Nous vous invitons à l’évènement « Montréal se souvient de Fukushima » !
Comment la catastrophe de Fukushima a-t-elle bouleversé la vie des habitants de la ville ? Quelles conséquences aura-t-elle sur leurs vies dans l’avenir ? Durant la soirée, des documentaires contre l’utilisation de l’énergie nucléaire et des entretiens avec des experts en ce domaine seront projetés. De plus, des conférenciers invités feront la lumière sur la situation actuelle à Fukushima.
Date : Le lundi, 11 mars 2013
Heure : 16 h 00 à 20 h 00
Lieu : Burritoville : 2055 rue Bishop, Montréal, Québec, H4A 2J2
You are invited to an event to mark the anniversary of the beginning of the Fukushima disaster and raise awareness that the crisis is not over.
It will take place Monday, March 11th from 4-8pm at Burritoville, which is at 2055 Bishop Street.
It will be a drop-in event with short films, discussions, guest speakers, music, and activities for kids (like manga-making).
If you have anti-nuke information or art to share (flyers, posters etc.), please bring them, and please invite your friends!
Check out the blog (which is growing) for more information:
If you’re on Facebook, here is an event page (I think it’s possible for FB users to use this page to invite friends):
As many of you know, Professor Masaki Shimoji, a professor of economics at Hannan University, was arrested by Osaka prefectural police on December 9, 2012, held for twenty days, and released without charge. One can be arrested and held without charge for up to 23 days in Japan. The Hannan University administration was informed that police intended to arrest Professor Shimoji, and they provided police with access to Professor Shimoji’s office and cooperated with their investigation into Professor Shimoji’s participation in a small demonstration that took place in a train station in Osaka several months earlier, on October 17th. Professor Shimoji and others were protesting the distribution and incineration of radioactive rubble from Fukushima.
This article provides further background information: http://www.jfissures.org/2013/01/20/osaka-pushes-incendiary-tsunami-debris-plan/.
Professor Koji Shima, who teaches in the Faculty of Business at Hannan University, has been one of the very few members of the Hannan community to show solidarity with Professor Shimoji. Professor Shima, whose areas of research specialization are the Social History of Health and Economics, convened and organized the “Group in Support of Professor Shimoji. Professor Shima presented the following statement to that group on January 7, 2013. Please share this statement widely.
To the members of the “Group in Support of Professor Shimoji”
2013 has just begun.
We founded the “Group in Support of Professor Shimoji” immediately after his unjust arrest on December 9th, 2012 with the aims of having him released from custody and to ensure that the university would not take any disciplinary actions against him. After twenty days of worry and uncertainty, we were pleased to hear that he would be released without charges, as he rightfully should have been. However, serious issues that were brought to light by this incident still remain, and in order to work towards their solution, I believe that it will be necessary to face these struggles by creating an organization with a different name and of a different nature. Since we have achieved the original goals that we set out for the Group in Support of Professor Shimoji, I would like to announce the dissolution of the Group.
Looking back in detail at what happened on October 17th, 2012, I was shocked that in Japan, a country with a constitutional government, a person could be arrested like this for an action that is constitutionally protected. I can neither forget nor forgive the insult that Professor Shimoji and his family suffered as a result of his unjust arrest and lengthy detention. For the authorities who spent two months planning and preparing for his arrest, the fact that he will not be prosecuted means defeat. They were unable to find any reason for prosecution that would stand up in court, and were further unable to “discover” any other evidence from the materials that they confiscated that could be used as an excuse to arrest him again or extend his period of detention. This clearly demonstrates the true facts of this “criminal incident”.
The primary factor in bringing about this victory was of course Professor Shimoji’s own struggle. However, the spread of the movement in support of Professor Shimoji, such as the declaration of protest by constitutional scholars, also contributed a great deal to this victory. I also have no doubt that our “Group in Support of Professor Shimoji”, in its own small way, formed one part of this wider social movement. However, when I ask myself whether Hannan University responded in an appropriate way to this “incident”, in which a professor was treated like a heinous anti-social criminal and taken away from his own home in handcuffs in a manner which, as has been consistently pointed out by legal scholars, has not happened since the period of disorder and chaos just following World War II, unfortunately the answer is “no”. The students from Professor Shimoji’s seminars and lectures did not organize any petitions or statements, nor make any appeals to the university authorities. Furthermore, one would think that certain questions would naturally arise among university scholars, at the very least regarding the reasons behind his arrest or the fact that he should have been immediately released. Yet not a single declaration in support of Professor Shimoji was released from any group of faculty including from his own department, nor the department head, nor from the person in the highest position of responsibility for education and learning at the university, the president.
