major Japanese media, but I guess there are hundreds or thousands of similar stories.

It's really difficult to describe how I feel about this story.. It's just so sad. Those affected can ask for compensation or help from TEPCO, or the  government, but life will never be how it was before the accident.

NS

Demonstrating against nuclear power in Tokyo

by PhilLee — last modified Mar 30, 2011 12:05 PM
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Our colleagues at Friends of the Earth Japan are writing a blog on life after the earthquake and tsunami. They will be documenting how they, and fellow citizens, are rebuilding their lives and addressing some of the issues that have arisen as the country recovers from its biggest crisis since World War II.

Japan blog-water-demo-1On Sunday 27 March around 1,200 demonstrators walked through Ginza, one of the most famous shopping areas in Tokyo, to appeal against Japanese nuclear policy.

 

Alarmed by the nuclear crisis in Fukushima, several anti-nuclear groups, as well as individual activists, organised the demonstration to appeal for an evaluation of nuclear policy and prompt updates on the situation in Fukushima.

 

The crowd's chants were loud and direct:

 

"We need no Genpatsu (nuclear power plant)!"
"Stop Genpatsu right now!"
"No more Fukushima, no more Chelnobyl."
"Life is more important than electricity !"

The parade started from Ginza, went via the Tepco head office and cumulated in an assembly in Hibiya park.

Japan blog-demo-3A young woman from a small town 5km from Fukushima's first nuclear reactor spoke to the crowd about the serious situation faced by local people and appealed to save them.

A young man who lead the demonstration insisted that we Japanese citizens now have to speak as one voice to get rid of nuclear policy.

 

Some foreign media reported the demonstration, but no Japanese media.

Euronews coverage
BBC coverage
TF1 coverage

 

AY

Mar 28, 2011

The true cost of nuclear power

by PhilLee — last modified Mar 28, 2011 01:57 PM
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Our colleagues at Friends of the Earth Japan are writing a blog on life after the earthquake and tsunami. They will be documenting how they, and fellow citizens, are rebuilding their lives and addressing some of the issues that have arisen as the country recovers from its biggest crisis since World War II.

Have you ever thought you will be affected by radiation or nuclear accidents? I, myself, did not. At least before the accident happened in Fukushima.

 

A few days ago, three workers of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant were exposed to high level radiation in the plant. They were not wearing long boots, which meant their feet were soaked by radioactive-contaminated water on the ground. They were sent to the hospital. 

 

Life and safety in Fukushima and the neibouring area will come back only at the sacrifice of these workers. I know nuclear power plants can only work if there are workers who are always facing the risks of radiation.

 

And there are many people living near the power plant, who were told 'you'll be safe!' by companies and governments. They were reconciled, or accepted that, it would not happen in their 'backyard'. I understood in my head, but might not have felt that from my heart.

 

The nuclear accidents have changed too many things here in Japan. Sometimes you only know you've lost something once its gone. But, when you lose it, it is often too late.  

 

After facing accidents in Fukushima, I really know what it means for us to have nuclear power plants in my country. Too many people's life can be devastated by only one accident. 

 

NS

Mar 25, 2011

Supporting the people of Minami-Souma City

by PhilLee — last modified Mar 25, 2011 08:19 PM
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Our colleagues at Friends of the Earth Japan are writing a blog on life after the earthquake and tsunami. They will be documenting how they, and fellow citizens, are rebuilding their lives and addressing some of the issues that have arisen as the country recovers from its biggest crisis since World War II.

The anxiety of people in Tokyo after the accidents at Fukushima nuclear
power plant have been growing day by day. But the anxiety of the people in Fukushima is beyond my imagination.

Japan Chernobyl Fund (JCF), which is one of the groups we are supporting through donations made to FoE International, is focusing on people staying in Minami-Souma City.

 

JCF's staff, doctors and nurses are providing medical assistance in shelters and the city hospital, located only 23 kms from the nuclear power plant.

More than 1000 people are said to have died as a result of the earthquake and tsunami in Minami-Souma City. However, the residents' sorrow is not only caused by the natural disaster but by a human-made disaster, the nuclear accident.

Due to fears that the area is contaminated by radiation, the distribution of gas, medicines and foods have been stopped, and all the shops are closed. The residents are said to be "fourfold suffering".

"Many people have fallen sick with stress caused by the shocks and the changing environment after the disaster, although they were not affected directly by the earthquake and tsunami." said Ms. Kamiya, JCF staff.

