Fukushima, Nuclear Power and Repression with Osaka Professor Masaki Shimoji, president of the Hannan University Teachers Union

Below is the English translation of the video of Osaka Professor Masaki Shimoji, president of the Hannan University Teachers Union, speaking on “Fukushima, Nuclear Power and Repression”

” I would like to point out two sides of the ongoing catastrophe of Fukushima. To be honest, I myself am very scared because the accident is not under control despite the fact that our government says it is under control.

I am scared of the chain reaction because it is not only ongoing at Fukushima Daiichi, but there is also Fukushima Daini and there is Tokai reactor in Ibaraki, the oldest one, and Onagawa in Miyagi, and there’s such a risk in the possibility of chain reactions because 54 nuclear power plants are built in a really small place, that is Japan.

My first point is that despite the fact that the chain reactions, the risk for a chain reaction has been reduced compared to two years ago, but it is still there, and the second point is that we have been releasing contaminated water, and as a citizen, and as a citizen of Japan, as a Japanese person, I feel so bad about this, and I apologize to all of you.

So I would say the first of my concerns is the contamination, ongoing contamination and further risk, but the second thing is that the Japanese government has neither the skill nor the intention to solve the problem, and the evidence is that we decided to invite Olympics in 2020. It’s a nightmare.

I would like to talk about the sabotage of the Japanese government, and you see that the radioactive materials have all spread, and I also have been part of the movement against the incineration of radioactive rubble. And I thank the people from California. I saw you protesting against the incineration of radioactive materials.

So there are two parts I would say that we are trained to get used to be exposed to low-level radiation to higher [-level radiation] through the incineration of radioactive rubble, and when we get used to it, these ashes, highly radioactive ashes, will be used as a part of cement, and so it’s going to be used for buildings, and it’s called “Eco Cement,” which is such a nightmare. And it involves every corporation in Japan and also multinational companies. And the other thing is that food contamination is really high, and higher irradiated food is eaten and cooked in schools, so children are exposed to radiation internally.

And the Japanese government, Tepco and other corporations have been spreading radioactive materials with low-level radiation, so we’re getting used to the low-level radiation. That’s what my government is doing directly, but when we look at the multinational or international level, the multinational pro-nuke lobbies are getting in. For example, IAEA has been in Japan, made an office and has also been taking over the health research – so they gather all the information and they keep telling lies.

So people have been protesting against these violent policies, but the state has been using violence to suppress us. And last year in December I was detained for doing nothing for 20 days.

And this has been really fascist of the Japanese government, that we are, for those of us, they are trying to pass this law against those activists or anybody who is trying to spread this information that is not really convenient for the government or corporations, so the activists are people punished for accessing or revealing whatever is inconvenient.

So what I would like to share is not only about the nuclear accident, but historically and also politically this is such a dangerous situation for Japan and other countries because Japan doesn’t seem to have any self control, and it reminds us about the situation just before World War II.

I would like to finish here, but if you have any questions, I would love to take your questions, so please ask me.

Q. [Unrecorded]

A. You are probably talking about those people who live in Fukushima who put their radioactive soil into bags on their own because there is no government or municipal provision for that, so they put the radioactive materials, or the soil into bags, and they put it in the corner of their garden, so their next door neighbor will be very mad. So the Fukushima people are accountable for the so-called “cleanup,” but it’s not a cleanup, it’s just making the radioactivity more a situation, rather than a real cleanup.

Q. What do you think about former Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro having come out against nuclear power?

A. My understanding about the present Prime Minister Abe is that he’s pro-nuke, although his wife is anti-nuke, although I haven’t anything about what his wife is actually doing about it. Going back to Koizumi, the former Prime Minister, he’s certainly changed his opinion to anti-nuke. He said that we don’t need nuclear power anymore, that we should shut down all the nuclear reactors. My perspective is that his son, Koizumi Shinjiro, is now one of the members of the parliament, and he’s taking a pro-nuke position and is also in charge of the reconstruction and recovery of Fukushima. So, just to protect his son, probably, his father, Koizumi Junichiro, is saying that, you know, “I’m against nuclear power,” thereby trying to mesmerize us and get more votes for his son.

Q. How are the people of Japan taking to the oppressive and suppressive actions of the government?

A. I have to talk a little bit about the background. So, the Japanese government, it’s really oppressive, and their suppressive strategy is really different. For example, they do things so attack those people who are important for organizing, so by taking [that] small number of people, they are going to be able to decrease the power of organizing, and at the same time, they are going to spread information, and attacking people like Koreans and marginalized minorities and also people who could be, in the media, could be portrayed as social terrorists or people who are already activists, so the normal people cannot sympathize with them. So these people are specifically targeted. And also, it is normal for Japan to detain somebody without having anything done by this person, but this person could be detained for at least half a year to a year just before they get to court. And that’s the normal situation in Japan. So our system for human rights is really obsolete. There’re no human rights.

So the other problem concerns those people who are not involved in the activism or those people who are not educated about our criminal justice system or criminal injustice system. So, when I was arrested my friends who know about this issue have been arguing and doing campaigns to raise awareness about how unjust this criminal law system is in Japan.

And this is not normal for us, but when I was detained for 20 days, I wrote letters and reports from inside of the jail, and also I did support for my friends who were being arrested, and we did performances, including live rock bands, and I played like the rainbow waves and stuff, and it made it an enjoyable performance, but this kind of thing doesn’t happen in Japan, really.

