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Sayonara Nukes Berlin, together with Yosomono-net, a worldwide anti-nuke network of Japanese people living abroad , has issued the following statement of protest against the government’s decision to release of Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean.
Fukushima, Japan: Radioactively contaminated water dumped into the Pacific Ocean?
Japan is planning to dump diluted, filtered and still radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi (FD) nuclear power plant into the ocean this summer.
What’s happening in Fukushima?
After the massive earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, a major nuclear accident occurred at the FDNPP, resulting in hydrogen explosions and core meltdowns. This resulted in a massive release of radioactive materials into the environment, contaminating air, soil, water, and food on land and sea, and continues to do so today.
More than 12 years later, the nuclear emergency declaration issued at the time remains in place, and more than 20,000 people are officially registered as evacuees. The population of the mandatory evacuation zones of Fukushima are subjected to an annual exposure limit of 20 millisieverts, 20 times the former legal civilian limit. This is the same as the limit for nuclear workers and it also applies to children, young people, and pregnant women.
What is to be discharged into the sea?
The damaged reactors must continue to be cooled with water, although closed cooling circuits have been destroyed. Due to rainwater and groundwater pouring in, the amount of contaminated water is increasing every day. At present, more than 1.3 million tons of contaminated water are stocked in tanks. Japan wants to discharge this water, filtered and diluted, into the sea.
What the Japanese government, IAEA and TEPCO say
The water with radionuclides would be treated with the ALPS filtering system “up to the limit of harmlessness.” Mainly, only the isotope tritium would remain, which cannot be filtered out. All nuclear power plants in the world routinely discharge water containing tritium. All radionuclides contained would be treated to be below the relevant limit, and the water would be heavily diluted before discharge into the sea. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has given its blessing to this plan. TEPCO says it would soon run out of space for storage at the site.
What problems and risks the project conceals
The water stored at Fukushima Daiichi is liquid radioactive waste that has come in contact with melted fuel rods and cannot be compared to the tritiated water released during normal reactor operation. It is often said that tritium, an isotope of hydrogen, is the only nuclide that remains after treatment, but in fact, in addition to tritium, the water contains cesium-134 and cesium-137, strontium-90, cobalt-60, carbon-14, and iodine-129 and more.
However, the effect of tritium on the ecosystem and the food chain is far too little studied, and the few existing study results are hardly taken into account. At what quantity may something be assessed as “harmless,” and by whom? For the release of radioactive substances into the environment, Japan has determined the activity concentration limit for each radionuclide, which is supposed to correspond to the concentration of that radionuclide at which the average dose rate of 1 millisievert per year would be reached if one ingested 2 liters of that water daily for 70 years. That means the estimates of long-term effects are not considered. Far too little research has been done on how individual radionuclides behave in seawater, accumulate in the food chain, and what damage they might do. Even if the concentration were diluted, tritium would be discharged into the sea at a total rate of 22 trillion becquerels per year. Whether diluted or dispersed, the amount would remain the same.
The half-life of tritium is 12 years; Strontium 90, 28.8 years; carbon 14, 5730 years and iodine 129, 15.7 million years.
Precautionary and preventive principles
From the point of view of radiation protection, the water at FD must continue to be kept in tanks under strict control. In case of doubt, the principles of precaution and prevention should apply!
One reason for concern is the increase in fish contaminated with cesium 134/137 caught in neighboring ports. In June 2023, a high contamination of 18,000 becquerels per kilo was even measured in a black rockfish. This indicates that an uncontrolled leak of contaminated water is continuing. Without thoroughly investigating and taking measures against this, it would be unethical to discharge contaminated water into the sea.
“Mental decontamination” and “reputational damage”
Instead of protecting the population against delayed health impacts from radiation, the Japanese government prefers to spread a fairy tale. “A little radioactivity is harmless, rather fear is the evil of the problem.” Instead of more accurate health studies and measurements of radioactive contamination, a series of “mental decontamination” campaigns are supposed to combat “psychosomatic” effects. Strong public messages in the form of manipulative advertisements are repeated on a grand scale with one-sided conclusions by pro-nuclear scientists. People’s legitimate fears are dismissed as panic about radiation and demonized as “reputational damage” (against food staples, Fukushima residents and territory) that would prevent the economic growth and reconstruction of Fukushima.
