Japan - Visionary http://www.jfissures.org Voices from the nuclear struggles - Since 3.11.2011 Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Thu, 27 Mar 2014 04:47:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.5 Voices of Evacuees: Joint Lawsuit Begins in Hokkaido http://www.jfissures.org/2013/07/03/voices-of-evacuees-joint-lawsuit-begins-in-hokkaido/ http://www.jfissures.org/2013/07/03/voices-of-evacuees-joint-lawsuit-begins-in-hokkaido/#comments Wed, 03 Jul 2013 20:53:23 +0000 http://www.jfissures.org/?p=2534 Photo: November 2012: activists and parents appeal to the head of Reconstruction Agency to reinforce new law to support the life of children who are affected by the nuclear disaster. (Courtesy of  LaborNet Japan)

Here is one of the latest news from Fukushima: the residents of Tamura city (20-40 kilometers from the crippled nuclear plant) was told by the government: “we could not clean up radiation in your town. Radiation is still not low enough for you to live in. But go home anyway, we’ll give you dosimeters to detect radiation on your own.”

This is another lesson for us to recognize the root of the problem; the reconstruction of the area is merely a fantasy,and the government continues to manipulate the population, leaving the lives of many stranded.

Many people chose to evacuate even if they were not ordered to do so. So-called “voluntary evacuees” have continue to live away from home. Some evacuees have been creating autonomous communities throughout Japan. But the situation is still difficult. Many mothers with small children had no choice but to leave the fathers behind to evacuate Fukushima. Many are forced to pay mortgage for their Fukushima home while rebuilding their new life from scratch. Even those who still could not evacuate are also standing up to denounce the radioactive burden imposed by the producers of nuclear energy, while seeing their community break down over what is safe is what is not. Their voices are more and more marginalized today and need our support for their actions.

On June 21, 2013 in Sapporo, Hokkaido (northernmost island of Japan), 43 people who had evacuated from Fukushima area to Hokkaido have filed a lawsuit against TEPCO and the Japanese government. Since Spring 2011, about 4,000 people have moved to Hokkaido from Fukushima and neighboring region, and about 3,000 are still living in there today. Here is the translation of four of the plaintiffs who spoke at the press conference.

Hokkaido Nuclear Disaster Plaintiffs Joint Press Conference – June 21, 2013 in Sapporo City

Voices of the Plaintiffs:

Mr. Nakate:
When Fukushima Nuclear accident occurred in March 2011, I was living in Fukushima City with my wife and our two elementary school children. Later in the month, three of them, my wife and the kids evacuated to the western Japan, while I remained alone in Fukushima. We were separated for a year thereafter, until I joined them to together relocate to Sapporo City in Hokkaido, thanks to all the community support here in Sapporo.

I would like to hold not only TEPCO but especially the government of Japan legally accountable. Prior to the crisis, we had lived a modest but happy and peaceful life together in Fukushima. The nuclear disaster took away the joy of our life – seeing the children happily run about in the sun. So I decided to join the lawsuit as a plaintiff in order to have both parties take responsibility for what changed our life. Their irresponsibility weighs on not only ourselves but also those who remained in our hometown – including my own parents, siblings and friends. Together with many people who are still in Fukushima, I am determined to accuse those responsible for this nuclear calamity. Although this lawsuit is going to be a long one, I am ready for this fight, and I appreciate your support.


Ms. Shishido:
My name is Takako Shishido. I have been living here in Hokkaido after evacuating my hometown of Date city in Fukushima prefecture. I joined this lawsuit because I have been receiving a many phone calls from others who have also evacuated. I am a representative of self-evacuees resident’s association in Hokkaido. As I have been speaking with other evacuees, they still experience difficulty on daily basis, even after some of the evacuees have been able to somewhat settle down in the new environment. I have been receiving phone calls also from people who are still living in Fukushima. What they tell me is this; in Fukushima, the ‘recovery’ has been much emphasized and there is an atmosphere such as “Fukushima is ok” and “Fukushima returned to normal life”. However, I hear tearful voices from all the phone calls I receive. The people there do not think that it is safe to live in Fukushima. They still buy bottled water. They still buy food from far away places. But they cannot speak out the danger. They cannot say that they are scared. There are evacuees here in Sapporo and the people in Fukushima who cannot raise their own voice for many reasons. Their voices would not be heard unless we, those who can, speak out. If we left our stories unspoken, the media silence will become even more severe. We would like to maintain the ties between the public interests to us by raising our voices like this over and over again.

I hope bringing our voices onto a trial will force the law to investigate both Japanese government and TEPCOs’ responsibilities. For the kind of efforts will surely be necessary in possible accidents of the similar kind waiting to happen in the future. We as evacuees from Fukushima must do our best we can now so that any of our experiences will be looked at as a precedent for the next generations. I am not  trying to represent other people’s voices in my words, but I would like to take the role of spreading their words who are constantly living in this difficult evacuation struggle. Thank you.


Mr. Watanabe
My name is Watanabe. With my family of five, I have voluntarily evacuated my home in Fukushima City in June 2011. Ever since March 11th that year, especially after the explosions at the nuclear power plant, we have been living in an extremely strange situation. I joined the lawsuit because I would like to demand the rights to live without the fear of radiation, which should be protected as the common human rights. It is going to be a long struggle and I appreciate in advance for your supports.


Mr. Inamori:

My name is Inamori. I have evacuated Koriyama City in Fukushima with my family of five in July 2011. Through this lawsuit, I would like to investigate the responsibilities of TEPCO and the Government. I also feel that in recent months the people have lost interests in what happened two years ago. So I believe that pursuing this collective lawsuit will urge people to pay attention to the nuclear crisis, and remember and reexamine what happened to the people. It will surely bring the attention of TEPCO and the government to the different stories from those who evacuated. I hope that our efforts for the lawsuit will link to the future for the children. Thank you.


Ms. Tanisawa:

My name is Tanisawa, and I came here from Minamisoma, Fukushima. I decided to move here because my daughter called to convince me to evacuate. I have been struggling to get used to my new life here, since it has changed 180 degrees. It was always my husband who would prepare document for the disaster compensations from TEPCO, but he has fallen ill and could no longer do it. Then I heard about this lawsuit from a lawyer, and decided to join. I have been barely getting by ever since our financial support was cut off last August, and I cannot allow myself to forgive them for putting us through such a struggle. I myself have illnesses too, and cannot even think of going home to Fukushima where the radiation level gets as high as 4.5 microsievert/hour. So I have joined this lawsuit with the support of defense group, to fight together with other plaintiffs. Thank you for your support.


Video archive (in Japanese) : http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/34699655

Read our interview with Takako Shishido, (June 2012): Click HERE



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We Just Want to Have a Family – An Interview with former US Sailors Jaime Plym and Maurice Enis http://www.jfissures.org/2013/05/12/interview-with-jaime-and-maurice/ http://www.jfissures.org/2013/05/12/interview-with-jaime-and-maurice/#comments Mon, 13 May 2013 03:44:03 +0000 http://www.jfissures.org/?p=2471 Jaime Plym (right) and Maurice Enis (left) speak at FUKUSHIMA FALLOUT in Stony Point, NY. Photo courtesy of Sachiko Akama  | ニューヨークでのイベントFUKUSHIMA FALLOUTで話すジェイミー・プリムさん(右)とモーリス・エニスさん(左)写真:赤間幸子

(English transcript is below Japanese – scroll down to read: We Just Want to Have a Family – An Interview with former US Sailors Jaime Plym and Maurice Enis)

わたしたちは家庭を築きたいだけ ー 元 米海軍 航海士 ジェイミー・プリム & モーリス・エニス インタビュー


ジェイミー・プリムさんとモーリス・エニスさんのふたりは、2011年3月に福島第一原発から拡散した放射能によって被ばく、放射能の被害により体調を崩している米海軍の元軍人です。ふたりは災害直後、アメリカ軍による「トモダチ作戦」の一環として、太平洋上に滞在した米海軍の原子力空母「ロナルド・レーガ ン」の乗組員で、福島第一原発から、近いときで約3kmの ところに停滞していました。同じ空母に乗り組んでいた軍人の多くが放射能の危険を知らされることなく危険な空気にふれながら従事、被ばくしていた、と いうことが徐々に明らかになっています。海軍で出会って以来恋人同士でもあるジェイミーさんとモーリスさんは現在、100名以上にのぼるアメリカ兵とともに、2年前の原発事故に責任のある東京電力に 対し損害賠償を求める集団訴訟をおこしています。






今、 ジェイミーさんとモーリスさんがこうやってこの場所で発言しているということはとっても意義が大きいと思います。先日のトークイベントでも言っていてとて も印象に残った言葉なんだけれど、「この症状が放射能に由来するものかどうなのかということは、自分には正確にはわからない。ただひとつはっきり言えるこ とがある。それはトモダチ作戦の前は自分にはこんな症状が出ていなかった、ということです。あの任務の以前は健康だった、と自信を持って言える。」とおっしゃいました。日本に住む人々からのお話でも、いくら放射能汚染のあとに健康被害が出ている、と訴えても、常に「科学者」や「専門家」の誰かが、放射能との関連性を断とうとする。共通してこの背景には、原子力推進勢力はいままでずっとこういった手法で健康被害を縮小化し、原子力をつづけてきたということが あると思います。だからあなたの言っていることと日本の人たちの声にはすごく強いつながりがあると思います。






まず僕らは、家庭を築きたかったから軍を出たんです。訴訟とかそういうことについてははじめは何も知らなかったし、もうすでに自分の中での問題だけで頭が いっぱいでした。看護士になるため学校に行くこと。そうすれば定職につけるし、治療費も稼ぐことができる。だれも自分たちの症状を話題にする人もいなかっ たし、誰も助けてくれるなんて思ってなかった。そこに今回の訴訟の弁護士さんが声をかけてくれて、訴訟についていろいろと教えてくれたんです。こんな巨額 を欲しいなんて思ってもいないけど、一人あたり4千万ドルを請求する、ということも言われました。でももしこれだけの額がもらえるとしたら、東電は間違い なく倒産して二度と福島の事故のような間違いを犯さなくてすみますよね。おそらく4千万ドルの全額は自分には必要ないと思う。たとえば日本に行って人々に何が起こっているかをこの目で見れたらいいと思うし、ぜひ行きたいです。どんなことでも手助けするつもりです。


私も本当にそうしたいです。最近まで、日本に住んでる子供たちが(放射能の影響に関して)必要な措置を受けていないなんて全然知りませんでした。日本の政府 は当たり前に人々のケアをするものだと思っていましたから。だから話題にされてないのは自分たちの被ばくのことだけだと思っていました。この間に、海軍が あれだけ福島第一の近くにいたなんて忘れられてるだろう、と。


僕にインタビューしたリポーターの一人に「自分の症状を訴えるために東電と面会したいか」って聞かれたんですが、まず僕は、自分の周りの人々の症状をきちん と認識して、その人々の世話をまずしろ、と言いたいんです。日本の子供たちが苦しんでるって聞いたとき、自分たちがわがままに感じました。情けなくなりま した。






でもそれは比較しがたいことじゃないかと思います。命の重さに違いはない。私自身、放射能汚染から遠くに住んでいて、福島由来の放射能によって自分のDNAは まだ傷いてはいないとは思う。これは大変な特権だと思うし、そう思ってこの二年間自分と「日本」との関係をなんとなく保ってきたと思います。でもこの人災 に私自身間違えなく影響を受けてるし、それをどのくらい苦しんでいるか、って位をつけたりすることはできないと思います。東電と日本政府によって沢山の人々が苦しめられてきた。そのことを、自分がどこにいようとどんな立場にいようと声に出して行かなきゃ、と思います。



2011年の10月まで太平洋上の空母で配備されてたんだですが、その約半年間、家族にメール送ったりする回数はほんとうに限られていました。外部とのあらゆるコミュニケーションが切られていましたから。でもある日うちの指揮官が「親御さんなどにすべてはうまくいっている、大丈夫だ、というメールを出すように」という指示があったんですがそれっきりでした。最終的に、実家に帰れたのはクリスマス近くになってから。その頃には、日本の放射能の話は自分の周りでもかなり忘れられていて、放射能漏れについて日本でものすごい隠蔽があったということも自分自身、最近まで知らなかったものですから、2011年の冬に家族のもとに戻ったときも、被ばくのことはたいして話題にならなりませんでした。その頃はまだそんなに大事ではなかった。でも今いろんなことが明らかになってきて、それに対して家族はまだ放射能被害というものが信じられないみたいです。「ちょっと待って、なにがどうなってこんなことになったんだ?」という感じ。 だから2年経った今この問題と向き合うのは、ちょっと並外れたことかもしれないです。




















昔は、街で元軍人のホームレスを見かけるたびに「どこをどう間違ってそんな失敗するんだ?」と思っていたんです。でも今回のことを経験して、そういう見方がまったく変わってしまった。いったん軍の門を出ると、軍は軍人に対してきっぱり背中を向けてしまう。「大学の学費の援助もする」って口では言うけど、実はそのプロセスというのが本当に複雑化されていて、実際その援助を受けることさえすごく困難なんです。軍に入る人の半分ぐらいは、自分は身体を使って労働でき る、働き者だ、と思って入ってくる。でもその人たちが軍を出ても、学費援助さえ好きに使えるようにしてくれないんです。




そうやって沢山の人が学費援助システムの使い方さえわからずに退役していく。そしてうつ病にかかってしまったり。僕も軍を出てすぐの頃にうつになりました。 まず自分一人だし、軍にいたときのようにすべて身の回りの世話も買い物も軍が面倒みてくれることがなくなってしまうと、なんだか麻痺状態になったような感じに陥ります。僕みたいにすごく若くして入った人は特にそう。18で海軍に入ったけど、毎日面倒みてくれるし、何をするべきか指示してくれるし、友達もみ んな軍に入ってたし、自分の銀行口座も直接つながってて個人的な買い物もすべて軍がもってくれてました。それが軍を出たとたん、友達とは離ればなれになるし、24時間つねに働いていたのが急に暇になってしまった。そして精神がまいってしまうんです。僕は恐怖を感じてしまって、2週間ぐらい自分の部屋から一 歩も出られませんでした。自分一人で何をしたらいいかわからなかったんです。他人とどう接していいのかわからず、話そうとしても何を言っていいかわからな くなるんです。海軍で使われてるスラングを使うたびに変な目で見られるし。とにかくかなりしんどい転換なんです。もっとうまくこの転換期を過ごして、学費 援助システムもうまく使いたい、と思ってるんだけど。。。愚痴ってしまいましたね。






すみません、お邪魔するつもりはないんですが、ちょっといいですか。私はイギリスで放射線の専門家をやっているものです。お二人に心からお見舞い申し上げま す。実は、あなた方の弁護人の方に、放射線についてのアドバイスを無料で提供できればと思っているんです。弁護人さんはおそらく民営や独立機関からのアド バイスが必要になると思います。アメリカにはそういうことのできる人は多いとは言えません。ですので、もしよろしかったらご連絡を。





軍はその時でさえも「すべては大丈夫、あなたたちはそこまで被ばくしていない」というだけでした。だからこっちも、言われた通りそんなに心配はしていなかったし、仕事のモチベーションを作り直す、ということもあえてしなくてもよかったんです。大したことじゃないから、次の仕事へ移って、任務を終わらせよう、 それだけです。本当は何が起こっているか知らなかったから、そこまで気にする必要がなかったんんだと思います。






大規模な出来事や重要な事があったときは、あらゆる回線を遮断するんです。たとえば軍にいる若い人がFacebookとかツイッターに「今から○○港へ寄港」とか投稿してしまう場合があるから。そこで例えばテロリストがSNSをモニタリングしてて、何か仕掛けたりすることが可能になってしまいます。でも今回の場合はちがって、僕らは災害ゾーンにいたわけですから、逆に誰かが「ひどい状況だ。飲み水さえない。」とか投稿して周りがパニックを起こす、というのを軍は避けたかったというわけです。インターネットは、配備されてる軍の様 子を見るための情報源でもありますから。


話は変わりますが、日本に住む人たちから聞いていることをぜひシェアしたいと思って。原発災害によって食品、水、空気と土地が汚染されてしまったその中で、 人々が日々暮らしているのは事実です。日常の中で一番大切もののひとつが、できるだけ放射能を身体の中にとりこまないようにする、ということですが、そこをつきつめると、自分のライフスタイルを変える、というところまでいかなければいけないんですね。食べ方、飲み方、そして免疫力を高める方法、とさまざま な工夫があります。放射能の影響を低下させるための食品のリストやレシピもあったりして、いろんなところで共有されている。もし興味があったら、おふたりともシェアしたいと思ったのですが。


すごく興味があります。僕自身も家でいろいろリサーチしていて、食事療法をつくっているところなんです。ブロッコリーとか、アスパラガスとかの野菜中心に、 家にあるグリルで焼いて。もともと僕らは食べ物には気を使っているほうだけど。あと、水をたくさん飲むようにしています。特にジェイミーの症状のためには、いっぱい水分を取らなければいけないから。


1945年に広島に原爆が落とされた後、何千人も の被爆者を診察してきた肥田舜太郎さんという96歳のお医者さんがいます。彼は長年、放射能の影響を無視して原子力をすすめている原子力産業の姿勢にとて も批判的に発言しています。低線量被ばくというものは無視されているに等しいのですが、彼は自分の目でたくさんの被ばくした患者さんを診てきています。た とえば最近私が読んだ本の中で、彼はこういうことをおっしゃってます:「人間のやることは、食べること、寝ること、排泄すること、働くこと、遊ぶこと、セックス。この6つしかないんですよ。その一つ一つには人間が行きていくために超えてはならない限度もあるし、守らなければならない文化もある。食べることでいえば食べ過ぎが一番悪い。何を食べるかということではなしに、どう食べるかという食べ方が問題ですから。」(『食で対策!放射能 ─大切な人を守るレシピと、今できること 小椋優子 著, 菅谷昭 監修から抜粋)


































Y & A
















A & Y



それで僕が「東電には日本にいる人々への援助や補償をまずやってほしい」って言うと、不快な顔をするんです。だって向こうが「東電に何を伝えたいです か」ってきいてくるから、そんなの「自分たちの周りで苦しんでいる人を助けろ」に決まってる、っていうかんじ。僕やジェイミーのことを心配するのはそれか らでいいし、4千万ドルもなくたって暮らして行ける。でも日本にいる人たちは本当に大きな苦しみの中を生きている。ってことをフジテレビに言ったときに嫌 な顔をされて、最初はなぜかよくわからなかったけど、今やっとわかりました。




































これだけ沢山のカメラと人の数がいる前だとどうしても神経質になってしまうんですよね。昨日のトークイベントが終わったあとに車の中で自分のことが書かれて るかと思ってネット検索してたんですが、そこでだれかが、しかも話した覚えもない人が、ガセネタを書いているのを見つけて。僕の歳を23歳、とか書いているんです。




でもそういうことがあってほしくないじゃない。でもきっと慣れなきゃいけないのかな。こうやって僕たちの話をネットで探すのは自分たちだけじゃなくて、これ からは海軍も探しにくるんだろうし。その辺のだれかが僕らの話の中から自分の見たい部分だけを見て出したとして、そのたびに対処しなきゃいけませんから ね。でももう米軍とつきあうのは正直、こりごりなんですが。


米軍の話になりますが、私は今まで、沖縄にある米軍基地の存在に苦しむ人たちとつながって基地の反対運動に関わったりしていたんです。だから「トモダチ作 戦」が始まったときも、あれは日本や東アジアでの米軍の存在を肯定するためのプロパガンダだと思っていたし、どれだけ軍事の介入で日本とアメリカのあいだ の「友好関係」が重要か、っていう見せつけだと思っていました。


抗議のことは知っています。僕らが佐世保に寄港するとき、小さいボートに乗った抗議の人たちがいつもいたから。反対のメッセージを書いたプラカードを持っ て、空母が港につけるのを防ごうとしていた。軍には、いつも街へ出るときは気をつけるように、と言われていたし。そうやって抗議があったこともふくめて考えて、一生懸命被災者への支援をしたいと思っています。米軍は、日本といい関係を作ることばかり気がかりで何が起こってるか見失ってしまったんじゃない か、と思います。








