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Nov 04, 2011

Lands and Rights in Troubled Waters

by PhilLee — last modified Nov 04, 2011 01:27 PM
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Friends of the Earth Colombia (CENSAT), civil society organisations and universities have got together to work on a joint project to address conflicts over natural resources, human rights and land rights.

This integrated project will study the conditions, nature and effects of land-use change in the Cauca (Colombia) and Tapajós (Brazil) basins. Land-use change in these areas is related to different processes of exploitation of natural resources, such as the rapid expansion of  sugar cane and soy monocultures, deforestation, large-scale industrial mining of minerals and the development of mega-projects using water resources such as hydroelectric power plants. In both cases these changes come along with different forms of conflict, social and environmental harm and human rights violations.

The project tackles the cases from a multidisciplinary perspective with a team of biologists, anthropologists, geographers, criminologists, social workers and activists.

The team realizes a wide range of activities in the field of research and knowledge sharing, capacity building and policy development in their respective countries. They apply innovative methodologies, such as participative action research, ethnography and social cartography as well as critical perspectives from green criminology, political ecology and human rights. Presentation and Poster LAR project.

‘Lands and Rights’ seeks to promote a right-based approach to development, strengthening organizations and communities in their claim for rights and environmental justice. The aim is to learn from the conflicts, to reduce them and to contribute to the rule of law by improving (the implementation of ) public policies regarding natural resource management.

The LAR project is part of the programme CoCooN (Conflict and Cooperation over Natural Resources in Developing Countries) of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

Further information

The communications and publications of this project are posted on this blog

Oct 31, 2011

Hundreds Occupy Belo Monte Dam Site in Brazilian Amazon

by PhilLee — last modified Oct 31, 2011 02:38 PM

A statement from our friends at Amazon Watch about a recent demonstration opposing the Belo Monte dam.

Altamira, Brazil – Hundreds of indigenous leaders, fishermen and riverine people from the Xingu River basin have gathered to occupy the Belo Monte Dam construction site in a peaceful protest to stop its construction in Altamira, located in the state of Pará in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon. They have vowed to permanently occupy the site and are calling on allied organizations and movements to join them.

The Trans-Amazon Highway (BR-230) has been blocked around the Santo Antônio village, where it passes the proposed construction site. Groups are demanding the presence of a Brazilian government high-level official at the site to initiate a new round of negotiations that are transparent, inclusive and respectful of the rights of local people affected by the dam.

"Belo Monte will only succeed if we do nothing about it. We will not be silent. We will shout out loud and we will do it now," said Juma Xipaia, a local indigenous leader. "We only demand what our Constitution already ensures us: our rights. Our ancestors fought so we could be here now. Many documents and meetings have already transpired and nothing has changed. The machinery continues to arrive to destroy our region."

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS) has requested explanation as to why the Brazilian Government did not act to ensure the rights of indigenous peoples affected by the dam, as requested by the IAHCR in April. According to the OAS, the Brazilian Government has an obligation of consulting and informing indigenous peoples who will be affected by the dam prior to construction.

Yesterday, the government of Brazil refused to attend a closed hearing convened by the IAHCR intended to foster dialogue toward resolving conflict and discuss failures in protecting the rights of indigenous peoples threatened by the proposed Belo Monte Dam. Plans for the project ignore international protections such as the right to free, prior and informed consent, and jeopardize the health, livelihood and ancestral lands of thousands of indigenous peoples.

Last Monday, a federal judge in Brazil voted that the environmental licensing of the controversial Belo Monte Dam is illegal given the lack of consultations with affected indigenous communities.


Find out more here

Aug 17, 2011

Stop the Belo Monte Monster Dam!

by PhilLee — last modified Aug 17, 2011 04:27 PM

Saturday 20 and Monday 22 August are International Days of Action to defend the Brazilian Amazon. Several demonstrations are taking place around the world. Find out how you can get involved.

Belo Monte Monster Dam day of actionOver the last two months, Brazilians have witnessed an alarming assault on the Amazon and the people who live there.


  • The government approved construction of the disastrous Belo Monte Dam, allowing heavy machinery to break ground on the banks of the Xingu River.
  • The Brazilian Congress is on the verge of approving a major rollback of the Brazilian Forestry Code, already causing a huge spike in deforestation.
  • Leading forest guardians have been victims of murder and intimidation.