IAEA and the promotion of atomic energy
The task of the IAEA, founded in 1957 following the “Atoms for Peace” program, to promote the civil use of atomic energy, is not “radiation protection.” It sets rules for the extent to which radiation risks should be considered “negligible.” The IAEA Review of Safety Related Aspects does not take into account possible long-term effects on the marine ecosystem. Why should its final report be understood as permission to dump contaminated water into the sea?
Out of sight, out of mind?
Neighboring countries and the South Pacific Island states are right to protest against Japan’s plan. UN experts are also expressing concern about the potential dangers to human health and the environment. If dumping were to begin, it would serve as a precedent for future ocean disposal of contaminated water. In fact, for more than three decades in the future, Japan wants to further pollute the sea, which is connected to all the other seas in the world, and which already suffers greatly from various environmental impacts. The sea is not a waste disposal site. It is irresponsible to spread more contamination instead of isolating it as much as possible. But TEPCO and the Japanese government prefer to cover up the obvious accident consequences, such as numerous contaminated water tanks, by disposing the toxins into the sea. We must never accept this!
Therefore, we demand:
- No discharge of radioactive water into the sea, whether at Fukushima or elsewhere
- Establishment of monitoring and research systems worldwide for all nuclear facilities by independent organizations for monitoring and analysis of ecosystem changes and people’s health impacts
- Transparent communication and publication of research and monitoring results
For the French version of the statement, please visit : https://yosomono-net.jimdofree.com/
The war in Ukraine reminded us in 2022 of the danger of using nuclear weapons, and the real threat of our nuclear power plants if they ever become military targets, turning them into mega-atomic bombs.
However, the Kishida government has committed itself, from August 2022, to nuclear revival with the construction of new reactors, as well as the restart of existing reactors and the extension of their operating periods. This has been included in the “Green Transformation” policy decided by the Council of Ministers on February 10th, 2023. Faced with such a forced choice, after a very short online consultation, and even before the end of a “public debate” limited to only ten cities, we feel an even stronger anger towards the government than before.
The crippled plant is still facing various problems and is far from being safely dismantled. In seven municipalities of Fukushima, there are still so-called “difficult to return to” zones –areas where people are not allowed to stay, and several tens of thousands of refugees cannot return to their homes. Barely twelve years after the accident, the government has abandoned the principles that emerged from the reflections and lessons of the disaster: reducing dependence on nuclear power generation, limiting the operation of a reactor to forty years, and separating the nuclear regulator from the entity that promotes it.
Yes, it is reasonable to publicly express our concern after the stupidity of such a choice which leads straight to the risk of a new accident. That is why we must, once again, oppose this decision with all our might.
The status of the trials is also worrying. The Supreme Court’s verdict for four civil cases in June 2022 absolved the Japanese state of legal responsibility for the accident, overturning the three appeal rulings that had recognized such responsibility.
In the criminal trial against the former TEPCO executives, the appeal judgement of January 2023 confirmed their acquittal, on the grounds of “insufficient evidence”. However, the court had refused to hear important witnesses and even to visit the accident site for verification.
As for the lawsuit filed by the Fukushima authorities to dislodge the refugees from the housing they had been granted, the court condemned the latter without taking into account the international right to housing.
In all cases, the examination of evidence and witnesses remains insufficient, making these judgements unacceptable to the victims. This is why the plaintiffs in the criminal trial have decided to appeal to the Supreme Court. For our part, we will continue to argue and request additional hearings. But these unfair judgements may be related to the move towards a nuclear revival.
As for Fukushima, there is another serious issue, since the discharge of radioactive water from the plant into the sea will begin in several months. And this is expected to last for several decades. In December 2022, we organized an international forum with citizens from the Pacific Ocean who condemned this discharge of contaminated water into the marine environment as an unacceptable violation of the human rights of the people living on the Pacific Ocean and a serious threat to the life of aquatic organisms.
