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14 August 2011

Book: "Letters from Berlin" written by a Japanese woman who lived in West Germany during Chernobyl crisis

The book is letter format. A writer named Chikako Yamamoto's wrote her experience of life in West Germany during Chernobyl nuclear crisis between April 1986 and 1989.

During that time she lived in West Berlin. What she experienced had many similarities to my current life in Tokyo, or surprisingly even worse. Tokyo is 220 kilometers away from Fukushima, but West Berlin is 1200 km away from Chernobyl. But radioactives Germen had to deal with was the same or even worse than Fukushima. Is it because Chernobyl disaster was much worse and more wide-spread or what we've been told since Fukushima crisis was censored by the authorities?

The life in West Germany was dramatically changed since Chernobyl accident occurred. The newspaper was occupied by radioactive related matters.

In contrast as time passed by, people tried to adopt to such changed environment and not to pay attention to serious matters although food they ate had been kept contaminated.

West Germany at that time censored the reports on radioactives and supressed anti-nuke activities because at that time West Germany took pro-nuke policy. But some citizens stood up and started to fight against oppression.

Similar phenomenons have been happening here in Japan.

However, because this is quarter century after Chernobyl, we may have been a little wiser, I hope.

Japanese Prime Minister, Naoto Kan declared "Less dependency on nuclear energy" policy on August 6, the day of Hiroshima nuclear bomb day. It is like modeled after Germany's decision of abandoning all nuke plants in that country by 2012.

Now only 1 third of Japan's nuclear power plants are operated currently. No re-operation is scheduled at this point. Local governments of where nuke plants are located are very reluctant to OK re-operation. 

Japan's Parliament decided to pass the law that promotes more use of renewable energy, so called FIT (Feed in Tarrif). This is modeled after Germany's system as well.

We have to learn a lot from Germany's experience, like we did in the past such as imperial constitution and ground force military system in late 19th century and how to recover relationship with neighboring nations which we invaded during the second world war.

Deutschland, be our good model. Danke!