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19 March 2011

Sorry, People of the World

Dear Everyone in the world,

I just have to apologize to you as a Japanese citizen for causing such trouble.

As you know, our island was hit by historically big earthquake (Magnitude 9.0) and big tsunami swept away so many coastal towns. Tens of thousands of people died. These were natural disastors.

But next thing happened was not just natural cause. The earthquake and tsunami hit three nuke power plants in the disastor area. Two of the three were deactivated safely but one of them, Fukushima Nuke Power Plant was severely hit by the earthquake and tsunami. Japanese nuke power plants are said to be designed to resist any kind of earthquake but what was unexpected was a big tsunami.

The tsunami swept away diesel turbins which cool down nuclear reactors. Now those reactors are still self-heated because of lack of water. Water pump cannot work without generation. The heat caused hydrogen which led explosion within reactor building and then blew the roof away. Reactors themselves are still safe but it is very difficult to predict what will happen next.

nuclear power

I've been against nuclear power generation. Not just because of risk of such accident but hazardous and difficult-to-manage nuclear wastes after generation. I support renewable energey such as solar power and wind power as substitute for nuclear, oil or big dam.

Now this happened. Radiation has been leaked. I am in Tokyo, where 200 kilometers away from Fukushima nuke power plant. Radiation came with wind. People are afraid. Foreigners are escaping from Japan. Some of foreign nations embassies are relocated to some other places.

As for citizens' life, there is a big change. Because of shortage of electricity, Less commute trains run. Neon and lights are turned off. The city became darker than before. In shops and supermarket food and daily commodities are sold out because people are in panic. I am in panic, too.

Suddenly I have to live extra-ordinary life. The days I enjoy watching films, skiing, and writing blog are all gone. I don't know when I can come back to such normal life.

This may be last message to you if the worst scenario happens afterwards.

03 March 2011

Japan's repression to the small island residents by constructing nuke plants

Last weekend I visited most weird beach in the world. That is in Kaminoseki town, Yamaguchi prefecture.

It is said to be the construction site for newly built nuclear power plant that is scheduled to start operation in 2018.

See this video.

 

This is what it was like. The beach is watched by construction workers and security guards but people set up tents and held music concerts like enjoying party. Although annoucement that says "This is construction area. Please leave here immediately" was made every hour, they never moved. I joined them. They are activists who protest ongoing construction of nuclear power plant in Kaminoseki.

If the plant is constructed there, people living on nearby island called Iwai-shima should have very harsh life. Not just fear of radioactive leaking but the sea being polluted by warm water released from the plant, which kills fish they hunt for living.

They occupy the beach to show objection to the construction. They also sail to the sea where construction ships are anchored. Using fishery ships and kayaks, they try to stop the construction of the plant.

Nuclear plant is out of date power generation. The cost efficiency is lowering and renewable energey has become more common around the world.

Nuke plants have now become like US military bases in Japan. Both do not function as people expect to do. However myth that these things are very functional is still common.

A few weeks ago I joined the protest march to the U.S. embassy in Tokyo to show objection to construction of U.S. marine helipads in Takae, Okinawa. Two people were arrested by the police near the embassy.   

11 February 2011

Touched by Okinawans' Libertarianism

I went to Okinawa last month to help the localies protest against construction of new U.S. military bases on their island. I visited two sites. One is Henoko, where US marine's runways is planned to be constructed by reclaiming the coral reef ocean where endangered mammals, dugongs inhabit.

 

The other one is Takae, where the U.S. marine's helicopter pads are under construction in the mountain. The helicopters or ospreys will be deployed. They are very much concerned about big noises and accident caused by those.

military, Okinawa,

In both sites, localies set up tents to monitor what construction workers do and do protest activities in order to stop or delay the construction. They say they do not care what the government decides because they can decide what to do within their communities. I saw a local man stopping cars passing by including those belonging to the US marine. They had guts to protect their community. Some of them are even accused of blocking the road by the authority. But they still keep on doing what they do.

military, Okinawa, 

Ironically, this reminds me of what I learnt during my college days in the U.S. I think this is American way of doing democracy. If a citizen thinks his or her own government is doing wrong, right the wrong even by breaking the law. Like Rosa Parks' refusing to give front seat in the bus to white passenger which led to boycott on the commute buses by Afro-Americans and end up growing civil rights act movement.

The Japanese government and the U.S. marine is doing the wrong thing because they do the projects without approval from the localies.

It is also called "Libertarianism" which respects individuals' freedom not being intervened by the authority. That is why they protest gun control and public medical insurance offering. They want to minimize the government's restriction on individuals' lives. Their first priority is individualism and their most important community is their local town, not central governemnt. That is how the United States of America is constructed.

That means Okinawans' localies have the right to protest and overthrow the plans which the two big governments decide. Furthermore, Libertarians think such government should be overthrown by militias.

22 November 2010

Becoming Xenophobic

Today I joined my new job training. I just witnessed how ordinary people have become Xenophobic these days in Japan.

 

Maybe it is because Japan has been in big recession and Chinese ship intruded Japanese territorital sea which caused diplomatic turmoil just recently.

 

In office, one worker talked about what he witnessed on the platform in the station when Chinese person yelled to a police officer. He said "it was like moster attack." Then his colleagues followed that saying "That is very Chinese personality. That is how they deal with us. See how they bumped to Coast Guard Ship."

My trainer said to me "Be careful these days our customers have become like stupid Americans who always want to sue us."

 

Japanese are islanders so we generally act like this but these days people have become more aggressive than before. I do not like this tendency.