This has also led to protests from countries such as South Korea and China. The crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has already released a huge amount of radioactive substances. But on top of that, the government and TEPCO will knowingly dump more contaminated water into the world’s oceans from Fukushima.
This hurts us, which is why we want this operation to be stopped at all costs. On April 13th, one year to the day after the decision to release the radioactive water into the sea, the people of Fukushima are calling for a worldwide protest action. Let us hope that this international solidarity action will be a success.
In spite of increasingly troubled times, let us continue to work with all our strength and perseverance for a bright future for coming generations.
March 2023 in Fukushima
Chair of the Complainants for the Criminal Prosecution of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster
(Translated from Japanese by Nos Voisins Lointains 3.11)
For the translation in other languages, please visit:
Meeting point: Brandenburger Tor (Parizer Platz), Berlin
– a worldwide phase-out of irresponsible nuclear energy
– immediate decommissioning of the nuclear plants in Lingen and Gronau
– no classification of nuclear energy as sustainable energy production/deletion of nuclear from the EU taxonomy
– Cancel EURATOM treaty
– No discharge of radioactive water into the sea, whether in Fukushima or elsewhere!
Kazaguruma Demo 2022 – The 11th anniversary of FUKUSHIMA
-Nuclear power will NOT save our climate!
Start at 12pm on Saturday, 5th March 2022
Meeting point: Brandenburger Tor (Parizer Platz), Berlin
We are very concerned. Despite the recent decision to replace nuclear and coal-fired energy with renewable energy, more than a few member states of the EU are claiming that nuclear power serves as a measure against climate change.
Over 10 EU governments have announced that they will expand their nuclear energy. The new Japanese government has also announced its intention to promote the development and construction of small nuclear power plants (SMR). These are unacceptable developments.
We cannot turn a blind eye to the daily radioactive contamination caused by the normal operation of nuclear power plants. The problem of the final disposal of vast amounts of radioactive waste also remains. This is still an unsolved problem, not only in Germany but anywhere in the world. Such claims that nuclear power does not harm the environment must not be accepted. A single accident at a nuclear power plant causes irreparable, unimaginable damage to the environment, animals, and people. We should have learned that from Chernobyl and Fukushima.
Last April, 10 years after the accident of Fukushima Daiichi, the Japanese government approved a plan to discharge radioactively contaminated water stored since the accident into the Pacific Ocean. This water, which the operating company Tepco claims to have purified of all radioactive elements still contains primarily tritium and contaminates the environment. The water has not yet been discharged due to strong opposition from residents and fishermen, as well as the international community.
We demand the end to nuclear energy. We want to build a nuclear-free future: Nuclear power will NOT save our climate.
Together we demand:
・Global end to irresponsible nuclear energy
・Immediate shutdown of nuclear facilities at Lingen and Gronau
・No classification of nuclear power as sustainable energy production
・Cancelation of the EURATOM treaty
・No discharge of radioactive water into the ocean
Kazaguruma Demo - 10th Anniversary of FUKUSHIMA Start at 12pm on Saturday, 6th March 2021 Meeting point: Brandenburger Tor (Parizer Platz), Berlin
10 years after Fukushima, but nothing has changed. We need no more nuclear power!
11th March 2021 will mark the 10th anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. No matter how hard the Japanese Government and IAEA try to patch up and underestimate the worst disaster, the facts tell us the real story: The affected homeland will never be the same again. Hundreds of thousands of people are still unable to return to their homes. The damaged nuclear power plant continues to diffuse radiation throughout the environment. The Japanese Government is even thinking about dumping the radioactive water into the ocean as the Fukushima nuclear power plant is, apparently, running out of space for storage.
The situation is far from being “under control”. Fukushima still faces great of danger. However, apart from the reality, pro-nuclear lobbyists promote this dangerous dark nuclear business advocating that climate neutrality cannot be reached without nuclear energy. Quite a number of countries still rely on nuclear power generation. In some countries, there are even plans to build more new nuclear power plants or to extend the lifetime of aged nuclear power plants.
