Today is the 3rd Anniversary of the Fukushima Disaster

by Jason Schwartz

March 11, 2014

Low angle view of activists and volunteers of Greenpeace participating in the "Peace on Earth" commemoration event for the third anniversary of Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Thousands of citizens gathered against the pro-nuclear government to stop the restart of nuclear power plants in Japan. All of Japan's nuclear power plants are now laid idle due to upgrading their safety in order to meet the new standard of the regulation authority. Greenpeace Japan echoed voices from Fukushima victims not forgetting the ongoing Fukushima disaster. 140,000 people are still evacuated from their homes because of radiation contamination from the crippled nuclear power plant.

© Kazuya Hokari / Greenpeace

Today marks a tragic day, not just in Japanese history, but in the history of the world. Three years ago, an earthquake caused a massive tsunami that killed more than 18,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands more. The tsunami also triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

After Chernobyl, it was the second-largest release of nuclear particles in history. More than 300,000 people evacuated the area. Tens of thousands still have not returned to their homes. Sadly, for the people who once made their homes near Fukushima, the disaster is not history, and this date is not an anniversary. It is simply the first day of the drawn out destruction of their lives.

Today, Greenpeace International remembers the people whose lives have been forever altered by the Fukushima disaster. Greenpeace USA’s blog The EnvironmentaList is devoting our day’s coverage to it. Here we offer some of the unique coverage from Greenpeace offices.

Greenpeace India, which is battling nuclear projects on its own soil and sent a delegation to Fukushima prefecture last month, made this gorgeous yet somber commemoration,“A Walk Through Fukushima.”

At the Greenpeace International site, you can read profiles of five people whose lives have been unalterably changed by the disaster. It has made this moving video:

At this blog, we offer these haunting vignettes of the people profiled over at the GPI site.

And, perhaps most poignantly, below is the text of the statement from our sisters and brothers at Greenpeace Japan, who today staged a march calling for real action in their home country:

Time to forget the nuclear industry, remember theFukushimavictims

Tokyo, March 10, 2014 On the eve of the third anniversary of theFukushimanuclear catastrophe which destroyed the lives and livelihoods of tensof thousands of people living in the shadow of the reactors Junichi Sato, Greenpeace Japan Executive Director, said:

Prime MinisterAbe and the nuclear industry are hoping the Japanese people and the world will forget the victims and the terrible lessons ofFukushima, hoping that they will allow the restart of old, risky reactors and for the rest of the world to buy Japanese nuclear technologies.What we should instead forget is an energy system that is dependent on old, dirty, and dangerous technologies like nuclear and fossil fuels.

Fukushimaplant operator TEPCO and the Abe government have not only failed to bring the nuclear disaster under control, but have failed the victims of the disaster and the Japanese people.The Fukushimavictims are still sufferingandfighting for compensation to move forward with their lives.

Not only in Japan, but globally the renewable energy supply is rapidly increasing, but the Japanese government is instead focused on nuclear restarts and exports a policy that is out of step with current and future energy markets and technologies. The Abe administration and government are stuck in the last century while the rest of the world is moving on, Sato said,

Greenpeace recently sent an international delegation with representatives from Korea, India, Poland, France and Germany toFukushimato meet with some of the victims and witness the situation on the ground three years after the catastrophe.

One of the victims, former Itiate dairy farmer, Kenichi Hasegawa, told our delegation: My home country is destroyed. I am a farmer who cannot harvest. I cannot start to describe what we lost in this disaster. One needs to remember nuclear is the most terrible thing. We should not be sending this dirty thing to the next generation.

In Japan and across the globe, Greenpeace activists are taking action against nuclear energy and expressing their support for theFukushimavictims showing Abe and the global nuclear industry that citizens around the world remember.

Greenpeace will not allow the lessons of this disaster to be forgotten and is demanding an end to the era of nuclear risk and a future of truly clean, safe and renewable energy.

Jason Schwartz

By Jason Schwartz

Jason Schwartz is a media officer for Greenpeace USA based in New York City.

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