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Disaster - earthquake and nuclear explosion
by Yoko Akimoto
15 March 2011

Sadly, as time passes on, the reality is waking us. We see new figures
whenever we switch on TV, which may be, I feel, the same as our friends
in Pakistan or Haiti who are still being suffered by natural disaster.
Yesterday the governor of Miyagi announced that the count of bodies would
amount to over 10,000. And today the No.3 reactor at Fukushima Nuclear
Power Plant has exploded, and now (2 am on the 15th, in local time) core
melting is happening at the No.2 reactor. It is quite clear that the
nuclear power plants in Fukushima are beyond control.

Forty years ago, our senior members struggled against the construction of
nuclear power plants, identifying danger of nuclear power plants in this
earthquake-prone country. Unfortunately, it has just become a reality!!
At that time, the government expropriated fishing rights from the
fishery cooperative or local community to build the nuclear power plants.
The government forcibly destroyed people’s life on fishing or fishing
grounds to build those plants, saying with confidence that nuclear power
plant was safe.
Now the government and the TEPCO, Tokyo Electric Power responsible for
the accident parrot one phrase that an earthquake much bigger than
expected struck the northern part of the mainland in Japan. However,
Hiroaki Koide, associate professor of Research Reactor Institute, Kyoto
University said, "As Japan is a country where earthquakes happen the
most frequently in the world, unexpected earthquakes must never happen
if the government push nuclear power generation." Many ordinary Japanese
may be convinced of who is to be blamed for the accident.
The TEPCO started planned outage in Tokyo and some other prefectures
yesterday, which will continue till the end of April, explaining that
the nuclear accident caused shortage of electricity. In connection with
it, many trains are expected to go out of service. Only the half or less
of regular trains ran yesterday.

Stores or supermarkets in the metropolitan area don’t have enough food to
sell to consumers. Milk, water, fish, bread, or rice as well is getting
scarce. Some of display shelves get empty. Distribution problems are one
major reason for it. Some highways are blocked. Cargo trucks for Tokyo
are stalled in highways or ordinary roads.
Residents in the Tokyo metropolitan area have enjoyed convenience for long.
We could easily get, buy or eat any food in Tokyo even if we didn’t know
such food was displayed after a long journey of several hundreds’ or
more kilometers. We didn’t have to know who produced it; however, it was
OK to us here in Tokyo. Sadly enough, the biggest earthquake and core
melting have reminded us of distribution actually supported by the weak
process and made us think how we should live a life.

Like over-production, over-consumption and over-damping,
over-convenience inevitably produces cracks in the planet, accompanied
by excessive or unnecessary carbon emission or destruction of the Mother
Earth. The way of life or how we live a life without destroying the
environment might be our big task to be considered.

Well, four days have passed since the tragedy happened. Catastrophe
information is coming out one after another. We have not yet known
whether some of our members in affected areas are safe. Radiation
contamination is spreading. Reportedly, it has already got to Tokyo. Now
we are cloaked in invisible anxiety.

In Solidarity, with Hope & Love

Yoko Akimoto
Secretariat, ATTAC Japan

Yoko Akimoto