This is ridiculously wrong. We must stand up and fix it! Not only that, nuclear power is never an option to solve climate change, but also is the catastrophic threat to humanity. It’s been 10 years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster but our further efforts are required to push the clean energy revolution forward. Our economy should be free from the power by nuclear and fossil fuels and shift to 100% renewable energy. We will not let the nuclear waste be produced any longer!
Nuclear power is a false solution to climate change!
Far from climate neutrality: Nuclear energy is like an endless chain – uranium mining, generating electricity, reprocessing spent nuclear fuels and final disposal. When you look at the whole process, nuclear energy is a large emitter of CO2.
Contamination threat: Nuclear industries leave hazardous radioactive waste behind almost permanently and they will continue to be the great threat to humanity and to the environment.
Too dangerous: Nuclear energy always goes hand in hand with risk of serious accidents as we witnessed in Fukushima. Long term impacts to humans and to the environment are unavoidable once an accident has occurred. Nuclear technology also increases the ability of nations to manufacture nuclear weapons.
Madly expensive: Nuclear energy is eventually the most expensive way to generate electricity. It cannot survive without pouring governmental funds.
We are therefore calling for:
- Operations of all nuclear power plants in the world should be stopped, especially in Germany, Gronau uranium enrichment plant and Lingen nuclear fuel plant.
- EURATOM and other institutions that promote nuclear technology should be dissolved.
- Sufficient subsidies should be allocated to the research efforts for renewable energy and radioactive waste management made by the independent civil society organizations.
- Germany and Japan should sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Website： http://kazagurumademo.de Organizer： Anti Atom Berlin NaturFreunde Berlin Greenpeace Energy Sayonara Nukes Berlin Cooperating groups： AK Rote Beete Anti-Atom-Plenum Berlin BUND für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland BürgerBegehren Klimaschutz BürgerInitiative Lüchow-Dannenberg Coop AntiWar Cafe Die Linke Landesverband Berlin Friedensglockengesellschaft Berlin e.V. IPPNW Germany Japanese Against Nuclear Kuhle Wampe Robin Wood Berlin
“#NoNukeDump” Call to Photo Posting Action
Tepco and the Japanese government have been considering dumping of contaminated water into the ocean for quite some time, under the pretext that there will soon be no more place capacity for new tanks at the site of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The Japanese government is going to make the final decision on it by the end of November 2020, without having discussed enough about alternative methods for filtering or storage of contaminated water.
This „contaminated water“ in question is nothing but liquid radioactive waste, which was in contact with meltdown debris. Even after treatment through Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) facilities, various radioactive nuclides are included in this water. It is thus fundamentally different from the tritiated water that is released from operational nuclear plants. For further information please refer to: https://storage.googleapis.com/planet4-japan-stateless/2020/10/5768c541-the-reality-of-the-fukushima-radioactive-water-crisis_en_summary.pdf
We are firmly speaking out against dumping the radioactive water into the ocean.
The oceans are an important part of our biosphere which belongs to all of us. Once it gets contaminated, the damage will remain irreversible. We should never allow it to happen! This is why we, Sayonara Nukes Berlin, would like to start a photo posting action through social network. Please join us and share your voice!
Photo Posting Steps
<Step 1> Preparing your poster Choose one of the attached posters with the slogan „Don’t dump radioactive water into the ocean!“ and print it out. On the masters ③and④ you can add your own message or illustrations. ①#NoNukeDump ②#NoNukeDump ③#NoNukeDump ④#NoNukeDump
<Step 2> Take your photo Hold your protesting message in your hands and have your photograph taken wherever you like.
<Step 3> Posting in social media Post your photo with the hashtag “#NoNukeDump” “#(your country or city) " in social media (no blank space after #)
It would be great if we could get together in this action and make it a bigger movement. If you don’t have any SNS-account or if you are not sure about the posting procedure, please send us your photo to our email address with information on your place of residence.
