2013 Now in Korea: Distorting Democracy
Am 19.12.2013 ist seit der Präsidentschaftswahl gerade ein Jahr verstrichen, ein Jahr voller Enttäuschungen und Rückkehr zu politischen Methoden der 70er Jahre. "Now in Korea" befasst sich mit der derzeitigen Situation in Korea.
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 8, No. 1, February 24, 2014.
Update February 24, 2014.
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Focus. (Dieser Essay ist notwendig zum Verständnis der derzeitigen Situation in Südkorea.)
Distorting Democracy: Politics by Public Security in Contemporary South Korea1
Jamie Doucette and Se-Woong Koo
Since our article appeared, there have been several developments that demand the reader’s attention. The scale of electoral interference was found to have been more extensive than we originally reported. Last December, prosecutors investigating the case disclosed that the National Intelligence Service (NIS) had produced over a period of two years leading up to the election some 1900 online posts and approximately 22 million Tweets with political or election-related content—roughly 30% of all election-related content that was generated on Twitter. This was circulated by agents of the NIS’s psychological warfare team and hired contractors.
The trial of former NIS chief Won Sei-hoon, who stands accused of overseeing the spread of messages favorable to the ruling Saenuri Party, is due to begin in the near future. On the other hand, on February 6 Kim Yong-pan, the former Seoul Metropolitan Police chief, was acquitted on the charge of ordering a cover-up of the NIS’s criminal activities after the court deemed the evidence insufficient to establish his guilt, ignoring the testimony of a key whistleblower in its entirety. The conduct of the trial and its verdict were condemned by members of the legal group MINBYUN (Lawyers for a Democratic Society) which criticized the police for limiting the scope of their initial analysis into NIS tweets and failing to fully investigate the online activity of NIS agent Kim Ha-young, the woman discovered on the eve of the presidential election to be spreading pro-Saenuri tweets and social media posts from her studio apartment.
On February 17 the United Progressive Party (UPP)’s left-nationalist lawmaker Lee Seok-ki was found guilty of sedition, plotting an armed rebellion, and National Security Law (NSL) violation based on a transcript from meetings held by Lee and his associates. He and his lawyers have vowed to appeal the verdict. The evidence against Lee, especially the transcript originally circulated by the NIS, was called into question in the course of the legal proceeding, as several original recordings on which the transcript was based proved missing and the transcript itself appeared to substitute extremist language in place of more neutral words. The court, however, largely accepted the case as presented by the NIS and prosecutors. Lee’s conviction on the charge of NSL violation was deemed especially troubling by progressive commentators as it relied heavily on the fact that Lee and his associates had sung “revolutionary” songs from North Korea.
Fukushima 2014 - Drei Jahre danach
von Shoko HARA und Paul Brenner
Kinder in Fukushima können auf Grund der radioaktiven Strahlung nicht mehr in der Natur spielen.
Denn die Natur ist nicht dekontaminierbar.
Dies ist nur eine Geschichte von 360.000 Kindern, die zu Hause bleiben und von ihrer Freiheit in der Natur träumen und die Wirklichkeit erleben.
Das Video ist die Examensarbeit von S. Hara und P. Brenner
DHBW Ravensburg, Media Design
Best Animated Film, International Uranium Filmfestival, Rio de Janeiro, 2013
Special Mention, Back-up Filmfestival, Weimar, 2013
Tokyo-Wahl 2014: Political Comeback?
Security in Northeast Asia
The Asia-Pacific Journal, January 26, 2014.
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Foccus.
Could Hosokawa Morihiro’s political comeback restore sanity to Japanese politics?
In the upcoming Tokyo gubernatorial elections, Hosokawa Morihiro could make an astonishing comeback more than a quarter of a century after retiring as Prime Minister. Mainstream and independent media have generally stressed his opposition to nuclear power and his support for green energy alternatives, in contrast to the national government of Abe Shinzō. However, Abe and Hosokawa also represent different poles in another controversial field of politics – the politics of memory including the fraught question of apologies for war and the regional and global implications of their respective stances.
India-Japan Nuclear Agreement
Indien-Japan - ein Vertrag zum Bau von AKWs
Texte aus Indien s. am Ende des Beitrags!
Ministerpräsident ABE Shinzo in Indien
Mr. Shinzo Abe,
You're welcome to India, nukes are NOT!
Please spread the word. Oppose the absurdity of India-Japan nuclear agreement after Fukushima, when Mr. Shinzo Abe is not able to fix Fukushima and all reactors in Japan have been closed down.
Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan is going to be India's chief guest for this year's Republic Day ceremony on 26th January.
During visit from 24-26 January, the India-Japan nuclear agreement will also be finalised, which the two governments have been pushing for a long time.
We support better relationship between India and Japan but find a nuclear agreement absurd and unacceptable after Fukushima.