But that’s not all. On December 19th, it was brought to light that the university had been informed by the police in advance that Professor Shimoji would be arrested. University president Tatsumi and vice president Kanzawa told us on December 19th that members of Section 3 of the Public Safety Division of the Osaka Police had come to the university on December 6th and informed them that they would be arresting Professor Shimoji and conducting a search of his office. It is not easy to surmise the real motives as to why the Public Safety Division would go against common sense and inform the university in advance, as though testing out how the university would respond. However, the administration showed no question or hesitation in dealing with the police. On the contrary, the president, who interpreted this visit as a kindly gesture intended to avoid causing any problems for the university, carried on as though nothing had happened, except for establishing a “crisis management office” that evening. And in spite of the fact that various meetings were held for planning and management and among department heads throughout the following week, in which the details of what had happened the previous week were announced openly, not a single question, objection, or protest was raised with regards to the administration’s measures (or perhaps their lack of measures). With all of this in mind, it is clear that nobody, from the president to the vice president, to the department head and all other management, considered the fact that they might be seriously compromising the university’s autonomy in allowing the police’s unjust arrest of a professor and search of his office.
Furthermore, as a professor at the same university, I am ashamed at their complete lack of sympathy or imagination as people living similar lives to Professor Shimoji. Their colleague, with whom they spent their days together teaching and conducting research, was taken by surprise and arrested for an act that is protected by the constitution, had his freedom taken away, and had police come tromping disrespectfully through his home and office. He has been humiliated in a way that cannot be undone. If these people had had even an ounce of imagination, they would feel some sympathy for Professor Shimoji’s pain and distress, as well as for the sadness and bewilderment of his family, having had someone they love suddenly taken from them. Then, there could have been any number of other possible scenarios for what happened after the morning of December 9th. When I think of these other possibilities, I shiver at their cruelty.
I suppose the root rot plaguing this university has probably been deeply and quietly spreading for years. I stepped away from administrative service a while back simply to get back to the work I am supposed to do, namely educating my students, but I deeply regret my negligence and irresponsibility in not having fought against the prevailing current here.
However, the gap between myself and the administration has grown extremely wide, and I feel that the gap cannot be bridged. The twenty days since December 9th have provided a valuable experience in which I learned how difficult it is to go against the grain and to fight.
Here, as we bring the “Group in Support of Professor Shimoji” to a close, I have shared some of my feelings on the matter. I would like to express my deepest thanks and appreciation to all of you for your support.
January 7, 2013
Professor Shima will be quitting his job at Hannan University when the academic year ends in March of 2013, two years before reaching the age of retirement. The following message currently appears on his faculty website.
“It seems as though the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Reactor brought on by the earthquake of March 11, 2011 is gradually fading from the memory of people in Kansai. Is this the best we can do even as the danger of radiation spreads across all of Japan with each moment that passes? And even when there are fourteen aging and decrepit reactors (a third of the total number of reactors in Japan) in Fukui Prefecture, which is only about 150 kilometers away from Osaka? I want to do whatever I can, however humble my abilities, to break us out of the snare of the nuclear safety myth and reclaim this country’s security.”
For those who know Japanese, Professor Shima also appears in the following press conference video beginning at 27:58:
Please share this message widely, such as via your mailing lists, Facebook, etc.
Adrienne Carey Hurley
Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director
Department of East Asian Studies
Composer Wataru Iwata poses many difficult questions regarding the long-term health risks faced by the victims following the Fukushima nuclear accidents in an article by the French news website, Rue89, found here. He presents a compelling call to action, what he calls an “auto-evacuation,” whereby “people should decide by themselves to evacuate the affected zone”.
Below is the English translation of the article, by Francis Guerin.
Fukushima: “Everything has to be done again for us to stay in the contaminated areas”
By Nadine and Thierry Ribault
Translation by Francis Guerin
During the following three months, Iwata created “Project 47”, named after the 47 prefectures of Japan. Funds were raised to organize the evacuation of victims and to buy radiation measurement equipment and use it to gather data and publish it. He explains:
“The situation in Japan looks more and more like it did in wartime: television, print and Internet outlets are being called upon to impose a voluntary gag order on themselves.”
The “Project 47” observers go to farms, schools and homes with radiometers and Geiger counters to measure radiation levels and publish them on their association website. They want to create what they call “auto-evacuation”: a system whereby people can decide to evacuate the affected zone themselves, since the state doesn’t oblige them to do it.