This is one of the defining environmental struggles of our times; the assault on the Amazon must stop!

We, the international community, need to stand in solidarity with the growing numbers of Brazilians calling for environmental sanity and respect for human rights in the Amazon. Together, we can make a difference.

You can help protect the Amazon!

Saturday 20 August will be massive day of action in at least 22 Brazilian cities. Antonia Melo, a key leader of the movement to stop the Belo Monte Dam, has asked people to join her by organising protests around the world on Monday August 22 in front of their local Brazilian Embassy or Consulate.

Take action

Find out where the events are taking place
Download resources for the event you are attending and find out more about the dam
Call on the Brazilian President stop the Belo Monte Dam

Jul 29, 2011

Move the Commonwealth Games Out Of Sri Lanka Wilderness

by PhilLee — last modified Jul 29, 2011 10:25 AM
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Sri Lanka is bidding to host the Commonwealth Games in 2018 yet the area they propose to build the stadia is currently home to several species of endangered wildlife. Call on the government to withdraw their disastrous bid.

Sri Lanka is set to be on the receiving end of more un-sustainable development due to the Hambantota 2018 Commonwealth games proposal. 


The area the authorities propose to develop the games' infrastructure is one of the last remaining strong holds for the endangered Leopard, Elephant and Sloth Bear, as well as countless other endangered flora and fauna that plays a crucial role in Sri Lanka's rich but declining bio-diversity. 


Over the last few years, the once lush green Island of Sri Lanka has gradually started to become a concrete jungle. Once the bio-diversity is lost, Sri Lanka will loose it's popularity with eco tourists, and it's people and tourism will suffer. 


Hence, we urge you to take immediate action to stop amending the flora and fauna act to permit buildings near nature reserves and move the Commonwealth games out of Sri Lanka's wilderness.


Take action

This action has been initiated by Rainforest Protectors, Sri Lanka

May 18, 2011

Amigos da Terra Amazonia Brasileira is not a member of Friends of the Earth International

by PhilLee — last modified May 18, 2011 05:05 PM

A group in Brazil called Amazonia Brasileira also uses the name Friends of the Earth Brazilian Amazonia. This could imply that they are a member of our federation. They are not a member and their ethos is contrary to ours. This blog post aims to set the record straight.

It has come to our attention that Mr. Roberto Smeraldi of Amigos da Terra Amazonia Brasileira (Friends of the Earth Brazilian Amazonia) continues to use the name of Friends of the Earth domestically and internationally to promote projects that undermine the work of our Brazilian member group, the name of the federation, and the relationship with our allies.


We have received a request from our Brazilian member group Núcleo Amigos da Terra Brasil (FoE Brazil) to communicate widely the distinction between these two organizations in order that the general public, the media and the people of Brazil are aware of this important issue.


This request comes at a very important moment in Brazil as our member group is campaigning to prevent any changes to Brazil's most important forest protection code, which is currently under attack by the agribusiness lobby and is due to be voted on in the national congress. Friends of the Earth Brazil is undertaking this important work with our strategic ally, La Vía Campesina, several local groups and national networks.


Smeraldi´s organization, Amigos da Terra Amazonia Brasileira is currently promoting a joint proposal between the pulp/paper sector and various NGOs dubbed ¨the Forest Dialogue¨, which is proposing market-based mechanisms to forest protection and changes in the forest protection law.


Amigos da Terra Amazonia Brazileira is neither a member nor an ally of Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) and his organization is undermining the important work of FoEI´s Brazilian member, Núcleo Amigos da Terra, the work of our strategic allies, as well as the compromising the integrity of FoEI´s name.

Apr 26, 2011

Say no to increase in 'safe' levels of radiation for children

by PhilLee — last modified Apr 26, 2011 11:05 AM
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Join Friends of the Earth Japan and other civil society organisations in calling on the Japanese government to reverse a decision to increase the level of 'safe' radiation exposure to children.

On April 19, the Japanese government announced that it would be increasing the level of radiation deemed safe for children to 20 mSv/y. This is comparable to the maximum dose allowed for nuclear power plant workers in Germany.