- It is ironical that Japan is selling nuclear technology to other countries while the crisis in Fukushima is further deepening. People evacuated have no hope of returning back and the dangerous leaks of radioactive water are continuing unabated.
- The agreement will give a push to the Indian government's insane and anachronistic nuclear expansion drive which it is implementing through brutal repression of its rural poor. A recent global nuclear safety report has ranked India 23rd last among the 25 countries. The nuclear regular in India is completely toothless and non-independent, as highlighted by the CAG report last year.
The Spirit of Gangjeong
Video-Message von Gangjeong auf Jeju-do in Südkorea
The Spirit of Gangjeong - Episode Nr.3
In Gangjeong auf Jeju-do in Südkorea wird mitten im Naturschutzgebiet ein moderne Kriegshafen gebaut. Die südkoreanische Regierung läßt ihn durch di Fa. Samsung und in Anbsprache mnit der US-Regierung bauen. Die Proteste dauern nun schon 7 Jahre, die Firma und die Polizei greifen immer wieder zu gewaltsamen Methoden, um den friedlichen Protest zu unterdrücken.
Es geht bei dem Protest gegen Krieg, Militarismus, Verweigerung der Menschenrechte und Zerstörung der Umwelt um eine inzwsichen viele Menschen im ganzen Land ergriffene Bewegung. Das Video zeigt die jüngste Entwicklung:
Die Arbeiter in Fukushima Daiichi - Ein Aufruf
Energiepolitik - Atomkraft
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 16, April 22, 2013.
Zum Jahrestag der Tschernobylkatastrophe am 26. April 1986
An appeal for improving labour conditions of Fukushima Daiichi workers
Sumi Hasegawa with an introduction by Paul Jobin
Reacting to testimonies of workers published in Sekai (a progressive Japanese monthly journal) and recent radio broadcasts, this individual call from Canada echoes the requests of Japanese NGOs that have been engaged in negotiations with the Ministry of Health and Labor since April 2011 to defend the rights of the workers involved in the “cleanup” of the disaster-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and of those hired to carry out “decontamination” work in Fukushima prefecture.1
If one considers the tremendous task remaining to be done in Fukushima Daiichi (such as the removal of the thousands of spent fuel rods) to avoid an apocalyptic scenario for Japan and the northern hemisphere,2 the workers employed at Fukushima Daiichi merit world attention and support. Their living and working conditions are indeed apocalyptic.
Besides the problems evoked in this call, another major issue emphasized by the Japanese NGOs is the lack of health insurance for most contract workers. Concerning radiation protection, the biggest problems are the following:
- The Ministry has decided to deny health follow-up checks to workers exposed to a cumulative dose below 50 mSv for external radiation exposure (only those above this dose will receive a one-year cancer test);
- TEPCO declared that there would be no records kept for internal radiation below 2 mSv;
- There is thus far no systematic dosimetry, nor have there been health follow-up checks for the people employed—mainly on a temporary basis—in the “decontamination” work on the various hot spots of Fukushima prefecture which the Citizen’s Nuclear Information Center’s Hideyuki Ban has called “displacing the contamination.”3
All of these issues require immediate attention and response from concerned citizens in Japan and internationally. Paul Jobin
Paul Jobin is Director, French Center for Research on Contemporary China, CEFC, Taipei Office, Associate Professor, University of Paris Diderot, and an Asia-Pacific Journal Associate.
Previous articles in Focus on the conditions and plight of Fukushima workers:
Anders Pape Møller and Timothy A. Mousseau, Uncomfortable Questions in the Wake of Nuclear Accidents at Fukushima and Chernobyl
Shoko Yoneyama, Life-world: Beyond Fukushima and Minamata
Iwata Wataru, Nadine Ribault and Thierry Ribault, Thyroid Cancer in Fukushima: Science Subverted in the Service of the State
Gabrielle Hecht, Nuclear Janitors: Contract Workers at the Fukushima Reactors and Beyond
Paul Jobin, Fukushima One Year On: Nuclear workers and citizens at risk
David McNeill, Crippled Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant at One Year: Back in the Disaster Zone
Cara O’Connell, Health and Safety Considerations: Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Workers at Risk of Heat-Related Illness
Matthew Penney, Nuclear Workers and Fukushima Residents at Risk: Cancer Expert on the Fukushima Situation
ABE Shinzo, Prime Minister of Japan
TAMURA Norihisa, Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare, Japan
SHIMOKOBE Kazuhiko, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Tokyo Electric Power Co., Ltd. (TEPCO)
HIROSE Naomi, President, Tokyo Electric Power Co., Ltd.(TEPCO)
An Appeal to Improve Labor Conditions for Workers at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant
Labor conditions for the workers employed to clean up after the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant operated by TEPCO have worsened considerably since the time of the accident; compensation has decreased, the housing situation has worsened, and more.This has been reported in at least three forums: first, on the radio programHôdô suru rajio Radio Broadcast News] broadcast on March 15, 2013, specifically in a segment called “Radio Broadcast News Brings You the True Story of the Two Years since the Nuclear Accident” (hereafter referred to as:Radio Broadcast News); second, a roundtable discussion published in the April 2013 issue of the journalSekaithat featured three workers at the nuclear plant, entitled “What is happening now at 1-F [an abbreviation for “Fukushima Dai-ichi”]?” (hereafter:Roundtable); and third, a report filed in the same issue ofSekaiby Fuse Yûjin titled “1-F Has Not Yet Been Restored” (hereafter:Report).These sources have publicized the issue in some detail, so in what follows, I would like to draw from these sources what I consider to be the main points of concern and my opinions on how to address them.