Wataru Iwata, “stubborn and an agitator“
Facing the impossible nature of official oversight with regard to the disaster, “we need infinite noncompliance,” says Iwata. Indignation, so popular lately, because it is first and foremost a confession of impotence, is not sufficient. In June 2011, he canceled his lease in Tokyo and rented, in Fukushima City, a studio apartment where he lives surrounded by radiation measurement tools – thereby creating the first autonomous radiation measurement station in Japan, which went into effect on July 1st 2011.
This station adds to the actions facilitated by the new structures set up by “Project 47,” named the “Citizen’s Radioactivity Measuring Station” (CRMS). “The day we launched the Whole Body Counter [WBC, a machine used to measure radioactivity in the human body],” says Iwata, “a hundred orders were requested within five minutes. We had to close down.” Little by little, other centers opened in Kōriyama, Fukagawa, Nihonmatsu, and Tamura. On December 14, 2011, the CRMS network’s first People’s Station for the Measurement of Radioactivity opened in Tokyo.
Wataru Iwata does not belong to any hierarchical organization and does not depend on anyone. It is his own will that motivated him the day after the Fukushima accident. He is stubborn and an agitator.
On November 27, 2011, during an event organized by the CRMS in Tokyo to give information to the population at large , he stated that he is wary of the WBC, since it can be used to exonerate people who decide not to move. People from Fukushima who fled to Kyoto ask: how can we prove anything, if we come down with a disease later on? Wataru advises them to keep their children’s teeth and hair. After the meeting, he confesses considering a change in direction, to lead a more direct stuggle against the authorities and against every apathetic member of the populace.
Mothers lacked confidence in the authorities
We met Wataru Iwata on February 12, 2012, in Fukushima, during the “Protect Life from Radiation” symposium.
Nadine and Thierry Ribault: Seven months after the creation of the CRMS, how have things turned out?
Wataru Iwata: Fukushima residents approached us when we first arrived with our radiation measurement equipment. Our objective was not to push people to flee, but to give them information so they could decide for themselves.
People could not talk about radiation, they could not mention the nuclear power plant. The central and local authorities did made no proposal to combat contamination. Instead, they raised annual “tolerable” levels of radiation.
The watchword was “Hang in there Fukushima!” And people, including children in schools, were being urged to consume food from Fukushima. People worried about the risks of radiation soon understood that they had to protect themselves from internal irradiation as much as external irradiation. Mothers, worried about their children’s nutritional health, sounded the alarm.
Mothers, then, lacked confidence in the authorities?
Yes, which was legitimate. Government officials worried little about the health and security of the people. There was a lack of precise information. Authorities confessed to me that, for example, they would select three rice samples before declaring a batch of rice safe to consume, as long as they were contaminated at less than 5,000 becquerels by kilogram. However, that is too hasty a conclusion, since contamination levels change every 100 meters.
There was an enormous discordance between reality and how reality was portrayed by the authorities. The control stations being used to measure the external flow rate were situated 20 meters from the ground, and were designed to measure radioactivity in case of nuclear weapons testing. When we opened the first station at Fukushima, we were supposed to start at 13:00 and people were already lining up at 11:00. I told them that we could not measure water, though many brought water to us anyway.
They wanted to understand and know, even the farmers. At the beginning, there were many people from the organic farming world. They were asking if they could cultivate their crops and sell them for consumption. These measurements are necessary to make such decisions.
“The authorities offered cynical apologies”
What kind of relationship do you have with the authorities?
After receiving the WBC, we developed relationships with the sanitary authorities who came to see what we were doing. People had told them the results obtained with us. They were friendly, offering cynical apologies that they could not do these kinds of activities themselves.
People do not trust them any more, but there is, within their ranks, some who have the intention to protect the people. They just don’t have all the equipment to do so. They were not trying to hide things, but people did not believe them. At Fukushima Medical University, for example, the WBC was contaminated from the start. Some residents asked to be measured but they were refused.
People then turned to us and we ended up creating relationships of dependence with some of them, since they felt that they could no longer depend on authorities anymore… but now they depend on the CRMS. Some people don’t have any autonomy anymore. Nevertheless, everything is done, and will continue to be done, for those who do not leave the contaminated areas. It is not realistic to think that everyone will leave. Therefore, the people who stay there need protection and medical follow-up.