We urgently demand the withdrawal of the Japanese Government's inhumane decision to force 20millisieverts per year (mSv/y) radiation exposure onto children
On April 19th, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) notified the Board of Education and related institutions in Fukushima Prefecture the level of 20 millisieverts per
year (mSv/y) as a Radiation Safety Standard for schools in Fukushima Prefecture. This is the standard to be used for school grounds and buildings. The Government has indicated that 20mSv/y is equivalent to
3.8 microSv per hour measured outdoors.
3.8 microSv/h is roughly 6 times [the 0.6 microSv/h] of "Radiation Controlled Areas" (0.6 microSv/h or more). The Labour Standards Act prohibits those under the age of 18 from working under these conditions.
Forcing children to be exposed to such radiation doses is an exceedingly inhumane decision. Therefore, we condemn this in the strongest terms.
20 mSv/y is comparable to the [legally] recognized dose for inducing leukemia in nuclear power plant workers. It is also comparable to the maximum dose allowed for nuclear power plant workers in Germany.
In addition, this 20mSv standard [for Japanese children] does not take into account the fact children have higher sensitivity to radiation than adults, nor does it take into account any internal radiation exposure.
Currently, according to the radiation monitoring conducted at elementary and middle schools within Fukushima Prefecture, more than 75% of these schools have contamination levels comparable to "Radiation Controlled Areas" (0.6 microSv/h or more). Further, roughly 20% of the schools fall within "Individual Exposure Controlled Areas" (2.3 microSv/h or more) and are in an extremely dangerous situation.
The level set by the Japanese Government at this time amounts to coercion of this dangerous situation upon children, and, can interfere with voluntary measures by schools to minimize exposure.
MEXT states that 20mSv/y is based on the recommendation Pub.109 by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) as well as on the reference levels in the band of 1 to 20 mSv/y as "Post Emergency Situation" Standards from the ICRP statement released on March 21st. The latter means MEXT has adopted the maximum level.
As of April 21st, there has been no substantive information disclosure by the Japanese Government on the decision-making process for establishing these standards. Moreover, no explanation has been given
concerning why the Government has neither taken the sensitivity of children into consideration nor internal radiation exposure into account. The contents of the consultation held between MEXT and the Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) are not disclosed, and the situation remains extremely opaque. 
We demand the following of the Japanese Government:
-Retraction of the "20mSv/y" standard for children.
-Disclosure of the names of experts, who deemed "20mSv/y" for children to be safe.


At the governmental negotiation held on April 21st, it became evident that the Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) concluded the 20mSv/y standard for children as "Permissible" without undertaking any formal consultation. Moreover, on April 22nd, the Commission reported to the office of Mizuho FUKUSHIMA, member of the Japanese Diet, House of Councillors that no minutes (records) exist of the 5 Nuclear Safety Commission members’ deliberation leading to the 20mSv/year standard.  


Expert comments cited from the articles on the establishment of the 20mSv/y standard ("Fukushima-Katastrophe - Japan legt hohe Strahlengrenzwerte fur Kinder fest" or “Japan's MEXT sets High Exposure
Limits for Children”), Der Spiegel, April 21st, 2011.
(See comparison to German workers.),1518,758410,00.html
Edmund Lengfelder (Otto Hug Radiation Institute), "The cancer risk will visibly rise in the future. By setting these standards, the government will steer clear of any liability legally, however not morally."
This petition is being organized by: Green Action, Greenpeace Japan, Citizens' Nuclear Information Center, Citizens Against Fukushima Aging Nuclear Power Plants (Fukuro-no-Kai), Osaka Citizens Against the Mihama, Oi, and Takahama Nuclear Power Plants (Mihama-no-Kai), Friends of the Earth Japan

further information  

Green Action
Suite 103, 22-75 Tanaka Sekiden-cho
Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8203 Japan
Tel: +81-75-701-7223
Friends of the Earth Japan
3-30-8-1F Ikebukuro Toshima-ku Tokyo 171-0014, Japan
TEL: +81-3-6907-7217
English translation of Japanese original: FoE Japan / Green Action

Apr 19, 2011

We really appreciate your big support

by PhilLee — last modified Apr 19, 2011 05:08 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.