昨日、マリリン(マリリン・エリー:インディアンポイント原発近くに住む反原発活動家、オーガナイザー)に言われてなるほど、って思ったけど、私たちって若い のはさておいて、軍に5年も入ってたわけですよね。だから自分たちは世の中で何が起こっているか知らない部分が多いんだ、と思います。5年間、まったく違 う世界にいたわけだから。耳にするのは指揮官に言われることばっかり。彼らと合意することもあればそうじゃないときもあるけど。だからこうやって外に出て 人と会ったりするのはとっても新しいことなんです。モーリスは私が退役する1年前に出てきてたけど、その間も私とつきあってたから世の中のことにあまり開 かれてなかったと思います。今でも、外の世界のことに少しずつならして行っているところです。


私 も昨日のインディアンポイント原発の集会のときに考えてたんですが、つい最近まで軍に入っていた若い人が、反原発のバッヂをたくさんつけて平和運動のプラ カードを持ったおばさんの横に座って話をしてる光景。突然このようなところに入ってきたお二人を想像して、びっくりと同時に、なんだか素敵だなあと思って たんですが(笑)。


そ れ、心配していたんですよ。ここへやってきて、反原発運動のムードに引き込まれないようにしなきゃ、と思ってたんです。でも(昨日のイベントで聞いたよう に)インディアンポイント原発は大きな事故につながる可能性があると思います。だから反原発の人たちが話していることにはおおむね賛成です。

僕 らがベテラン活動家と隣り合わせで話をしている、っていう観察は面白いですね。だって僕らはまだいろんなことに関して学んでいる最中だから。原発反対でも 賛成でも立場はどうであれ、問題があるってことは誰もがわかっている。だからたとえその状況をどう解釈するかはあまり関係ないんだと思います。原子力には 様々なリスクが沢山あるってことぐらいはわかるから。




さっ き「海軍の人々に対して怒りはない」って言ったのはそういうことで、もし被災地に一人っきりでいたとしても津波の被害に遭った人たちを助けていた、と思い ます。そして、ランクの高い人から低い人まで、海軍にいたほとんどの人たちが僕と同じように考えていたことを知ってるから。


私 は陰謀説はあまり信じない方だけど、たとえ米軍のトモダチ作戦の本当の目的が何であったとしても、そこにいたのは軍人の一人一人だから。私たちは、自分が 被ばくしたことがわかった後でも、被災地にはすべてを失った人たちがいる、っていうことをお互いに言い聞かせてました。だって、津波に流された民家が、沖 のそのへんに浮かんでいるのが見えるんですよ。クルーの中にはみんなでシャンプーや服、おもちゃなど、なんでも集められるものは集めて寄付したひとたちも いる。だから米軍の上の方の目的がどうであろうと、クルーがいたんだし、あのとき空母にいた軍人の中の99パーセントもしくは全員が善意をもって援助していた、と自信を持って言えます。

PDF (日本語)



「医療費保証を」と、東電に訴え 震災支援の元米兵







モーリスさんからの近況報告で、今回の一連の取材やイベント参加で、いろいろな方面から嫌がらせや脅迫が届いている、とおっしゃっています。ひどく落ち込んでいるようです。このインタビューを読まれたみなさんへ、連帯のメッセージを募りたいと思います。下のコメント欄か、infoアットマークjfissures.org へメールにてお送りください。こちらで英訳して彼らに伝えます。




 We Just Want to Have a Family – An Interview with former US Navy Sailors Jaime Plym and Maurice Enis

March 11, 2013 New York City

(by Yuko Tonohira and Ayumi Hirai)

Jaime and Maurice have been experiencing health problems after being exposed to radiation released from Tokyo Electric’s Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant due to the nuclear meltdown in March 2011. They have been on the Pacific Ocean while working for the US Navy as a part of the program called Operation Tomodachi, shortly after the area was hit by the earthquake and tsunami. They are two of more than hundred (current and former) sailors who are filing a lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO). They are in New York this weekend to talk about their experience.

Yuko Tonohira (Y):

Jaime and Maurice, you have just finished a press conference as a part of the Medical Conference on the Effects of Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, following a full weekend of events and interviews, and this is your first time speaking in public about your experiences. How are you feeling? Are you physically doing ok?


I’m just very tired. Coming up the stairs from the lobby, like I mentioned that I have developed asthma, I get a little light-headed. I’m a little shaken right now.

Y: I think it means a lot that you have come out here to speak about your condition. I was really struck by what you said in your talk event the other day; although it isn’t 100% certain to scientifically prove if your conditions are caused by the radiation, you do know that you didn’t have these symptoms before the operation. You know for sure that you were better before. It is very important that we hear this. I have heard so many stories from the people in Japan that even if you know you are sick from radiation, there will always be scientists and experts that try to prove otherwise. This is how nuclear industry has developed by minimizing the effects of radiation. I think there is a strong synchronicity in your voice and that of the people in Japan today.


The thing is, a lot of people try to hint around that we’re only trying to get money from TEPCO, but it’s not entirely true. I want Jaime to be checked up by medical professionals.


We just wanna be able to have children.


We both got out of the military so that we can start a family. We didn’t know nothing about this lawsuit, but we were already dealing with my own job situation; I need to go to school to be a nurse so we can get money coming in, so that we can pay to treat ourselves. We didn’t know if anybody was going to help us, since we didn’t think anybody was listening to us. Then the lawyers approached us to say that there was a lawsuit going on, which claimed that each plaintiff would be receiving 40 million dollars which we didn’t ask for. So the thing is, if we get the 40 million each, that’s hopefully going to put TEPCO out of business so that they won’t be able to do something like this (expose the population to radiation) to anybody ever again.

I don’t think we’ll keep the 40 million all to ourselves. If I could go to Japan to see what is happening to the people, I’d love to. I would help out every way possible.


Yes, absolutely. We didn’t even know that people and the kids in Japan weren’t taken care of. We had no idea. We just thought it was inevitable that the government of Japan to take care of their people and that we were just forgotten because nobody really knew we were there near the Fukushima Plant.


One of the reporters asked me if I wanted to see TEPCO to tell them about my illness but I want to tell them to take care of their own people and acknowledge that their own people are sick first. We felt selfish when we found out that there were kids suffering. It made me feel ashamed.


You have no reason to be ashamed though.


Yeah but I felt that I was taking the attentions away from the kids, you know.


You can’t make comparison. No life is more precious than others. I myself live physically far away from all this, and I’m pretty sure my DNA is not affected by the radioactivity from Fukushima. I’m privileged to be living far from the area. And that’s basically the way I have been relating myself to Japan for the past 2 years. But I am definitely affected by this man-made disaster, and I don’t think we can give these sufferings any degrees. We are all devastated by TEPCO and the Japanese government, and we need to speak about it wherever you are. Having said that, it’s incredible that you guys have traveled to speak up about your experience and your will to accuse the corporation, despite the dilemma you have had.

You both live in Florida. How are the people around you responding to this?


When we were on the deployment on the Pacific till October 2011, during which time we could only email families was on and off because all the communications were cut off. One day the captain sent a letter to all of us so that we could email our parents to tell them that we were fine, and that they did not need to worry. Eventually we went home only around the Christmas time. By that time, the whole radiation issues in Japan were forgotten about, and we didn’t even know till recently that there were so much cover-up about the radiation leak. So when we did get home in the winter of 2011, it wasn’t much of a topic of discussion for us. It still wasn’t a big deal. Now that everything started to come out for us, I feel like they are sort of in disbelief, saying “hey, wait a minute, I don’t understand. How could that happen?” So it’s different to address it now after two years.


My mom called me crying two days ago, the first time we talked for an interview. She saw it on the internet and called me. I told her that I got irradiated, but I was okay. My mom is stressed out dealing with other things already and I don’t want her to be carrying a bunch more things because of this. She was angry and said why I didn’t tell her when all this was going on, so I had a lot to explain to her. We didn’t really want waves or didn’t want anybody in our business, but just wanted to deal with this on our own. We didn’t even want to come down here to do this. But I actually am really happy to be here.


Yes, definitely. We didn’t know what it was going to be like to travel to speak to the public about this.


Our lawyer Paul Garner said it was going to be good for us to do this, but I’m terrified to speak in front of people and Jaime didn’t want to talk about her problems.


I talked about my period to the CBS news… but it is what it is.

Y: Another thing I remember you saying the other day is that you don’t blame the Navy, since there were 5,000 other people who were there on the ship at the time and have experienced more or less the same thing.


I wish the Navy would help us a little bit. But initially, if TEPCO hadn’t said that everything was fine, we wouldn’t even have gone into the Japan coast in the first place.


Has your perception towards the Navy and military system changed?


Yeah. Definitely.


Especially toward the way they take care of the veterans.


Every time I saw homeless veterans on the street, I’d think how had they failed? How had they messed up? And this experience made me change my whole perspective on this. Once you are out, they turn their back to you and even though they say ‘you could go to school and we pay for your college,’ they make it so complicated for you to set up the GI bill. Half of the people go into the military because they didn’t think that they were college material. Half of them went in because they thought they were hard workers, they could work with hands. Then when these people get out, they aren’t even encouraged to use their GI bill by the military.


Nobody ever explained to us about the GI bill, either.


A lot of people just quit without knowing how to use the GI bill, and people would just go to depression. I went to a depression when I first got out. You are on your own, not like when you were in military; you got everything taken care of, and it numbs you once you lose it all of sudden. Especially if you join in early age, like me. I joined when I was 18. They would take care of you, tell you what to do on daily basis, and I had all of my friends in military, my bank was directly hooked to the military and they’d pay for everything I buy and all my bills. When you get out, all of your friends get stationed somewhere else, you lose contact with everybody, you go from being busy 24/7 to having so much time on your hands, so comes the mental illnesses. I became shuddered for about two weeks and I didn’t want to leave my room. I didn’t know what to do with myself. It’s hard to relate to others, and even if I try to talk to other people, I just don’t know how. I’d still use Navy slang and people would look at you in a funny way. Over all, it’s a hard transition. I’d like to see myself take a better transition to the normal world, and need to get to use the GI bill… Am I rambling?


No you can ramble as much as you like. So on the ship, how did you motivate yourself when you got information about radiation exposure?


Even when we got the information, the Navy would tell us not to worry, it was so low, as low as something like lying on the beach getting suntanned.

A Man walking by:

Excuse me, but can I interrupt? I’m from England, and I’m a radiation specialist. My heart goes out to you both. What I can do is that I can offer your lawyer a free advice. Here is my email address and my website. Your lawyer may want to ask questions and he needs to have access to a really independent advice. There are a few of such people in the United States, but me as well. Thank you.

Jaime & Maurice:

Thank you so much for you help. Thank you.


We were taking about when we found out about radiation leak.

They still told us that everybody was fine and we didn’t receive so much exposure. So we didn’t have to motivate ourselves so much because our mind was still thinking it was fine, according to what they said. So we didn’t really make a big deal out of it, move onto the next task so that we would finish our appointment. We didn’t need to, because we didn’t know what was going on.


Once we got the internet back, people were so happy to get back on it, because we had been cut off from any communications with outside, off and on for about 93 days. Lot of people were just emailing a lot and ordering a lot of things online to get things to stimulate our mind. I saw so many people were ordering vitamin supplements.


Is that something that you always do to shut down the internet?


When something big and important happens, they’d cut off everything. Some of the younger people join the military, and the military doesn’t want them posting on their facebook and twitter like “we are pulling into so-and-so port” since terrorists monitor facebook and they could set up something. But in this case it was different; we were in a disaster zone, so the military wouldn’t want us posting things like ‘It’s horrible, we don’t even have drinking water’ and people see it online and freak out. The internet is kind of a way to monitor what’s coming from the ship.


On another topic, I wanted to share with you what many of our friends Japan. It’s inevitable to live with food, water, air and soil contamination today. So one of the big tasks is to keep radiation from getting into their bodies as much as possible. It takes a changing of the lifestyle; the way they eat and drink to avoid exposure and to boost immune system and so on. There are even special recipes and list of foods that people are sharing to avoid radiation intake. I’m wondering if you would be interested in getting to know those things.


I’d be really interested in getting to know how they do that. I’ve been researching that at home, and came up with a good diet for us to eat vegetables like broccoli and asparagus, which we grill on our own. We don’t usually eat bad. And we drink a lot of water. Especially Jaime with her conditions, taking a lot of water is important.


There is a 96 year-old doctor from Hiroshima, who have been treating the Atomic Bomb survivors after the WWII. Dr. Shuntaro Hida is very critical of the standardized effects of radiation that are utilized by nuclear industry, which is dismissing a lot of health effects caused by radiation that he saw in his own eyes while examining tens of thousands of A-bomb patients. In a Japanese book I read recently, he talks about how one needs to become the protagonist of their own life:

“There are only six elements in human conduct: eating, sleeping, discharging, working, playing and having sex. In each of them, there are limits that humans cannot exceed in order to survive, and cultural codes to follow. Speaking of eating, eating too much is the worst. One should eat regularly according to schedule. The issue is less what to eat than how to eat, which we studied.”


Wow that’s a really interesting way to put it.


Which area is affected the most right now?


It’s essentially in and around the Fukushima Prefecture, although the radiation scatters randomly to places quite far outside Fukushima too, including Tokyo some 150 miles away. The population in Fukushima alone is 2 million.


Are the people in Fukushima a kind of lower class? What is their social position?


There are various classes in terms of income, but in comparison to Tokyo, to which Fukushima was supplying the electricity, the people probably consider themselves marginalized.


Are there farmers?


Yes, a lot of farmers and fishermen. The primary industry was most devastated because of the nuclear disaster, so the damage to the farmers lives is definitely huge.


So the people have cleared out of the area?


In the close vicinity within 12 miles is cleared out. But outside of it, people are still living in contaminated area, and people are encouraged to move back by the government.


Do the people travel into the zone?


I have heard of some farmers who couldn’t leave their cattle alone, would return to the exclusion zone to feed the cattle so they don’t starve. It’s been more and more difficult since you either have to sneak in or get an official permit to go inside the zone.


(Looking at a hand-drawn map of Japan)

So this area roughly is Fukushima. And this down here is Tokyo to which the contamination has reached.


When we look at our maps and charts we use the name Honshu. But we are talking about a very specific area of Honshu correct?


Eaxctly. And this is Kyushu, and south of it there is Okinawa, where there are a lot of US military bases.


Yeah, my grandfather was actually stationed in Okinawa.


I’m looking at the business cards we got today… here’s the Japanese TV station I was telling you about, says Fuji Television.

Yuko & Ayumi

Oh, Fuji. They are big media corporation. They’re huge.


So the TEPCO will probably see our interview?


yeah, definitely.




This station is one of the most conservative media outlets in Japan, so it’s kind of a nice surprise that they are running your story. But I do hope they’ll do it fairly.


Are they for or against what TEPCO is doing?


Well, they are actually hand-in-hand with TEPCO, you could say.


Oh that explains a lot, because they kept asking me ‘why TEPCO’. They really wanted to know how we chose to sue TEPCO.

Ayumi & Yuko

Oh wow…


They looked angry when I said I wanted TEPCO to take care of their own people first. They asked me what I wanted to say to TEPCO and I was like duh, take care of your own people! And then they could begin to worry about what’s going on with me and Jaime. We could live without 40 million – but the people in Japan, they are going through a lot. I wasn’t sure why the reporters looked angry when I said it but that explains.

Well, how would I get to see the interview we did with Fuji television? I’m concerned that they are going to edit it and make us look like a criminal or something.


That’s what I was wondering, how they’re going to edit to and how they make you guys look like. We’re gonna try to find it and get in touch with you.


I see, they could edit it however they want to and mix up our words huh?


Yeah, but I think many people who watch it would know the corporate interests of this station and I’m sure people have no reason to not legitimatize your experience.


Yes, that’s why we’re trying to talk.


A little bit related to your demand to TEPCO to take care of people affected by radiation, I have picked this up reading about your case online; your lawyer Paul Garner is interested in opening up a medical facilities of some sort in Hawaii, to take care of people with radiation symptoms.


He’s been trying to set up a lot of stuff; he’s doing a lot to help us be seen by doctors but there’s no medical people really fully backing us up right now.


I didn’t even hear about that.


You definitely need a good back up from medical communities and it’s hopefully going to work out for you that you’ve spoken at this medical symposium today.


I think it worked out great for us to be here.


There are several lawsuits against TEPCO going on right now. One of them is for criminal charges against TEPCO executives and the government officials. The people in Fukushima began filing and the number of plaintiffs has reached about 14,000, all of whom are filing the suit together.


Wow. That’s amazing.


Their actions are really incredible and important to us, reminding us that people are not giving up despite the state/corporate interests and the anger from Fukushima is still burning.


That’s really great.


Sorry, but now I’m really concerned about the interview with Fuji. They asked me the same question like three times. And I responded with the same answer, but the way they asked me these same questions was kind of manipulative.


Whatever, they can only do so much.


The facts are all out there, and at least we heard your statements.


It’s kind of nerve-wrecking since there are lot of people with a lot of cameras asking questions. Yesterday when we were driving back home, we googled to see if something about us was up, and we found out somebody wrote about us completely wrong, said that I was 23 and stuff.. I don’t even remember talking to this person…


But it happens, you know.


Well I don’t want it to happen. But I guess you need to get used to that. Now not only are we looking for our own stories like this but I know that the military will be looking too. If some guy goes on with his own beliefs on our little stories, we’re gonna have to deal with that, too. I don’t feel like dealing with the military, to be honest, anymore.


This might come out awkward to you guys but I have been working with the people in japan against the US military presence, especially in Okinawa. So I was convinced when Operation Tomodachi began, that it was a promotional campaign for the presence of US military in Japan or in the East Asia region at least. And how “vital” it is to have the military “friendship” between Japan and the US.


We know about the protests, when we used to pull into Sasebo, there would be a huge protests by the people on small boats. They’d be coming alongside us and hold up signs to try to keep us from pulling in. The navy told us to be safe when we went to town and watch out for certain things. So we are so gung ho to help out because of the people protesting us and so on. I think we kind of lost sight of what was actually going on, because they were so concerned with making a better relationship with Japan.


If I were in Sasebo, I might have been greeting you on one of these little boats. So it’s been really exciting and anxious to talk to you in person. I was a little nervous and didn’t know what to ask you guys in the beginning.


We don’t get offended at anything. You can ask anything you guys want to because it really doesn’t matter what our stances are on that aspect. The situation with the radiaion, regardless of how you see the military, is what really matters.


I’m not pro- or anti- anything, we just do what we do.


And Marilyn (Marilyn Elie: an anti-nuclear activist and organizer based in Westchester, NY, near Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant.) made a good point when we were talking with her yesterday that despite we are so young we’ve already been in the military for 5 years. We don’t really know what’s going on in the world. We had been in a different world. All you hear is what they (commanders) tell you, and there are some things I agree with them, and some things I don’t. So this is all so fresh and new to us. Even though Maurice was out a year before me he was still with me, so his exposure to outside was limited. So we’re still getting adjusted to the outside world.


I was thinking yesterday at Indian Point convergence: you are fresh into this, and suddenly sitting next to older ladies and peace signs and anti-nuclear buttons all over her jacket. It was fascinating and lovely to think how you got there all of sudden. (Laugh)


That’s one of the main concern we had, you know, we didn’t really wanna come down here and get sucked into activism being against nuclear energy. But from what we heard, what’s going on in Indian Point has a huge potential to disasters, so I agree with a lot of stuff people are saying.

It’s interesting considering what you said about us sitting next to all these long-time activists, I realize we are still being educated about a lot of things. Regardless of your stances, whether you are against nuclear or for it, you could still see when there is a problem. So I guess whatever your view is on that situation doesn’t really matter. You could still see that there are a lot of risks in nuclear energy.


One of the people who evacuated from Fukushima said :what would you do if you see a child bleeding in front of you?” I think it is very telling.


Well, that’s another reason why I don’t get mad at the sailors on the ship because even if I were alone there and wasn’t a sailor, I would have helped out the tsunami victims, and I know majority of the people that I met were thinking like me, whether they were in higher ranking or lower ranking.


Also, I don’t tend to believe in conspiracies but regardless of the military’s real intensions were for Operation Tomodachi, there were the crew. We were saying to each other, even after we found out about our being exposed, that there are people who have nothing. I mean, we saw houses floating in the ocean. Some crew got together to go over the shelves and racks in our living area, collecting shampoos, clothes and toys and anything we could donate. So whatever the big military’s motive to go in, I know that there were crew, I would say 99%, if not all of them were there with the right intentions to help the people.

