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SF Japan Consulate Speak-Out Stop Restarting Japan's Nuclear Reactors-Evacuate Children
Date Wednesday January 11
Time 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Location Details
San Francisco Japanese Consulate
275 Battery St./California St.
San Francisco
Event Type Class/Workshop
Organizer/AuthorNo Nukes Action Committee
1/11 SF Japan Consulate Speak-Out Stop Restarting Japan's Nuclear Reactors Evacuate Children and Families From Fukushima
Wednesday January 11, 2017 3:00 PM
San Francisco Japanese Consulate
275 Battery St./California St.
San Francisco

On Wednesday January 11, 2017, there will be a speak out against the restarting of more than 40 of Japan's nuclear power plants. The government has told the residents of Fukushima that it is safe but independent surveys show that it is still highly contaminated. Over 175 children have already been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and this is expanding. While the government is subsidizing Tokyo Electric Power Company which has had to be nationalized the Abe government is telling families and children that they have to return to Fukushima or their subsidy will be cut. The are economically pressuring the refugees to return to a dangerous contaminated area in order to pretend that they have "decontaminated" Fukushima. Even former prime ministers Koizumi and Kan are against restarting the nuclear power plants but the government is pushing ahead.
Railroad workers who area with rank and file rail unions Doro-Mito (National Railway Motive Power Union of Mito) and Doro-Chiba (National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba) are also protesting the plans to re-open the rail lines even with the contamination and there have been strikes and protests against this policy.
They also have passed a "secrecy law" that is being used to intimidate and silence reporters and citizens from speaking out and investigating the growing and continuing Fukushima disaster. The cost is monumental yet they are taking action that will lead to another Fukushima with Japan being located on the "ring of fire" where massive earthquakes are certain to hit again.
The Abe government also told the International Olympic Committee and the people of the world that the Fukushima "problem" had been solved. This flagrant and blatant falsification has been exposed again and again following the declaration from the Abe government including the continuing massive costs of supposedly "cleaning up" the catastrophe.
The Abe government is also preparing a "conspiracy bill" that will be used to silence all those who even opposed nuclear power. The people of the United States need to stand with the people of Japan in their efforts to keep the plants shut down and the protection of families and children in Fukushima.

Speak Out and Rally initiated by
No Nukes Action Committee
http://nonukesaction.wordpress.com/

Thyroid cancer compensation for Japan Fukushima plant worker
http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201612170027.html
By YURI OIWA/ Staff Writer
December 17, 2016 at 15:10 JST

A man who developed thyroid gland cancer after working at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has for the first time won the right to work-related compensation.

While the case ranks as the third time a worker at the Fukushima plant has been recognized as eligible for work-related compensation because of cancer caused by radiation exposure, it is the first instance involving thyroid gland cancer.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare announced its decision Dec. 16.

The man in his 40s, an employee of plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., worked at the Fukushima plant after the triple meltdown triggered by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. He was diagnosed with thyroid gland cancer in April 2014.

The man worked at various nuclear plants, including the Fukushima facility, between 1992 and 2012. He was mainly involved in operating and overseeing reactor operations.

After the March 2011 nuclear accident, the man was in the plant complex when hydrogen explosions rocked the No. 1 and No. 3 reactor buildings. His duties included confirming water and pressure meter levels as well as providing fuel to water pumps.

The amount of his accumulated whole body radiation exposure was 150 millisieverts, with about 140 millisieverts resulting from the period after the nuclear accident. Of that amount, about 40 millisieverts was through internal exposure caused by inhaling or other ways of absorbing radioactive materials.

Along with recognizing the first work-related compensation involving thyroid gland cancer, the labor ministry also released for the first time its overall position on dealing with compensation issues for workers who were at the Fukushima plant after the accident.

The ministry said it would recognize compensation for workers whose accumulated whole body dose exceeded 100 millisieverts and for whom at least five years have passed since the start of work involving radiation exposure and the diagnosis of cancer.

Ministry officials said the dose level was not a strict standard but one yardstick for recognizing compensation.

According to a study by TEPCO and a U.N. scientific committee looking into the effects of radiation, 174 people who worked at the plant had accumulated whole body doses exceeding 100 millisieverts as of this past March.

There is also an estimate that more than 2,000 workers have radiation doses exceeding 100 millisieverts just in their thyroid gland.