"In the long-term, health damage caused by exposure to radiation is a concern. But at the moment, it is most important to deal with chronic disease and infectious disease caused by sleeplessness and stress" (Source: JCF Staff's blog http://jcf.ne.jp/cp-bin/blog/)

Many residents have moved from the city after the nuclear accidents while many people still remain in their hometown (26,000 out of 71,000 residents are staying).

 

There must be different situation that each family is facing but the reality is the residents of the city are forced to be divided, and their land and loving nature have been contaminated. I cannot imagine the sorrow of people in Fukushima.

Because the electricity made in Fukushima nuclear power plant was sent to Tokyo and the neighboring area, not Fukushima, I feel guilty for what the people in Fukushima are facing.

 

We should really think about what we can do to prevent another catastrophe. I am really hoping that the situation of the nuclear power plant will be stabilised as soon as possible.

 

EW

Mar 24, 2011

No more than two bottles of water per person

by PhilLee — last modified Mar 24, 2011 12:55 PM
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Our colleagues at Friends of the Earth Japan are writing a blog on life after the earthquake and tsunami. They will be documenting how they, and fellow citizens, are rebuilding their lives and addressing some of the issues that have arisen as the country recovers from its biggest crisis since World War II.

Japan blog-water-2On 2Japan blog-water-13 March the Japanese government announced not only vegetables, such as spinach produced in Fukushima, but also tap water in Tokyo is contaminated with radioactive materials.

Although the level of contamination is said to be only risky to babies, and it does not pose an immediate threat in any way, especially to adults, many people scrambled for bottled water.

 

I went to a shop to get water on my way home, but, too late.... No bottled water! Just tea and other sweet drinks were left. Instead I got one bottle of oolong tea. 

 

NS

 

 

Photos: A fridge in a Tokyo shop cleared out of water, and a sign rationing water to two bottles per person.

 

FoE Japan Statement on Fukushima Nuclear Accident

by PhilLee — last modified Mar 24, 2011 12:03 PM
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Below is a statement issued by our colleagues at Friends of the Earth Japan.

japan earthquake tsunami 2To the victims of the 2011 Tohoku-Kanto Earthquake and tsunami, we send our deepest condolences. To those surviving the aftermath in shelters, those engaged in relief activities in the affected areas, and those who have been working tirelessly day and night to minimize the damage from the resulting nuclear accident, we would also send our heartfelt appreciation and encouragement. 

 

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident following the earthquake has, unfortunately, become the strongest repudiation to date of the Japanese government's and power companies' justification of nuclear power. 

 

We believe that, besides full support for current efforts in the field, to move forward from this situation, it is imperative now to mobilize the collective wisdom of citizens in our society and non-governmental organizations with expertise in relevant fields. 

 

We also call for timely and full disclosure by the government of Japan, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), nuclear agencies, and local governments, about the constantly-changing situation at the nuclear plant, in addition to information related to radioactive materials, their quantities, and possible radiation exposure in the affected region. 

 

FoE Japan has for some time been advocating for a low-energy and nuclear-free society and working to curb the publicly-subsidized export of Japanese nuclear power plants to developing countries. The ongoing Fukushima nuclear crisis is a direct result of Japan's official energy policy, which is skewed toward nuclear power. 

 

In the coming weeks and months, we hope to see a meaningful review, not only in Japan but also internationally, of nuclear policies and issues surrounding nuclear exports. A fundamental review is needed of our energy-intensive economies and societies. We would like to cooperate with all interested parties and contribute to national and international discussions for the further promotion of renewable and nuclear-free energy. 

 

We offer our prayers for the safety of those in the affected areas, those who have been evacuated, those working in the vicinity of the nuclear plants, and for everyone in Japan, and hope the situation will improve and return to calm in the coming days. 

 

March 18, 2011 

From All Staff of Friends of the Earth Japan

 

Photo Credit: DigitalGlobe

Mar 15, 2011

Solidarity for Japan

by PhilLee — last modified Mar 15, 2011 10:25 AM
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Friends of the Earth International statement in response to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Friends of the Earth International expresses solidarity with the people of Japan who have been affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami. 

 

We are also greatly concerned about the worsening situation at the Fukushima nuclear power station. We are in regular contact with our national member group in Japan who are safe and monitoring the situation. 

 

Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International, said:

 

"We sympathise with the people of Japan over the tragic disasters following the earthquake and tsunami. While these are natural disasters, the additional nuclear disaster is human made and clearly shows the urgent need for Japan and other countries to halt plans for new nuclear plants, decommission existing ones, and invest in safe, renewable energy forms." 

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