2016: The Fukushima Disaster - a Serious Crime
Fukushima: 2011-03-11 - 2016-03-11
The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Volume 14 | Issue 6 | Number 2, March 15, 2016
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Focus.
“The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster is a Serious Crime”: Interview with Koide Hiroaki
Katsuya Hirano, Hirotaka Kasai
Translation by Robert Stolz
Transcription by Akiko Anson
Koide Hiroaki (66) has emerged as an influential voice and a central figure in the anti-nuclear movement since the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi of March 11, 2011. He spent his entire career as a nuclear engineer working towards the abolition of nuclear power plants. His powerful critique of the "nuclear village" and active involvement in anti-nuclear movements "earned him an honorable form of purgatory as a permanent assistant professor at Kyoto University."1 Koide retired from Kyoto University in the spring of 2015, but continues to write and act as an important voice of conscience for many who share his vision of the future free from nuclear energy and weapons. He has authored 20 books on the subject. Professor Kasai Hirotaka and I visited his office at Kyoto University's Research Reactor Institute in Kumatori, Osaka, on December 26th, 2014 for this interview. We believe that the contents of the interview, which offer new information about the degree of radioactive contamination and invaluable insight into Koide's ethical and political stance as a scientist, remain crucial for our critical reflection on ecological destruction, the violation of human rights, and individual responsibility. Professor Robert Stolz, the translator of this interview and the author of Bad Water (Duke University Press, 2015), provides a historical perspective on the interview in a separate article. KH
I The Fukushima Disaster and Government and Corporate Response
Hirano: How does the Fukushima accident compare with the bombing of Hiroshima or Chernobyl in its scale? What are the possible effects of this yet unknown exposure?
Koide: Let's start with the scale of the accident: It was a core meltdown involving the release of various kinds of radioactive material. Radioactive noble gas isotopes were also released, as were iodine, cesium, strontium, and other radioactive material. The noble gas isotopes have a short half-life and so at this stage they are all gone. Iodine, too, is gone. So now four years since the accident the materials that are still a problem are cesium-137, strontium-90, and tritium; really, it's these three.2
Now, as for the scale of the accident, I think it would be best to compare these three radionuclides.
2016: On Forgetting Fukushima
Fukushima: 2011-03-11 - 2016-03-11
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 14, Issue 5, No. 1, March 1, 2016
On Forgetting Fukushima
This month the media and social networks are busy remembering Fukushima on the fifth anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown, but what we are really observing is the beginning of the work of forgetting Fukushima. Fukushima is taking its place alongside the many forgotten nuclear disasters of the last 70 years. Like Mayak and Santa Susana, soon all that will be left of the Fukushima nuclear disaster are the radionuclides that will cycle through the ecosystem for millennia. In that sense we are internalizing Fukushima into our body unconsciousness.
Forgetting begins with lies. In Fukushima the lies began with TEPCO (the owner of the power plants) denying that there were any meltdowns when they knew there were three. They knew they had at least one full meltdown by the end of the first day, less than 12 hours after the site was struck by a powerful earthquake knocking out the electrical power. TEPCO continued to tell this lie for three months, even after hundreds of thousands of people had been forced to or voluntarily evacuated. Just last week TEPCO admitted that it was aware of the meltdowns much earlier, or to put it bluntly, it continued to hide the fact that it had been lying for five years (I've written about the dynamic behind this here).
The government of Japan had such weak regulation of the nuclear industry that it was completely reliant on TEPCO for all information about the state of the plants and the risks to the public. It was reduced to being an echo chamber for the denials coming from a company that was lying. The people living near the plants, and downwind as the plumes from explosions in three plants carried radionuclides high into the air and deposited large amounts of radiation far beyond the evacuation zones, had to make life and death decisions as they were being lied to and manipulated.