Labor Groups Protest Reopening of Rail Lines Near Fukushima
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/12/15/labor-groups-protest-reopening-of-rail-lines-near-fukushima/
DECEMBER 15, 2016
Labor Groups Protest Reopening of Rail Lines Near Fukushima
by WILLIAM ANDREWS

Tokyo.

Labor activists have protested the reopening this month of a railway line in parts of northeast Japan where they believe radiation levels are still dangerous.

The Joban Line runs from Nippori Station in Tokyo to Iwanuma Station, just south of Sendai City. It is one of main connections between northeast Tokyo’s major station of Ueno up along the coast through Chiba, Ibaraki and Miyagi prefectures.

This region was severely damaged by the earthquake and tsunami on March 11th, 2011, while the subsequent Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster meant that large areas through which trains pass were contaminated by radiation.

The Joban Line was directly hit by the massive tsunami wave in 2011, sweeping train carriages away. Though parts of the line were quickly reopened that same year, two sections of the line—between Tatsuta and Odaka stations, and between Soma and Hamayoshida—remained closed, with passengers served by buses for some of the stations.

However, the operator, East Japan Railway Company (JR East), and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, have been keen to reopen the whole line as part of the northeast Japan reconstruction efforts. The Joban Line represents a valuable source of income from both passengers traveling between Sendai and Tokyo as well as freight.

Following decontamination measures, rail services resumed from Iwaki to Tatsuta in late 2014. However, north of Tatsuta lies the areas located within a 20km radius of the devastated Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which is widely considered a no-go zone.

In July this year, JR East resumed services on the 9.4-kilometer stretch between Odaka and Haranomachi stations as the evacuation order was lifted for the southern part of Minamisoma City, though few residents are willing to return to a community so close to the contaminated area. Media reports suggest only 10-20% are coming back to live in the area.

On December 10th, the previously closed 23.2-kilometer northern section of line between Soma and Hamayoshida reopened for rail services. It means passengers will now be served by a further six stations on the section, though three of these (Shinchi, Yamashita and Sakamoto stations) had to be relocated inland by up to 1.1 kilometers as an anti-tsunami measure. Along with the construction of elevated tracks, the total cost of the latest reopening is said to be 40 billion yen ($350 million).

By spring 2017, the line will be reopened between Namie and Odaka, and then later in the year between Tatsuta and Tomioka. The final section linking Tomioka and Namie, passing through somewhat infamous areas like Futaba, is set to reopen by the end of fiscal 2019 (end of March 2020).

Local tourist bodies are naturally delighted and are pulling out all the stops to attract people. At the newly reopened stations, passengers are able to buy commemorative tickets, take hiking trips, and even try on historical armor.

Lingering Doubts over Radiation

Official announcements say that radiation levels have fallen and clean-up efforts will remove any health risk. Last August, JR East began decontamination tests on parts of the railway between Yonomori and Futaba stations where the radioactivity remains high. It has reported that falling radiation levels can be confirmed at six inspection points along the line, making it confident that decontamination measures are working.

However, the legacy of the Fukushima disaster is a lingering distrust for government and corporate claims about radiation. Activists allege that authorities and JR East are putting profits and the appearance of safety over the genuine health of rail workers and passengers. Just as with the gradual lifting of restrictions on entering the areas around the Joban Line, reopening the railway is, they say, an attempt to encourage evacuated residents to return and tourists to visit even though health risks may remain.

This pressure to reconstruct the region quickly and maintain an impression of safety to Japan and the rest of the world comes from the very top, as demonstrated by the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s now notorious claim that the Fukushima disaster was “under control” in his speech in September 2013 during the final (and successful) Tokyo bid to win the 2020 Olympic Games. Abe also officiated at the opening of the rebuilt Shinchi Station on December 10th.

Protests Against Reopening

The rank and file rail unions Doro-Mito (National Railway Motive Power Union of Mito) and Doro-Chiba (National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba) have long protested the ambitions of JR East as part of their campaigns against the operator’s growing policies of rationalization and outsourcing.

On December 10th, around 50 activists from Doro-Mito and associated groups opposed the Joban Line reopening by demonstrating at the Sendai branch of JR East in the morning. A small number of train drivers from the union also went on strike that day. This was coordinated with other protests and actions in Fukushima City and Tokyo at JR sites. At an afternoon protest outside the JR East headquarters in Shinjuku, central Tokyo, around 150 unionists demonstrated.

