Fukushima: 2 Jahre danach - Civic Groups

Fukushima Christian and Civic Groups


12 March 2013


Christian and civic groups in Japan seek worldwide solidarity for Fukushima

By Hisashi Yukimoto

JAPAN -- Christian and civic groups in Japan are seeking worldwide solidarity for people in and from Fukushima.

The second anniversary of the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster falls on 11 March.

"Let's never forget the consequences of a nuclear disaster", says the website of the Church World Service (CWS) Asia Pacific (www.cwsasiapacific.org) about the northeastern Japanese city.

On 15 January, the Japanese NGO Centre for International Cooperation (JANIC) launched a website called Fukushima On the Globe (http://fukushimaontheglobe.com/), which is supported by some organizations including the CWS and the ACT Alliance, an international alliance of more than 130 churches and non-governmental organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development

The website includes a 30-minute English YouTube video entitled, Fukushima Now: in the Aftermath of Nuclear Disaster (see the video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hxTzH6f2fA). The video had been released on 1 October last year by the CWS Asia-Pacific on its website:

"The film highlights some of the efforts made by our local partners in Japan to combat the problems of radiation exposure, and some of the remaining dangers of radiation," explained the CWS Asia-Pacific whose Japan office is based in Tokyo. "We hope that this video will raise awareness of the ongoing needs of the people in Fukushima and further donations to our extended appeal for the Japan disaster."

The JANIC explained that the Fukushima On the Globe is "an English portal site connecting Fukushima and the world, aiming to promote long-term international interest in and support of Fukushima" and "globally disseminate information on Fukushima's issues after the March 2011 nuclear disaster."

"Since the Great East Japan Earthquake/Tsunami and accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the situation in Fukushima has become more and more complicated", the JANIC said. "This website analyses Fukushima's issues from various angles and provides up-to-date information in English to the general public."

"In addition, this website provides the international community with detailed information that will hopefully help in the fight against pollution and radioactive contamination," the JANIC said. "Experience and lessons learned from Fukushima can be shared among communities all over the world." (See website,


The site is managed by the JANIC and supported by the CWS as a part of joint project with Fukushima Future Centre for Regional Revitalisation, Fukushima University, according to the CWS Asia-Pacific.

"Though media coverage and people's interest in Fukushima seems to be going down, still more than 160,000 people are displaced from their home and millions of people including children are living in the area where annual airborne radiation dose exceeds 1 mSV, ICRP's limit of radiation exposure for [a] member of [the] public," the CWS Asia-Pacific said, referring to an international radiation standard of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) based in Canada.

"JANIC established this site to share these people's agony and struggle with international community, as it is not only the problem in Fukushima or Japan but also the problem for all human beings on the globe," the CWS Asia-Pacific said. "Having a team based in Fukushima city, JANIC will try to focus on people's situation and citizen's movement that are not covered by other media. The purpose is to connect Fukushima and the world, to tackle this difficult challenge for human beings together."

"Fukushima remains silent and is groaning," said Rev. Dr. Naoya Kawakami, secretary general of the Sendai Christian Alliance Disaster Relief Network, also known as Touhoku HELP, a Japanese interdenominational network based in Japan's northeastern coastal city of Sendai near the offshore epicentre of the earthquake. The Japanese word "Touhoku" means northeast.

The Japan Evangelical Alliance (JEA) conducted a five-day tour from 14 February in South Korea for 15 pastors and missionaries including Kawakami from the affected area of the earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear disaster in northeast Japan to promote Japan-Korea inter-church exchange and mission cooperation. During the tour, they showed the present situation of Fukushima in a video to tens of thousands of people at some major churches in the country.

The outcome of the tour included "a proposal made from the KEF [Korean Evangelical Fellowship] to the JEA for the churches in Japan and South Korea [which was under Japanese colonial rule from 1905 to 1945] to learn the histories of each other and respond [to their lessons] with our own words," Kawakami said.

