Another Tanuki Party campaign poster spotted in front of a Nakano elementary school.
There are protests in front of the Prime Minister’s Residence every Friday in favor of ending nuclear power. The protests have been the largest and most sustained since the 1960s. The national government and largest corporations are eager to re-start the plants that were shut down after the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
I often join a Koenji group’s demonstrations. These photos are from a smaller march. I like the range of people, the costumes, music, and sense of fun and hope. These are all film photos.
The day after Japan suspended operations at the last nuclear plant, there was a celebration in Koenji that involved speeches, protest signs, marching, music, and fun costumes. Unfortunately, as soon as the march began, there was incredible hail and wind. Nonetheless, it was a happy parade throughout Koenji.
Who’s going to Sunday’s 3.11 Tokyo Big March against nukes? It starts at 2 pm in Hibiya Park, with a silent prayer at 2.46 pm, and a march starting at 3 pm through Ginza and Yurakucho. By 5 pm, there will be a human chain around the Diet Building. I am looking to find hope on a grim anniversary. Info in English and Japanese.
斉藤和義 (@kazuyoshi_saito) の『ずっとウソだった』という歌は反原発への感情を表しています。
Kazuyoshi Saito (斉藤和義) turned his commercial song for Shiseido cosmetics, a love ballad “I always liked you,” into an anti-nuclear song, “It was always a lie” (ずっとウソだった). I like the simplicity of the web video mixed with his scathing protest message.
Decades of propaganda convinced many Japanese that nuclear power was safe. There were even special programs aimed at persuading young mothers that it was OK to live near a nuclear plant. Recent street protests in Tokyo and online media challenge a decades-old consensus between corporations, governments, and university researchers.
I am moved by the mix of outrage and rebellion.
I found the lyrics translated into English online, but I’ll try to improve the translation later:
“You have been telling a lie”
When we walk around this country,
we can find 54 Nuke power plants
My text book and CM always told me,
You have been telling a lie,
then your excuse is just “UNEXPECTED”
I remember the clear sky,
but now, it turns black rain
You’ve been telling a lie,
it was exposed after all, I know
Yeah, it was a lie, “Nuke is completely safe”
You’ve been telling a lie,
I just wanna eat such a delicious spinach once again.
Yeah, it was a lie,
You should have noticed this ball game
We can’t stop the contaminated wind anymore
Do you accept if you find it about how many people would be exposed by the radiation?
How do you think? I’m asking you, Jap Gov.
When you leave this town,
Coudl you find delicious water?
Tell me, whatever, there’s no way to hide
They are all suck, Tepco, Hepco, Chuden and Kanden
We never dream a dream anymore
But they are all suck
They still keep going
They are truely suck
I wanna take action, how could I handle this feeling?
They are telling a lie….
We are all suck….
There is going to be an anti-nuke demo in Koenji this
Saturday Sunday with live music, activists, and ways to help Koenji’s sister city Minami Souma, which is within the Fukushima 30 km evacuation zone. The concert is from 3 to 5 pm at the Koenji Chuo Park. At 5 pm it will head to Koenji Kitaguchi Hiroba. It’s being called a Choukyodai Demo (Super Huge Demo or 超巨大).
There’s information in English about Saturday’s demo, and the organizer Matsumoto Hajime of the political art collective Amateur Revolt (Shirouto no Ran or 素人の乱). And there’s more information about 4.10 原発やめるデモ in Japanese.
A fascinating short video from IDG News Service’s @martyn_williams shows the inside of a functioning nuclear power plant in Japan. It’s Kashiwazaki Kariwa, the world’s largest nuclear plant, on the Japan Sea, also known as the East Sea of Korea.
In the past two weeks, we have all learned many details about nuclear power generation: from containment vessels to doughnut-shaped torus, steam venting, cooling pools, basement pumps and generators, and dangers from radioactive iodine and cesium. While the Daichi survived the earthquake, several days without electricity led to pressure build-up, exposed fuel rods, explosions, and radioactive releases.
Most Japanese school children are given tours of nuclear facilities to encourage familiarization and acceptance. Watching the video above, I am struck by the incongruity of these images of rational organization with the recent realization that a lack of power can quickly turn these engineering marvels into a grave threat to human existence.
It is interesting that the video above, and I am certain the hundreds of school tours, fail to mention that the reactors serve a second and equally dangerous function: they are the storage locations for spent nuclear rods. While the active rods have control rods and secured cases, the spent rods seem to be in less protected parts of the reactors.
The explosions at the Daichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima have literally blown the lid off a scary reality that is normally kept far from conscious thinking. Everyone knows that nuclear waste and the long-term dangers it poses are the by-product of this “clean,” low carbon energy. What is less known is that these spent rods remain near population centers and alongside ocean coasts that routinely experience tsunamis and earthquakes. They remain hidden from view within the plants because the rods are difficult to transport safely and few communities would welcome them.
I expect that as the crisis becomes less acute, there will be more attention to the questions of how much energy we need, how to balance what is possible with what is prudent, and how to make visible the true costs of energy production, including the wars used to “secure” petroleum from hostile regions, and the potential contamination of people and land from nuclear power and waste.
In the coming weeks, this blog will focus on recovery from the nuclear crisis, including increased city bicycling, reduced power consumption, and other positive developments. I will also show signs of Tokyo’s spring, and other evidence that the natural world continues in spite of human activity.