Fukushima - Two Years On
Energiepolitik - Atomkraft
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 12, March 25, 2013.
Fukushima - Two Years On
Mar. 25, 2013
Two years after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami triggered the planet’s worst’s nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, journalists are still often asked: is the crisis over? One plausible reply might be that it has just begun.
While the threat of another catastrophic release of radiation has receded, perhaps for good, the long, complex struggle to safely remove nuclear fuel from the reactor basements of the Fukushima Daiichi plant is still in its early stages. Reactors still seep radiation, although at a rate of 10 million Becquerel per hour for cesium versus about 800 trillion right after the disaster, according to Reuters. The level outside reactor 3 is 1,710 microsieverts an hour, enough to quickly induce radiation sickness. But radiation around the complex has fallen by about 40 percent in the last year, says operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO).
Plant manager Takahashi Takeshi has again predicted that safely dismantling the six-reactor facility will take up to 40 years. “Radiation levels at units one, two and three are very high and the cause of that is the fuel that has melted inside the reactors," he said during a rare media tour of the plant on March 6. "Radiation levels within the buildings are all very high, although the level at Unit 4 is lower.” He insisted that the ruined No. 4 reactor building, containing 1,530 highly toxic fuel rods, would withstand another earthquake, despite doomsday predictions by some.
He said the unit’s fuel cooling pool has been reinforced and could resist a quake equivalent to
the one that struck on March 11, 2011. Reporters were shown a huge steel structure under construction right next to Unit 4. Engineers explained it will eventually be fitted with a giant crane to lift out the spent fuel rods stored in the top of the Unit 4 building. Takahashi said the fuel removal would begin in November.
The twisted steel frame of Unit 3, now partially covered with huge gray steel panels, is still visible from the hydrogen explosion that ripped the building apart. Two large unmanned cranes stand next to the unit, clearing up the debris on the top floor, where some 500 spent fuel rods are kept in a pool. Another 6,300 fuel rods are stored in a common pool nearby.
Daiichi’s nuclear fuel is kept cool by thousands of gallons of water pumped every day which engineers are struggling to decontaminate. Over 930 water tanks, each holding 1000 tons, have mushroomed at the plant. Engineers said a single tank fills once every two and a half days. A huge structure with lines of Toshiba-designed filtering equipment labors to remove 62 different types of radioactive materials from the water. There is nowhere else for the water to go.
There are widespread reports of shortages of labor at the plant and in the surrounding areas. Reuters says that 70 percent of a sample of workers surveyed by TEPCO late last year made more than 837 yen per hour, roughly equivalent to the hourly remuneration at convenience stores in Japan. The news agency says that as of the end of December 2012, 146 TEPCO workers and 21 contract workers “had exceeded the maximum permissible exposure of 100 millisieverts in five years.”
Estimates of the cost of clearing up from the disaster keep rising. Some experts believe
compensation could double from its current estimates to 10 trillion yen. Not a single one of the approximately 160,000 nuclear refugees has been fully compensated for the loss of their property, land and income. The Japan Center for Economic Research, a Tokyo-based think tank, has estimated that decontamination costs alone in the Fukushima residential area could balloon to as much as $600 billion. TEPCO was nationalized in 2012 so much of the burden of paying for this will fall on the taxpayer.
Outside the plant, in the towns and villages that evacuated in March 2011, life has frozen in time. Police barricades prevent all but authorized people from entering the 20-km contaminated zone. The sea is still too contaminated to fish so hundreds of local fishermen are idle. Parents around Fukushima Prefecture, home to about two million people, face years of worry about the impact of the Daiichi plant’s payload on their children. In this Greenpeace-produced video, the victims of Fukushima express anger and bewilderment at their predicament, and at what the future holds.
Dr David McNeill is the Japan correspondent for The Chronicle of Higher Education and writes for The Independent and Irish Times newspapers. He covered the nuclear disaster for all three publications, has been to Fukushima ten times since 11 March 2011, and has written the book Strong in the Rain (with Lucy Birmingham) about the disasters. He is an Asia-Pacific Journal coordinator.
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Focus.