Everyday, the people of Japan continue to live with the consequences of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The aftermath has brought many scary realities to day-to-day life: the nuclear contamination of food supplies, the existence of radiation hotspots in public areas, children returning to schools where dangerous radiation levels have been detected.
In response, women from the Fukushima area are organizing a three-day sit-in, beginning on October 27th, in front of the Ministry of Economy in Tokyo,where they will protest against nuclear power and the threat to life it represents, not only to Japan, but to the whole planet. They are asking for your support, and you can send a message directly to the women via this e-mail address:
Here is the message of support sent by Sarah Burton, the Programme Director here at Greenpeace International:
Just a quick note to you and your colleagues, sisters, and allies, to let you know I am happy to support you in your anti-nuclear protest. I am very aware of the situation you face, through my colleagues in Greenpeace Japan. I am also someone who represented (as a lawyer in the UK many years ago) the women of Greenham Common who protested the placing of nuclear weapons on 'common land' i.e. 'people's land'. Those women were my heroes, and so are you. Please pass this message on.
Yours in solidarity,
Today, one of the women from Fukushima who will take part in the sit-in next week, was in Tokyo to attend an advisory committee, where the Japanese government is deciding which residents will receive compensation for the disaster. The committee was discussing the potential compensation to be provided for residents who were not part of the official government-ordered evacuation, and had asked people from Fukushima to share their experiences. At the same time this committee was meeting, a public rally was held where residents of Fukushima were invited to speak out and make clear what they expect from the Japanese government.
Here is an excerpt from a speech given by one of the women of Fukushima:
“This is about how we live. We need to imagine the world existing on the other side of the outlet that we casually insert our plug into. Think about how our convenience and prosperity are built on discrimination and sacrifice. Nuclear power plants exist on the other side. Humans are just one species. Is there any other species that robs their own kind’s future? I want to live decently in harmony with this beautiful planet earth. While carefully conserving energy, I want to pursue a rich, creative life. How can we create a world completely different from one with nuclear power?” (- MUTO Ruiko’s Speech at Anti-Nuclear Demonstration by 60,000 Citizens, Tokyo, 19 September 2011)
You can read the rest of Muto Ruiko’s beautiful and moving speech here. Next week the women of Fukushima will make their voices heard in peaceful protest. They have two simple demands:
1. Evacuate children in Fukushima to a safer place
2. Do not restart nuclear power plants that are currently shut off
After their three-day sit-in they invite women everywhere to join them, to show that the threat of nuclear power is not just a disaster for the women of Fukushima, but for women, families and people all over the world.
Above: On the three-month anniversary of the East Japan earthquake disaster and the start of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis an "Energy Shift Parade" marched through Tokyo calling on the Japanese government to follow the lead set by Germany and Switzerland, and abandon nuclear energy to focus on clean, renewable technology. Image: Jan Beranek