These are just the most recent examples of actions by this network of medium-sized yet feisty unions, which have waged several strikes and protests since JR East began reopening parts of the track following the 2011 disaster. Unionists have fought to block the reopening in order to protect the well-being of workers as well as the general public.

Other unions and labor groups have apparently remained silent on the Joban Line issue, as have the major anti-nuclear power protest organisations. The mainstream media has also given the Joban Line protests almost no coverage, though the reopening itself was extensively celebrated.

Doro-Mito and Doro-Chiba are the largest groups in a network of militant unions called Doro-Soren, affiliated with the Japan Revolutionary Communist League. Other smaller unions have been established in Tokyo, Fukushima, Niigata and elsewhere. While the overall numbers of unionized workers remain only in the hundreds, organizers hope to create a national union in the future.

The unions have held small strikes on the Joban Line issue alongside their regular strikes and protests against labor conditions, as well as participating in general rallies against the restarting of nuclear power plants in Japan. In this way, the issues of neoliberalism and nuclear power have become aligned in a new and invigorating way.

The Doro-Soren network is also associated with NAZEN, which was formed in August 2011 as a youth group to fight the nuclear industry. The various groups have taken part in annual protests at Fukushima on the anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami, regularly mobilizing over 1,000 demonstrators.

Continuing Anti-nuclear Power Movement

Though it peaked in 2012, the anti-nuclear power movement continues in Japan, fighting against attempts to put the reactors back into operation. There are still weekly vigils every Friday night outside the prime minister’s official residence as well as intense protests where the reactors are located.

Until the Fukushima disaster, the anti-nuclear power movement had been largely localized to certain areas around Japan where facilities were located. It was not widely supported by either far-left groups or mainstream parliamentary leftist parties like the JCP until after the Fukushima disaster. Today it is a diverse movement of political parties, labor unions, small civic groups, individual activists, and regular citizens.

The Liberal Democratic Party, led by Shinzo Abe, returned to power at the end of 2012, and reversed the Democratic Party of Japan’s pledge to phase out nuclear power in the future. Abe’s government has instead pushed to restart reactors and even export nuclear technology to other nations such as Vietnam.

As such, the Joban Line protests represent a notable intersection of the labor movement with the anti-nuclear movement in Japan as well as anti-Abe protest movement. The former has a strong association with the railways and was heavily weakened by the privatization of the National Railways in the 1980s, which resulted in the group of JR operators that exists today.

In the run-up to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, the post-disaster reconstruction efforts will accelerate, driven by the national and regional governments as well as JR East and other corporations. However, vigilant activists will also continue to protest any attempt to sweep the ongoing Fukushima crisis and the nuclear issue under the rug.

William Andrews is a writer and translator in Tokyo, and the author of Dissenting Japan: A History of Japanese Radicalism and Counterculture, from 1945 to Fukushima.

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William Andrews is a writer and translator in Tokyo, and the author of Dissenting Japan: A History of Japanese Radicalism and Counterculture, from 1945 to Fukushima.

Government to help fund Fukushima decontamination, easing Tepco’s burden
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/12/20/national/government-help-fund-fukushima-decontamination-easing-tepcos-burden/#.WFln8BSAW-Q
KYODO
DEC 20, 2016
The Cabinet decided Tuesday that the central government will help pay to decontaminate areas worst hit by the 2011 Fukushima reactor meltdowns, marking a shift from earlier rules requiring Tepco to foot the bill.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s team endorsed a plan to set up a reconstruction hub in the most contaminated, off-limits areas in Fukushima Prefecture and secure about ¥30 billion for decontamination work in the fiscal 2017 budget.

The cost of the work could total around ¥300 billion in the next five years and grow further depending on how it progresses.

The plan is in line with proposals made in August by the ruling coalition, but no government panel review or Diet deliberations have been held on it, raising the prospect that it could be criticized as a bailout for Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.

The government decided to add the decontamination work, including soil and tree removal, to infrastructure projects for making the affected land habitable again, but the special law on decontamination states that Tepco should shoulder the expenses.

The government will have to revise the special law on rebuilding Fukushima to accommodate the shift.

The move to help pay for the decontamination came after the expected price tag surged to ¥4 trillion from the previous estimate of ¥2.5 trillion, which did not include the cost of cleaning the areas with the highest levels of radiation.

If the government-funded cleaning area expands, the use of taxpayer money is likely to balloon to several trillion yen.

