Day 479 Drifting towards unparalleled catastrophe…

The Hydrangea Revolution and Japan’s Unheard Voices

http://akiomatsumura.com/2012/07/the-hydrangea-revolution-and-japans-unheard-voices.html

“The splitting of the atom has changed everything, except man’s way of thinking, and so we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.” – Albert Einstein

 By Akio Matsumura

Who is leading us toward nuclear catastrophe? Government and political leaders, profit-minded business leaders, and paid nuclear scientists. Yes, it is difficult to change their thinking.

However, those of us in Japan and the United States live in democracies. Government derives its power from the people through laws that guarantee our freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of the press. And our history shows that people under oppression will eventually stand up. In recent memory, the Arab Spring shook the Middle East free from the grip of several dictators, and although much of the movement erupted in violence, real change has come. This past Friday Mohammed Mursi became Egypt’s first civilian, democratically elected president.

Since the Fukushima accident a popular movement has grown in Japan as well. Also on Friday, tens of thousands of people protested the government’s decision to restart two reactors this month at the Oi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture. People chanted “No More Fukushima,” and called for nuclear energy to remain off in Japan. They want accountability and responsibility by the Japanese government and TEPCO. (It is notable that many young mothers joined the demonstration to call for their children’s safety).

These tens of thousands are the Hydrangea Revolution.  Hydrangea flowers are composed of many small flowers and are resilient in the face of strong winds and storms. The flower is a symbol of unity and individual commitment.  I praise their courageous actions.

However, the Hydrangea Revolution is not the Arab Spring; the Japanese are not fighting to oust a dictator like former President Hosni Mubarak. Prime Minister Noda has the reputation for being a consensus builder, not a risk taker and especially not a dictator. What then, does the Hydrangea Revolution want to change?

People are demonstrating against the system of secrecy and back room influence that steers Tokyo and the rest of the country. TEPCO has influence over policy makers, media circles, and elite scientists. Together these three groups hold enough power, influence, and expertise to say what goes for truth in Japan, even if it is not what is correct. Because of this collusion, freedom of speech has waned in Japan. We Japanese traditionally hope more to save face than speak out against an issue. But now we are seeing that inaction begets oppression. And thus people are speaking out.

“Unheard Voices”

Last week I watched a recording of a play entitled ‘Unheard Voices,” which was performed on March 11, 2012 in Tokyo by three girls from Soma High School in Fukushima Prefecture.  I was moved by their courage but find myself in despair over their grief and worries.  We have made an irreversible mistake that will affect their future. It is our moral obligation to listen to them. This is even more necessary after learning that the video has become controversial in Japan.

I would like to introduce an excerpt that shows the deep lamentation expressed by the three young actresses in the drama.

Maki:  “In the future, if we get married to people outside of the region and have children, what if they say something about the Fukushima radiation? In the future, when we have children, if that child has any sort of disability, we’ll be blamed for everything.”

Sakura: “But it’s not our fault! … I think that the surrounding areas only grew thanks to the power plant. In exchange for all the risk, of course. But, those risks aren’t something our generation agreed to!

Maki:  “Don’t you see? We’ve been robbed of our freedom. I mean, what is freedom anyway? The food is contaminated! So is the soil! As is the water and the ocean! Can we even say that we’re ‘free’ when we have to live in fear of the radiation? We live so close to the nuclear power plant, but just because we’re outside of the warning zone, we’ve been given no guarantees. I want them to guarantee our future.”

Nozomi (committed suicide): 455… 456…457…458…In Soma, this many people have died because of the disaster.  Will I be counted as the 459th?  Why don’t people understand?  Did I say something wrong?  Like how beautiful the stars in the night sky are, or how green and beautiful Soma becomes after the winter.     What do you know? You don’t know anything!

These short lines leave a clear message of what sort of ill life we are passing on to younger generations.

If Fukushima reactor unit 4 collapses, the catastrophe would degrade the lives of our descendants for hundreds or thousands of years. If we have nothing to explain to these girls now, how will we explain an the cause and effects of an even larger catastrophe later?

The girls’ perspective of life and nature has changed.  “Mountain, Forest, River, Sea…” these words now bring to mind radiation, not the dwelling place of any spirit or God. We live on a world of water. From space, our planet is blue with the oceans that cover 70 percent of its surface.  As life on our planet comes from water, we too are formed from a single cell in the small sea of our mother’s womb.  Like the earth, we are 70 percent water.  But something is terribly wrong when water, the worldwide symbol of purity, becomes polluted. The natural order is upside down when a drink of water brings disease instead of relief.  When a heavy rain kills trees and lakes. When the source of life is poisoned as it flows from the ground. We are a tenant of the planet.  We have no right to change the planet.