PDF (English)

http://www.jfissures.org/2013/05/12/interview-with-jaime-and-maurice/feed/ 1
Radiation Exposure is Unequal http://www.jfissures.org/2013/04/24/radiation-exposure-is-unequal/ http://www.jfissures.org/2013/04/24/radiation-exposure-is-unequal/#comments Wed, 24 Apr 2013 05:10:28 +0000 http://www.jfissures.org/?p=2460 (photo: Global2000 on flickr)

(Originally published in Japanese for Gendai Shiso 現代思想, July 2012 Issue)


Doesn’t Radiation Discriminate?

The Japanese Reggae musician, Rankin Taxi, has a song he has been singing for over twenty years: “You can’t see it, and you can’t smell it either.”

Radiation is strong

Radiation is powerful

It doesn’t discriminate

And you can’t beat it

Yes. Nobody can beat radiation. Nobody can escape its harms — so Rankin Taxi sings, and he is right.

The Japanese government and TEPCO (The Tokyo Electric Power Company) constructed nuclear power plants in Fukushima and Niigata Prefectures, 220 kilometers away from the Tokyo metropolis. There are several reasons one can think of as to why they built them so far away. One of them could be that in case of accident, the metropolitan area would be safe from radiation damage. Imposing all the risks onto these Prefectures instead, they calculated to protect Tokyo. However, the explosion of March 2011 revealed how their assumption was optimistic. The fall-out of radioactive substances affected far beyond Fukushima Prefecture, to the entire Kanto region, and reached even the Chubu region. The accident at the nuclear reactors easily surpassed the distance of 220 kms. The relative measurement of farness and nearness has quickly faded. People have learned that the crux is not distance, but wind direction and speed, temperature and topography; on top of that, how variable the direction of the wind is, and how far the fast winds at high altitudes can travel. Rankin Taxi’s song was right: radiation did not discriminate; the residents of Fukushima Prefecture and Tokyo metropolis were equally bathed in radiation.

This ominous observation was thus materialized. Thereafter, however, we have been facing another reality. That is, while nobody is free from radioactive fall-out, in this post-nuclear disaster society a different situation has arisen, wherein indiscrimination has begun to collapse. Radiation exposure is unequal. In this society it is not possible that everyone is equally exposed to radiation. In principle the efforts to shield against radiation would envision an environment where everyone was equally protected, but this cannot be realized easily in this world.

The Dilution Myth

Those who advocate accepting and enduring the radiation damage emphasize “sharing the pain.” This position takes for granted the idea that the spreading radioactive substances are diluted in space; in other words, that when a substance of a certain quantity is thrown into a bigger space, its density will be weakened. This idea has long been adopted by the electric companies to support the claim that the radioactive substances that leak from nuclear power plants are eventually diluted in the big expanse of the atmosphere and ocean, becoming harmless.

Based upon this notion, the idea of incinerating the polluted debris left by the earthquake and tsumami is being conducted at the moment (2012). The Ministry of the Environment responsible for the project claims that there is little concentration of radioactive substances detected in the atmosphere according to their monitoring of the incineration. Exemplifying the low density of radioactivity in the vast space, they insist on the safety of the project.
This method of estimation is fundamentally false. The idea that danger can be avoided by dilution might be applied to those substances whose half-lives are short. But what about problematic substances such as cesium and strontium, whose half-lives are long? The half-life of cesium 134 is two years and considered to be relatively short, however, its complete disappearance takes twenty years, ten times longer than the half-life. As for cesium 137, its half-life is thirty long years. Even after these years, its radioactivity will diminish only by half. The radioactive substances released from the vents of incinerators have been once diluted and their temperatures lowered. But the same state of dilution and low temperature will not be kept constant for tens of years. The particles move around, fall to the ground and are washed away by rain. In some places they are washed away and dispersed, while in others they accumulate and concentrate. Already in some side ditches in the Kanto region, highly radioactive sludge has been discovered whose density measures more than several hundred times higher than the density of the ground washed by water.

The idea that a state of dilution is sustained is totally wrong. Radioactive substances follow the paths of wind and water, accumulating in certain spots. Should they accumulate in the mouth of a river for only a short period of time, there will be countermeasures to deal with. But unfortunately the case is not so simple. Also, should the hotspots be few and exceptional, we could be more at ease. But that is not the case. The singular points are created constantly and anywhere. It is just difficult to thoroughly map the distribution and dynamic since they are always in flux. For instance, houses on the ground can be mapped in detail, but underground waterways cannot. Water leaking from side ditches into the ground is not visible from the surface of the earth.

The method of dividing the total volume of released radioactive substances by the volume of the space or the square meter of the ground surface is fundamentally flawed. The distribution and dynamic of the released nuclides cannot be extrapolated so easily. In the total process of actual contamination, if radioactive gas or dust is ever spread evenly in a vast space, it is only for an instant.

The promoters of incineration would refute this idea: “in the first place, filters at the plants can catch 99% of the substances, thus the released volume is very small.” This too is false. The vague argument as to whether the total volume is big or small tacitly takes for granted the volume of the entire space. Saying that the total volume is small means only ‘small’ vis-à-vis the entire space to which the substances are released. And if ‘small’ is to be insisted upon, it is imperative to prove the limits of accumulation and condensation. To say it differently, it is necessary to point out to what extent the state of dispersion and dilution can be kept. Since radioactive substances exist in the nano-level, the spatial volume that assumes the denominator of their densities is compressed into extremely micro dimensions. Therefore, in order for us to be able to assert the smallness, it is necessary to present the limit of the condensation of the spatial volume, or else, to what extent the atmosphere and soil that surround us can exclude the radioactive substances.

After contaminated debris is incinerated, a band of radioactive contamination is created which is then gradually concentrated. Such places as reservoirs, rivers and coasts will be affected inexorably. The primary industries which rely on soil and water will suffer enormous consequences. Certainly, workers at incineration facilities and sewage disposal plants will be forced to face tremendous hazards, except that they are entitled to the “Occupational Safety and Health Act on the Regulation of those Engaged in Ionization and Radiation work” as well as “hazard pay.” Meanwhile, those who are in the primary industries do not receive any support, even after a high degree of soil pollution has been revealed. That is to say, for the same degree of danger, guarantees and security are not offered equally. The pains of radiation exposure are never shared impartially. Specific types of people in the same region are subjected to corporeal, psychological and economical hardships.

“To share the pain” is but a myth made to sound like an ideal. By advocating the myth, the Ministry of the Environment is able to turn a blind eye to the unfair state of things, instigated by this very government.

Where did these false notions–dilution of radioactive substances and “share the pain”–come from? This is not simply born out of ignorance about radioactivity. In the background exists an aspiration of various people for an equality-based society. When equality is absent in the society where it was supposed to be, in order to imaginarily recover it, the people have come to leap at the notion of equality (by dilution) in the whole. To put it more nastily, the Japanese nationals do not know a way of making social bonds other than by sharing superficial equality. It is for this reason that the good people have stopped thinking while facing the reality of radioactive condensation, and instead cling to the myth of dilution.

The Dilution Myth of Food

There is another type of dilution myth.

In April 2012, in a community in Aichi Prefecture, Chubu Region, a food product with radiation levels higher than regulation was discovered. Dried Shiitake mushrooms containing 1400 Bq per kilo was used for making an Udon noodle dish. The public health center of the city announced that the amount of cesium that children had taken in was no more than 5.5 Bq per person. When I asked for clarification of the grounds of that estimation, they answered: the total sum of 1400 Bq was divided by the quantity of one child’s intake (estimated 3.9 grams) — 1400 X 0.0039 = 5.5. This calculation was totally wrong, because the distribution of cesium–including in dried mushrooms–is not even, and does not dilute evenly.

Imagine that we have two sample pieces of dried mushroom from which 1400 Bq/kg has been detected. We cut the two pieces into half: A, A’, B and B’. Then we shuffle them, and the consequence is not that all have the same amount 1400 Bq/kg. For the distribution of cesium differs in all of them.

The dried mushroom used in Aichi Prefecture was a blend of pieces from varied regions. In one package, those from Oita Prefecture (in Kyushu) and those from Iwate Prefecture (near Fukushima) were mixed. As we can assume, the package contained pieces from both non-radiated and irradiated zones. Some pieces would have zero becquerels, while others would have more than 1400 Bq/kg.

If we make a graph to measure the radiation density of each of the mushroom pieces, there won’t be any number ‘1400 bq/kg’ on the graph. The bar graph will be divided into either 0 Bq/kg or more than 2000 Bq/kg, drawing the shape of the letter M. In reality, it is impossible to measure the density of radiation per piece of mushroom; and it is impossible to verify the number. The least we can do is to reckon that the distribution of cesium would be divided into two poles.

The example where products from two origins are mixed together is convenient, but all in all, the problem is the same even when all products are from the same region. Each sample will show different numbers. This is because radioactive substances are micro substances that exist on the nano-level and are gathered into density at the same time as being surrounded by sparseness. We are in the process of learning how to approach such a knotty phenomenon, meanwhile what we are doing for now is just to make a projection of its status at a distance by employing macro samples. We hardly understand what kind of density and sparseness are formed within the nano-domain.

Therefore, please do not state that there is 1.4 Bq radioactivity per 1 gram from the calculation of 1400 Bq/kg total. Today’s testing of radiation density is far less reliable than we are made to believe. It is like describing a deck of cards that has 26 red and 26 black as “50% red.” In the real situation, when we distribute the cards to school children, each will get either red or black: no one will receive one that is 50% red. For the child who gets red, the calculation method based upon dilution has no meaning at all.

The ideal of education certainly has to be based upon equality, but radioactive substances are never distributed equally according to the ideal. Even if we distribute all food products by stirring them in a mixer, we won’t be able to achieve an equal density for all. Today’s technology cannot control the distribution of cesium. In order to achieve a true equality in terms of all children’s meals, there is no other way but to realize the state of zero becqurels.

Wise readers, by now all of you have realized that no one can tell how many becqurels are contained in the food products you are eating now. The sample testing of food products can only be partial. It is for this precise reason that many homemakers are buying food from the southern island of Kyushu. Their judgment is based upon the origin of products instead of the numerical values from testing, only because they know that the sample testing is impossible and ineffective.

What the testing can clarify is only whether or not there are radioactive substances. It is only by the testing of the totality that we confirm that the food is safe. Partial sample testing cannot tell anything.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare sets up a regulatory standard of 100 Bq/kg, just for convenience, but the vegetables that pass this standard contains varied densities of radiation, maybe from 1 Bq/kg to 300 Bq/kg (or in fact much more). In one cardboard box, that there is a vegetable which contains 90 Bq/kg does not mean that this number is the maximal one among those in the same box; there could be ones with higher radiation. Among the vegetables in a market, there are many exceptions.

Some vegetable distributors might call what I have been saying a ‘harmful rumor [fuhyo higai]’ – the common parlance to accuse those who honestly express their worries about the current situation. But it is necessary to acknowledge the fact that numbers on sample testing can easily be manipulated. If you pick up multiple samples from one vegetable field, different numbers will come up. One can choose a number convenient for your purpose and record it. Even in a polluted field which contains 45 red cards, there are at least 7 black cards; you can continue to draw cards until a black one comes up. When the degree of pollution is smaller, such operations will become easier. Farmers know everything about soil. They could tell from which point to get samples and which point not to, in order to pass the test. (This does not mean, however, all farmers are doing this.) This is why consumers are cautious and avoiding the vegetables from Chiba, Ibaraki and Gunma Prefectures. This saying would be deemed a harmful rumor, which is however based upon a solid scientific question.

Careful consumers who have scientific knowledge don’t buy vegetables from Tohoku and Kanto Regions; they don’t eat out. But the society does not sufficiently support such protective measures. Why not? Now the issue at stake is that of general economy — that which grounds the society.

The Protective Measures and Homemakers

The radioactive substances spreading from the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant have reached Tohoku and Kanto, and part of the Chubu region. The residents living in those regions are affected by radiation in three processes: external exposure by being bathed in radioactive substances accumulated on the soil; internal exposure by inhaling the substances as dust and gas; internal exposure by intake of the substances in water and food. Outside the polluted zones, a secondary spread is being effected by circulation. In this case carriers of radioactive substances are: debris from the earthquake, recycled construction materials, agricultural materials, food products and medical supplies. The most dangerous in the non-polluted zones is internal exposure by intake of food products.

The protective measures taken by the government are totally insufficient. While it sets a permissible dose as one milli-sievert per person, it cannot do anything for recognizing, differentiating and controlling the three different types of exposures: external, inhalation internal and intake internal.

While the government’s protective measures are ineffective, the people have come to be active: they have created their own monitoring centers and share the information across the nation via the internet. The leading agents for this movement are homemakers. Why so?

The works of care or house-work or reproductive work existed as communal division of labor, but in the capitalist production of value became shadow work and as such were imposed upon mostly women. In this sense they embody the status of women being exploited, oppressed and discriminated against. And at the same time, these works are what support the entire domain of productive works. They are crucial for sustaining social (re)production. In the post-Fukushima situation, the conflicting duality of these works – exploitation/discrimination and potency – has been revealed, more than ever, in their complexity. There are four attributes of the duality that homemakers have to live.

Their Intelligence:

The practices of the protective measures in concrete are works that belong to house-work such as cooking, cleaning, washing and childcare. Homemakers know the actuality of these works by their everyday practice.

Every single day, they are tirelessly (or rather tiredly) cooking for nourishment of their family members. They know the sheer fact that an accumulation of micro substances could make a human live or die. Radioactive substances are invisible, and the invisibility is not anything new to them. Bacteria, virus, food additives, agricultural chemicals, allergens, genetically modified products, ultraviolet rays, etc. — there are so many invisible things in life circumstances. If they give up dealing with the invisibles, they can by no means take care of the health of their infants. And they never overlook the substances (produced by the male centered society) and never give up the project to avoid their harms.

It is homemakers who are working on protective measures in the non-polluted zones, because they know they can deal with them by expanding their everyday works for nourishment and hygiene. And it is again homemakers who determine to evacuate from the polluted zones, only because they practically know the limit of possible protective measures. The primary element that drives their protective measures is intelligence that they create themselves from the domain they have no other choice but to confront every day.

Their Responsibility:

Homemakers are, whether they like it or not, often charged with responsibility for the health of their family members.

Rather they are imposed the responsibility. When a family member becomes ill or requires care, it is they who shoulder the trouble. When I say “homemakers” here, it is not limited to married women with children. For instance, a female university student in Tokyo worries about her future: when her parents become ill, her brothers will abandon the task of taking care of them and she alone will have to do it. Only wealthy families can hire professionals, and in most cases care and nursing are imposed upon women in the household. In some cases, they become caretakers of the household even without being a spouse; in any case, many of them lose their opportunity to get jobs or get married. Or more precisely, when they get married, they often face the duty to take care of their parents-in-law; and furthermore, unless their husbands are retired, they become the caretakers of both their own parents and their parents-in-law. What distinguishes daughters and sons is the difference of self-recognition: whether or not one day they are expected to carry on such tasks as real possibility. So it is homemakers and female (or rarely male in Japan) reproductive workers who are appointed to the reserved, unpaid work making up for the coming situation. That is to say, the society does not give permission for them to refuse the appointed duty always, already reserved for them.

When the specialists for the medical care for radiation exposure, or ICRP (The International Commission on Radiation Protection) or WHO (World Health Organization) estimate that the health hazard by radiation is ‘small,’ as they usually do, they do not expect they take care of the ‘small’ number of the victims with their own responsibility. It is predetermined that some members of families work gratis round-the-clock, taking care of the consequence. It never happens that the specialists are pressed with care of the victims, be their number big or small. With no sorrow or self-reproach, they love to use the term “risks,” only because they know someone else would take care of the consequences of the risks.

Reproductive workers or homemakers are those who undertake everything when something happens to their family members. They are like shock absorbers for crises. They are forced to work gratis with their sense of responsibility even though they are not responsible at all. In terms of radiation, it is homemakers who are liquidating the horrendous consequences of ‘small’. And it is this charge that drives them to the protection measures at the moment.

Discrimination against Them:

Homemakers are accustomed to discrimination. This is different from their acceptance of discrimination. They just know discrimination by experience. For homemakers, being looked down on or underestimated is an everyday affair. For them being belittled by their family members is hurtful but not surprising. For experienced homemakers it is within their expectation for living this world.

After Fukushima, it is advertising industries that have embodied discriminatory consciousness against homemakers the most. As consumers, of course they had been familiar with advertisement. Advertising agencies had been releasing information on health and beautification such as cosmetic, detox and anti-aging, which homemakers have been using on their side. In other words, by fabricating the images of “beautiful women” or “fashionable moms,” advertising agencies had been imposing a consumerism accompanied by the disciplinization of their bodies. Suddenly then, the agencies began to advocate: “accept radiation bravely.” This was an extreme case of betrayal and the moment when the discriminatory nature of advertising industries was revealed brazenly. According to their advice, women are supposed to be cautious about ultraviolet rays, but accept radioactivity. I have never seen such overt discrimination.

Those who have been discriminated against do not trust those who discriminate. Always facing crude liars, people know whom they can and cannot trust. During the time of varied argumentations on radiation issues after Fukushima, the discourses of the government and the specialists have been successfully invalidated, only thanks to those who have refused to trust all of them. Caregivers tend to say: “I don’t know.” Even though they know, or precisely because they know, they say they don’t know. It is their warning that they don’t trust smooth-tongued liars. Their habitus of distrust has given the weight on the arguments, played the role of shield and oriented the often confused consciousness of us all. This is one of the powers that has been leading the protective activities.

Their Sense of Time

Those who carry on reproduction of labor power hold a long perspective of time. While wage labor exists only by a temporary contract and only as part of short-term trades in the commodity economy, the labor of reproduction is embedded in life economy whose cycle is incomparably long. It takes more or less twenty years to bear and raise babies until they become adults. It takes almost the same length of time to take care of the aged until they die. Reproductive labor is a labor that you cannot give up when you get tired of it, that you have to continue to engage for a long period of time. To say it in an extreme way, while wage labor has lost the sense of time by living a short-term contract, while holding a timeless utopia, those who bear children are living in time and objectifying it. For instance, speaking of the relationship between radiation that they deeply fear, and time, it takes twenty years until the activity of cesium 134 ends (ten times of its half-life that is two years), but they are able to envision the length of twenty years as a concrete human time. Late radiation damage that would appear in ten or fifteen years is total nonsense to the consciousness that has forgotten time. “It is nonsense to think of an illness that might appear in such a distant future.” For mothers, however, fifteen years is a future sufficiently reachable. This is because they directly engage themselves in nurturing humans by concretely assuming possible critical situations in a secured everyday life, and in time.

Exploitation Embedded in the Damage Estimation

I have been describing caregivers’ intelligence, responsibility, opposition to the (male dominant) society and sense of time. Those who insist on optimistic views on the effects of artificial nuclides over human body – as very small – ridicule homemakers’ protective activities while tacitly expecting their works. They would never say: “it is unnecessary.” Acknowledging the need for protection, they say: “they are over cautious.” At the same time, while they say: “there won’t be much damages,” they would never say: “there won’t be any damage.” For saying that is equal to saying there is no need for protection measures.

What they want to say, all in all, is that “although protection measures are necessary, we ourselves don’t want to do them.” Protection measures require a tremendous amount of cost and labor; they cause frictions in human relations; they force us to assume a long period of time, directly affecting our own lives. On the other hand, the social structure and economic system centered on capitalism would never care for the efforts and costs required by the protection measures, not to mention human life itself; they are operating in a totally different dynamic. They are saying that they don’t want to confront such a long-term project, they don’t want to carry on such troubles. Period!
Those who engage in radiation protection projects are sharing a pessimistic estimation on the hazards. The estimation for them is, however, doomed to fail, because they intend to strive toward lower numbered results that would appear in ten years. The results of their efforts will offer tremendous benefit to all. The harder they work, the more distance they will gain from their own pessimistic estimation, and move closer to the optimistic estimation of those who promote the “small damage” calculation. Homemakers are working gratis not only for their own rights, but also for the rights of the parasites who do nothing but ridicule them.

