From the heart of an ancient temple in forested hills just in from Japans’ western coast comes an unlikely opponent to Japan's plutonium programme: Nakajima Tetsuen, Chief Priest at the 1200 year old Myotsuji temple.
Nakajima Tetsuen, anti-nuclear activist
There is a dramatic contrast between the tranquility and
antiquity of the temple, and the nearby Takahama nuclear power
plant with its controversial involvement in the production, trade
and use of weapons-usable plutonium fuel. It is in Takahama that
two British freighters will imminently load up with their deadly
cargo of faulty plutonium and head back to Sellafield, UK.
On the one hand, there is Nakajima Tetsuen, who is concerned for
people worldwide who are put at huge risk by the unecessary
production and transport of plutonium. On the other hand, there are
British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL), the Japanese nuclear utility Kansai
Electric, and the UK and Japanese governments, who put millions of
people at danger worldwide with these shipments.
Tetsuen is one of the principle members of the local Obama
anti-nuclear group (Citizens Against Nuclear Reactor
Establishment). For the past few years the group has sought to
prevent the loading of plutonium material into the Kansai Electric
reactors at the Takahama nuclear site. In recent months the scandal
of the rejected mixed-oxide (MOX) plutonium produced by British
Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) has become a major issue of concern for
Tetsuen and his colleagues. Together with the Takahama citizens'
group, there have been many discussions about the plans to ship the
plutonium from Japan back to the UK.
The words of the Obama citizens group say it all - they are
deeply concerned about the safety of Japan's plutonium programme
and the effects it has on people locally, throughout Japan, and
around the world. They´re also aware of the contamination and
health effects caused by the reprocessing of Japanese nuclear waste
at the Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria, UK. Sellafield has
sparked concern and opposition not just in the UK but also in
neighbouring countries contaminated by radioactivity discharged
from the facility. Recently the Irish Government took a legal case
against the UK's approval of the new Sellafield MOX Plant, and
Irish citizens delivered 1 million postcards of protest to the
British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
Martin Forwood from the UK group Cumbrians Opposed to a
Radioactive Environment (CORE) , recently visited Nakajima to form
links between the two communities who live in the deadly shadow of
these nuclear facilities.
Myotsuji Temple has stood for 1200 years. As the voices of
protest from Japan to Ireland are demanding, it´s time for
Myotsuji´s nuclear neighbour to go, and for its unwelcome maritime
guests to stop visiting.
Japanese anti-nuclear activists in UK embassy protest
Obama statement in opposition to the