Lying about nuclear issues is not unique to Japan or Fukushima. It began with the first use of nuclear weapons against human beings, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. When announcing the first attack President Harry Truman referred to Hiroshima as a "military base," and said it was chosen specifically to avoid civilian casualties. Hiroshima was a naval base (in a country whose navy was already destroyed), but
2016: North Korea's Launch of Kwangmyongsong-4
North Korean Nuclear Test (Hydrogen Bomb Test; 6.1.2016) and Missile Launch (7.2.2016)
Statement as PDF
Concerning North Korea's Launch of Kwangmyongsong-4
The Reconciliation and Reunification Committee of the National Council of Churches (NCCK) expresses a deep regret on North Korea’s launch of Kwangmyongsong-4 on February 7 as it will heighten on the Korean soil the arms race among super powers and eventually threaten peace and stability in North East Asia. We are also greatly concerned that in the present situation the South and the US are jumping into the decision to deploy on the Korean peninsula the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and establish a KOR-US-JAPAN Missile Defense system in response to the launch of Kwangmyuongsung-4 earth observation satellite.
1. We oppose the deployment of THAAD on the Korean peninsula.
The THAAD deployment will only increase the possibility of military conflict and clash beyond the Korean peninsula, in the entire North East Asia region. China and Russia are strongly opposing the THAAD deployment with the possible establishment of KOR-US-JAPAN Missile Defense system that will follow after. The THAAD deployment will aggravate a new Cold War between KOR-US-JAPAN and China-Russia, at the same time as it may offer a beginning that will lead the whole region to war. The painful experience of the Korean War has taught us that peace and stability in the Korean peninsula cannot be achieved by force. Hence we ask that both the South and the US immediately cancel the decision to deploy the THAAD and begin dialogue with the North, China and Russia for denuclearization as well as a long-lasting peace system on the Korean peninsula.
2. We pose a fundamental question about the international society’s additional sanctions against the North.
The international society along with the UN immediately declared additional harsh sanctions against the North in reaction to the satellite launch. However the international society has to acknowledge that North Korea as a sovereign state has the right to launch satellites that are not equipped with nuclear warheads. Additionally it cannot be denied that the international society’s sanctions and pressures on the North have not created fundamental solutions and that they have rather aggravated the “vicious cycle of confrontation.” Therefore we appeal to the UN and the international society that it is not sanctions and confrontations but dialogues and negotiations, understanding and tolerance that will prevent total collapse.
3. We urge Park Geun Hye’s administration to stop the attempt to pass the Anti-Terrorism Act.
Despite the fact that it has been publicly acknowledged that terror can be sufficiently prevented with the existing organizations and laws, the Park administration is attempting to pass the Anti-Terrorism Act using the North’s nuclear tests and satellite launch as pretexts. If the Anti-Terrorism Act, which is currently being pushed by the government and the ruling party, is enacted and implemented, absolute power will be centered on the National Intelligence Service and our society will face a non-democratic reality in which people experience severe restriction of their freedom and rights in the consolidation of the government’s power. With a warning that the Anti-Terrorism Act will heavily damage the healthy development of democracy, we urge the government and the ruling party to stop using the current North situation as a pretext to pass the Anti-Terrorism Act.
Peace on the Korean peninsula and stability in the North East Asia cannot be achieved through an arms race. Only dialogues, negotiations, understanding and tolerance will pave way for peace and reunification.
February 8, 2016
Kim Young Ju, General Secretary, NCCK
Noh Jung Sun, Chair of Reconciliation and Reunification, NCCK
2016: Message from Taiwan after the election
The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan
On January 18, 2016, the Executive Committee of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) adopted a Message on the January 16 General Elections. This is the full text.
“May Taiwan become a country blessed by God”
A Message on the General Election of January 16, 2016
January 19, 2016
The PCT offers thanksgiving to God that the people of Taiwan have written a brand new chapter in the history of Taiwan through the expression of their democratic right by casting their vote this past Saturday, January 16, 2016. They elected Taiwan’s first woman president, Dr. Tsai Ing-wen, and gave the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), a comfortable 68 seats in a 113-member Legislative Assembly.
The PCT congratulates President Tsai on her election. The PCT is especially impressed by the young people’s active participation in the political campaigning and in presenting themselves as candidates. The strong showing of the New Power Party (NPP), which won all three seats it contested, represents a new vitality in Taiwan’s democratization. More importantly, the NPP with two additional at-large allocations will ensure that its voice on behalf of the youth of Taiwan will be heeded.