We would appreciate it if you would translate this text into another language, so that this call could be shared with as many people as possible. We would only like you to KEEP the text on the posters UNCHANGED, so that our collective action remains consistent. Thank you!
Send your photo to: Sayonara-nukes-berlin(at)posteo.net SNS-Accounts of Sayonara Nukes Berlin: Facebook：https://www.facebook.com/sayonara.nukes.berlin Twitter：https://twitter.com/NoNukesBerlin Instagram：https://www.instagram.com/sayonaranukesberlin
Photo album Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/
media/set/?set=a. 3560774300624816&type=3 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ sayonaranukesberlin/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/ NoNukesBerlin/status/ 1326512277374328832?s=20
Start at 12pm on Saturday, 7th March 2020 Meeting point: Brandenburger Tor (Parizer Platz), Berlin
FUKUSHIMA is NOT “Under Control”!
11th March 2020 marks the 9th anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics is approaching. Some Olympic games are planned to be held in Fukushima although the current situation is far from to be said “under control”: The damaged nuclear reactors continue to diffuse radiation throughout the atmosphere, the contaminated water is leaking into the ocean every day, hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes and the foundation for life and those affected people still have to deal with the long-term hardship and pain. The government of Japan has been misusing the Olympic games to display to the world that the nuclear disaster is over. They underestimate the real damage and impact of the worst nuclear disaster in the history and make us believe that the situation has been back to normal. Instead of putting the priority to provide relief to those who continue to suffer from the disaster, the government of Japan is rather promoting evacuees to return to their hometown which is still heavily contaminated. They just raised the acceptable level of radiation for residents by 20 times higher than what was applied as the maximum level of annual exposure before the accident occurred. We must say NO to this policy!
Nuclear power is NOT a solution to climate change!
High risk of contamination: Nuclear reactors produce harmful radiation almost permanently.
Too dangerous: As we have learned through the disasters of Fukushima and Chernobyl, serious accidents are unavoidable. Technology of nuclear energy also serves increasing the ability to develop nuclear weapons.
Enormous cost: Nuclear energy is eventually the most expensive way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Unjustified theory: The theory that the supply chain of nuclear fuels has a lower CO2 emission is unjustified.
Inflexible to control: Nuclear power generation is not flexible to control comparing to renewable energy.
Too slow to save climate: Climate change give us no time to wait until the new generation develops a “harmless nuclear power”. (This does not necessarily mean to agree with the new generation nuclear technology.)
We are therefore calling for: ・Misuse of the Olympics should be stopped to display as if the contaminated area in Fukushima had been cleared and restored. ・The government of Japan should withdraw the relocation policy to put evacuees back to the highly contaminated area and should resume to provide compensation and financial assistance. ・Operations of all nuclear power plants in the world should be stopped, especially in Germany, Gronau uranium enrichment plant and Lingen nuclear fuel plant. ・ EURATOM and other institutions that promote nuclear technology should be dissolved. ・Investment for nuclear technology should come to an end. Instead, sufficient subsidies should be allocated to the research efforts for renewable energy and radioactive waste management made by the independent civil society organizations. ・Signature and ratification of Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty by all countries.
Anti Atom Berlin (www.antiatomberlin.de)
Greenpeace Energy (www.greenpeace-energy.de)
NaturFreunde Berlin (www.naturfreunde-berlin.de)
Sayonara Nukes Berlin (www.sayonara-nukes-berlin.org)
AK Rote Beete (www.ak-rotebeete.de/)
Anti-Atom-Plenum Berlin (aap-berlin.squat.net)
BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN (www.gruene.de)
Coop AntiWar Cafe (www.coopcafeberlin.de)
Die Linke Landesverband Berlin (www.dielinke.berlin/nc/start)
Friedensglockengesellschaft Berlin e.V. (www.weltfriedensglocke-berlin.de)
ICAN Deutschland (www.icanw.de)
Interkulturelles Haus in Schöneberg (www.ikhberlin.de)
IPPNW Germany (www.ippnw.de)
Kuhle Wampe (www.kuhle-wampe.de/kuhle-wampe-berlin)
Fukushima warns: Nuclear phaseout worldwide!