Meanwhile, in an effort to turn Tepco’s business fortunes around, the government proposed that the battered utility work together with other companies in operating nuclear power plants and distributing power.

A panel of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry urged the company to launch talks with other power companies next year and set up a joint venture in the early 2020s to eventually consolidate their businesses.

“Tepco reform will be the basis of reconstruction in Fukushima and could lead to a new, stronger utilities industry,” said industry minister Hiroshige Seko.

“We will profoundly accept the proposal and drastically carry out reform,” said Tepco President Naomi Hirose.

Reactionary Nationalist Abe and LDP Pushes "conspiracy bill" To Terrorize Political Opponents and Opposition
Gov't mulling submitting 'conspiracy bill' in upcoming Diet session
http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170106/p2g/00m/0dm/005000c
January 6, 2017 (Mainichi Japan)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a meeting of senior members of the ruling coalition Thursday that the government plans to submit to the Diet a bill aimed at punishing those who abet terrorism, an initiative that has previously drawn criticism as a potential vehicle for human rights violations.

Several bills proposing the addition of a conspiracy charge to the existing law on organized crime have floundered in the past, amid concerns the change could encourage more invasive state surveillance and allow investigators to arbitrarily punish people who have not committed any crime.

Abe said the government plans to submit the bill in the next ordinary Diet session to be convened Jan. 20, according to an attendee at Thursday's meeting between senior government officials and members of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito.

The bill would aim to enhance Japan's ability to ward off terrorism connected to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

Under current Japanese law, people can be charged for inducing another person to commit a crime, or inducing someone to induce a third party to commit a crime.

The conspiracy charge proposed in the previously scrapped bills would punish those connected with the planning of serious crimes, even if they are not directly involved in the crimes' commission.

The Justice Ministry has held that such a change would better protect the public from serious crimes, while legal advocacy groups have said a change is unnecessary and could be used to crack down on civic groups.

The government may try a new approach in the wording of the bill to address such concerns.

"With (the Olympics and Paralympics) now just three years away, we must take every measure to prevent organized crime, including terrorism, in advance," Suga said at a press conference.

"We're making final arrangements reflecting the opinions that have previously come up in the Diet," the top government spokesman said.

The government views the introduction of such legislation as a prerequisite for Japan to ratify the U.N. Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, adopted in 2000.

Suga pointed out that Japan is among a small minority of U.N. members -- and the only member of the Group of Seven industrialized countries -- yet to have done so.
japan_anti-nuke_painting.jpg
Added to the calendar on Saturday Jan 7th, 2017 6:33 PM
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§Rivers of Radiation
by No Nukes Action Committee Saturday Jan 7th, 2017 6:33 PM
sm_japan_fukushima_rivers_of_radiation.jpg
Every time there is large amounts of rain, radioactive materials come flooding down from the mountains of Fukushima. Even in the rain people are being contaminated yet the government has declared that the "problem" has been solved.
§Japan Radioactivity Has No Borders
by No Nukes Action Committee Saturday Jan 7th, 2017 6:33 PM
sm_japan_radioactivy_has_no_bordersno_nukes.jpg
The radioactive material from Fukushima has contaminated the Pacific ocean and continues to spew out from the plant. The government's plans to contain the water contamination has utterly failed.

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by Japan Former PM Kan
Saturday Jan 7th, 2017 8:18 PM
Reassessing the 3.11 Disaster and the Future of Nuclear Power in Japan: An Interview with Former Prime Minister Kan Naoto
http://apjjf.org/2016/18/Capodici.html
Interview by Vincenzo Capodici

Introduction by Shaun Burnie

Translation by Richard Minear

September 15, 2016
Volume 14 | Issue 18 | Number 1
Tages Anzeiger (Zurich), February 4, 2016

Introduction

For more than two decades, the global nuclear industry has attempted to frame the debate on nuclear power within the context of climate change: nuclear power is better than any of the alternatives. So the argument went. Ambitious nuclear expansion plans inthe United States and Japan, two of the largest existing markets, and the growth of nuclear power in China appeared to show—superficially at least—that the technology had a future. At least in terms of political rhetoric and media perception, it appeared to be a winning argument. Then came March 11, 2011. Those most determined to promote nuclear power even cited the Fukushima Daiichi accident as a reason for expanding nuclear power: impacts were low, no one died, radiation levels are not a risk. So claimeda handful of commentators in the international (particularly English-language) media.