I like to suggest that our policy makers, nuclear power plant companies and nuclear scientists step back   for a moment and think over as an individual, not an associate of any group, what our responsibility is for our children, grand children and our descendants for years to come.  The Hydrangea Revolution is a push for true democracy in Japan. A free press is a critical pillar of any democracy. It is a time for each member of the media to ask basic questions of the Japanese government and its companies and shed light on the true situation there.

Still, it may be too late to do anything now unless the wisdom of the international community and the military step in.

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Today – 5.2  Near Tokyo

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More information at:

http://nonukes2012.jp/en/

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Evacuees give up on no-go zone

Kyodo

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120703a5.html#.T_LKhY6D57Y

FUKUSHIMA — About 40 percent of evacuees from the town hosting the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant have no intention of returning there, a recent poll indicated Monday.

Releasing the results of the poll on 10,025 residents of Okuma, which is within the no-entry zone, Mayor Toshitsuna Watanabe said at a press conference, “Many residents want to return home but they have judged they cannot do so . . . ”

Watanabe also said some respondents who said they will not return home may change their minds depending on progress in work to reduce radioactive materials and compensate them for damage from the crisis triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The town office conducted the poll in May and June and 64.6 percent of all residents responded. It showed 40.4 percent said they will not return to the town, while 39.9 percent said they will wait for the right time to return.

The town mailed questions to the residents from its temporary office in Aizuwakamatsu.

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Radiation-Watch.org has a new Pocket Geiger for the Android. For details (in Japanese) see:

http://www.radiation-watch.org/p/blog-page.html

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From ENENEWS at:

http://enenews.com/fukushima-woman-many-aborting-babies-really-happening-many-women-visibly-pregnant-suddenly-werent-video

Fukushima Woman: Many are aborting their babies… It’s really happening — I know many women who were visibly pregnant then suddenly weren’t (VIDEO)

In Containment: The people of Minamisoma, 15 months after the meltdown – Part 1/5
Director/editor Ian Thomas Ash
Producer/camera Koji Fujita
Published on Jul 2, 2012
Published by DocumentingIan

Citizens of Minamisoma share personal struggles they continue to face

At 5:00 in

Unidentified Speaker : And many women are aborting their babies.

Interviewer: I have also heard that the number of abortions increasing. But I don’t know if it’s really true.

Minamisoma Resident: It’s really happening.

Interviewer: It’s not just a rumor, but actually true?

Minamisoma Resident: Many people are afraid to have children. I know many people who feel that way. I know many women who were visibly pregnant then suddenly weren’t.

At 7:30 in

Minamisoma Resident 2: Although more than a year has passed we are still suffering. Our hearts are still anguished by issues such as this problem of increasing abortions.

 and…

At 4:30 in

Minamisoma Resident: I was told people from Fukushima couldn’t get life insurance. I can’t believe that’s true. But an insurance person told me that was a possibility. Especially cancer insurance.

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Burning Rivers: How Coal And Nuclear Are Sucking Up Our Fresh Water

By Climate Guest Blogger on Jul 2, 2012 at 10:31 am


The 20th century was characterized by the frenzied acquisition, storage, and use of oil. But many experts believe that the 21st century will be remembered as the century of water.

One of the most alarming emerging issues is the symbiotic — and often conflicting — relationship between electricity generation and water.

A new report called “Burning Our Rivers: The Water Footprint of Electricity” details this relationship, illustrating the massive amounts of water resources used for electricity generation — particularly from fossil fuels and nuclear.

An average U.S. household’s monthly energy use (weighted by cooling technology and fuel mix) requires 39,829 gallons of water, or five times more than the direct residential water use of that same household…. Electricity—as we generate it today—depends heavily on access to free water. The impact to our freshwater resources is an external cost of electrical production. What the market considers ‘least cost’ electricity is often the most water intensive.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, 53 percent of all the fresh surface water withdrawn for human consumption in 2005 was used for electricity generation.

While consumption in the U.S. is falling, coal is still the most dominant source of power in the country. It is also the single largest consumer of water resources:

A MWh of electricity generated by coal withdraws approximately 16,052 gallons and consumes approximately 692 gallons of water…. On average (a weighted average taking into account the current mix of cooling technologies being used at coal plants in the U.S.), coal-fired electricity requires the withdrawal of approximately 13,515 gallons and the consumption of 482 gallons of water per MWh for cooling purposes.

