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Friday, January 17, 2014

  • "We Want to Fight For This Cause": Nuclear Refugees from Fukushima Join Anti-Nuke Protests

    Yukiko_kameya

    On our final day of our special broadcast from Tokyo, we speak with a Japanese resident from the town that housed part of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant who is participating in weekly protests against the resumption of nuclear power in her country. "We couldn’t bring anything from our houses. We didn’t have a toothbrush. We didn’t have a blanket. We didn’t have towels. We had nothing. It was truly hell, and we thought it would be much better to die. But now, we are here, and we can’t really give up. We want to fight for this cause," Yukiko Kameya said as she attended a demonstration outside Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s official residence. "We told the prime minister many times, every week here, that we are against the reopening of the nuclear facilities, but it doesn’t seem that he gets it. He just does whatever he wants to do anyway.”

  • Mayor of Town That Hosted Fukushima Nuclear Plant Says He Was Told: “No Accident Could Ever Happen”

    Mayor_idogawa

    We speak with Katsutaka Idogawa, former mayor of the town of Futaba where part of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is located. The entire town was rendered uninhabitable by the nuclear disaster. We ask him what went through his mind after the earthquake and tsunami hit on March 11, 2011. "It was a huge surprise, and at the time I was just hoping nothing that had happened at the nuclear power plant. However, unfortunately there was in fact an accident there," Idogawa recalls. He made a decision to evacuate his town before the Japanese government told people to leave. "If I had made that decision even three hours earlier, I would have been able to prevent so many people from being exposed to radiation." For years he encouraged nuclear power development in the area; now he has become a vocal critic. He explains that the government and the plant’s owner, Tokyo Electric Power Company, always told him, "’Don’t worry, Mayor. No accident could ever happen.’ Because this promise was betrayed, this is why I became anti-nuclear."

  • Protests Grow in Japan: "We Want to Bring Our Message to the World to Stop Nuclear Power Plants"

    Anti-nuke_protest_2

    Recent moves by the Japanese government to restart the country’s nuclear power plant facilities have been met by growing protests. "I think this is a problem of the world, not just of Japan," Kato Keiko told Democracy Now! at a protest outside the prime minister’s private residence in Tokyo. She describes how there is increasing expectation that voters will decide which candidate to choose in the upcoming election based on their position on nuclear power.

  • Volunteers Crowdsource Radiation Monitoring to Map Potential Risk on Every Street in Japan

    Safecast2

    Safecast is a network of volunteers who came together to map radiation levels throughout Japan after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster in 2011. They soon realized radiation readings varied widely, with some areas close to the disaster facing light contamination, depending on wind and geography, while others much further away showed higher readings. Safecast volunteers use Geiger counters and open-source software to measure the radiation, and then post the data online for anyone to access. Broadcasting from Tokyo, we are joined by Pieter Franken, co-founder of Safecast. "The first trip we made into Fukushima, it was an eye-opener. First of all, the radiation levels we encountered were way higher than what we had seen on television," Franken says. "We decided to focus on measuring every single street as our goal in Safecast, so for the last three years we have been doing that, and this month we are passing the 15 millionth location we have measured, and basically every street in Japan has been at least measured once, if not many, many more times."