An international group of activists met in Japan 3 days ago to climb Mt. Fuji as a way to remember the nuclear disaster that happened in Fukushima last year.  The goal of the climb was to show support to the people that were affected by the disaster and to bring awareness to the danger of nuclear energy.

My personal reason for being involved in this project is because last year’s disaster especially hit home for me. I was originally born and raised in Kobe, Japan and still have many family and friends living in Japan.  Also, in the current city that I live in (Toronto, Canada) there are nuclear reactors just outside the city.  This type of disaster could easily happen anywhere, this isn’t just Japan’s problem.  Nuclear energy is a problem that affects the whole world and needs to stop now.

Our climbing team rolled out of bed at 2:30am on Tuesday morning at a traditional Japanese cabin located on Mt. Fuji.  We stepped out into the dark at 4am to begin our attempt to summit the mountain.  Although this mountain is climbed by over 5 000 people per day during the summer season, it is only attempted by a few in the winter. 

To tell you the truth I was a little terrified of doing this climb and was unsure if I would even be able to reach the top, I had also read too many articles of people being blown off the mountain before my trip to Japan.  But I was still pretty determined…especially since I was the only woman on the team.

During our ascent, we climbed high past the clouds, watched the sun rise and eventually arrived to exposed slopes of snow and ice scattered with volcanic rocks.  Looking down meant, a long way down to cities, the ocean in the distance and even the Japanese Alpse somewhere in the background.

We got lucky and had beautiful weather for the most of the day, until my fear of strong winds came true…  I was pretty sure I was going to get blown off to the point that I was almost ready to turn back around.  But my very supportive teammates wouldn’t let me give up so easily and kept pushing me on. Towards the end I was having a hard time breathing from the altitude but eventually we had finally arrived on the summit.  But let me tell you….the wind on the summit was a whole other story.  There were very strong wind gusts that made it impossible for me to even take a step.  But the rest of the team continued to wrestle with the banners and the props in the wind and they managed to not get blown away by holding on to each other.

Our ascent took 8 hours but our descent took only a fraction of that time and for most of it we were able to slide down it.  Now we are all back in the cabin relaxing, with the whole team in one piece.

We need to remember Fukushima and the terrible impacts it has had on Japan, the country where I was born.

But we also need to do more than just remember, we need to ensure Fukushima never happens again.  Some international leaders have learned the lessons from Fukushima: Germany, Belgium, Switerland and Italy and decided to abandon nuclear power last year.

Back in the country where I live, I’m worried that we aren’t learning these Fukushima’s lessons.  Ontario is still pushing ahead with plans to build new reactors and rebuild old reactors at the Darlington nuclear station instead of investing in green energy.

In memory and respect for the many victims of Fukushima, I wish to convey a message to the Premier of Ontario from Mount Fuji: Dalton McGuinty, do not forget the ongoing suffering of the Japanese people. Choose green energy. Stop Darlington!