2016: God's Peace cannot be achieved through force
North Korean Nuclear Test (Hydrogen Bomb Test)
Statement as PDF
Statement on the January 6 North Korean Nuclear Test (so-called Hydrogen Bomb Test)
God’s Peace cannot be achieved through force
Since the proclamation of the “Declaration of the Churches of Korea on National Unification and Peace” in 1988, the NCCK has continuously made clear its principle of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and the whole world. But amidst rising military tension due to North Korea’s nuclear test on January 6, we claim the following with deep concern.
1. Peace cannot be built through nuclear weapons and an arms race.
We have clearly observed through historical experiences, especially the Korean War, that peace and unification in the Korean peninsula cannot be achieved through force. The North has several times proposed that they would cease nuclear testing in exchange for the suspension of the Korea-US joint military drills, but the proposals have been ignored. The US is reacting quickly to this test as they have just flown over the Korean peninsula one of their high-tech strategic weapons: the B-52 Stratofortress, capable of delivering nuclear bombs. They are also considering
Für eine gerechte Lösung!
Japanische und Koreanische Regierung einigen sich: 28.12.2015
Erklärung weltweit veröffentlicht am 6.1.2016
Für eine gerechte Lösung der "Trostfrauen"-Frage - eine gloable Aktion
gleichzeitig in den USA (Los Angeles, in Washington DC. New York, New Jersey, San Francisco, Atlanta), in Österreich (Wien), Frankreich (Paris), Great Britain (London), in Deutschland (Berlin und München) etc.
PDF (English) | PDF (Koreanisch) | PDF (Deutsch)
Siehe auch diese Animation, die Geschichte einer koreanischen "Trostfrau"
UND das STATEMENT der Frauenkommission des KNCC (7.1.2016)
- Statement -
Global Action for Righteous Resolution of the Japanese Military “Comfort Women” Issue and the 1212th Wednesday Demonstration
January 6, 2016
After Hak-soon Kim courageously testified on August 14, 1991 against Japan’s crime, the Japanese military “comfort women,” the first Wednesday Demonstration was held on January 8, 1992. Since then, it has been carrying on the hopeful spirit for 24 years and reached 1212th demonstration today. This weekly demonstration has become the brave voice of the victims, fight of the people hoping to accomplish human rights and peace, and a place of solidarity of people worldwide who oppose the war and demand elimination of violence against women. On December 14, 2011, the Peace Monument was erected here through solidarity participations of citizens to celebrate the 1000th Wednesday demonstration, and it vividly affirms our righteous fight.
The foreign ministers of Korea and Japan’s talk on December 28, 2015 clearly ignored “comfort women” victims’ demands
Forderung nach Annullierung der Jap.-Kor. Vereinbarung
Japanische und Koreanische Regierung einigen sich: 28.12.2015
AG TROSTFRAUEN im Korea-Verband
Veröffentlicht am 4. Januar 2016
Forderung nach Annullierung der japanisch-koreanischen Vereinbarung zur „Trostfrauen“-Frage
Die AG „Trostfrauen“ im Korea Verband fordert die Annullierung der japanisch-koreanischen Vereinbarung zur „Trostfrauen“-Frage vom 28.12.2015 und ruft zur Internationalen Solidarität mit der 1212. Mittwochsdemonstration auf. Folgende Forderungen gibt die AG „Trostfrauen“ zur Mittwochsdemo am 06.01.2016 vor der Koreansichen und Japanischen Botschaft ab.
Am 28.12.2015 wurde die japanisch-koreanische Vereinbarung zur „Trostfrauen-Frage“ verabschiedet und zahlreiche Medien berichteten, dass die „Trostfrauen-Frage“ nun „endgültig und unwiderruflich“ gelöst worden sei! Die Betroffenen sind jedoch maßlos empört und zugleich tief enttäuscht über diese diplomatische Augenwischerei, die ohne jegliche Absprache mit Betroffenen und Betroffenen-Verbänden als vollendete Tatsache über ihre Köpfe hinweg beschlossen wurde.