Mac Urata Photography © 2010 – 14 All rights

Speaking at Fukushima Vigil

[Translation from Japanese]

About a hundred people took part in the Vigil for Fukushima that Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) organised today in front of the Whitehall, opposite 10 Downing Street in London. CND is a UK-based anti-nuclear and peace organisation that was founded in 1958. The vigil was attended by Labour Party MP Jeremy Corbyn, a representative of the Green Party, Friends of the Earth and others. At the outset of the rally, the participants stood in a minute’s silence for those who lost their lives in the earthquake and tsunamis. Members of CND also distributed black mourning bands to the participants.

Whilst the CND noted the fact that this disaster took place in a country with earthquakes and tsunamis, it stressed the history of nuclear power plant accidents where disasters have broke-out in places without those natural phenomenons like Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. In the UK, an accident at Windscale (now Sellafield) in Cumbria in October 1957 was recorded as Level 5 by the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES).

CND’s general secretary, Kate Hudson and other speakers warned of the “Nuclear Renaissance” – a popular argument today that nuclear energy is the solution to climate change. It is an attractive big business and lobbying to the politicians is overwhelming. Such pressure is marginalising the development of renewal energies using winds or tides. In the aftermath of the Fukushima catastrophe, we must bury the myth that nuclear is safe and clean, stressed the speakers.

The vigil asked the participants to sign the petition which the Friends of the Earth has prepared and to continue lobby the environment minister Chris Huhne for a non-nuclear energy policy.

I was also hastily asked to speak. So I said that your thoughts of sympathy on the natural disasters are much appreciated but the Fukushima crisis is a man-made disaster and what we need is international condemnation. Foreign media is already criticising the Japanese government and TEPCO for the limited amount of information that they only provide. TEPCO has a track record of manipulating its accident data in the past. However, if your government is promoting nuclear energy, I will not be surprised to see a similar problem arising in your country. Finally, I touched upon the media coverage which praises those people who are on the ground at the plants as heroes. Who should really be there are those nuke promoters and I am outraged to see workers becoming victims for these people. And these nameless workers include those from sub-contractors and subsidiaries. If we are really to pay tribute to their efforts, we must renew our determination for a nuclear-free world from here and now, I concluded.

The vigil was immediately followed by the emergency protest meeting of the Stop the War Coalition against the bombing of Libya where many people also took part.

Afterwards, I was interviewed by independent media from Hong Kong, China and Turkey. What disturbed me, however, was their concern that “the response from the Japanese based in London on the Fukushima nuclear accidents is very modest”. I believe that we must seek the truth and not to be afraid to speak out your mind under any circumstance. My good journalist friend, Nobu came and so did a few Japanese to the rally. One said that his friend is still engaged at the Fukushima plant. It looked like the person was a manager but still it is a worrying thing for this bloke. I need to generate more messages on this nuke issue with my Japanese colleagues in the UK, I was quite convinced.

[Translation from Japanese]


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