In this sense, “damage estimation” is no longer based upon a pure disciplinary inquiry or debate in the domain of natural science. It has become a tool for a political battle between those who engage in protection measures and those who steal a free ride on them. It is not because the voluntary protection activities of the people are useless that they are ignored and ridiculed. It is for justifying the free ride of the men in power that their activities would not be given a proper acknowledgement. By just saying: “I would not worry about radiation as such; my wife is doing something by herself,” he is exempt from the trouble and can enjoy safe meals. The government insists on the optimistic estimation and keeps people’s protection activities informal, only for drawing out the endless resources of the people, so that they can play dumb with the need of special budget program. The optimistic estimation of the radiation hazards has not been established previous to and independent of the feeble and pathetic protection program of the government. It is evidently motivated by a self-serving calculation for achieving the exemption from the task of protection. The small estimation is part of the process of exploitation within the entire program of the post nuclear disaster society.

The structure of the exploitation has in fact long existed. This is an embodiment of the universal structure of capitalism and the political framework reinforced by nuclear capitalism in the postwar era. In proportion to the lowered death rate of babies, the heightened rate of education and the developed domain of reproductive labor, the social status of homemakers has continued to decline. The work of homemakers has been unacknowledged, confined in the problematic domain of private affairs, internalized within individuality and treated informally – as the primary modus operandi of the primitive accumulation. Looking down on homemakers at the same time as enjoying a free ride on their work – this position has been forged into an ideology to justify the exploitation and then elevated to a national consensus shared across the political spectrum from the left to the right — this is the completion of contemporary form of the primitive accumulation inherent in capitalism.
The spread of radioactive substances has finally put the general structure of exploitation on the foreground of the present conjuncture. It is homemakers who are striving hardest and most looked down on. The homemakers-bashing permeates society beyond the industrial class and the political spectrum. Not to mention the promoters of nuclear power, some of the self-professed anti-nukes and lefts do not acknowledge the work of homemakers rightfully. Pseudo lefts and pseudo feminists mistake criticizing the way of being of homemakers for a moral duty. This is a tacit expression of their own wish to renounce heavy responsibility of reproduction and their own fear to fully confront capitalism. The homemakers bashing is more or less used as a pretext for their own desertion of the battle against the radiation and the power. This is what we should call bourgeois ideology in the post-Fukushima context.

One Last story of Inequality

Those who advocate accepting and enduring the radiation damages are oblivious to the inequality of their effects. That is to say, they are oblivious to the fact that this society is not equality based, rather consisting of discrimination, exploitation and partiality. They execute their power by employing convenient ideologies. For them it is useless to confront crises, but only utilize them for their interests; in this power operation they pre-determine the conclusion with their preferred underestimation. They are totally oblivious to the present exploitation and discrimination instigated by themselves; instead, they push their power operation by advocating the lack of self-management of those who are actually exploited and discriminated against.
While I was writing the current article, I asked several questions to my students studying to be social workers:

After graduating from university and getting a social worker’s license and a job in the field, if your employer asks if you are willing to move to an associate office in Koriyama City in Fukushima Prefecture, not as an order but an option, would you go?

Four groups consisting of ten students each discussed this matter for twenty minutes. About half of them said they would go. Troubled by this result as I was, I added a disadvantageous condition:

Last year three workers were transferred to the same office in Koriyama. But all three quit the job within a year, for reasons we don’t know – low wages or health hazards…? But it is evident that these were disposable positions and you are now asked to fill the vacancy. Would you still go?

No changes. Half of them would still go.

A certain spirit of self-sacrifice might be necessary to be a social worker. But what I would like them to understand is the importance — not of self-sacrifice, but — of individual rights. It is understandable that there are students who would go. But I assume that among them there are those who are just unable to say: “I would refuse to and would not go.”

In order to survive the coming radioactive ages, what I hope students possess is the consciousness of human rights necessary to protect themselves. I believe that the ability to refuse dangerous work, based upon a solid awareness of human rights, is the sine-qua-non for the intensive engagement in the protection activities. Meanwhile, those who are uncertain about their rights and cannot assert them will be voluntarily bathed in radiation. This is for us a reminder of the prewar social climate. Much like the old men in power who ordered the nation to advance for the war, those men who order to accept and endure the radiation damages today won’t be exposed to radiation very much or at all. The old men sitting cross-legged behind the safety zone will never see the real battlefield of radiation. Those women and young men who choose to be exploited by ignoring their rights will go over to or remain in the irradiated zones, to be bathed in an unprecedented dose of radiation.
Finally, I gave the students homework:

Research what kind of protective measures for the food stuffs of the dining hall the public health department of this university is taking. Research their ideas and practices for radiation protection. You have the right to know the actuality of this university’s protection activities. Should you see uncertainties and shortcomings in their measures, attack them with your questions until you are fully convinced.

“All the nation must accept, endure and share the radiation damages equally” – so they say, but however beautiful this may sound, there is no equality here. This is a sheer fairy tale.
Bombarded by radiation, the society has exposed and also reinforced the discrimination and exploitation it had always internalized. The society will be divided and dismembered more than ever, while intensifying oppositions. In this context, what is necessary is neither false equality nor imposed homogeneity, but the consciousness of individual rights and people’s science, in confrontation with the radioactive spread and the dismembered society.


Yabu Shiro has written extensively on social movements in Japan. His most recent publications include Contemporary Thoughts of Love and Violence (2006); Nuclear City (2010); and The 3.12 Ideas (2012).


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Voluntary Evacuation: A New Form of Struggle – A Conversation with Takako Shishido (1) http://www.jfissures.org/2013/01/14/voluntary-evacuation-a-new-form-of-struggle-a-conversation-with-takako-shishido-1/ http://www.jfissures.org/2013/01/14/voluntary-evacuation-a-new-form-of-struggle-a-conversation-with-takako-shishido-1/#comments Mon, 14 Jan 2013 14:57:46 +0000 http://www.jfissures.org/?p=2363 (Photo: Takumi Sakamoto – Goldenrods grow tall in the abandoned rice fields in Fukushima.)


Voluntary Evacuation: A New Form of Struggle
A Conversation with Takako Shishido by Todos Somos Japon (1)

June 23, 2012, NYC

Takako Shishido (TS)
Ayumi Hirai (AH)
Sabu Kohso (SK)
Yuko Tonohira (YT)

Yuko Tonohira: Today in New York we are joined by Takako Shishido from Fukushima on her trip back from Rio de Janeiro. When the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was struck by the earthquake and tsunami, followed by the series of explosions and meltdowns, Shishido-san was living in the city of Date, Fukushima Prefecture, 50km away from the plant. Last year she relocated to Sapporo City in Hokkaido with her two children and husband. As an evacuee herself, she volunteers as an organizer of the local evacuees network.

Sabu Kohso: Looking at the situation from outside of Japan, it seems that voluntary evacuation is such a crucial process and I am convinced that whoever can must evacuate the area affected by evident radioactivity. Here somebody’s evacuation itself will have a strong impact even on those who don’t need to evacuate yet, let alone those who do now. One definite thing to consider is the unstoppable spread of contamination, which will surely affect all human lives across the world, one way or another. I have a sense that there will be many many more people who follow the path of evacuation from now on. In this respect, a large network of support systems is crucial. Evacuation involves not only the efforts and determination of evacuees, but also necessitates help from those who accept the evacuees at new homes, and many other solidarity projects such as legal, mental and financial support. With this in mind, we may have an option to expand the network even overseas, to create a wider support structure, even though the immediate support must happen within Japan in the first place.

Takako Shishido: Yes, certainly. Right now, very few or no visible effects have been detected in the bodies of those of us who live or have lived in radioactive area since last March. It is quite likely that we have already been affected, but it is hard to confirm. Under such circumstances, much fewer people are voluntarily evacuating than we feel necessary at the moment. We can’t determine what will be sufficient, since nobody knows what is and will be happening to our bodies. When it becomes necessary, however, it will be very difficult for people to make an immediate decision to evacuate – especially if there is nowhere to go or no one to accept them. So it is surely important to have a system of support to accept those who want to evacuate at any instant in the future. If the state of the Fukushima Daiichi and radioactive contamination worsens, the entire Eastern Japan may face total devastation. Therefore one of the vital measures to be taken is for the State to acknowledge the right to evacuate for those who feel it necessary. It is important to create a consensus for this right so that we can say evacuation is not wrong. If many people offer their support for this, it would be so much easier for those who are living with unbearable anxiety to make their decision to get out. This is such a relief for many, and it will be much needed from now on.

YT: Sabu, what you just said was to set up some kind of system to accept evacuees even outside of Japan?

SK: Yes, first of all, a network within Japan is most crucial, but at this point the disaster is proving to be unprecedentedly huge, and the nuclear accident itself hasn’t been resolved. Some point out grave risks involved even in living in the Tokyo area. It is a matter of historical magnitude that Tokyo, a world metropolis, might need to be evacuated. And to have people move out of Tokyo cannot be imagined within the scope of Japan alone; this could develop into a global refugee situation. So there is a possibility that we will need to create a support movement based on borderless networking.

TS: Yes, it would be too late to form a support system when people are already trying to evacuate and move out of their homes. People would feel more comfortable migrating if there were good support system and organizations already in place. We panicked when the reactors exploded because there was no such evacuation system. In this on-going situation we can expect anything could happen. So any preparation will not hurt. Even if the efforts and practices may not see immediate results, they won’t be wasted for they will be needed when similar things happen elsewhere in the future. Today the core of such a support system consists of the so-called “support organizations” which are basically run by the common people. The support group in Hokkaido however tends to have many useful connections to the administration and municipal offices; community organizations and the administration are able to work together. Since the voices of evacuees are heard in exchanges with various sectors, things can work very well. We feel we are receiving significant support from the administration when we see officials help us, walking the fine line between the legal and extra-legal. The administration and the community groups have different capacities and each has separate agendas. When the two capabilities are combined, it makes a strong system for supporting the evacuees. It is extremely crucial to share capabilities in different places–not just in Hokkaido. In addition, I’ve been trying to involve many different types of people like those who can address mental needs, legal needs and so on. I think it is necessary to stay connected with as many people as possible.

SK: When we initially got together to begin Todos Somos Japon as a global solidarity project, with Yuko, Marina (Sitrin) and myself, we talked about the potentiality of these needs emerging. Our conversation didn’t go into much detail at first, but we did think about such possibilities. Since Marina has been involved in many social movements in Latin America, she envisioned several ideas; for example, connecting with the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) in Brazil to start working with certain groups and municipalities, even on a small scale. In another instance, the government of Bolivia might actually listen to us if we try connecting with them. Any of these things we can’t predict, but we need to slowly examine who is willing and able to work with us, as we go on. It may take several years, though.

YT: In fact, if we think within the frame of the US, we may limit possibilities.

SK: Yes, what I imagine is to approach strongly-organized and well-mobilized social movements or even certain governments in Latin America.

TS: I am actually sensing something like the second wave of emigration to Latin America. For that matter, their invitation to Brazil may well have included a tacit message that Japanese evacuees could move there. Mr. Sato*¹ told us that he wanted us to see what kind of place Brazil was. I felt that he wanted us to see in our own eye that Brazil was a great place and we could migrate if we wanted to. In fact, immediately after the disaster, there were several offers from different governments for people to relocate there. Next time anything similar is offered to us, the situation will have become much worse than it is now- that kind of networking is very necessary.

*¹ Johsei Sato: A second generation Japanese born in Brazil, who runs a Buddhist temple in Brasilia. He has invited Ms. Shishido to Rio+20 People’s Forum in the summer of 2012 to discuss the current situation and spread the voice of Fukushima.

YT: Yes, there are already big Japanese immigrant communities in Latin America especially in Brazil, so in reality it would be easier for people evacuating from Japan to adjust to a new life, with familiar language and even the food culture already in place.

TS: Even within Japan, I have learned about some communities inviting those who have given up farming in contaminated areas, so that they can start farming again. But farmers cannot easily give up on their own land. They cannot simply move out of the land they have kept for generations, no matter how toxic it may be. One of Mr. Sakamoto’s photographs*² from Fukushima shows a former rice field, kept for the last three hundred years, now taken over by those tall weeds called goldenrod. Once goldenrod grows in a field, it can no longer function as a rice paddy. Even in this desperation, some long to go back to their land inside exclusion zones, and those who have not been restricted by the government’s safety regulations are trying their best to continue producing and harvesting. But I wonder that eventually many rice farmers will have to abandon their fields. Especially rice paddies closer to mountains get more damage. Since Japanese soil has a clay-like consistency, it is harder for contamination to spread. But still, some products have been banned for high-level radiation. Thus, the farmers today are forced to determine how to deal with the situation when their products are contaminated. For them it is not easy to simply evacuate.

*² Takumi Sakamoto: a photo journalist and writer reporting the devastation of the nuclear disaster in 2011. His photographs from the exclusion zones around Fukushima Daiichi include abandoned cattle, slaughter ground and former rice field that has since been abandoned.

SK: I see. If I put myself in their shoes, it wouldn’t be an easy thing to do. Just by imagining abandoning your house. In this respect, Shiro Yabu*³ may be an extreme example.

*³Shiro Yabu: a prominent activist and writer who evacuated from Tokyo to Nagoya immediately after the nuclear disaster.

TS: He can write his texts wherever he goes. If your job doesn’t restrict where you live, you can be mobile and move more easily, especially if you have an established profession. My husband, for example, is a high school teacher, but he had to give up his job since we relocated. Then the question is whether he can raise his children without a stable job. If not, your life would be equally devastated; you can no longer maintain your livelihood. So what you do is to weigh the benefits of giving up financial stability against the need of protecting your children from radiation. As a result, many cases of evacuation are limited to mothers and children, leaving the father behind to keep his job.

SK: Under such circumstance, people would definitely choose to remain in Fukushima while trying their best to avoid exposure to radiation. However, if the authorities give more strict figures to clarify possible health risks in areas wider than those currently under restriction, there will be more people who want to evacuate, I suppose.

YT: I agree. I think the biggest crime is that the authorities never properly announced that this was no longer a place humans could live. Then on the other hand, there is the people’s monitoring movement that prompted some municipal offices to start working towards protection of the community against radiation. Do you think there still are chances for the government to shift their position on that?

TS: Well, the Japanese government’s consensus has been that humans can live outside a 20 kilometer radius.

YT: So that’s probably not going to change?

TS: The state has finally acknowledged that some parts of the exclusion zone will forever be inhabitable. But that zone is way too small in our opinion. In fact the red zone around Fukushima Daiichi is much smaller than the zone around Chernobyl set by the Ukrainian and Belarusian governments. People all over Japan, let alone those in Fukushima, still don’t know how to accept this fact.

SK: Everyone seems to be stepping carefully in trial and error in this new situation. Shishido-san, at your public speech yesterday, you talked about the decision to leave or stay: that you would respect each one’s idea and decision. I was really moved by your consideration. Can you say a few more words?

TS: The matter of fact is that nobody knows what’s right. Many people are confronting the problem, only to realize that they have never dealt with such an unprecedented situation. Nobody had ever had to choose a way to survive on a daily basis. But now people are continuing to ask themselves what is best for them, and when they make their own decisions, each decision has its own value for the life of each. Right now in most places, people are still arguing against and rejecting each other’s ideas: “you are poisoned by pro-evacuation scholars,” or “you are influenced by pro-radiation safety scholars.” Meanwhile, there’s no way to foresee who is going to be proven right; it may take decades to know the truth. Then it’s up to each of us to determine our own course of action. First of all, we all need to recognize and understand the each other. Our ultimate goals are not far from each other – ultimately they are all for abolishing nuclear energy while protecting our children in safer places. We finally agree that we want to lead ourselves to a better future. Everybody I talk to comes to the same idea. So we should all be able to work on needs, while supporting each other, saying: “good luck on your decision, though I’m going other way, but we can still raise our voice together toward the areas we agree on.” In reality, however, people are telling each other that you are not right, everything you’re doing is wrong. Some people think what they do is the only way out. But the matter is not simple. So I say: let’s try to acknowledge the people who want to evacuate but cannot. Not all of them think radiation is okay. Some people decided to stay even fully recognizing the danger of radiation. There are others who stand by the ‘radiation is safe’ position and work on reconstruction of their towns. But none of us can decide what’s right for everybody, so all we can do is to do what we can do and say what we can say. If we find a definite resolution at some point, we can then start over by making necessary changes of orientation.
Right as I say this though, I must admit that I am betraying my true belief: I want everybody to evacuate. But would it bring any solution by pushing my idea onto those people who cannot evacuate? I doubt it would. So as I said, each of us should do what we can do and say what we can say. Yet again, if some health effects become apparent, I am sure that I will regret my tolerance. But that is the only solution I can come up with at the moment.

SK: It seems to me, however, that mental or political pressure and regionalist imposition are more intense on those who leave the community than on those who stay.

TS: I think so. For example, the levels of pressure are very different between those imposed upon compulsory evacuees and voluntary (self) evacuees. For us self-evacuees, there are accusations such as “why can’t you listen to what the state says?” The state tells us that everything is all right. Especially pressures from the older generation are tough on us: a grandmother speaking of her daughter-in-law complains, “what a wife who opposes the government.” This is because older generations are more attached to their land and find it difficult to leave. Also, often times husbands have grown up and lived long in the same town and have many friends who share strong connections to the town. But wives in many cases have come to the household from out-of-town and have an easier time being mobile. Therefore, we (mothers) often get harsher social pressures. It’s only natural that those who wish to evacuate but are unable to do so feel jealous of those who actually can evacuate. But we can’t really blame them. Feelings of jealousy are spreading rapidly and intensely in Fukushima today, especially towards the people from the exclusion zone who have received compensation from the government for their relocation. Some people claim: “lucky you, getting the money,” but there is nothing “lucky” about the lives of people who have been deprived of their land and subsistence, not knowing what to do. Sadly, such feelings are persistent among Fukushima residents. Lately it has been determined that certain compensation is to be offered both to some voluntary evacuees and some of those who remain in Fukushima. I hear that some are becoming extremely jealous and even panicked by the order of distribution of compensation. It is very disheartening to see the people driven into a corner to this degree. At the same time, those who remain in Fukushima are also accused of “prioritizing the economy and neglecting the health of the children.” This isn’t true, either. Many people are doing their best to protect the lives of their children within the condition of having to remain in Fukushima. If that’s not the case, why would people bother to buy bottled water and choose safe vegetables every single day? People are trying their best to minimize children’s exposure to radiation. Even some indoor playgrounds have been built. How could anyone say that people in Fukushima are sacrificing their children for financial profit, or that they aren’t brave enough to evacuate? This is very cruel, I think.

YT: For example, I heard about a daughter of a person from Fukushima who’s very active in the work of evacuation and compensation: after they evacuated their home in Fukushima, the daughter stopped going to school, protesting that she never wanted to part with her friends back home. After a while, the mother finally gave up and determined to move back to Fukushima. I realized that warning people to make their life decisions is not easy, when it is based solely on health hazard.

TS: It is true that the stress from evacuation has negative effects on our bodies. I mean: although I’m totally against the idea held by the group in support of radiation ‘safety’ that ‘stress is worse than radiation’, some aspect of it is true. There certainly are effects of radiation, but we won’t see them immediately. It may take years until we see them in the concrete. And during these coming years, there will be innumerable people who are mentally drained. Here we see a tendency among us of having to choose one of two options: psychological damage or radiological effects. It is fundamentally wrong that people have to face such decisions. Therefore, the root of this forced decision and forced care has to be terminated; we must never let the condition that imposes the choice — nuclear power– persist. How can you not go crazy having to make such intense life-and-death decisions every single day? How can you be living and doubting if you can breath the air around you? So many people, including myself, have had to adjust to breathing less, and haven’t breathed deeply until we moved to Hokkaido.

YT: Also, thinking about why these people are forced to internalize such sufferings as if they were their own problems, I believe its root goes back to what TEPCO caused and the state’s irresponsibility that scattered all these problems onto the people. We recently learned that Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Plaintiffs had gathered to bring criminal charges against government officials and TEPCO executives. I have been shaken up by their effort and determination. Shishido-san, how do you see the effort for the lawsuit?