However, from the start of the accident at Fukushima Daiichi on March 11 2011,the harsh reality of nuclear power was exposed to billions of people across the planet, and in particular to the population of Japan, including the more than 160,000 people displaced by the disaster, many of whom are still unable to return to their homes, and scores of millions more threatened had worst case scenarios occurred. One authoritative voice that has been central to exposing the myth-making of the nuclear industry and its supporters has been that of Kan Naoto, Prime Minister in 2011. His conversion from promoter to stern critic may be simple to understand, but it is no less commendable for its bravery. When the survival of half the society you are elected to serve and protect is threatened by a technology that is essentially an expensive way to boil water, then something is clearly wrong. Japan avoided societal destruction thanks in large part to the dedication of workers at the crippled nuclear plant, but also to the intervention of Kan and his staff, and to luck. Had it not been for a leaking pipe into the cooling pool of Unit 4 that maintained sufficient water levels, the highly irradiated spent fuel in the pool, including the entire core only recently removed from the reactor core, would have been exposed, releasing an amount of radioactivity far in excess of that released from the other three reactors. The cascade of subsequent events would have meant total loss of control of the other reactors, including their spent fuel pools and requiring massive evacuation extending throughout metropolitan Tokyo, as Prime Minister Kan feared. That three former Prime Ministers of Japan are not just opposed to nuclear power but actively campaigning against it is unprecedented in global politics and is evidence of the scale of the threat that Fukushima posed to tens of millions ofJapanese.

The reality is thatin terms of electricity share and relative to renewable energy,nuclear power has been in decline globally for two decades. Since the Fukushima Daiichiaccident, this decline has only increased in pace. The nuclear industry knew full well that nuclear power could not be scaled up to the level required to make a serious impact on global emissions. But that was never the point. The industry adopted the climate-change argument as a survival strategy: to ensure extending the life of existing aging reactors and make possible the addition of some new nuclear capacity in the coming decades—sufficient at least to allow a core nuclear industrial infrastructure to survive to mid-century.The dream was to survive to mid-century, when limitless energy would be realized by the deployment of commercial plutonium fast-breeder reactors and other generation IV designs. It was always a myth, but it had a commercial and strategic rationale for the power companies, nuclear suppliers and their political allies.

The basis for the Fukushima Daiichi accident began long before March 11th 2011, when decisions were made to build and operate reactors in a nation almost uniquely vulnerable to major seismic events. More than five years on, the accident continues with a legacy that will stretch over the decades. Preventing the next catastrophic accident in Japan is now a passion of the former Prime Minister, joining as he has the majority of the people of Japan determined to transition to a society based on renewable energy. He is surely correct that the end of nuclear power in Japan is possible. The utilities remain in crisis, with only three reactors operating, and legal challenges have been launched across the nation. No matter what policy the government chooses, the basis for Japan’s entire nuclear fuel cycle policy, which is based on plutonium separation at Rokkasho-mura and its use in the Monju reactor and its fantasy successor reactors, is in a worse state than ever before. But as Kan Naoto knows better than most, this is an industry entrenched within the establishment and still wields enormous influence. Its end is not guaranteed. Determination and dedication will be needed to defeat it. Fortunately, the Japanese people have these in abundance. SB

The Interview

Q: What is your central message?

Kan: Up until the accident at the Fukushima reactor, I too was confident that since Japanese technology is of high quality, no Chernobyl-like event was possible.

But in fact when I came face to face with Fukushima, I learned I was completely mistaken. I learned first and foremost that we stood on the brink of disaster: had the incident spread only slightly, half the territory of Japan, half the area of metropolitan Tokyo would have been irradiated and 50,000,000 people would have had to evacuate.



Satellite photograph of explosion at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

Half one’s country would be irradiated, nearly half of the population would have to flee: to the extent it’s conceivable, only defeat in major war is comparable.

That the risk was so enormous: that is what in the first place I want all of you, all the Japanese, all the world’s people to realize.

Q: You yourself are a physicist, yet you don’t believe in the first analysis that people can handle nuclear power? Don’t you believe that there are technical advances and that in the end it will be safe to use?

Kan: As a rule, all technologies involve risk. For example, automobiles have accidents; airplanes, too. But the scale of the risk if an accident happens affects the question whether or not to use that technology. You compare the plus of using it and on the other hand the minus of not using it. We learned that with nuclear reactors, the Fukushima nuclear reactors, the risk was such that 50,000,000 people nearly had to evacuate. Moreover, if we had not used nuclear reactors—in fact, after the incident, there was a period of about two years when we didn’t use nuclear power and there was no great impact on the public welfare, nor any economic impact either. So when you take these factors as a whole into account, in a broad sense there is no plus to using nuclear power. That is my judgment.