The water not used directly for power generation is used in mining coal and other treatment before burning, creating millions of gallons of “sludge” that can potentially pollute freshwater supplies.

Nuclear power is not much better:

Similar to coal-fired power plants, nuclear power plants traditionally operate with single-cycle cooling technologies, which are systematically more water intensive than all other thermodynamic cooling technologies. Additionally, because nuclear fission is less thermodynamically efficient than the combustion of coal, the water required to generate nuclear power is slightly greater than that of coal-fired power.

According to the report, Nuclear power plants “(withdraw) approximately 14,881 gallons and (consume) 572 gallons of water per MWh.” Large amounts of water are also used in the uranium mining process and for storage of fuel rods. In Georgia, for example, two large nuclear power plants use more water than all the water used by people living in Atlanta, Augusta and Savannah combined.

Article continues at:

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/07/02/508879/burning-rivers-how-coal-and-nuclear-are-sucking-up-our-fresh-water/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+climateprogress%2FlCrX+%28Climate+Progress%29

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From EX-SKF:

Ooi Nuke Plant Reactor 3: Problem with Turbine, Start of Power Generation Postponed by One Day to July 5

It’s just a bad juju after another. Water leaks, alarms going off along the power transmission lines, protesters preventing the government minister from entering the plant by land, and now this.

The Reactor 3 turbine vibrates too much.

Article continues with translation of Jiji news article at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.jp/2012/07/ooi-nuke-plant-reactor-3-problem-with.html

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Nuclear Japan: Hamaoka Nuke Plant Opens “Nuclear Safety Research Laboratory” (Seriously)

You can’t make that up. Following the news ofGundam fantasy by LDP politicians, Chubu Electric Power Company says it will ensure safety of nuclear power by having a nuclear safety lab inside Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant, in order to ensure safety. Remember this plant sit right in the center of the expected Tokai earthquake zone, and the plant itself sits on earthquake faults. The plant is practically on the beach, and if tsunami comes it will be the reactor buildings that will be hit first, not the turbine building as happened in Fukushima.

Article continues at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.jp/2012/07/nuclear-japan-hamaoka-nuke-plant-opens.html

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This from Deep Kyoto at:

http://www.deepkyoto.com/?p=7768

Ohi Nuclear Power Plant ~ Why We Should Be Worried…

Estimated number of people living within 30 kilometers of Fukui’s 14 reactors: 1,249,981
(Fukui Shimbun, Oct. 21, 2011)

Distance from the Ohi reactors to central Kyoto city: 60 kilometers

The following message is from Aileen Mioko Smith of Green Action Japan. Click on the pictures to view a larger image.

The red lines on this JPEG photo depict the shattered zones (earthquake faults) under the Ohi Nuclear Power Plant. The information is from Kansai Electric. The information is laid over Google Earth by Professor Mitsuhisa Watanabe, tectonic geomorphologist, Toyo University (Tokyo, Japan.)

The F-6 fault which is suspected of being an active fault is marked. The boat-shaped blue shows the location of the original trench excavation.

Professor Watanabe inspected the Ohi Nuclear Power Plant site yesterday (June 27th) with 5 members of the Japanese Diet. He confirmed 3 locations where the F-6 fault which is suspected of being an active fault can be examined by excavation. According to Professor Watanabe, the process to confirm whether this fault is active or not can be undertaken within a one week period (this includes the time required for refilling the excavation).

Government regulations state that category “S” equipment which require rigorous seismic resistance standards are “not assumed to be built over active faults.” Yesterday, it was confirmed during the on-site examination that the pipes for the emergency coolant intake from the ocean are “S” category, and they cross over the F-6 fault.

The Fukui prefecture newspapers report on the above issue today. Below, see Kansai Electric’s original sketch of the Northwest Wall of the trench. The sketch depicts a classic active fault. This controversial sketch was not submitted by Kansai Electric during the recent government back-check of Ohi.

Yuichi Sugiyama, a prominent member of the government’s back-check committee, in an interview with Kyodo (article 26 June) stated, “It is necessary to make an onsite examination of the shattered faults once more. We have only seen part of the past inspection records. We need to examine all of the information.”
(Original Japanese of Sugiyama quote:「現地で破砕帯をもう一度調査するべきだろう。過去の調査記録も一部しか見ていないので、全部確認するべきだ。」)

For more details, contact Green Action.