TS: That is the group headed by the prominent antinuclear activist, Ruiko Muto*. While I was helping them hand out fliers in Sapporo City, I learned that there had been so little judicial intervention and nothing would happen unless the people actively work on the lawsuit themselves. For example, there have been so many criminal investigations into various cases of business corruption, but nothing has been done against TEPCO. This is an abnormal state. We must motivate and move the judicial system, and in order to do so, bringing suit against the criminals ourselves is most effective. We need to pursue responsibilities of the government and TEPCO. And after all, we also need to hold ourselves accountable for our own indifference on nuclear energy that has lasted till now.
* Ruiko Muto has been involved in anti-nuclear activism since Chernobyl. The Fukushima Daiichi catastrophe forced her to close her café in Miharu-cho, Fukushima.

SK: This is an extremely multi-faceted struggle!

TS: That’s why what each can do in her capacity comes to be very important. If you think, for instance, project (A) needs to be done now, you must gather the like-minded people. While at the same time, project (B) is better handled by a different group of people, with whom you can act on that.
What we need are such loosely connected networks. If you determine one way, you won’t be able to rise up again when that single path is cut off. Meanwhile, improvising and working as we have been with flexibility, our ideas have been gradually transforming since day 1 of the nuclear disaster. This is how fifty thousand people have come to gather in front of the prime minister’s residence in Tokyo. For instance, while calling for “no nukes” may put many people off, “elimination of nuclear energy for protection of our children” may gain wider support. It’s important to stretch the base wider. We have lawsuits and we have individual compensation — we need to work in parallel on these issues.

YT: It seems like multiple issues are simultaneously falling onto each individual as their tasks. Many people are in such stressful circumstances.

TS: I think so too, and that’s why some people are unable to catch up and stop thinking. Many people had never been so political nor so intensely forced to take their lives into their own their hands. Ordinary life suddenly disappeared one day. This plain fact alone hurts people, and it’s natural that many are giving up thinking. But we should never torment nor ridicule them that they aren’t thinking anything.
This is just the beginning. I hope many more people will take into consideration how to connect different individuals and to connect with each other effectively. One person has two hands – each one of us could connect to two more people, and so on. I think this is how we can make our project bigger, gradually. I don’t believe there will be a Revolution – at least in the social climate in Japan today. But a slow transition, if not a rapid one, is definitely necessary, though I’m not sure if we can continue to catch up with the situation we are facing.

YT: We can argue how we define Revolution, though.

Ayumi Hirai: A slow transition can be a part of Revolution.

TS: We probably won’t be overthrowing the government. Then who would take care of all the political affairs related to the disaster?

SK: Perhaps there is a stance that the administration has to be overthrown first. But a revolution can involve various processes and can happen slowly as well. First of all, one needs to protect her own life. And her family’s lives. Think about communities. Work on legal action too. And to top it off, work on the anti-nuclear campaign. Facing so many objectives, my brain would probably burst out and stop thinking.

TS: One of the things I heard many times is: “are you going to save only yourself? What’s the point? We are all irradiated anyway.” I would say: what is wrong with saving myself? Only thereafter, we can say: “let US save ourselves!”

YT: I agree, I think that the basis is protecting ‘myself and my loved ones’ in the first place.

TS: But the social trend tends to oppose the idea quite strongly. So we need to change the trend to make people understand that they CAN protect themselves on their own.

AH: Hearing this reminds me of the crucial fact that the people are in the state wherein they are given their lives rather than living them by and for themselves, wherein their bodies and spirits are bound up and tied onto a big power.

TS: After all, we have lived according to a set of rules which someone else had decided for us. For instance, my mother-in-law is someone who would insist that evacuation isn’t something you should decide on your own. I opposed her strongly and questioned who on earth should decide; aren’t you entitled to have your own opinion? Who else, if not I, will make decisions for my life? In the end, we are all faced with the question: what each of us wants to do. This nuclear disaster has made many of us face ourselves with this severity, for the first time ever.

SK: In this respect, if I may say, there is a wonderful element to it, too. It implies: ‘people have been given their lives by some external power,’ but now a new subjectivity is rising. And this subjectivity is completely different from one of the Japanese in the traditional sense. In this process, there is a clear sense of new subjectivation by way of making one’s own choices. Of course, taking the reality of the disaster into consideration, I cannot really say it’s ‘great’, but if there is anything positive coming out of this apocalyptic situation, it is that people are beginning to make decisions on their own.

TS: In the state where many of us were suddenly thrown to the other side of our thinkable reality zone, we found ourselves in shock, incapable of acting. So how to stand up again from the state of shock is becoming very crucial. Thus we would like to see all of us making our life decisions by ourselves. What has happened to us can happen to everybody else – this isn’t just a problem in Fukushima.
But in Japan now, I do see this issue treated as something of the past and something particular to Fukushima. So unless we change this mental climate, we can’t make a movement big enough to change this situation. Last and foremost, considering the on-going damage caused by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, I can never take this situation positively. I have seen people be ‘thankful’ for what has happened – they are happy that it has brought awareness, that they can connect with many others. When I heard someone saying ‘thanks to the nuclear accident,’ I was taken aback and couldn’t possibly agree with it. I want people to keep in mind that the magnitude of the event is unprecedented — such is what is happening around us now.

To be continued.

 PDF (English)



対談:宍戸隆子 & トドス・ソモス・ハポン (1)



殿平: 今日は、リオデジャネイロからの帰りにニューヨークに立ち寄ってくださった福島出身の宍戸隆子さんを迎えての対談です。宍戸さんは、福島第一原発の爆発とメルトダウンが起きたとき、福島県伊達市にお住まいでした。事故後北海道へ避難されて以来、札幌で二人の子どもさん、旦那さんと暮らしています。そして現在札幌で、自主避難者のひとりとして地域の避難者の人々と自治会を結成され活動なさっています。

高祖: 大枠の話になりますが、外から大きい視点で見るとやはり自主退避というのはすごく切実なことで、必要な人には自主退避してもらわなければいけない。その行為自身が、退避する必要があるひとだけじゃなくて、その他の人たちにとってもすごく重要な事ではないかと。一つには放射能の汚染がどんどん広がるという事実があって、そこにやはり人命というのがすごく大きい問題としてある。その時に僕の予想としては、これからもっと傾向として避難が増えていくだろうといえる。その時に、もう既にあるんでしょうけど、それを大きくサポートするネットワークの存在が、すごく重要だと思うんです。避難というのは、退避する人だけではなくて、それを受け入れる人、そして法的、精神的、経済的なサポートなど色んな側面があるんですよね。そういう事を考えると、このことは日本国内がまず重要だと思うんですけど、ある種の世界的サポート・ネットワークみたいな事もオプションとして考えられるのかなと思うのですが?

宍戸: そうですね、まず、まだ私たちの体に異常らしい異常はまだ出ていない。もしかしたら出ているのかもしれないけど、それが表面化してない中で、いま自主避難っていうのは少し下火なんです。ですが、これから何が起こるのかわからない。その段階で、いま確かに自主避難を選択する人は少ないけれど、いざ避難したいって思った時に誰も手を差し伸べてなかったらその人はやっぱり避難できないんですよ。いつでも避難したくなった時に「私の手をとって」と差し伸べてくれてる人たちが全国にいることがひとつ。例えばこれからもっと放射能、原発の状況が悪くなってきたら、それこそ東日本全部が壊滅してしまうかもしれない。その時に世界からも私の手を取ってと差し伸べてもらっていたら、本当に心が傷ついてどうしたらわからない人も手を取りやすいと思うんです。だから先ずは、自主避難の権利というものを国がちゃんと認めてくれること。避難することは悪い事じゃないっていうコンセンサスをとることが大事だし、それをサポートするかたちで沢山の人が手を差し伸べてくれていたら、本当にもう不安で不安ではち切れそうな人が手を取りやすい。その時に手をとれる、その安心感。いざとなったら誰かが手を差し伸べてくれてるって思えていたらそれはそれでぜんぜん心の安定にもなるし、これから絶対に必要になってくる事だと私はおもいます。

殿平: 高祖さんが今言ってたのは、日本国外への避難にまで及ぶときの、それに対する受け入れという意味ですか?

高祖: うん。まずはやっぱり日本だろうと思うんだけど、僕の予想だとこの事故はかなり大きい規模で、まだ収束してない。例えば東京すらやばいという意見もかなり大きい。東京ですらある地域によっては避難の可能性を考えといていたほうがいいというのは、ものすごい事ですよね。世界のメトロポリスですから。だからここから人が退避しなきゃいけないというのは一体何をもたらすのか、といったら、もう日本だけでは背負いきれない、ある種の世界難民という状況がくるのではないか。その時にある種の国境を越えたサポート運動みたいな事が必要なんじゃないかという予想がじゅうぶんできると思うんです。

宍戸: やっぱりいざその時がきてからサポート体制を組もうとしたら遅いんですよね。そういう予測に基づいてある程度組織をつくっておいてくれたらいざという時に動きやすい。結局、予防原則が無かったから原発が爆発した時にパニックになってしまった。起こりえない事はこの世に存在しないので、だからいま準備してもらっておいた方が絶対いい。もしその準備が無駄になったとしても、例えばこれから同じ様な事が他の国で起こったりだとか他の地域で起こった時に、そのノウハウってものすごく活かせるんですよね。今その支援の主体は各地にある「支援団体」であり、市民です。北海道の支援団体は、たまたま行政の関わりもものすごく大きい。行政と市民団体が関わって一緒に動ける。あとそこに避難者も加わって意見を交換できるっていうのが、ものすごい力になってるんですね。いざという時に行政の力を借りられるということは素晴らしくて、行政も法律のぎりぎりのところを歩いてわたしたちを助けようとしてくれている。その気持ちや心が伝わるという事はものすごく大きい。やはり行政ができることと、市民団体ができることって別なんですよね。そこを組み合わせたら、ものすごく強力な支援体制ができる。そういうことを北海道だけではなく他の地域でもできるようにしておくことはもの凄く大事です。あと私は本当にできるだけ色んな人を巻き込もうとしているんですけど、やっぱり心のケアやなにかも必要だし、法律的なケアっていうのも必要だし、そういう点でもあらゆる沢山の人と繋がりをもっていくこと。それが必要だと私は思います。

高祖: そもそも有子さんとマリーナ・シトリンと3人で、Todos Somos Japon結成の話した時ってそういうこともちらっとでてたよね。

殿平: そうですね。

高祖: そんなに僕らが大きい範囲でできる話にはいかなかったけど、そういう可能性もあるんじゃないか。そもそもマリーナは南米の色々な社会運動をよく知ってる方なんですよね。彼女が提言していたのは、最初から大きい範囲では無理かもしれないけれど、例えばブラジルの『土地なき農民運動』というグループとコンタクトを取って、そういう形で少しずつその特定の運動なり特定の自治体なりと交流するとか。または、例えばボリビア政府なんかは話がきくかもしれない。これはちょっと全然予想できないけれども、どういう所が受け入れる力をもっているかとか、いろんな側面で試行錯誤しながらいかないと。いきなりはじめる、というよりも2、3年はかかるだろうから。

殿平: ここアメリカという枠で考えると実は結構可能性が薄れるのかもしれないですね。

高祖: そう。想像できるとしたらラテンアメリカのわりと力の強い社会運動、或いは政府なんかもありうるかもしれない。

宍戸: 本当に第二の移民時代が来ちゃうかもしれないっていうのも勿論あって、私がブラジルに呼ばれたのも実はそういう側面もあったのかもしれない。ブラジルがどういう所か知ってほしいっていうのは、佐藤先生(*1) に言われたんですよ。ブラジルはこれだけいい所なんだからこっちに来てもらってもいいよって言う風なことを、あなたの目を通して知ってもらいたいんだ、っていうのはあったと思うんです。いざという時に。それこそ、今回事故が起きてからすぐに来てくださいっていう政府が、実は何カ所かはあったんですよ。もしそういうふうなことがこれから起きた場合は、今以上に酷いことになっている訳だから、そういうのは絶対に必要だなと思います。

*1 佐藤清浄氏:ブラジル生まれの日系2世で、現在ブラジリアで本願寺派の住職をつとめる。今夏リオデジャネイロで開かれたRio+20の市民フォーラムにて宍戸隆子さんを招聘し、ともに福島の現状を伝え、提言している。

殿平: そうですよね。ラテンアメリカの国々、特にブラジルはすでに日系人コミュニティーというのがあることを踏まえると、現実的に言葉の問題だとか、食べ物の習慣っていうところで、避難する人達が生きやすいところではあるのかもしれないですね。

宍戸: 一応、日本国内でも本当に農民の方達、農地を持っていた方達に移住してもらって、こっちで農業やりませんかっていうような運動もあるんです。ただやっぱり農民の人たちっていうのはじぶんの土地を離れがたいんですよね。どんなに汚染されててもずっとずっと自分たちで造ってきた土地なんですよね。昨日坂本さん(*2)の写真でも、300年つくってきた水田がセイタカアワダチソウだらけになってた、あれは本当にショックな事なんです。セイタカアワダチソウが生えたら水田はもう普及できません。その絶望の中でもやっぱり警戒区域に戻りたい人はいるし、作付けを制限されてない人たちは何とかそこで食物をつくっていけないかってすごい努力をしています。でもどうなんだろう、実際問題として何割かの水田は放棄しなきゃなくなってくる。山の側の水田なんかはやっぱり駄目なんですよ。日本は粘土質だからそれほど想像以上に放射能が米には移行してないんだけど、それでも出荷停止になるところがどうしても出てきてしまう。その時にどうしていいかはみんなこれから考えていかなきゃいけなくなってくる。簡単に避難というのは、本当にできないんですよ。

*2 坂本工(たくみ)氏:。2011年の原発事故による破壊を警戒区域内で撮影するフォトジャーナリスト。

高祖: そうですよね。自分の身に当てはめて考えてみるとなかなかできることじゃないですよ。住んでる場所を捨ててって考えてたら。矢部史郎さん(*3)なんかはかなり極端だと思うけども。

*3 矢部史郎: 震災後すぐに東京から名古屋へ避難した活動家。

宍戸: 結局彼は本を書けるじゃないですか。

高祖: うん、そうなんですよね。

宍戸: 仕事がどこに行ってもできる、そういう人はやっぱり避難しやすいんですよ。手に職のある人とか。でも、うちの旦那は教師なんですが、やっぱり避難したってことで仕事できなくなってしまって。じゃあ仕事の保証が無い中で子ども達を育てられるか?それは放射能の危険にさらすこととほとんど同じですよね。生活ができなくなるかもしれないっていう。そこを天秤にかけたときに、じゃあ母子だけ避難しましょうというところに留まってしまう。

高祖: そうすると、やっぱり福島に留まって、なんとか放射能を避けながら生きていこう、そういう選択をする人たちも絶対出てくる。でもこれはもっときっちりと厳しい基準の範囲に基づいてここからここまでの人は避難してくださいと言われたら、避難したい人はやっぱりいると思うんです。

殿平: そうですよね。とても残念だけど、この土地はもう住めるような場所じゃないからっていふうにきっちり政府や行政が宣言しなかったことが、そしてまだ言っていないってことが罪だといえる。でも一方で、行政なりにちゃんと宣言させるに至った放射能計測などの運動もあった。どうなんでしょう。今からでも行政が新たにきり出すっていうのもあるんでしょうか。

宍戸: ただそれこそ20キロ圏外に関しては人が住める土地だっていうのが日本のコンセンサスなので。

殿平: そこはやはり変わらないんでしょうか。

宍戸: 警戒区域のなかで一部のところは人が住めない土地になります、とようやく国も認めてる。でもその範囲は私たちにしてみればあまりにも狭い。ウクライナとかベラルーシ、チェルノブイリの周りで避難指示が出ている所よりもかなり狭い範囲なんですよね。それをどう受け止めるかは福島の人たちだけではなく、日本の人たち全員がまだどうしたらいいかわからない状態にある。

高祖: 本当にある種の新事態なので、それぞれがどうしたらいいか試行錯誤してるという状況だと。昨日のトークの中ででもう一つおっしゃってたのは、福島に残る判断と出る判断。そのなかですごく印象深かったのは、例えば残るっていう判断を非難したりするんじゃなくてそれぞれの決定をすごく尊重するって仰ってましたよね。それにすごく動かされたんですけど、そのあたりもう一度言っていただけますか。

宍戸: 本当に何が正しいのかわからないんですよ。そのなかでじゃあ自分はどうしていくかという問題にしても、みんな今までの人生で、そこまで突き詰めて考えたことなんてきっとなかったんですよね。毎日毎日命の選択を迫られることなんてありえなかった。だけどそのなかで自分はどうしていくのかってみんな自問自答してる。そこで結果として残る決断をする、避難する決断をする、その決断の重さに差はないはずなんです。今の状況としては、お互いがお互いをあなたの考えは違うとか、その考えは避難を呼びかける学者に毒されているからとか、安全派の学者に毒されてるからとかやり合ってる状況なんだけど、一方で学者の論理といってもその答えが出るのは何十年先かもしれない。であれば結局は自分たちの判断次第ですよね。お互いがお互いのしたことを認めるのがまず先だと思う。目指す所って実はそう遠くないんですよ。やっぱり、安全なところで子供達を守りながら原発はなくしていこう。それでより良い未来に繫げていこうっていうところに何となく話は収束する。誰と話していてもそう。だからその為にみんながそれぞれできる事をそれぞれの立場から発言したり活動したりしてたほうがいいだけの話で、そっちはそっちで頑張ってね、私はこっちの道を頑張る。でも手を繫げるところは繋いで一緒に声をあげていこう、と。なのに、いやここ違うから、あんたらの言ってる事は全部だめだ、とかいうふうになりかけているのが現在。自分たちのやってることだけが本当の正しい道だ、とまで思ってしまう人達もいる。でもそうじゃない。本当に避難したくてもできない人達もいる、という事は認めよう。その人達は決して放射能が危なくないって思ってる人達ばかりじゃない。放射能の危険を十分に感じていながらも、それでも私はここに残るって決断をした人達もいる。もちろん放射能が危なくないっていう論拠にそって復興を頑張っていこうって言う人達もいる。でもどれが正しいかは今本当にわからないから、みんながそれぞれできる立場からできる事をし、言える事を言っていく。どれか最後に一つ正しい道があるとしたら、そこに誰かが辿り着いたその時にまたみんなで変えていけばいい。
ただしこう言ってはいますが、自分の心情としては裏切ってるところはあって、本当はみんなに避難してほしいんですよ。それでも、じゃあ私の思いをみんなに押し付けて何とかなるか 、といったら絶対そうはならないんです。だから本当みんなができることをし、できる場所で声をあげていく、そういうふうにいうしかない。そういうことしかできない実感がありながらも、もしこれで健康被害がでてきたら、わたしはきっと後悔すると思う。それでも私は今できるのはそれしかないと。

高祖: やっぱりそういった精神的、政治的プレッシャーと、地域主義的な軋轢というのは、どちらかというと出ていく人に対してのほうが強いんじゃないかという気がするんですが。

宍戸: うん、そうですね。例えば国から避難しろと言われた人と自主的に避難した人のあいだではプレッシャーの質が違うんですよね。私たち自主避難者には、「なんで国のいうこと聞けないの?国は安全だっていってるじゃない」と言われる。特におじいちゃんおばあちゃん世代は、「まあ国に逆らうようなことしてうちの嫁はまったく」ってことにどうしてもなりかねない。やはり土地を離れがたく思うのはその土地に根ざした人達だから、祖父母世代のほうがより土地に対する愛着が強い。更にお父さんは結局その家のある土地の流れにそって生きてきたわけだから、おなじ土地でつながっている友人なども多い。その分お母さんは割と他から嫁に来てたりする。なので身が軽いんだと思うんですよね。そういう風な事もあって、確かに私たち(母親)に対するプレッシャーは強いです。やっぱり避難したくてもできない人達が避難した人達を羨む感情っていうのはもちろんあるし、しかしそれは悪い事だとわたしは言えないと思う。

高祖: 羨む感情というのがあるんですね。

宍戸: 福島のなかでは今、嫉妬の感情がものすごいんです。それこそ警戒区域で避難を強制されてる人達は国から保証が出てるわけじゃないですか。「あんたたち金もらっていいな」という人が出てきてしまうのですが、そんなの「いい」わけがない。土地も奪われ仕事も奪われてこれからどうしていいのかわからないのにお金をもらってるだけで、羨ましいなんて言えるんでしょうか?そういう思いはかなり強く存在するんです。その後自主避難者にはある程度賠償がでることになり、福島にいる人達ににも賠償が出ることに決まったんですけど、たとえばその賠償の出る順番が違っただけでパニックになるほどの嫉妬もある。それだけ気持ちが追いつめられてるということでもあるし、辛いです。でも、福島に残る人は残る人で、「あんたら経済優先して子供達の命を蔑ろにしてるんだろ」と言われてしまう。でもそうではない。福島に残る人達はそこで生活していく中で子供達の命を守ろうとしている。そうでなかったら毎日毎日ペットボトルの水を買い、安全な野菜を選ぶなんてしないでしょう。そうやってどうにかして子供達の被ばく量を減らそうと頑張っている。さらに屋内遊具施設なんかもできています。どうにかしてそこで生きていこう、でもそれに対して簡単に、「お前達は経済の為に子供達を犠牲にしてるんだろう」とか、「避難できないのは勇気がないからだ」っていうのはものすごく酷だと思う。

殿平: 例えば、避難や補償のために活動しているあるお母さんの娘さんの話を聞いたのですが、家族で福島から出た後にどうしても友達と離れるのがしんどくてしんどくて登校拒否してたそうです。どうしても嫌だ、と。そこにお母さんはとうとう折れて福島に戻ったと聞きました。だからこう健康被害だけを考えて警告するっていうのは、一筋縄ではいかないのですね。

宍戸: 確かにストレスが体に良くないっていうのは本当で、安全派の人達がストレスの方が害があるという説、すごく嫌なんだけど、実は一理あるんです。放射能による健康被害があるとしたらすぐには出ない、それこそ数年後かもしれない。それまでに精神がやられちゃう人は必ず出るんですよね。「どっちを取るか」になる傾向がある。でも本来であれば、精神被害をとりますか?放射能の被害をとりますか?なんて選択が迫られる事自体おかしいですよ。だからそういうケアが確実に必要になってしまうようなことをもともと起こしてはいけない。原発事故というものを絶対に起こしてはいけない。こんなに命に関わる事を毎日毎日考えて生きていたら気が狂います。だって空気を吸うこと自体いいのかって思う。ありえなくないですか?ほんとうにみんな呼吸が浅くなっちゃってて、例えば私もそうですが、北海道に来たときに久しぶりに深呼吸しましたという方の話を聞きましたし。

殿平: それから、なんでこんなにもの苦痛をあたかも自分の問題として内在化させないといけないのかって考えたときに、やっぱりこれは東電が起こした事と国の無責任さが直接人々に降りかかっているのだ、というところへどうしても回帰するとおもうんです。福島原発告訴団の人々が政府と東電などに対し刑事告訴を始められましたよね。みなさんの努力と信念を見たり読んだりして胸が震える思いです。宍戸さんは刑事裁判についてどうお考えですか?