From that point of view, we are looking to work with authorities. We have to do more than just complain. We have to act according to what the residents need. However, only 3% of them are left, and 10% of them are children. These are leftover people. The authorities, who had decided before not to advise them to “evacuate,” are now telling these “leftover people” to “go on replenishing trips,” like we advise elderly to do in “conventional” times.
What kind of relationship do you have with scientists?
Medical examinations given as part of the public health survey supervised by Professor Yamashita’s team are free. Fukushima prefecture asked the central government to ensure that the entirety of the medical care for those under 18 year-old will be free of charge. But officially, this request has been shelved as of January 28 by Tatsuo Hirano, Minister for Reconstruction.
Therefore, some scientists have a somehow strange attitude. Conflicts arise: vice-president Yamashita, from Nagasaki, and vice-president Kamiya, from Hiroshima, are publicly at odds concerning the investigation. According to Hiroshima doctors, the non-distribution of iodine tablets on the first days of the disaster was a mistake, while others do not see it that way.
It is difficult for doctors to work independently due to the power of the medical associations that prohibit them from warning people about radiation, and some pediatricians even resent mothers who are worried about their children’s health; however, many doctors, especially from Fukushima, sincerely want to provide protection and assistance to the population. We are therefore establishing working connections with some of them, as well as with some researchers.
“Fukushima Medical University has become Dracula’s Castle”
Is the CRMS a place of truth?
The CRMS has to establish a form of trust. This is done step by step. People have been highly exposed, and we do not know what will happen in the following years. Stories spread: dead fetuses in mothers’ stomachs, malformations… but we cannot say for sure at present what is caused by radiation and what is not.
The head of the radio station in Koriyama recently had a baby born with a heart malformation similar to the ones children in Chernobyl had. Journalists took advantage of this to spread fear with these stories, but no conclusion can yet be made.
What is certain, on the other hand, is that people need follow-ups. They need to have examinations and be treated as soon as we find something. We need to look carefully for abnormalities, because the possibility of developing a disease has increased. However, as I said, the government refuses to remove the medical fees for those under 18 in the Fukushima prefecture; only “sanitary control” examinations conducted as part of the health surveys are free. The medical fees should be removed, but we also have to be aware that if such a law were passed, people would no longer be able to keep their personal information private from authorities.
People would be examined in Fukushima and those examination results would remain “stuck” to their identities like criminal records. Besides, only 20% of the population answered the survey conducted by Fukushima Medical University.
For many, Fukushima Medical University has become Dracula’s Castle. It is nevertheless the role of this university to care for people, and in order to do that correctly, those in charge need to change their policy. They have to discuss issues with residents and citizens and consider their opinions and requests while determining how the survey is conducted, for example. We need to be close to people. We need to consider the precise situation and act accordingly. You never know, once a decision is made, if it will be the right one.
Junichiro Furuchi, Doctor of Political Science is giving a lecture on the subject of “Canada and Nuclear”. (In Japanese)
November 24th (Thu)
Strathcona Music Building
555 Sherbrooke St. W.
Due to the McGill Universit strike, the lecture room hasn’t been decided yet. Please meet some Japanese at the entrance where the statue of Queen Victoria is at 6:25pm. They will guide you to the lecture room.
Strathcona Music Building
555 Sherbrooke St. W.
We’re gonna hold a demonstration! Please forward the following message to as many people as possible.
URGENT! Anti-nuclear＋Anti-acceptance-of-radioactive-rubble-and-wreckage demonstration!!!!!!!! held in n Osaka.
Once Again, Again and Even Again, Osaka will witness an Anti-nuclear Declaration!!! A Sound Demonstration!!!!!!!!
“WTF???? WE’RE ALREADY PISSED OFF AT NUCLEAR POWER AND NOW, THE PROLIFERATION OF RADIOACTIVE RUBBLE?? NO WAY!!!!! MARCH!! MARCH!! MARCH!!!”
TIME: November 20th, 2011
PLACE: Utubo Park, Nishi-ku, Osaka
1:00 pm Let’s get together and make placards!
1:30 pm Speeches
2:30 pm Let’s begin our demonstration! “Sound Car” will be mobilized!!
※Bring anything with which you make a sound, such as music instruments, placards, pans, kettles, ANYTHING. Blast loud sound and shout!!
Kyushu Electronic Power Company restarted the reactors at the Genkai plant without making clear what is behind the scenes of the scam e-mail issue. Prime minister Noda pays so much attention to exporting nuclear power stations. The “safe” limits for radiation exposure has been increased to almost the highest level possible, which leads to Japanese local governmental acceptance of radiated wreckage. This goes on and on.