Thanks to the people who made donations to Friends of the Earth's International's appeal, we have been able to forward 600,000 yen to the Japan Chernobyl Foundation (JCF).  The group are providing medical support to people in Minami Souma City, Fukushima Prefecture, who are suffering in the wake of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident.


Below is the message by Ms. Sadako Kamiya of JCF, translated and edited by FoE Japan


We really appreciate your big support

japan evacuation centreThe Situation of Minami Souma City is changing very quickly. Since the beginning of April, many people who had moved to other prefectures (regions) are now coming back.


Some people have come back because they were exhausted by life as evacuee, some feel uncertainty about the future and are concerned about employment. And others have come back because they expected the schools to be open and daily life to have resumed.


The original shelters have become crowded with the new returnees and so new shelters have opened. There are many elders in the shelters. Some walk around in the night confused, so medical team and JCF staff watch over them. Staff at JCF listen carefully to them and prescribe medicines. As the weeks have passed life in the shelters has become tougher as people realise they have to stay longer than they initially thought.


While a part of Minami Souma City has been declared as the 'planned evacuation area' by the government last week, JCF continues to support the people who are staying in the city by providing physical check-ups.


Since the situation is not expected to improve any time soon, we will also call on people to evacuate to Nagano Prefecture (where JCF is located). We try to talk to the mayor, the head of the education and emergency measure centre but the city

officials were all very busy. So we will plan to make a guide informing people who will be accepted as residents.


We really hope that the situation of nuclear power plant will be stabilised as soon as possible.

Apr 12, 2011

'Civil Power' is tested in Japan

by PhilLee — last modified Apr 12, 2011 03:23 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.

Serious radiation leaks still continue due to the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Overseas organizations have provided predictions of radiation dispersion, while nothing has been announced officially by the Japanese government.


Furthermore entrance and opening ceremonies at elementary schools have commenced regardless of locally high radiation levels in the surrounding areas, causing a potential threat to children.

Rapid response to minimize damage from nuclear accidents is required, and in the meantime unified civil society plays an important role in the abandonment of nuclear power and also a shift in energy policy in Japan.


Friends of the Earth Japan is involved in the development of non governmental organisational networks (NGO) in Japan, as well as lobby government policies. Presented below are Japanese NGO activities concerning nuclear power plants in Japan.

Radiation monitoring project in elementary schools

The Fukushima Conference for Recovery from the Nuclear-Earthquake Disaster, which was urgently set up by a group of citizens in Fukushima Prefecture and the adjacent southern part of Miyagi Prefecture, has conducted a study of radioactive contamination in elementary schoolyards.


The result of the study indicates that an uneven pattern in dispersion of contamination is likely to create areas of particularly high radiation in some parts of schoolyards, called hot spots.


The Fukushima Conference called on the governor of Fukushima Prefecture to conduct further investigation based on the study. Other organisations such as Citizens Against Fukushima Aging Nuclear Power Plants (Fukuro-no-Kai) supporting this activity, encourage the government and municipalities to act, while proceeding with citizen-run radiation monitoring projects.

Further information:

Petition the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

Organisations such as Osaka Citizens Against the Mihama, Oi and Takahama Nuclear Power Plants (Mihama-no-Kai), Citizens’ Nuclear Information Centre and GREEN ACTION are calling on the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to revise evacuation zones, repeal the upward revision of the maximum permissible radiation dose, measure and publicise the radiation monitoring, investigate radiation exposure and health status among residents and provide for their long-term health care. They are also gathering signatures for a petition.


Further information:

No more nuclear disaster! Build a no-nuke society! 4.24 meeting and demonstration

Stop nuclear power plants! Tokyo network (consisted of Do NOT Want Plutonium! Tokyo, Diahchi wo Mamoru Kai, Citizens’ Nuclear Information Centre) will perform demonstrations on April 24, in Tokyo and march through the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry building, Chubu Electric Power Company, and head office of Tokyo Electric Power Company. Pavel Vdovichenko, one of the founders of Russian NGO Radimichi to the Children of Chernobyl, will talk at the meeting.