宍戸: それは、武藤類子さん方のグループですね。私も北海道で刑事告訴のビラとかの手配をさせていただいたんですが、まったくもって市民の側から告訴しないと、本当に司法の手がなんにも入っていないということに気づかされます。例えば去年の事故後から今までのあいだも色んな会社の汚職とかに関してはすぐに警察が入っているのに、東京電力に関してはまだ一度も入っていない。その状況自体がまず異常である。どうにかして司法を動かしたい、それは刑事告訴っていう手段はもっともだと思います。勿論きっちり国と東京電力の責任を追及していかなければいけない。それから、自分たちが原発に対してあまりにも無関心だったことは刑事告訴とは別に自分たちが考えていかなければいけないことだと私は思いますね。

高祖: ものすごい多面的な戦術を駆使する闘いですね。

宍戸: だからそれぞれの立場でそれぞれができる事というのは非常に重要になってくる。今はこれをやるべき、思ったらその人のもとに集まってそっちを伸ばしていけばいいし、これはあっち人の方が得意だからあっちの人に力を貸してもらってそっちもやっていこう。という緩やかなネットワークが本当に必要なんじゃないかと思います。これはこの道しかない、とがっちりと決めてしまうと、その道が断たれたらもう立ち上がれなくなってしまう。現に、こっちが駄目ならこっちもいこうよ、あっちもいこうよ、そう言ってるうちに少しずつみんなの意識も原発事故の当初とは違ってきている。だから5万人も官邸前に集まってくる。例えば、「反原発なんです!」というと引いてしまう人もいますよね。でも「子供達の命を守るために原発無くしていきたい」と言えば、それはすごくよくわかる、という人がいる。とにかく裾をひろげていくことが大事なんじゃないかな。だから刑事告訴があり、個人個人が賠償を求めていくこともあり、それらを平行してやっていくのはもちろん大事ですよね。

殿平: いくつもの問題が同時多発しており、それをひとりいくつも抱えこまなきゃいけない、というのが多くの人達の置かれてる状況ではないでしょうか。

宍戸: そう。だからついていけなくて思考停止しちゃうのもものすごくわかるんですよね。だってたくさんの人々が今まで政治なんて全然興味なかったし、命の事だってそんなに突き詰めて考えてこなかった。普通に生活できてたことが突然普通にできない。それだけで人間ってものすごい苦痛になる。だから思考停止しちゃうのは当たり前で、その人達を決して責めてはいけない。その人達なんにも考えてないんでしょ、と笑っても絶対にいけない。

殿平: 革命をどう定義するか、ということも考えらると思います。

平井: 緩やかな変革というのも革命の一部かもしれないし。

宍戸: 政権打倒してっていうのは無理だから。じゃあこれからの政治誰がやるの?となる。

高祖: おそらく、例えば野田政権をまず倒すべきだ、という見方はある。でも革命っていった場合にはいろんなプロセスが考えられるし、緩やかなこともあり得る。ただ、まず自分の命を守る、家族の命を守る、共同体を考える、法的な事もやる、それから原発反対する。あまりの多面的な課題に、僕だったらパンクして思考停止しそうなかんじしますけどね。

宍戸: そう。よくいわれた事が、自分だけ助かるつもりなの?みんな被ばくしてるからいいじゃないって。何で自分が助かっちゃいけないの?だからこうやってみんなで助かろうよ、と言いたいのに。

殿平: そうですよ。まずは自分自身や自分の親しい者が助からなければ、というのが基本にあるものなのではないか、と思うのですが。

宍戸: でもそれをいいことだと思わないっていう風潮はものすごく強い。自分の命は自分で守っていいんだっていうところをみんなが実感するように変えていかないと本当はまずいんだろうな。


宍戸: 結局今まで誰かが決定してくれていた事に沿っていたっていうのがあると思う。私の義母さんなんですけど、避難する/しないは自分が決める事じゃないっていうのをものすごくはっきり言ってて、じゃあ誰が決めることですか?自分の意見はないんですか?、とすごく強く思ったことがあった。自分の命すら自分で決められなかったらどうするの?結局私たちが突きつけられたものって自分はどうしたいか、だと思う。原発の事故で、多くの人が初めて自分と向き合う様になったんじゃないでしょうか。

高祖: そういう意味では、こう言うのもなんですけど、すばらしいことでもあるわけですよね。今おっしゃったように今まで何らかの力に生きさせられてきた、というニュアンスがあるとしたら、ある種の新しい主体が生まれて、それはもしかしたらもはや旧来の日本人というものじゃないのかもしれない。主体化のプロセス、自分で決定して判断するプロセスが明確化しているような感じ。もちろん状況があまりにも酷いので全然「良く」はないんですが、そのなかで良い事があるとしたら自分で決める、ということではないでしょうか。

宍戸: 今まで踏み込んでこなかった思考の向こう側にどうしてもバンって放り投げられた状況だから、先ずはショックで動けなくなっちゃうと思うんですよ。そこからどうやって立ち直っていくかっていうのがものすごく重要になってきて、じゃあどういう選択をしていくかってみんなが考えてくれるようになったらいいなって。私らに起こったことはみなさんにも起こり得る。福島だけの問題じゃないから。


PDF (日本語)

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Challenging the Issues Around the Radiation-exposed Labor That Connects San’ya and Fukushima — Toward a Revival of the Underclass Workers’ Movement http://www.jfissures.org/2012/08/31/sanya-and-fukushima/ http://www.jfissures.org/2012/08/31/sanya-and-fukushima/#comments Fri, 31 Aug 2012 19:51:25 +0000 http://www.jfissures.org/?p=2135 (Photo: Kenji Higuchi)


1. Day-workers in Yoseba2 and Radiation-exposed Laborers –-the Fukushima Nuclear Accident and Our Responsibility

It was in 1986, the year of the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident, that I intervened in the day-workers’ support movement in San’ya Tokyo, after having seen and been influenced by the film: “Yama—Attack to Attack.3” From books and lectures by Kenji Higuchi4, I had learned the reality of day-workers being mobilized for radiation-exposed labor, and I had had somewhere in my mind that the issue existed in the context of San’ya day-workers. However, being a student activist at that time, I had only just barely established a rapport with San’ya after some rites of passage; I was tackling already severe and unguaranteed working conditions at construction sites to which the majority of day-workers were sent everyday, therefore I was missing a chance to engage in the reality of radiation-exposed labor.

It was in 1998, after more than ten years had passed, that I came to be able to work on the issues of radiation-exposed labor in the context of San’ya. The Tokyo Electric Company announced that it would have workers go inside the reactor core to do core shroud replacement. (In fact this had already begun in the year 1997). Yuko Fujita5 warned about the unprecedented danger of the work, and the branches of the Day-workers’ Association [Hiyatoi-zenkyo] began a campaign to call for a refusal of this work. They were distributing flyers informing the workers of the dangers. On a day-to-day basis, we were conducting listening research from the radiation-exposed workers. But only one out of 10 to 20 workers explained to us about their experiences, and on top of that most of them were silent about concrete details. Some of them even said they could not talk because they were strictly forbidden to reveal the nature of their work inside reactors, and furthermore, they would not want to talk because of their bonds with the labor brokers (fearing for their future employment).

Meanwhile a familiar buddy, Matsumoto-san, who was having a homeless life in the Shinjyuku area and always participated in our outdoor cooking activities, said that he had gone to work at a nuclear plant five years ago. We were shocked by the experience of this old friend. We then organized a study group centered around him about radiation-exposed labor at San’ya Workers’ Welfare Center [San'ya Rodosha Fukushi Kaikan]. The participating workers and supporters (including Yuko Fujita) learned from his involvement that uninformed day-workers and homeless workers had been made to do decontamination work in a highly radioactive environment. We also heard that a friend of Matsumoto-san who had gone to the plant with him died in misery of leukemia.

But in fact we could not meet a single worker who actually had gone to do the core shroud replacement. Furthermore, amid the reactions of some workers who said: ”to hell with ‘don’t work there’ at this time of high unemployment,” we were unable to develop any campaigns and projects on this front. After the Fukushima disaster I cannot help but regret that we did not stand firm and continue our efforts to make a movement at that time. Fujita repeatedly told us: “No nuclear reactor can operate without radiation-exposed labor, and nuclear plants will stop if and only if the workers refuse to do the job.” Now the responsibility for this nuclear disaster, the responsibility for having produced the labor condition that requires workers to face unprecedented amounts of radiation exposure weighs upon us who gave up the movement then.

2. Creating “The Manual for Radiation-exposed Workers’ Self-protection”

After the Fukushima Nuclear Accident, the framework of the Emergency Conference for Fukushima Nuclear Accident was built around various movements and individuals active in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Due to the deep feeling of regret, I participated in this conference and began to work on the project concerning radiation-exposed labor. The first thing was to produce “The Manual for Radiation-exposed Workers’ Self-protection” to be distributed among the workers who would go to Fukushima Daiichi Plant to take care of the disastrous situation.

All in all, nobody should go there to do such a job with respect to health. On the other hand, it is expected that the situation would develop into an even more disastrous radiation spread if nobody went to do the work. And it can be imagined that there are workers who have to go there due to their own life conditions. From my own bitter defeat in 1998, I know that just saying “don’t go to work there” would not affect the workers and simply exclude them from the movement. Furthermore, the issues around radiation-exposed labor include not only health hazards caused by radiation but also those concerning inhumane, unguaranteed and disposable labor due to the layered subcontracts and informal workers’ dispatching. In this regard, it is we, the movement of day-workers and homeless workers, who have to tackle the issue. Thus the manual is made for offering workers information for protecting their lives and security as well as the contact information for counseling offices for emergency. Our hope was to make this a tool to connect ourselves with the workers and make a movement.

To the manual, due to lack of experience, we had to ask those who had participated in lawsuits for acknowledgment of industrial incidents and compensation for damages in the area of radiation-exposed labor to review our content. As we learned in this process, there had been only very few examples of movements – such as some Labor security Centers [Rodo Anzen Center] and Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center – that have treated the issues around radiation-exposed labor from the standpoint of the labor movement; most labor movements, including ours, left the issues alone. Forty five years had passed since nuclear power plants began their commercial operations in the country, and radiation-exposed workers were said to number about 450,000, while only ten workers have succeeded in attaining any acknowledgment of any industrial incident. It simply showed the extent to which radiation-exposed workers had been excluded from labor movements in general.

In such a social situation, “the Manual” functioned not only as a tool for offering information and a communication network to the workers who might possibly go to work in a radioactive environment, but also as an informational foundation for labor activists to engage in the issues concerning radiation-exposed work. And finally it attained significance in widely socializing the issues of radiation-exposed labor.

3. Fukushima Nuclear Workers and San’ya Workers

Currently, we have been seeking to establish a basis for labor counseling in Fukushima, using the Manual and in collaboration with the Labor security Centers and Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center, in order to develop a movement that connects itself with radiation-exposed workers. In Fukushima where we made a preliminary visit, we were able to hear stories about local workers from Koshiro Ishimaru6, who had been active in the local anti-nuke movement as well as in support for radiation-exposed workers.

In Futaba-cho and Okuma-cho where the Fukushima Daiichi Plant is located, the land is not suitable for agricultural production, therefore the local people who came of age had to go to cities as migrant workers, before the plant was inaugurated. There were many households where the father was absent throughout the year. After the power plant was built, those who had gone to yoseba such as San’ya came back and began to work at the plant. They were pleased that they now were able to live and eat together at the same dinner table. That is to say, more than half of the plant workers were locals, who would have been in cities as day-workers if not for the plant.

Many of the workers in San’ya are from the Northeastern part of Japan, and especially from Fukushima. Yes. That is the bare fact. If not for Fukushima Daiichi, many of the people there would have been eating at the outdoor cookout with us in Tokyo. The nuclear workers in Fukushima and the day-workers/homeless workers in San’ya are connected not just in their common structural position, but in concrete living and working conditions.

Having learned this fact, our engagement in radiation-exposed workers came to share the same meaning with the labor movement in San’ya, and was no longer mainly motivated by self-reproach. At the same time, we were confronted by the problem embedded in the fact that we had been active in San’ya for twenty-five years without being fully aware of this fact.

4. From Self-criticism to a Revival of the Under-class Labor Movement

In Fukushima we got much information from a labor union based in Iwaki City. From that area, a certain number of people went to work at the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini plants; some around the ages of 50 to 55 were brought to a local hospital and died there. Locals usually talked about such stories in such a way: “because he has worked at the power plant.”

We had long been oblivious to the situation surrounding Fukushima workers. Our approach in 1998 was just confined in yoseba and not expanding beyond yoseba. Had we really recognized the structural reality of the under-class workers in this country, we could have developed a movement concretely connecting and going back and forth between San’ya and Fukushima, around the Fukushima Daiichi Plant where the core shroud replacement is practiced. It was not that we could not do anything, rather it was that we did not do anything. Had we been able to scrutinize the words of two revolutionaries struggling in yoseba – Osamu Funamoto* and Kyoichi Yamaoka* – in the concrete situation, we would not have been defeated in such a misery.

The nuclear power plant that had come into existence as a much appreciated place to offer locals jobs revealed its substance in the wake of this accident – it destroyed, not to mention the whole family dinner table, the entire life and history of the people in the region. It is now clear to everyone that the nuclear power, imposed as it was upon the people by taking advantage of their difficulty of life, only nurtures, maintains and reinforces the gap between cities and countryside and the structure of discrimination therein. But it is crucial to acknowledge that this has been going on among us: it is far from being an external event. That is to say, the self-definition of “Urban Under-class Workers’ movement” won’t any longer merit the name of under-class workers’ movement if it continuously separates itself from countryside non-urban areas in its consciousness.

We the movement of yoseba must revive as a true under-class workers’ movement in order to destroy the gap between cities and countryside as well as the structure of discrimination that appropriates, maintains and reinforces the gap. We who failed to make ourselves a concrete subjectivity of a movement with the radiation-exposed workers is holding on to the intention, now while concretely touching their agony, sorrow and death.

*Shuji Funamoto was born in Manchuria in 1945. Since 1968, he has been active in the Day-workers’ labor movement in yoseba. Day-workers were the workers who were used and disposed of on a day-to-day basis, suffering from very unstable working and living conditions; they were despised by civil society and ignored by the existing labor movements. Most radically problematizing the characteristics of the day-workers who appeared in the process of Japan’s modernization, Funamoto defined them as “fluid under-class workers.” He stressed the fact that they had been mobilized by state policy, then ruled and disposed of by the violent labor control. He said: “we see the historical and universal destiny of laborers in the Korean and Chinese workers working in Japan.” From such a historical perspective, Funamoto considered the day-workers as “the true workers of all” and “a wing of proletarian class struggle.” In practice he organized the Kamagasaki Joint Struggle Committee for Ousting Violent Labor Brokers in order to fight hard labor disputes. (About Kamagasaki, see this article .) In 1974 he was falsely charged with 1972 bombing incident at a government office in Kamagasaki (yoseba in Osaka), Airin Center [Loved Neighborhood Center], and went into hiding. In June 1975, he self-immolated in front of the gate of the US Kadena Military Base, protesting against the Okinawa visit of the crown emperor, Akihito. He was 29 years old.

*Kyoichi Yamaoka was born in Hokkaido in 1940. In 1972 in Tokyo, in association with Kamagasaki Joint Struggle Committee of Funamoto in Osaka, he established San’ya Struggle Committee for Ousting Vicious Brokers [Gento-i]. In 1981, he organized San’ya Struggle Group [San'ya Sogi-dan], and a year later, worked toward establishing All Nation Day-workers Conference [Hiyatoi Zenkyo]. He dedicated his life to day-workers’ movements. During the year 1982, the 60th reign of the emperor Hirohito, the Nakasone Administration came into power with the slogan of concluding the entire postwar politics, making a big revival of the political rule under the emperorist ideology. The following year, in San’ya, the right wing yakusa group, the Kanamachi Family, who had confronted the San’ya Day-workers movement in their attempt to control the labor dispatching interests, appeared as an armed fascist organization, calling themselves the Japan Emperor Faithful society/San’ya Mutual Aid Association. The struggle between the right wingers and the workers’ movement intensified. Meanwhile, beginning 1984, a documentary film: “Yama—Attack to Attack” was undertaken, but the director, Mitsuo Sato, was stabbed to death by the right wing organization. It was Yamaoka who took over the project and completed the film, that which stresses the continuity of the under-class workers with the Chinese and Korean workers who were forcibly taken to Japan to work at mines and then disposed of by state policy, pointed out the role of the emperorist ideology and right wingers for mass domination, and documented the reality of sufferings of the day-workers by the violent rule of yakuza labor brokers and by being abandoned to die outdoors. In January 13th 1986, he too was shot to death by the right wing group. He was 45 years old.


1 San’ya is the largest day-workers’ inner city [yoseba] in Tokyo.

2 Yoseba is the generic name for day-workers inner cities located in major cities in Japan – such as San’ya in Tokyo, Kotobuki-cho in Yokohama, Sasajima in Nagoya and Kamagasaki in Osaka — where flophouses and labor recruitment center are located.

3 About the film, please see: <http://www.bordersphere.com/events/yama1.htm>.

4 Kenji Higuchi (1937~) is a photo journalist, known for his works on industrial pollution and radiation-exposed labor.

5 Yukoh Fujita (1942~) is a physicist and historian of science. After the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, he shifted his research activity from physics to the issues of nuclear power, especially its effects on human body and environment.

