An Appeal against the Discrimination toward Fukushima


An Appeal against the Discrimination toward Fukushima The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Disaster emitted 168 […]

An Appeal against the Discrimination toward Fukushima

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Disaster emitted 168 times as much radioactive material as the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. This radioactive material has caused serious damage to neighboring prefectures by emitting high doses of radiation. Considering the fact that we have enjoyed a high energy-consuming lifestyle until now, I believe the latest radioactive damage should be addressed not only by residents in and around Fukushima prefecture, but Japan as a whole.
In Fukuoka city of Kyushu region, a “Fukushima Oen Shop”, which planned to sell goods delivered directly from Fukushima, had to cancel its opening of September, 2011. This was due to objections by e-mail and telephone demanding, “Do not bring radiation from Fukushima into Kyushu”. In addition, residents of Nisshin city in Ehime prefecture protested against setting off fireworks made in Fukushima. Moreover, it was reported in October that the construction of a bridge in Kawachinagano city of Osaka prefecture was suspended because there were some concerns that bridge girders made in Fukushima could be harmful. These are examples of how moves to avoid products from Fukushima have taken place repeatedly.
Let us consider the Gozan-no-Okuribi Festival in Kyoto. In preparing for this festival, the use of firewood from pine trees of an afflicted region, Rikuzentakata city of Iwate prefecture, was refused twice in August. That was due to the objection that the firewood must not be used as long as any dose of radiation was measured. Out of fear for invisible radiation and its proliferation, people crushed the afflicted persons’ desire to pray for the repose of the victims. An extremely deplorable division between peoples is apparent in this incident.
Under the myth of security, information has been completely hidden or controlled, so that citizens are prevented from knowing the risk of nuclear power generation and the realities of nuclear accidents. Because of this, such exclusion and division have emerged. As radioactive contamination spreads, exclusion and discrimination are similarly spreading by means of hatred and avoidance. In order to overcome this situation, we should accept the reality that our living conditions have completely changed after the nuclear accident of March 11, 2011, and we are exposed to radiation on a daily basis. I believe it is necessary for us to learn how to live in such a reality.
The boycott of products and people from Fukushima does not lead to overcoming this situation. This issue of the latest nuclear accident is not limited to Fukushima prefecture and neighboring areas alone, but involves all of us in Japan. Now is the time for all of us in Japan to foster solidarity with the people of Fukushima and share their pain. At the same time, it is necessary to minimize the risk of exposure to radiation for children, the unborn and young people who are the hope for the future.
On September 30, 2011, the Japanese government decided that the emergency evacuation preparation zone between 20 and 30 kilometer away from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant was no longer necessary. Therefore it became possible for 26,000 residents of five cities and villages including Minami-soma city to return to their hometowns. The reason for the lifting of the zone was that the annual radiation exposure level was 20 millisieverts or under in that area, so it was very unlikely that emergency situations would arise in the future. It was intended that once the government made the decision, people could go back to their hometowns with confidence in that decision. However, many people criticized the figure of 20 millisieverts, so the government started to reexamine it. This demonstrates that the government does not show the utmost respect for human lives.
The situation will never improve by rejecting Fukushima. Only by accepting and being close to and showing solidarity with the people of Fukushima who return in anguish to their hometowns with such high doses of radiation, can we find the way we should choose. What we ought to reject is not Fukushima, but our exclusion and discrimination, which are the obstacles to solidarity with people in Fukushima. We must also reject nuclear policies that have brought about these circumstances.
Nuclear plants are built on the premise that urban areas are inappropriate for nuclear plants, which is based on discrimination against rural areas. During construction, plants divide local residents into supporters and opponents, destroying communal relations. Once plants start operating, a huge number of workers are exposed to radiation, and a tremendous amount of radioactive fallout called “death ash” is generated continuously. The total amount of death ash generated by 54 nuclear power plants in Japan is 1.2 million times as much as the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Therefore, nuclear plants place a tremendous burden on humanity from the process of mining uranium all the way to managing nuclear waste. In particular, high-level radioactive waste is extremely hazardous material, which must be kept isolated from living environments for a million years. This waste goes beyond the bounds of human control in all senses.
We, the Committee against BURAKU Discrimination through Human-Rights Approaches, appeal that children from Fukushima not be discriminated against at evacuation sites, and not suffer marriage discrimination in the future.

December 22, 2011

Martin Tetsuo Hiraga, Bishop of Sendai
Committee against BURAKU Discrimination through Human-Rights Approaches