Call for the Demonstration on 8th Anniversary of Fukushima on March 9th 2019
Sa. 09.03.2019 12:00 Uhr
Brandenburger Tor, Pariser Platz, 10117 Berlin
A series of one of most severe nuclear accidents worldwide followed a strong earthquake and tsuhami on 11 March 2011. The Fukushima Nuclear Accident shows clearly that even highly industrialized countries cannot ensure safe nuclear plants. Nuclear disasters like this could recur at anytime, as long as nuclear plants are being operated.
Worldwide 446 reactors in nuclear power plants were still operating in 2018. Every reactor produces 20 to 30 tons of highly radioactive nuclear waste per year. And no operational final storage facilities are there to host the waste long term.
No consistent nuclear phaseout has been resolved in Germany. 7 nuclear power plants are still operating in Germany. Influential economic lobbies are calling for extending their life. At the same time three research reactor and the uranium enrichment facility Gronau and the fuel elements factory Lingen are completely excluded from the so-called nuclear phaseout.
Until 2022 15,000 tons of highly radioactive nuclear waste will be accordingly piled up in Germany. Approximately 8000 generations of human beings have been alive and less than three generations have created the giant amount of atomic waste, which has to be kept away from the biosphere for 33,000 generations.
The nuclear lobby is misusing the concern over climate change in order to represent their irresponsible business as a “climate saving” strategy. Nevertheless plenty of CO2 is produced throughout the nuclear chain beginning from uranium mining to generation of nuclear power for electricity and weapons up to “storing” of nuclear waste, not to mention that the reducing of CO2 and nuclear risks cannot be set off against one another. This is why it is important to recall: Only the rapid shift to renewable energies and consequent energy saving could mitigate climate change.
The nuclear technology threatens to make our planet Earth uninhabitable in several ways:
-Constructing nuclear weapons and other radiological dispersal devices,
-Polluting radioactive emissions from nuclear facilities in “normal operation”,
-Increasing the risks of nuclear meltdown like in Chernobyl and in Fukushima, which could happen again,
-and finally by unforeseeable leakage of nuclear waste.
We therefore call for:
• Immediate shutdown of all nuclear facilities worldwide.
• Annulling of EURATOM and all the other organizations promoting the nuclear technology.
• Redeployment of all nuclear technology promoting grants and subsidies in favor of renewable energy and researches on dealing with nuclear waste controlled by civil society.
• Worldwide ban of all kinds of nuclear weapons. Germany and Japan must accede to the „Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons“ of the United Nations.
Coop AntiWar Cafe
Friedensglockengesellschaft Berlin e.V.
Ausländer mit uns
Die Linke Landesverband Berlin
To all whosethoughts are with Fukushima
It’s been seven years since the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster on 11th of March 2011. I would like to wholeheartedly say thank you to all the Fukushima supporters.
These days in Fukushima, we often hear such words as “repatriation,” “reconstruction,” and “health creation.” With the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 approaching, a huge investment has been made to redevelop disaster-struck areas. Research centres for decommissioning technology and for robotics, wind farms, mega solar parks, as well as biomass generators are being build in severely devastated coastal areas as a part of “Innovation Coast Project.” Futaba Town, one of the most heavily contaminated areas located in the immediate vicinity of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, plans to host an archive centre to record damage inflicted by the disaster, and an industrial centre in an attempt to attract study trips from high schools. Fukushima Prefecture is soon reopening the whole length of a major motorway on the eastern coast, trying to repatriate all the Fukushima evacuees.
On the other hand, however, there are a string of human rights violations on a huge scale. The current repatriation scheme does not mean that you can return to a thoroughly decontaminated, safe area. Instead, it means that you have to live with the contamination as long as the dose is claimed to be under 20 millisieverts a year. This threshold is 20 times higher than the allowable dose for citizens everywhere in the world before the disaster. There are no publicly funded recuperative support plans for the repatriated children. Financial compensations and housing subsidies are cut even if you decide not to return. There are people who have no choice but to return to the still-contaminated area for financial reasons. Some are resigned to become homeless and others have felt so devastated that they have taken their own lives. Some evacuee families have been sued for eviction from their shelters. In the UN Human Rights Council, four member states have recommended corrective actions over the human rights situation in Japan.