One more thing. In the matter of the difference between nuclear power and other technologies, controlling the radiation is in the final analysis extremely difficult.

For example, plutonium emits radiation for a long time. Its half-life is 24,000 years, so because nuclear waste contains plutonium—in its disposal, even if you let it sit and don’t use it—its half-life is 24,000 years, in effect forever. So it’s a very difficult technology to use—an additional point I want to make.

Q: It figured a bit ago in the lecture by Professor Prasser, that in third-generation reactors, risk can be avoided. What is your response?

Kan: It’s as Professor Khwostowa said: we’ve said that even with many nuclear reactors, an event inside a reactor like the Fukushima nuclear accident or a Chernobyl-sized event would occur only once in a million years; but in fact, in the past sixty years, we’ve had Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima. Professor Prasser says it’s getting gradually safer, but in fact accidents have happened with greater frequency and on a larger scale than was foreseen. So partial improvements are possible, as Professor Prasser says, but saying that doesn’t mean that accidents won’t happen. Equipment causes accidents, but so do humans.

Q: Today it’s five years after Fukushima. What is the situation in Japan today? We hear that there are plans beginning in 2018 to return the refugees to their homes. To what extent is the clean-up complete?

Kan: Let me describe conditions on site at Fukushima. Reactors #1, #2, #3 melted down, and the melted nuclear fuel still sits in the containment vessel; every day they introduce water to cool it. Radioactivity in the vessel of #2, they say, is 70 sieverts—not microsieverts or millisieverts, 70 sieverts. If humans approach a site that is radiating 70 sieverts, they die within five minutes. That situation has held ever since: that’s the current situation.

Moreover, the water they introduce leaves the containment vessel and is said to be recirculated, but in fact it mixes with groundwater, and some flows into the ocean. Prime Minister Abe used the words “under control,” but Japanese experts, including me, consider it not under control if part is flowing into the ocean. All the experts see it this way.

As for the area outside the site, more than 100,000 people have fled the Fukushima area.

So now the government is pushing residential decontamination and beyond that the decontamination of agricultural land.

Even if you decontaminate the soil, it’s only a temporary or partial reduction in radioactivity; in very many cases cesium comes down from the mountains, it returns.

The Fukushima prefectural government and the government say that certain of the areas where decontamination has been completed are habitable, so people have until 2018 to return; moreover, beyond that date, they won’t give aid to the people who have fled. But I and others think there’s still danger and that the support should be continued at the same level for people who conclude on their own that it’s still dangerous—that’s what we’re saying.

Given the conditions on site and the conditions of those who have fled, you simply can’t say that the clean-up is complete.

Q: Since the Fukushima accident, you have become a strong advocate of getting rid of nuclear reactors; yet in the end, the Abe regime came to power, and it is going in the opposite direction: three reactors are now in operation. As you see this happening, are you angry?

Kan: Clearly what Prime Minister Abe is trying to do—his nuclear reactor policy or energy policy—is mistaken. I am strongly opposed to current policy.

But are things moving steadily backward? Three reactors are indeed in operation. However, phrase it differently: only three are in operation. Why only three? Most—more than half the people—are still resisting strongly. From now on, if it should come to new nuclear plants, say, or to extending the licenses of existing nuclear plants, popular opposition is extremely strong, so that won’t be at all easy. In that sense, Japan’s situation today is a very harsh opposition—a tug of war—between the Abe government, intent on retrogression, and the people, who are heading toward abolishing nuclear reactors.

Two of Prime Minister Abe’s closest advisors are opposed to his policy on nuclear power.

One is his wife. The other is former Prime Minister Koizumi, who promoted him.

Q: Last question: please talk about the possibility that within ten years Japan will do away with nuclear power.

Kan: In the long run, it will disappear gradually. But if you ask whether it will disappear in the next ten years, I can’t say. For example, even in my own party opinion is divided; some hope to do away with it in the 2030s. So I can’t say whether it will disappear completely in the next ten years, but taking the long view, it will surely be gone, for example, by the year 2050 or 2070. The most important reason is economic. It has become clear that compared with other forms of energy, the cost of nuclear energy is high.

Q: Thank you.