6 Koshiro Ishimaru, a former post office clerk, has been active in the anti-nuke movement in Fukushima for forty years.


About the Author:

Nasubi is an organizer of Committee of San’ya Workers’ Welfare Center and Emergency Project for Post-Fukushima Radiation-exposed Labor Issues

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僕が映画『山谷 やられたらやりかえせ』を見て山谷を知り、支援活動に入ったのは1986年、すなわちチェルノブイリ原発事故の年だった。樋口健二さんの著作や講演から被曝労働者として寄せ場労働者が動員されている実態を知っていたので、寄せ場・山谷を訪れた僕は、当初より山谷労働者の被曝労働が頭の片隅にあった。しかし、寄せ場求人の多数である土木建設労働でも十分に苛酷かつ保障のない使い捨て労働であり、学生風情が山谷と山谷労働者から受ける様々な「洗礼」の中で、恒常的な山谷との関わりができても、僕はなかなか被曝労働の実情に触れる機会を持てずにいた。








 1940年北海道生まれ。68年から山谷に入り、72年に船本洲治の釜共闘と連動して山谷悪質業者追放現場闘争委員会(現闘委)を結成。81年の山谷争議団の結成、82年の全国日雇労働組合協議会(日雇全協)の結成に尽力し、寄せ場労働者の運動を中心的に取り組む。82年は、天皇在位60年を背景に「戦後政治の総決算」を掲げる中曽根政権が登場し、天皇主義イデオロギーの政治的支配が大きく再興した時期だった。翌年、山谷での運動と敵対し手配利権の支配を狙う右翼ヤクザ・日本国粋会金町一家が、日本皇誠会・山谷互助組合を名乗って武装登場し、それとの攻防が激化。84年から山谷のドキュメンタリー映画を撮影中の佐藤満夫監督が金町一家に刺殺された後、その作業を引き継ぎ、事実上の監督として『山谷 やられたらやりかえせ』を完成させた。その映画では、強制連行された中国人・朝鮮人炭鉱労働者と国策により使い捨てられてきた下層労働者との連続性と、天皇制イデオロギーと右翼が民衆支配に果たした役割を指摘し、労働者が受けるヤクザや業者による支配と棄民・野垂れ死にの実相を表現した。86年1月13日、新宿の路上で日本国粋会金町一家組員に射殺される。享年45歳。




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July 2012 http://www.jfissures.org/2012/08/12/july-2012/ http://www.jfissures.org/2012/08/12/july-2012/#comments Sun, 12 Aug 2012 18:30:44 +0000 http://www.jfissures.org/?p=2115 (Photo: TomoyukiTsuchiya)


We saw the advent of the ‘season of the movement’ in July 2012 – a rare experience in Japanese political history. Well over a million people participated in anti-nuke rallies and demonstrations throughout the country. Yet these waves do not stop and we are living in the unprecedented political process day by day, minute by minute. One of the pillars of the movement is the ongoing weekly demonstration in front of the Prime Minister’s residence on Fridays. Beginning with approximately 300 participants in March, the protest rapidly grew in June and by July over 100,000 people took to the street every weekend, creating an uninhibited space. Coincidentally, reminding us of the Egyptians’ Tahrir Square after the Friday prayer, the Tokyo anti-nuke gathering offers a place for people to swing by after work on Friday evenings to raise their voice. The rapid grow of the protest was triggered by Noda Administration’s decision to restart the Ohi nuclear plants in western Japan. Following the nuclear disaster in March 2011, nuclear power plants in Japan began to be turned off one after another due to a need for stricter regulations and people’s resistance. Finally, the last remaining reactor was stopped in May 2012, leaving the entire nation nuclear energy-free. However, despite the fierce public opposition, the Noda Administration forcibly restarted one of the reactors for the sake of maintaining the nuclear capital.

We must not, however, overlook the fact that this spark of the movement didn’t come into existence just as a temporary and reflexive opposition to the current policy of the administration. But the driving force originates in the accumulation of experiences during this long one year and half since the nuclear accident. Facing the crises of their lives and everyday life, the people studied nuclear energy and radiology through collecting information on the internet and engaging in conversations at meetings and study groups. In retrospect, the year 2011 was the time of power accumulation in order to create the current political eruption. For instance, most of the people who came to the last April’s “Genpatsu Yamero Demo! (Stop the Nuclear Demo)”, the first demonstration that mobilized over 10,000 people in Koenji Tokyo, were first time participants in political demonstrations. A publishing editor I know of, who had never been to demos, courageously took to the street on April 10th and has since participated in over 50 street protests. Frightened and restless at protecting their lives, many people gradually began stepping into the street to share conversations and encounters, and to realize the power of collectivity. The accumulation of such tiny efforts and acts of individuals was the very source that raised the bursting storm of anger.

The space in the street creates many human narratives that are as visibly diverse as the backgrounds and circumstances of the people who occupy it. In the twilight, the call “Saikadoh Hantai (No to the Restart)!” from countless voices continues to resonate in the tightly packed street for two full hours. Some start singing spontaneously in the ‘family area’ designated for the people with small children who want to safely participate in the protest. Some are quietly standing on the staircase to subway. Some are crying. On July 29th, after reaching 200,000 in number, the crowd finally bursted off the sidewalk and spilled onto the street right in front of the Prime Minister’s residence. It seemed like it occurred fairly naturally to many of the people — they slowly emerged till they filled up the street. As I was watching from the front line thousands of people turning the empty street into a packed space, I felt the looming excitement and heat from the moving people, but no fear. While this new situation prompted me to pause and wonder ‘so what now,’ a strong emotion welled up in me that I was finally able to have a dialogue with those who gathered at this very place to grasp ‘a piece of the future’ during the Anpo struggle 50 years ago. In 1960, Japan was in the midst of the rough wave of modernization; hundreds of thousands filled the same street protesting the revision of the Japan-US Security Treaty. It was the moment the people of Japan tried to actively choose their own future. However, at the same time, this moment was forgotten in the shadow of the ‘wealthy lifestyle’ imposed upon the people during the rapid economic growth. I heard of a conversation between two young women during the Friday protest;
“I heard this is something historical, and a protest this big hasn’t happened since the Anpo struggle in 1960.”
“Yeah so did I.”
“I wonder if, one day decades later, we are going to tell our kids that we were in the historical demonstration in 2012.”

The protests in July do not simply mean a momentary reaction to the outrage of the current administration. It is but an opportunity for numberless experiences and ideas merge and collide, an opportunity for us to re-encounter the past, and opportunity to take back the history of attempts – to make our own future. While still living alongside the evil of the unprecedented nuclear disaster and the ongoing radiological hazards, and while facing straight up against the ultimate form of subordination to the U.S. and the oppressive government that feeds neoliberalism, we shall curve the new history, commemorating the month of July as the beginning of people’s time.

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2012年7月 は、日本政治史上まれにみる「運動の季節」となった。同月、のべ100万人を超える人々が全国の反原発集会やデモに参加した。しかもこの巨大なうねりはい まだとどまることを知らず、わ たしたちは日々刻々と未体験の政治過程を歩んでいる。現在も毎週金曜日に首相官邸前で行われている抗議行動はその柱のひとつである。今年の3月に300人 ほどの参加者ではじまったこの行動は、6月に入ると参加者が激増し、7月に入ると毎週10万規模の人々が集まる開放空間へと発展していった。エジプト革命 の「金曜礼拝後のタハリール広場への結集」を想起させるこの曜日と時間を固定させた定期的な集会は、意欲ある人々が仕事がえりにも気軽に参加し意思表明が できる場として定着をみつつある。

だが、ここで看過してはならないのは、こうした動きが単に政権の方針への反発という一時的、反射的なものとして生じたのではないということだ。その原動力は むしろ、原発事故以来のこの一年半の長い経験の蓄積にある。この一年半、人々は命と暮らしの危機に直面し、インターネットや対話を通じて情報を集め、原発 や放射能について学習した。いまからふりかえれば、2011年はこの政治的爆発を生み出す蓄積の時間だった。2011年4月10日に高円寺で開催された「原発やめろデモ!!」の一万人以上の参加者の大半は、はじめてデモを体験する人たちだった。それまで一度もデモに参加したことがなかったある編集者は、勇気を出してこの4月のデモに参加し、以後、50回以上デモに参加していると いう。命と暮らしの不安におびえながら、対話と出会い、そして集団であることの力を実感するために人々は街頭へと一歩踏み出しはじめた。こうしたひとりひとりのささやかな実践の積み重ねが、この爆発的な怒りの渦を巻き起こしたのだ。

集会につどう人々の経験や経緯が多種多様であるほど、その空間はさまざまな人間像を映し出す。夕刻に日が陰りゆくなか、立錐の余地なく人で埋まった歩道で二 時間にわたって「再稼働反対」を訴え続ける無数の人々。家 族連れが安心して参加できるように設置された「ファミリーエリア」で、自発的に歌をうたいはじめる人々。地下鉄の階段に黙って立っている人。泣いている 人。7月29日、参加者は20万 人に達し、ついに官邸前の路上が完全開放された。路上にあふれでる人々の大半はごく自然に路上に歩みではじめ、幾万の民衆 が路上を埋めていく瞬間を、私は前方正面からみていた。こちらに迫りくる人々の熱気と興奮は伝わってくるものの、しかし恐怖感は全くなかった。さあどうし ようかとあわてふためきはしたものの、この場所に結集し「未来の一断片」をつかもうとした安保闘争の参加者たちに、50年の時を経て遂に相見えたという想いが湧き上がってきた。1960年、 近代化の荒波の最中、日本では日米安保条約改定に反対する数十万の群衆がこの同じ場所を埋め尽くしていた。それは、日本の民衆が主体的に未来を選択しよう とした時間だった。しかしそれは、高度経済成長のもとでの「豊かな社会」の登場のなかで、いったんは忘れ去られた経験でもあった。金曜日の官邸前で、若い 女性二人がこんな会話をしていたそうだ。「これって,60年安保闘争以来の歴史的なことみたいよ」「そうらしいね」 「私たちも何十年か経って,あのとき歴史的なデモに参加したと自分の子供たちに言うときが来るのかな」。

7月 の諸行動は政権の暴挙への一時的反応ではない。それは無数の経験と思想がより深くまじりあう機会であり、わたしたちがふたたび過去と出会い、自らが主体的 に未来を選択しようとした歴史を奪還する契機でもあった。未曾有の原発事故と生涯にわたるであろう放射能被害に苛まれながら、そして究極の対米従属と新自 由主義改革を断行する圧政と真正面から対峙しながら、わたしたちはこの7月を「はじまりの時」と記念しつつ新たな歴史を刻んでいくことにきっとなるだろう。

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Hydrangea Revolution http://www.jfissures.org/2012/06/23/hydrangea-revolution/ http://www.jfissures.org/2012/06/23/hydrangea-revolution/#comments Sat, 23 Jun 2012 05:52:41 +0000 http://www.jfissures.org/?p=2056 (日本語バージョンは下記に掲載)

The “Hydrangea Revolution” has begun.  On June 22, 2012 — the 1908 Red Flag Incident when Japanese anarchists and socialists took to the streets and were arrested as well as the 1987 anti-U.S. military-base demo in Okinawa, in which 18,000 people gathered and protested around the Kadena Air Force Base, also occurred on June 22 — over 40,000 demonstrators participated in an anti-nuclear protest in front of Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko’s official residence in Tokyo.  Despite the complete cessation of all nuclear reactor operation in early May and continuing ruination of life and ecology due to the 3.11 disaster, last Saturday Noda approved the resumption of two reactors in Oi in utter disregard of public opinion.  This state power, which has shown itself in earlier historical Vpermutation to readily suppress any sign of dissent via arrest and torture (Red Flag Incident), today imposes severe regulation on how demos are conducted and mobilizes the Public Security Intelligence Agency to keep under surveillance the people exercising their absolutely necessary democratic right of dissent; it also continues to slavishly do the bidding of its superpower master by maintaining — against popular opposition — U.S. military bases in Okinawa and elsewhere in Japan.  The “Hydrangea Revolution” is not merely a protest movement against nuclear power — it is a movement against the totality of this repressive state apparatus, in which population control and military-industrial dependence on the U.S. have been the very premise of nuclear energy development in postwar Japan.

In Man’yoshu (“Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves”), Otomo no Yakamochi composed a verse about hydrangea: “Even among unspeaking trees, there are those that shift easily like hydrangea.”  For Yakamochi, who was involved in various eighth-century ruling-class conspiracies for hegemonic dominance of the ancient Japanese state (Tachibana no Naramaro’s rebellion, Hikami no Kawatsugi’s rebellion, plot to assassinate Fujiwara no Nakamaro), “hydrangea” represented the deceptive coloration of blood-immersed power politics in the embryonic bureaucratic state machinery.  For us, for whom the cessation of nuclear reactor is an embryonic metaphor for the cessation of the state, our sentiment is closer to Rilke’s “Blue Hydrangea”: “Yet suddenly the blue revives, it seems/and in among these clusters one discovers/a tender blue rejoicing in the green” (trans. Bernhard Frank).  Hydrangea possesses a lethal poisonous property that produces convulsion and paralysis.  Noda, the heads of the Kansai Electric Company, and other “merchants of death” who base themselves on nuclear power, these latter-day Yakamochis who have lost their poetic power in exchange for gaining the power of conspiratorial violence to murder the people, must not only eat radioactive soil, as the Fukushima farmer and mother Sachiko Sato demanded, but also feast on the bouquet of hydrangeas we have picked from the field of our rage, which we are now cultivating together in the streets.

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Because Nuclear Power Takes Away Our Being Alive From Us – A Communiqué for June 12th http://www.jfissures.org/2012/06/08/because-nuclear-power-takes-away-our-being-alive-from-us-a-communique-for-june-12th/ http://www.jfissures.org/2012/06/08/because-nuclear-power-takes-away-our-being-alive-from-us-a-communique-for-june-12th/#comments Fri, 08 Jun 2012 14:29:44 +0000 http://www.jfissures.org/?p=2024 Photo: Letter from H

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda stressed Friday that restarting the Oi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture is crucial to meet the nation’s energy needs this summer and to ensure sustainable economic growth.

-via The Japan Times

Ever since that day in March 2011, many things in our everyday life have been taken away from us, especially from those who live under the rain of radiation. Everyday and every week, we are informed of worse contamination than anybody has expected. We’re marching for the protection of our lives, of which even a small fragment of joy and sadness must not be controlled by anybody else. It is ours. In the evening of June 12th, we’re going to take to the street for our lives and in solidarity with those who continue to struggle against the nuclear regime and the evil of radiation itself.

-from friends in the Tokyo streets-

Things we’ve lost:

Deep breathing
Sweeping my eyes around
My relation to the land
Playing outside like stupid
Playing with Koo outside
Children’s voices from outside
Lying on the grass and eating it
Not minding anyway the wind blows
Producing locally, consuming locally
Peace of mind from “domestic” products
Organic farming
Recycling rain water
Compost making
Pool of fallen leaves
My best friend
To watch commercial TV programs
Undoubting naïvety
Trust in the nation called Japan
Indefinite future
My habit to pick up stuff off the street
Japanese food
The art of broth making
Sushi and seafood donburi
Spontaneous food tours
Ice cream
Cafe au lait
Freedom to buy food without reading the label
Food Safety
Dancing in the rain
Full moon festivals
“Fukushima” without the nuclear context
Cultural inheritance
Heart to feel simply beautiful lookng at flowers
To open the window all the way
Swimming in the ocean
Shaved ice
To just feel beautiful looking at autumn leaves
My heart swinging at the first snow day
Playing with snow
Mulberry picking
Jam making
Homemade plum wine
Eating perssimons in the backyard
Vegetable dyeing
Cultivating Karamushi threads
Chesnut picking
Identifying myself as a part of nature
Absolute sense of value
Spiritual peace

Mind wandering
Sun bathing
Yogurt every morning
Days off with nothing to do
Pretended friendship
The picture of lifestyle
Noncommital family relationship

Being aimlessly blown by the wind
Beauty of the snowy landscape
Stepping on fallen leaves in mountain
Jumping onto sunned bedding
Walking barefoot on grass

Trusting the TV
Trusting the politicians
Trusting official announcements
Staying up late
Aimless shopping

Feeling lonely
Counting what I don’t have
Peeking into the well of my mind
Taking the life not seriously
Grudging my abilities


What nuclear accident brought to me/what I found:

Feeling alive for real
People holding hands
Things their hands create
Living by touch

Going to demos
People I meet at demos
The power of music
The power of art
Trust for people

Walking the life as I will
Laughing as I will
Shaping my will
Those who walk the same will with me


Repost from Letter from H: 3.11からの軌跡/奇跡

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The Reconstruction Project and the US http://www.jfissures.org/2012/04/18/the-reconstruction-project-and-the-us/ http://www.jfissures.org/2012/04/18/the-reconstruction-project-and-the-us/#comments Thu, 19 Apr 2012 02:19:50 +0000 http://www.jfissures.org/?p=1854 Photo: PACIFIC OCEAN (April 4, 2011) Japan Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa receives honors from Sailors upon his arrival aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). -via flickr


On February 10th 2012, in the eleventh month after the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11th 2011, the Reconstruction Agency of Japan would be inaugurated and the reconstruction project underway. Based upon principles of “Basic Laws on the Great East Japan Earthquake Reconstruction” and following the special measures such as designation of reconstruction zone, deregulation, simplification of procedures, exemption of taxation, and reconstruction subsidies, the project are to be realized, but shrewdly incorporated therein is US strategy toward Japan.

The process through which the Japanese Government and Japan’s financial circles conceptualized and determined the disaster reconstruction project can be traced in a series of documents beginning from “Emergency Proposals for the Earthquake Reconstruction” by the Federation of Economic Organizations (March 31st) to “the Basic Line of the Reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake” (July 28th and revised on August 11th). In these, (a) they distinguished reconstruction from recovery, defining the former as “regeneration and creation of Japanese economy”; (b) as growth expected domains they attach importance to “environment/energy,” “medical/social security services,” “IT/infrastructure construction” and “agriculture, forestry and fisheries”; (c) they maintain the policies that financial circles have demanded well before the disaster such as “a unified reform of taxation and social security,” “strategy for a new growth” and “agreement with/participation in TPP”; (d) and in order to realize them as quickly as possible, they apply bold measures such as “establishment of a headquarter holding a potent right to command and order,” “considering a possibility of introducing a reform to integrate prefectures into federated states, which would give more autonomy to each region,” “designation of special reconstruction zone” and “plans to reconstruct industries in a large area.”

However, the process of conceptualizing the reconstruction was in fact also a process in which an American conservative think-tank CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies) intervened. Having well-known ‘Japan handlers’ such as Michael Green, Richard Armitage and Joseph Nye, the large think-tank held a firm recognition that the US shares a big interest in Japan’s post-earthquake reconstruction, then inaugurated a taskforce for the reconstruction plans on April 11th. They had close consultations with Japan’s financial circles, politicians, bureaucrats, specialists and local governments, thereby inserting American demands into the plans.

There are four specific goals that the US sought to introduce.

(1) It is necessary to resuscitate the neoliberal reforms that have been suspended by the administration change in 2009, by taking advantage of the state of emergency, the Great Earthquake.

Among the policies for the present reconstruction plans, “unified reform of taxation and social security” came into existence in 2008 with the intention to deal with the new social problems such as net café refugees and precarious workers in line with the neoliberal reform. In 2009, influenced by Obama’s “Green New Deal,” a “strategy for a new growth” was presented with intention to introduce a “business model for problems solving” that is supposed to tackle the issues in Japanese society such as environment, energy, aging and regional activation. “Agreement with/participation in TPP” was pushed forth in 2010, following the meeting (with the participation of the US) for negotiating the expansion of TPP. So it is clear that the series of policy forming in the pillar of the reconstruction project was already in place as early as between 2008 and 2010 as a combination of two tendencies: resuming neoliberal policies and following US policies.

In the lower house election of 2009 the nation largely supported the Democratic Party holding secession from the structural reform of the Koizumi Administration and independence from America/inclination toward Asia. After the change of administration, while two Democratic administrations of Hatoyama and Kan lived only short, in indeterminacy, having been caught in-between the pressure from the US/Japan’s financial circles and the public opinion, in consequence, however, execution of the policies in favor of financial circles came to be in halt.

The present reconstruction project has an element of “the shock doctrine of Japanese style” as is widely claimed, in the sense that it seeks to realize the group of policies, taking advantage of the Great Earthquake as the state of emergency. In its stress of reducing corporate tax, deregulation of labor conditions, participation in TPP and designation of special zone, CSIS stands on the same position as Japan’s financial circles.

(2) Although Japan’s financial circles and the US share the same interest in terms of resumption of neoliberal policies, they compete each other in the aspect of reconstruction undertakings, as reflected in the reconstruction plans.