I have written various materials related to my arrest so if you’re interested, please ask Honmura or Chizu on the No-Nukes Action Committee for my letter. I have written letters to my students about my arrest, and they’re also translated into English, so you can have access to that. Thank you for listening.

[For more information on Nu Nukes Action:

http://nonukesaction.wordpress.com/; Professor Masaki Shimoji http://fukushimavoice-eng.blogspot.com/2012/12/a-second-letter-from-jailed-professor.html%5D

Preventing radioactive leaks at Fukushima Daiichi – The Washington Post, graphic on how they’re plugging the leaks

Here is a nice series of graphics that explain what has happened at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, what broad measures have been taken in the decommissioning process and how Tepco plans on moving forward (as of now).

For Tepco and Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, toxic water stymies cleanup – The Washington Post

” TOKYO — Two and a half years after a series of nuclear meltdowns, Japan’s effort to clean up what remains of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant is turning into another kind of disaster.

The site now stores 90 million gallons of radioactive water, more than enough to fill Yankee Stadium to the brim. An additional 400 tons of toxic water is flowing daily into the Pacific Ocean, and almost every week, the plant operator acknowledges a new leak.

That operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., known as Tepco, was put in charge of the cleanup process more than two years ago and subsequently given a government bailout as its debts soared. The job of dismantling the facility was supposed to give Tepco an opportunity to rebuild credibility.

But many lawmakers and nuclear industry specialists say that Tepco is perpetuating the kinds of mistakes that led to the March 2011 meltdowns: underestimating the plant’s vulnerabilities, ignoring warnings from outsiders and neglecting to draw up plans for things that might go wrong. Those failures, they say, have led to the massive buildup and leakage of toxic water.

“Tepco didn’t play enough of these what-if games,” said Dale Klein, a former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, who recently joined a Tepco advisory panel. “They didn’t have enough of that questioning attitude” about their plans.

The leaks into the ocean are far less toxic than the radioactive plumes that emanated from the plant after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, forcing 160,000 people to move out of the vicinity. Thanks to that quick evacuation, experts say, there are no expectations of a Chernobyl-style spike in cancer cases — although the government is conducting thyroid checks of thousands of children. But the flow of contaminated water amounts to a slow-burning environmental disaster with implications for Japan’s wildlife and its food chain.

The problems have prompted the central government to step in with about $500 million to fund new countermeasures, including a subterranean “ice wall” designed to keep groundwater from flowing into irradiated buildings.

The latest government-led actions are particularly galling for some who say Tepco should have taken similar measures earlier. One lawmaker, Sumio Mabuchi, who was also an adviser to then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan, says Tepco, deep in debt, neglected to take important steps against the groundwater two years ago because of concerns about its bottom line. Tepco’s president, Naomi Hirose, testified in parliament last month that the company hasn’t “scrimped” on the cleanup, though he did say that Tepco is “majorly at fault” for its failure to manage the groundwater buildup.

The 40-year decommissioning is expected to cost 10 trillion yen, or about $100 billion — roughly two years’ worth of Tepco’s revenue — and the company says it is trying to save up and cut other costs. But for many Japanese, the company’s assurances inspire little confidence. Two members of Japan’s national legislature, speaking on the condition of anonymity to share what they describe as sensitive details, say Tepco continues to spend irresponsibly on lobbying politicians, offering them free trips to nuclear sites that include meals and lodging in hot springs resorts. A Tepco spokesman said the company does not offer such trips. … ”

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Fukushima fishermen watch recovery slip away — LA Times

” Their lives are back in limbo because of the massive radioactive water leakage discovered at the tsunami-damaged nuclear plant.

SOMA, Japan — For much of his life, Koichi Matsumoto, 58, happily slipped out of bed in the dead of night to work on a fishing trawler.

But these days, his catch is tree branches, tires and other rubble still adrift since the massive earthquake and tsunami that shook Japan more than two years ago.

“It feels as if we’re right back where we were after the disaster,” which struck March 11, 2011, said Matsumoto, a third-generation fisherman and head of the trawl boat unit at the 1,000-member Soma-Futaba fisheries cooperative.

The lives of Matsumoto and about 1,500 other fishermen in the Fukushima region are back in flux because of the discovery in August that 300 tons of radioactive wastewater was pouring into the ocean each day from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

It’s unclear how long the massive volume has been leaking from underneath the damaged reactors and emergency wastewater tanks constructed nearby. It’s also uncertain how long it will take for the flow to be halted.

What is clear is that the leakage has proved a major setback for fishery operators, who had been slowly resuming work since mid-2012. At that time, they began test operations that allowed them to sell their catch — worth about $100 million in annual profit before the magnitude 9 earthquake — after screening it for radiation. More than 37 miles off the coast, they caught fish that didn’t show detectable levels of radioactive particles.

But now they are back to square one, their hope for a steady recovery dashed by the problems at the nuclear plant.

To make ends meet, Matsumoto and others have taken to using their trawlers for tasks such as rubble collection and radiation monitoring. The rubble pickup is paid for by the Japanese government. Some fishermen have also been hired to help at the nuclear plant by its owner, Tokyo Electric Power Co., or Tepco.

“We can’t fish as much, so we’ve been doing many public works projects,” Matsumoto said. … ”

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