From "unplanned power outage" to "strategic energy shift"

Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies (ISEP) examined capacity for power supply in the Kanto region as well as its past demand, and proposes public policies in short, mid, and long terms.


Further information:

Radiation monitoring

Greenpeace set up an investigation team including radiation experts to protect citizens’ health and the surrounding environment by providing highly transparent information and analysis. Greenpeace’s statements are as below, based on their results of the first investigation: The data provided by the government is reliable, but their action in accordance with the data is not appropriate. The government must stop political action such as ‘within 30km’, and must act immediately to determine evacuation zones based on scientific data. In such case, actions with a priority for children and pregnant women, who are susceptible to radioactive materials, are necessary.


Further information:

Apr 08, 2011

Distributing hot meals in Ishinomaki city

by PhilLee — last modified Apr 08, 2011 01:22 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.

Thanks to the support of people who donated to Friends of the Earth International's appeal, we've passed on 600,000 Yen (around 5000 euros) to Peace Boat, who are conducting emergency relief efforts for those who are suffering.


Peace Boat is now located in Ishinomaki city in Miyagi prefecture. For the last two weeks they have been carrying out the following:


  • Coordinating requests from evacuation centres;
  • Cooperating with other organisations willing to help provide assistance in Ishinomaki;
  • Preparing and distributing at least 500 daily hot meals to survivors outside the evacuation centres, with an immediate goal of 2000 meals per day;
  • Helping cater to affected areas that the authorities have yet to reach;
  • Participating in efforts to clean the evacuation centres, clear debris and mud, and make the roads functional.


Despite our efforts, the area is still facing a serious shortage of food. Since March 25, Peace Boat has been rotating teams of 50 volunteers and will be coordinating more of them in the coming weeks.


The money that Friends of the Earth transferred will provide around 1000 hot meals. A member of Friends of the Earth Japan will be volunteering on April 16 and 17. She will report back here on the experience!


More information, in English, on Peace Boat's work can be found on their website and Facebook page. 


Peace Boat Website

Peace Boat Facebook page.



Apr 06, 2011

international petition on radiological impact of Fukushima disaster

by PhilLee — last modified Apr 06, 2011 03:04 PM

Japanese NGOs and citizens are calling on the international community to sign a petition, that will be presented to the Japanese government, calling for greater measures to protect and compensate people from the radiological impact of the Fukushima disaster

The petition is available to sign on the Green Action Japan website, one of the NGOs Friends of the Earth Japan is working with.

Sign the petition now!

The petition calls for the Japanese government to:

  1. Immediately issue a directive to evacuate and enlarge the evacuation zone.
  2. Calculate and publicise the total cumulative radiation dose local residents are receiving.
  3. Repeal the upward revision of the maximum permissible radiation dose (250 milliSieverts) for emergency-response workers at the Fukushima plant.
  4. Expand the scope of radiation monitoring and publicise the results.
  5. Undertake immediately a comprehensive survey of the radiation exposure and current state of health of local residents and provide for their long-term health care.
  6. Do not relax the provisional standards governing the maximum permissible levels of radionuclides in food.
  7. Provide compensation for damages to farm and dairy producers and to people who have been forced to relocate.
  8. Generally, take all measures necessary to ensure that members of the public do not receive radiation doses greater than 1 milliSievert per annum.


Apr 01, 2011

Assessing needs in Iwanuma city

by PhilLee — last modified Apr 01, 2011 11:50 AM
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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 March 31, one of our staff members went to Iwanuma city, Miyagi Prefecture, one of the areas most affected by the tsunami to grasp the needs on the ground.


Those needs are still being assessed, but here are some photos of the devastation in Iwanuma City.

Iwanuma City, Japan, post tsunami 1
The remains of a road.

Iwanuma City, Japan, post tsunami 4

Paddy fields remain strewn with rubble and salt damage could harm future rice production.

Iwanuma City, Japan, post tsunami 3

These trees used to form a disaster-prevention forest, but were felled by
the tsunami.

Three weeks after the earthquake and tsunami happened, Sendai Airport (in Miyagi Prefecture) has reopened. We hope this will facilitate relief work and put forward the reconstruction.

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.



Mar 30, 2011

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



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. 



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

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.



Mar 24, 2011

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."