The situation within the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant also remains highly critical. There are now over 800 tanks, each of which contains 1000 tons of tritium-contaminated water. The current and previous chairmen of the Nuclear Regulation Authority have insisted that pouring the tritium-contaminated water into the ocean is the only solution, and they are attempting to gain consent from local authorities. For me, this is the first ocean I saw in my life as a four-year old girl. I can still picture the scenery in my mind. It was one of the three greatest fishing places in the world, with rich marine life. The ocean connects many places all over the world. Now that Fukushima Nuclear Disaster has already caused massive radioactive contamination of the ocean, I don’t wish to exacerbate it by letting the contaminated water in the tanks flow in, further contaminating the ocean. It is unbearable for me that the government is indeed trying to promote such an action despite the fact that they should be trying to stop it. The local fishing industry is desperately trying to prevent the release of tritium-contaminated water into the ocean. I have to ask you all over the world to raise your voice with them.
The number of people in Fukushima Prefecture having thyroid cancer, or having large cysts that indicate possible thyroid cancer, has risen to 193. The Oversight Committee for Fukushima Health Management Survey continues to insist that it is “unlikely” that the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster caused the surge in the number. What is worse, it turned out last year that there were unreported thyroid cancer cases. People who were deemed “in need of follow-up observation” at the first screening and then individually received thyroid cancer diagnosis before going through the next screening, did not appear in the statistics. Faced with criticism from some committee members and citizens, Fukushima Medical University has decided to look into the matter. The investigation, however, is supposed to take as long as two years. Despite the fact that this survey is the only one that examines the health conditions of Fukushima victims, not even a correct result has been provided. There are also people trying to diminish the scope of the health survey, using phrases like “overdiagnosis,” “a health survey in school violates human rights,” or “people have rights not to know.” I think Fukushima Prefecture, which refused to even distribute iodine at the beginning of the nuclear accident, has a responsibility to continue carrying out the thyroid cancer survey.
Two years ago I was surprised to learn that high school students visited Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant to observe decommissioning works. Now Fukushima University has also started to provide students with opportunities to visit the plant as a part of their curriculum. With the aim of developing robots that can be used for decommissioning work, technology students from all over Japan are encouraged to join robotics competitions in Fukushima. Commutan Fukushima, a facility in my town built for the purpose of radiation education, helps children learn through visual aids and games. There have been 100 thousand visitors during the year since its opening. There I had an opportunity to read messages left by visitors. Many children wrote “I was scared of radioactivity, but I am glad to be reassured that it exists in the natural environment and foods, ” or “if everyone learns here, Fukushima will no longer be discriminated.” As such, the aim of the facility seems far from educating the children how to acknowledge and protect themselves from the danger of radioactive substances that still surround us.
Meanwhile, various lawsuits are going on in order for the victims to be properly compensated, to correct administrative procedures, or to demand criminal convictions for those responsible for the disaster. In a civil case, the court decided that Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and the Japanese government neglected necessary precautionary measures against Tsunami. More judgments are expected this year. Hearings of the case brought by 14 thousand complainants for the criminal prosecution of TEPCO executives finally started last June. Although the three former top executives of TEPCO pleaded not guilty, prosecutors started the legal procedure with ample documents and facts to prove TEPCO’s negligence over the risk of Tsunami. I would like everyone to keep an eye on the proceedings. We are collecting signatures to petition for a truly fair trial. We have an English version of the petition form ready on our website: http://kokuso-fukusimagenpatu.blogspot.co.uk/p/please-sign-petition.html
This winter was very cold in Fukushima, too. Under the icy ground, however, plant seeds are waiting to sprout in the spring. Let’s not forget to dream about a new era, while living this moment with sincerity. Let’s keep our solidarity, just like oceans unite the world.
(Translated by JAN UK)