"Based on the conference in Aizu, there have been moves being accelerated to see nuclear weapons and nuclear facilities as one to connect it to Asian solidarity. Because the World Council of Churches [WCC]' [10th] Assembly will be held in Busan, Korea [from 30 October to 8 November 2013]," Kawakami told APENews about an anti-nuclear strategy in an interview in Tokyo on 25 February. "For that strategy, we want to tell [the world] about Fukushima and hope that it will help improving the circumstance [in Fukushima]."

He was then referring to an international inter-religious conference which was held in Fukushima's western city of Aizuwakamatsu last December with 87 participants, including Buddhists and Christians including Kawakami from Asia, Europe and North America, who pledged "to work to abolish nuclear power, to heal the living communities affected by it, and to restore creation as fully as possible," as reported by APENews on 8 December.www.apenews.org/newsread.asp?nid=399 They also resolved to send their "statement to the World Council of Churches [WCC] Assembly in 2013 along with a workshop on the impact of nuclear power".

In an article entitled "Nuclear tragedy finds a human face in Fukushima" on 19 December last year, Jonathan Frerichs, programme executive of the WCC for peace building and disarmament, who attended the conference, reported that the everyday effects of radiation borne by survivors of the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan add up today to an involuntary experiment with public health, community life and environmental affairs

(see website: www.oikoumene.org/en/news/news-management/eng/a/article/1634/nuclear-tragedy-finds-a-h.html).

Kawakami described the conference as "a step to tell the world about Fukushima, which was held barely in time" before the deadline for making a proposal to the upcoming 10th Assembly of the WCC "and the fruit of their very important effort in view of the assembly."

In Seoul, the WCC organised a Pre-Assembly Nuclear Advocacy Consultation from 10 to 12 December last year. Advocacy and action steps were developed through a series of panels, group discussions and background papers to cover ecumenical and civil society approaches to nuclear abolition, civil and military nuclear power in Northeast Asia, partnerships and networks, and Buddhist-Christian cooperation.

And the United Church of Christ in Japan (UCCJ) is planning to hold an international conference on the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster at Touhoku Gakuin University in Sendai in March 2014.

"The challenges to Fukushima are desperately huge and serious," Kawakami said in an email on 2 February. "Please remember [Fukushima] in your prayers."

"I think that our prayer is linked to the world through God who called Moses on the side of those who are suffering," said Kawakami, a Japanese theologian and a UCCJ minister, referring to the book of Exodus in the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible. "I believe that only a network of that prayer can become a foothold against despair."

"Right now, there have been continuous efforts to extend this step further beyond it in various areas. We the Touhoku Help is being allowed to join the circle by summoning up our small power," he said.

At an English website linked to the network's trilingual homepage (http://tohokuhelp.com/), Rev. Takashi Yoshida, who heads the Sendai Christian Alliance, wrote last June, "[O]ur important role is to greatly desire the peace and life by opposing against nuclear power, but at the same time, we think that we should not forget to stay close to people in Touhoku who have experienced affliction by disaster (including all interest parties of nuclear power plants and TEPCO), who are still striving amidst numerous contradictions."

Meanwhile, Seungkoo Choi, a co-leader of Christian Network for Nuke-Free Earth (CNFE), an interdenominational group based in Chiba, east of Tokyo, has been actively promoting projects since November 2011 for international solidarity with people in other parts of the world with nuclear power plants and/or plans to build nuclear facilities, such as Mongolia, South Korea, Taiwan, the United States.

In its founding statement at its English website (http://jcnfe.sakura.ne.jp/Founding%20Statement.html), the CNFE states that it aims at "liberation from the darkness of 'nuclear society'".

Choi is a Korean resident in Japan and a member of the Japan Alliance Christ Church who is also the secretary general of No Nukes Asia Actions (NNAA).

On its English website (http://ermite.just-size.net/nucleare/), the NNAA describes itself as "a group of citizens wishing to live in a world free from nukes, both weapons and nuclear power."

The NNAA's Facebook defines itself as "an international coalition of the people against nuclear regimes in Mongolia, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and the US West Coast, who are in struggling against their local uranium development and the nuclear power plants, who consolidate solidarity network to dismantle the nuclear renaissance which is the symbol of post-world war 'colonialism'."







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