In the beginning, the proposal for reconstruction by the financial circles sought to give the role of “a headquarter holding a powerful right to command and order” to the central organizations such as Reconstruction Agency and Reconstruction Headquarters. In contrast, CSIS proposed “a new public method” that would allow grass roots decision- making by dispersing initiatives to regions and having private enterprises, NPOs and local residents participate in the project. Thereafter the plan on Japan side gradually inclined to the orientation of CSIS. CSIS also proposed to establish a Japan/US cooperation system on civilian level, including a collaborative research project about the role of corporations, cooperation in employing IT for building infrastructure and organizing a Japan/US forum among energy industries.

For the corporations that consider the reconstruction project as a chance for profit-making, whether they can acquire information about township building in the northeastern area and whether they can participate in the decision-making are a big issue directly connected to the amount of contracts they can get. For instance, GE Japan established a close connection with Miyagi Prefecture very early on, and already in 2009 pushed forth a business strategy centered on energy supply and medical care in case of an earthquake on the level of over magnitude 7. For these corporations the present reconstruction project is already a business chance they are ready to take on, but for many American multi-national corporations, the northeastern area is merely a foreign countryside and not immediately accessible in terms of information acquisition for decision-making. The proposal of CSIS internalizes its aim to give American multi-national corporations an easier access to the reconstruction project, by removing the decision-making initiative from a central headquarter directly connected to the financial circles and dispersing it to each region, guaranteeing participations of various corporations and NGOs, and establishing Japan/US collaboration in various domains.

(3) Although both the US and the financial circles have not clarified their intentions on nuclear power any more than it having to be safe supplier of energy, their positions are firm in maintaining while reducing reliance on it. This line derives more from the strategy for US state security than from the profit making of American and Japanese enterprises.

After the end of cold war, the US shifted its hypothetical enemy from Soviet Union to the so-called ‘rogue states’ such as Iraq, Iran and North Korea; therefrom its military strategy has been based upon deterrence of nuclear development and prevention of nuclear spread (i.e., to the terrorists). Upon such premises, the administration of Bush Jr. waged the war against Iraq for ‘democratization’ and Americanization of the Middle East. But before the goal was fulfilled, the rule of Iraq had gotten bogged down. Due to the failure, two policy shifts took place in 2006: (I) the necessity to reduce oil reliance in energy supply resulted in a need for developing alternative energy, which led to Obama’s “Green New Deal” policy; (II) a strategic shift took place from the unilateral expansion of ‘democracy’ in the neo-conservative manner to the multinational corporation for reinforcing international surveillance for preventing nuclear dispersion, which came to be stressed in

Obama’s “world without nuclear weapons” talk in Prague in 2009.

The former is included in the present reconstruction project through the new growth strategy of Japan’s financial circles, while the latter is the one which makes the US insists that Japan should maintain nuclear power in order to cooperate with the US line. That is to say, Japan must contribute to the reinforcement of international nuclear surveillance system by maintaining nuclear power, polishing a safer technology and becoming a sophisticated force for nuclear management on the international level, even after the experiences of atomic bombs and nuclear accident. If Japan nullifies nuclear power, its technology will be lost and it will become a country that embodies nuclear abolishment instead of reinforcing international surveillance for preventing nuclear dispersion. This will be a big trouble for the US.

(4) For the US with its strong interest in Japan both economically and militarily, Hatoyama administration’s line of independence from America/inclination toward Asia was an unforgivable betrayal. In a symposium co-hosted by CSIS and Nikkei News Paper that took place in November 2011, what was stressed repeatedly from the US side was: “since the Japan/US Alliance is beyond party lines, it must not be shaken by any administration change.”

Based upon the same problematic consciousness, a collaborative research project between two think-tanks: the Tokyo Foundation and CNAS (Center for a New American security), entitled Renewing Old Promises and Exploring New Frontiers* proposes that it is imperative as a future objective to establish a framework to nurture a community consciousness among the specialists of Japan’s security working in universities, think-tanks, news media, political parties and corporations. The same view is consistent in the reports of CSIS. Stress here is in the necessity to reinforce the Japan/US ties on civilian level, or more concretely, that militaries, ministries and financial circles of both countries establish stronger ties with NGOs, universities, specialist groups and volunteer activists of both countries in order to collaborate in disaster rescue missions, humanitarian aids, medical practices, etc.


In his The Future of Power (Public Affairs, 2011), Joseph Nye maintains that not only hard power (coercive power) but also soft power (power to make people follow voluntarily) need to be underlined and that soft power can become effective, even of military if it cooperates in disaster rescues, humanitarian aids and training and education for these missions. The proposal of CSIS expands this idea, not limited to military, to ministries, financial circles, universities and NGOs, seeking to reinforce the soft power in the domains such as disaster rescues, humanitarian aids and medical practices and make a Japan/US joint community among NGOs and specialists. In retrospection, the ‘nuclear village’ that has been promoting nuclear power in Japan is nothing but a strong community based upon Japan/US joint interests, involving the international organization IAEA, financial circles, politicians, bureaucrats, universities, specialists, mass media, labor unions, regional societies and even gangster organizations. What is happening now is that the civilian base of Japan/US alliance is further reinforced on the occasion of the man-made disaster caused by the very same interest group.

I have described the four points of the US calculation incorporated in the reconstruction project. Ostensibly they have a plausible feature with the claimed objectives such as “tackling the issues of environment, aging, regional activation by involving various subjects of grass roots base in regions,” “reinforcing safety of nuclear power,” “supporting disaster rescues, humanitarian aids and medical practices,” but their essence is the neoliberal drive for profit-making by taking advantage of the disaster, following the US military strategy and deepening of Japan’s subordination to the US. Meanwhile the opposition to the reconstruction project is an opposition over the decision-making right of life and living space in the northeastern area. This is at stake in the year 2012.


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Ken Hirano:
Born in 1962, he is an economics researcher and the manager of Fukushima Daiichi Wiki (in Japanese).




平野 健

















ジョセフ・ナイは、その著書『スマート・パワー』の中で、アメリカの覇権を存続させるためにハード・パワー(強制力)だけでなくソフト・パワー(自発的に追従させる力)をもっと重視すべきだとしつつ、軍隊であっても災害支援・人道的活動やその訓練・教育への協力することでソフト・パワーを発揮することができると述べている。CSISの今回の提言は、これを軍に限らず、官庁・財界・大学・ NGOなどにまで拡張して、災害支援・人道的活動・医療活動などの領域でソフト・パワーを発揮して、NGOや専門家の日米共同コミュニティを作ろうとするものである。思い返せば、日本で原発を推進してきた「原子力村」もまた、IAEAといった国際機関から始まって、財界・政治家・官僚・大学・専門家・マスコミ・労組・地域社会・暴力団までを巻き込んだ強度の日米利益共同体に他ならない。そいつが引き起こした人災をきっかけに日米同盟の市民的基盤をさらに増強しようとしているのである。


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What Arises from the Small Space http://www.jfissures.org/2012/03/30/what-arises-from-the-small-space/ http://www.jfissures.org/2012/03/30/what-arises-from-the-small-space/#comments Fri, 30 Mar 2012 21:14:53 +0000 http://www.jfissures.org/?p=1751


In the evening of January 27th 2012, the street was crowded around the tents built around the corner of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), located in Kasumigaseki, the financial district of Tokyo. It had been 139 days since its inception that the tent occupiers were ordered an eviction by METI. Bodies of more than 500 people gathered there for blockading the eviction. As the sun was setting, it was getting colder, but the people were raising their voices for protest, taking a microphone one after another: “Protect the Tent!”; “Abolish Nuclear Power!”; “Protect Our Children from Radiation!”

Among the grayish forest of buildings surrounding the tent set on cold asphalt, we were looking up the METI building which was conspicuously tall. From the highest position, the ministry is continuously ordering us on the ground to live on in this highly radioactive environment. The agent of capital is even capable of framing the policies determined inside the whitish, mammoth and ugly National Diet Building seen over the cross road. As compared to those in power, significantly smaller are the tent humbly built with light fixtures and white tarps, and men and women who sleep there, exhibiting various slogans, raising flags and stretching banners, to demand immediate termination of nuclear operations. On that day, however, no authorities showed up, past the ordered deadline of 5:00 pm .

It was September 11th 2011 when the tent was set up and the occupation began. Even past half a year since 3/11 then, the government continued to blur information, stress false safety, make people live in the areas contaminated by the same radiation level that the Soviet government deemed as evacuation zone, and even encourage to use the agricultural products from the areas for school lunch program. People took to the street and began to protest against the murderous responses, instigated either openly or secretly, to the nuclear disaster. In spite of a number of arrests, masses of people filled in the square in front of Shinjyuku Station. In Kasumigaseki, two thousands some people gathered to make a human chain sieging METI. In front of the same building, a group of youth began hunger strike. In correspondence to the actions, some old-timer leftist activists installed two tents, each of which would accommodate just about five to six people. That was the inauguration of the tent occupation that continues today.

It was when the sit-in protest by Fukushima women began at the site on October 27th that the tent became the center of national attention. Their rage was caused by the following situation. The state policy vis-à-vis evacuation has been ridiculously insufficient. It has established a ‘exclusion zone’ in 20km radius around the Fukushima Daiichi reactors and a ‘planned evacuation zone’ in 20 to 30km radiuses wherein radioactivity over 20mSv is measured in annual sum total. But radioactive materials have been continuously spreading from the reactors by the wind. Presence of the so-called ‘hot spots’ (of high radioactivity) in Fukushima and surrounding prefectures has become the center of public attention. In Fukushima City and Koriyama City in Fukushima Prefecture, for instance, hourly dose of 2~4μSv is detected from time to time. The people in these areas, including children, are forced to live under high radiation. And even if they choose to evacuate, it would only be considered ‘voluntary evacuation’, hence no compensation will be provided. Now they are living in agony eroding their bodies and lives, no matter what they choose to do. Under such situation, Fukushima women have been struggling by all means: choosing everyday food, worrying whether their children can go out or should stay home, negotiating with the school administration concerning children’s activities due to their suspicious negligence… All in all they have been fighting against the invisible enemies: radioactive materials invading everyday life as well as indifference of those around them. Finally they determined to express their rage in the face of METI in Tokyo by way of the sit-in.

There was an immediate resonance from women across Japan. On the day after the Fukushima women’s sit-in ended on its 10th day, all women across Japan began their sit-in. I first visited the tent site on October 30thth, the initial day of the second phase. Thereafter, beginning from December 1st, the Fukushima women again started a longer sit-in protest, which is to continue for 10 months and 10 days.

Since last year, various demos and rallies have been taking place in every town and city across the country, with the participation of people with various backgrounds. Every weekend there are some kind of demos occurring somewhere. Young mothers whom I met at the sit-in, for instance, were collecting petitions, submitting them to local governments, organizing study groups and making networks with similar groups in neighboring townships. The anti-nuke movement in Japan shows an unprecedented expansion, mostly, by the people who throw themselves into social movement for the first time, by young people and young women who have been previously keeping distance from it. As I speak with the people in demos and in the tent, I am always struck by the large diversity of their jobs and careers.

On the other hand, however, the cries for anti-nuke has created a tendency within the movement. It is primarily due to the characteristics of radiation, but as it seems to me, it is also by an intense determinacy that is paradoxically entailed in the rhetoric itself employed for negating the existing structure.

What were the women doing while they were sitting in? Each holding cards of her lingering feelings written on, sitting and relaxed, chatting with women next to them, they didn’t even introduce themselves, but without hesitation expressed and shared their anxiety of radiation, rage against the nuclear policy and critique of the capitalist logic that grounds the policy. A woman was knitting, which created a long colorful chain that could encircle METI and finally be a ball like an earth. Another woman was patching pieces of cloths, which became a huge banner and was held in hands of other women at street actions in various places. Meanwhile, a basket filled with sweets was passed around; a microphone was passed around for singing anti-nuke songs dedicated to beloved ones. They invited each other to dance the hula together. I remember the pale pink on their laps – of the throw blankets donated for them.

Not standing but sitting, calling each other to share anxiety and other feelings, creating something by hands, singing, dancing and caring for each other – in the small community created in a corner of the cold and hard world, there was a connection that is infinitely soft as if resisting the coldness and hardness of the world.

In retrospect, the actions that took place around the tent are characterized by their corporeality. Human chain, hunger strike, sit-ins — they are struggles of the vulnerable body that the police can easily eliminate, that are exposed to challenges of yet another dimension: the mega-machine called nuclear power plants now running out of human control and the sovereignty totally unconcerned to its severe effects on the vulnerable lives. Tough choices of the people — evacuating from the dangerous land or having to work at the nuclear power plant in order to live there — are determined by their economic difficulties. The only thing that is left for those who have neither wealth nor power is their body. It is precisely for this reason that the contrast of position has such strong power of representation. And many gathered with their bodies alone, as they were confronting the situation where the tent was in danger of eviction.

Being there as a women among other women, however, I have to admit that I felt puzzled at times. For what they were doing there — though not coerced in the least — was something that I would not do or would rather keep distance from in my everyday life. I don’t knit nor stitch; neither do I enjoy sweets nor pale colors. I could not help but quailing at the overwhelming femininity. It could be more overwhelming for those who have attained the habitus of masculinity and identify themselves as male. The tent has two separate parts being named “female tent” and “male tent.” The male activists who set up the tent there have been guarding it around-the-clock. My discomfort was deepened when the sit-in that began in December was named “10 months and 10 days” based upon the allegory of giving birth.

It goes without saying that such dispositions as vulnerable body and inconsistent but affectionate mind have been traditionally ascribed to femininity, and on its opposing pole, there situated has been masculinity with solid and consistent reason and strong body that protects the weak. When the space around the tent came to be symbolized by various corporealities, the corporealities came to embody expressions of desperately and barely chosen resistance, but at the same time seemed to have been washed away by the traditional and stubborn rhetoric. First of all this was made inevitable by the fact that the struggle against radiation is inexorably corporeal in the direct sense. The reason why mothers have to stand at the front line of the struggle, and continue to struggle heroically is that it is their everyday practice and care that are in at most danger.

But our language to speak about the struggle is too poor.

Then, outside the tent, those who have handicaps raised their voices of anger against the strong negativity to the possible birth defects, implied as it is in the expression of fear against the nuclear threats. Women who do not have children were hurt by the demand of anti-nuke groups to give priority for evacuation to small children and their mothers as well as young women who are capable of giving birth in the future. (Or possibly men might have been hurt, but I have not heard such voices from them.) Feminists were disturbed by the representation of media that praises mothers while implying that the responsibility of protecting children lies only in mothers.

At demos we repeatedly screamed: “Protect Children!”; “Protect Our Future!”; “Protect the Earth!”. To protect something means to prevent something from damage and violation. But it is no longer possible in the situation in Japan, since we have already been damaged. Furthermore, it is not that we have been damaged for the first time by the nuclear accident. Our society had long been damaged by the violence that maintains class, gender division and difference, wherein radiation has been added anew. The recent accident has only made visible layers and layers of fissures that the society left unattended. With the effects of visualization that the accident unwittingly realized, the anti-nuke movement had to develop in tandem with the anti-poverty movement, anti-capitalist movements, the problematic concerns with the sacrifice of the northeastern region for the benefit of the metropolis as well as the anti-base and anti-war movements having been engaged in the process of nuclear weapons’ introduction. Observing demos and rallies in terms of diversity of participants and their expressive creativity, they seem to have successfully negated, reversed and gone beyond gender hierarchy from time to time. The fact that “women and children” are protesting in the forefront is a crucial result of a long and accumulated history of women’s movements.

Nonetheless we have not been able to create a language of struggle that could go beyond the gendered rhetoric: masculine/feminine=strong/weak. Struggle over representation is equal to struggle over reality. For rhetoric is always producing reality. The people who have felt estrangement in the language of struggle have nevertheless shared the will to nuclear abolishment; it is rather that the structural contradiction embodied therein is the very object to be overcome as part of the capitalism grounded upon the maintenance of nuclear power. The power of genderization inscribed in the discourse of struggle is double-binding the tent on the foot of METI. Notwithstanding the richness of the subjectivity that drives the anti-nuke movement and the diversity of the people who sustain, support and visit the tent, the slogan “Protect Fukushima Mothers” was attached to the petition internationally distributed in January for protesting the evacuation order. And the tent itself has not yet created a practice that could go beyond the conventional rhetoric, maybe because the space is too small and ephemeral in order for us to walk further by transforming the internal critique to a driving force.

The power of occupying a space is large. More than ever I feel with my mind and body the significance of the experiences of the people across the world, struggling for recapturing the space deprived of them with their own bodies. The tent in front of METI has come to be situated at a corner of the global occupy movement. It has become the mental ground for the people fighting anti-nuke movement in various places across the country, and the center of media attention where foreign (though mainly Western) journalists frequently visit. Like Liberty Park in NYC, it has become a kind of symbol. By visiting the site, however, I am learning that its significance lies less in the fact that it was occupied than the continuous practice of occupying and making the space alive with the people.

Living in the post nuclear disaster society has to be equal to creating a future with our own wounds. Therefore, although the moments of relaxed and soft connections nurtured among the people in and around the tent are important, bringing the estrangement developed with intensities inside the anti-nuke movement into the tent is not contradictory to protecting it. The space should be open to its outside, toward its estrangement. It should not be fixed as becoming a symbol. For we have to continue to think of our future whose premises are our damages, wounds and losses. Even if the tent succeeds in surviving the compulsive eviction, at some point it will face an end of the community. But it is at that moment that the experiences will have an expanse to be part of the image of a coming society.

If not, where is the meaning of the life-or-death struggle we fight under radiation everyday? During the rally held against the eviction order, a woman, who had escaped from her home 3km away from the Fukushima Daiichi, was claiming that, when she escaped, on the assumption that she could return home soon, she only brought 3000 yen with her; but she had not been able to return; there were nothing for use in the apartment she was offered in Tokyo; her son could not get a job. And yet she had to pay for her electric bills to TEPCO, the fountainhead of agonies of hers and others. Her last cry was: “Please do something for children at least!” This claim would sweep out the commonplace ideology that has been grounding modern capitalism: mothers who protect their children, namely, the sex that bears and nurtures life must be healthy. I have been already hurt and wounded. What should I do with life in the future?

Wounded and damaged, and yet trying to live – I only cherish such power. Under the cold and grey sky, if the tent and its “10 months and 10 days” can bear something, it will have to be such future.

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Rin Odawara is a researcher of Italian modern history. http://www.facebook.com/rin.odawara



小田原 琳














 テントの外では、放射能の恐怖を訴える表現のなかで、放射能による奇形や先天性の疾病をもった子どもが生まれることに対する拒否感が示されることに、障害をもつ人びとが怒りの声を上げた。小さな子どもとその母親、今後出産する可能性のある若い女性は優先的に避難させよという原発反対派のことばに、子どもをもたない女性たちは傷つけられた(あるいは男性たちも傷つけられたかもしれないが、その声を私は聞いていない)。母親を称揚すると同時に、子どもを保護する責任はあたかも母だけにあるといわんばかりのメディアの表象に、フェミニストたちは苛立った。「子どもを守れ」、「未来を守れ」、「地球を守れ」と、私たちはデモで繰り返し叫んだ。守るとは失われたり、侵されたりしないように防ぐこと。しかしそれは、不可能である。私たちはすでに、傷つけられているのだから。しか も原発事故によってはじめて傷つけられたのではない。ずっと以前からこの社会は、階級や性差や、差異を維持するための暴力によってすでに損なわれていて、そこに放射能があらたにつけくわわったにすぎない。事故はこの社会が放置してきた幾重もの裂け目を可視化させただけである。同時に事故が結果として果たしたその可視化の機能によって、反原発運動は、反貧困運動や反資本主義運動、都市の利便性のための地方の犠牲、あるいは核の導入をめぐる経緯において、反基地運動や反戦運動とつらなって展開されるべきであったし、そのようにひろがってきた。デモや集会に参加する人びとの多様性や、表現の創造性においては、ジェンダーを否定し、反転させ、超えていると感じさせることもある。「女・こども」がおもてだって異議申し立てに奮闘している、そのことがすでに、女性運動が長い歴史のなかで闘い積み重ねてきた成果である。





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 小田原 琳:イタリア近現代史研究者、http://www.facebook.com/rin.odawara
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