Aileen Mioko Smith: cell +81-90-3620-9251.

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From ENENEWS at:

http://enenews.com/tokyo-professor-warns-of-possible-active-fault-dividing-reactors-at-japans-only-operating-nuclear-power-plant-shattered-zone-runs-between-units-2-and-3

Tokyo professor warns of possible active fault dividing reactors at Japan’s only operating nuclear plant — Shattered zone runs between Units 2 and 3 at Oi

Japanese seismologists warn of possible active fault line dividing Ohi reactors

Enformable
July 2, 2012

Seismic modeling by Japan’s nuclear regulator did not properly take into account active fault lines near the Ohi plant

Japan restarted one of its nuclear reactors on Sunday

[…]

Despite having been slated for restart, the two reactors at the Ohi nuclear plant find themselves once again under intense scrutiny

[…]

“new findings” were presented by Mitsuhisa Watanabe, a tectonic geomorphology professor from Tokyo University, at a press conference on June 28th […] shared concerns about is the presence of a shattered zone called “F6” which runs underground between Units 2 and 3 of the Ohi Nuclear Power Plant.

There is evidence that infers the bedrock and the upper layer of earth around the F-6 fault line shifted at the same time, and the Tokyo professor considers this to be a “classic active fault structure, though KEPCO does not agree.

[…]

Top snady soil has moved along the rock layer. Surface of the fault, there are clay attached. ( red square in picture)—1cm film like yellow clay attached – infers recent movement activity of an active fault

“The expertise and neutrality of experts advising Japan’s Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency are highly questionable,” Watanabe said. He has asked that the government undertake an onsite examination of the geology. He also states, for the length of time necessary for the investigation he states that, “it can be undertaken thoroughly in a few days.”

[…]

Editors Note: Many thanks to Kishiko Suzuki, who spent personal time and effort to provide most of the translations from Japanese to English for me, I am very grateful.

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Japan Green Tea Exports Banned Due To High Radiation Levels

Japan Green Tea Fields

Green tea is known for its many medicinal purposes. The Chinese have known about the medicinal benefits of green tea since ancient times, using it to treat everything from headaches to depression. While green tea has so many healthy benefits, consumers need to be wary if their tea comes from certain parts of Japan.

Article continues at:

 Planetsave (http://s.tt/1ef8T)

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Live in California? Look for this woman and listen to what she has to say!

CALIFORNIA ANTI-NUKE TOUR OF CHIEKO SHIINA, A FUKUSHIMA MOTHER AND FARMER 「原発いらない福島の女たち」の椎名千恵子さんによる、カリフォルニア縦断反原子力ツアー

Posted by Umi Hagitani on June 30, 2012 · Leave a Comment


Save the Date: July 7th– July 18th
A Japanese Anti-Nuke Activist Ms. Chieko Shiina Tours California!(日本語でのスケジュール等は英文の下に記載)
No Nukes Action Committee invites an anti-nukes activist Ms. Chieko Shiina from Fukushima to tour California. Join us and draw a big map without nukes!
No Nukes Action Committeeは、「原発いらない福島の女たち」の椎名千恵子さんをお招きして、カリフォルニア縦断の反原子力ツアーを行います。 フクシマの生の声を聞いて、太平洋を超えて、原子力に依存しないで生きるつながりを作りましょう!

Who is Chieko Shiina?
   Inviting Ms. Chieko Shiina will be the next crucial step to advance this already established international coalition into California-state or even national level organizing because she is one of the most powerful organizers from Fukushima. Being a youth activist in famers’ and students’ organizing for land issues and fight against US-Japan Peace treaty, she is an experienced activist who understands the mechanism and the legacy of nuclear renaissance in relation to multinational militaries in the context of East Asian politics. She was an organic farmer in Kawamata town of Fukushima. She became anti-nukes organizer since March 11th, formed Fukushima Women Against Nuclear Power, touring communities all over Japan to help support local organizing against nukes. She organized the sit-in in front of the Ministry of Economy and Industry from September 11th, 2011. She coordinated women from Fukushima to set up “Women’s 10 months and 10 days sit-in” in October, which later became both a symbolic and physical space where women from all over Japan came to communicate and organize. This is also now known as Occupy Kasumigaseki, Tokyo, which Occupy Berkeley group allies with.

Article continues with her itinerary at:

http://nonukesaction.wordpress.com/2012/06/30/california-anti-nuke-tour-of-chieko-shiina-a-fukushima-mother-and-farmer/

☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢☢

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