Fukushima activists testify in New York
New York City—A delegation of grassroots environmental activists from Japan came to share with their U.S. counterparts heart-rending eyewitness accounts of the health impact and continued contamination produced by the Fukushima-Daiichi reactor units that suffered catastrophic damage on March 11. They met with the public at three different venues Sept. 22-23 at events co-sponsored by Shut Down Indian Point Now! (SDIPN), Indian Point Safe Energy (IPSEC), Beyond Nuclear, and other groups.
The immense suffering of people affected by the Fukushima-Daiichi disaster can be given meaning if we learn from this catastrophe and those that preceded it at Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and elsewhere, said Kaori Izumi, director of Shut Tomari. She appealed to the world to end the age of nuclear power in the wake of Fukushima. Otherwise it could happen again, in Japan, at Indian Point on the Hudson River, or anywhere that reactors are still operating.
Izumi discussed the unhealthy and corrupt pro-nuclear relationship among government, business, the media, pro-nuclear “intellectuals” and the judiciary. The Japanese delegation learned that the complicity of the U.S. Government regulators with energy corporations is just as insidious as in Japan, with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission routinely lowering safety standards in order to keep aging plants in operation.
Aileen Mioko Smith, Executive Director of Green Action, spoke about the plight of Japan’s children. The Japanese government refused to safely evacuate its citizens, including 300,000 children still in Fukushima, or adequately warn them of the radiation danger.
The delegation delivered the message to the UN at a rally at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza on Sept. 24 that the Fukushima disaster made it clear that the world must shut down all nuclear power plants, and even confronted the Japanese Prime Minister.
They visited the Indian Point nuclear plant to see its proximity to earthquake faults and to the largest concentration of people in the U.S..
Sachiko Sato, an organic farmer from Fukushima and a member of Fukushima Network for Saving Children from Radiation, and her children, 13 and 17, talked of the disruption to their lives. Yukiko Anzai, who lives near the now re-started Tomari reactor, talked about the fate of farmers after the meltdowns.
Strong bonds were formed between the activists of both countries and it was recognized that the struggle against nuclear power must be a global one. A video of this meeting is available at: http://politube.org/ show/3285.
—Evan Giller and Tom Siracuse, Chair and Vice Chair, SDIPN www.SDIPN.net