It is not too late to change how things are by holding a demonstration. Don’t give up so fast! Let’s march! March! March together!
Click the URL below for details:
Contact us at:
Brian Bergstrom’s interests and accomplishments are varied and many, and so it is with great pleasure that we at east306, spoke with him on topics that move him and are most relevant to Japan and the world. He is a doctoral candidate with the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. Currently, he is a sessional instructor at McGill and a visiting researcher at the Centre for Asian Studies. But his academic presence extends further than McGill and University of Chicago. Brian has taught at universities in Canada, the United States, and Japan, and has published scholarly articles as well as translations.
Some articles of particular relevance for the following interviews include, “Revolutionary Flesh” in the journal positions, which can be found here, as well as an article in Mechademia entitled “Girliness Next to Godliness: Lolita Fandom as Sacred Criminality in the Novels of Takemoto Novala,” which can be found here.
In addition to his current research, he plans to release an upcoming book of translations of short stories by Tomoyuki Hoshino in 2012.
In the first interview, we discuss the phenomena of otaku and hikikomori and the problem of criminalized youth in Japan, as well as the commodification of “national cool” and the marketability of perceived Japaneseness. This commodification of “national cool” can be seen exemplified in a Reuters article published in September of 2008 entitled “Japan’s next PM Aso a ‘cool old dude,'” which can be read here. According to the article, as Prime Minister, Aso has been credited with pushing a “manga diplomacy”, which includes the creation of a new, “international prize for manga artists in an effort to use soft power to further Japan’s diplomatic reach.
This concept of marketable Japaneseness is expanded upon in another article,“Japan officials promote hip home,” published in May of 2009. Following Prime Minister Aso’s declaration of the robot cat ‘Doraemon’ to be the nation’s first “Anime Ambassador,” Takehiko Yamamoto, a professor of international politics at Waseda University, expressed his support for manga diplomacy. He later went on to say, “Japan has been too quiet… and hardly made itself felt”, stating that the use of anime and manga was “one of the few ways in which Japan can exert influence on other countries.”
For those readers who may not feel comfortable with the terminology regarding otaku and otaku “movement” present in the interview, be sure to check out McGill Professor Thomas Lamarre’s articles on Otakuology and the Otaku Movement that can be found here.
The first interview is avaliable for download here. To stream the interview, simply click the arrow below and listen away!
Those interested in delving deeper into marketing of Japaneseness under Prime Minister Aso can read “Akihabara: Conditioning a Public Otaku Image,” which tells of the transformation of Akihabara into a tourist attraction under the Aso administration. Bringing attention to the economic, social, and political conditioning of the otaku image and what is now called the “Akihabara boom” and “Otaku boom.”
The interview brings up many compelling points, including the production of “bad youth” and the creation of a paternalistic government, one that changes youth from an autonomous body to a group of potential delinquents, uneducated and irresponsible. Society was seen as a vehicle that could change the direction of youth and therefore reorient the nation in the direction of enlightenment. Education was also seen as an assurance of development, and social policies formed around “helping” those orphans, at-risk youth, and poor children from the perceived failures of their parents. While these social policies could be considered more compassionate towards the fate of youth than the previous system, there is a blatant disregard for understanding and combatting the systems that created these “uneducated” families in the first place. Larger structural problems were not critiqued and this led to a systematic marginalization and repression of youth autonomy. This is not particular to Japan alone and it is important to recognize in all systems, ranging from the size of a country to one as small as a university campus. This is just one of the topics touched upon in the interview. I highly recommend a good listen to get even deeper into the issues involved.
In light of the crisis in Japan and inspired by the mobilization efforts taking place around the world and at McGill University, a second interview was conducted to ask Brian about the state of Japanese Studies since the disaster, the relevance of the Teach-Ins and translation projects initiated by Adrienne Hurley, and the concepts of disaster capitalism, from Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine, and disaster communities (or disaster utopia), from Rebecca Solnit’s A Paradise Built in Hell as they apply to this crisis.
Brian is pictured below, demonstrating his passion for fantastic mugs, in addition to Japanese Studies.
The second interview is available for download by clicking here. To stream audio, simply click on the arrow below.
In this interview, Brian urges listeners to seek alternative sources to learn about how the crisis in Japan is affecting the Japanese people on the ground. Nowadays the word “Japan” is synonymous with disaster, but this connection obscures the different responses and experiences that are present within Japan.
He emphasizes the misuse of culture-based explanations for Japaense reactions to and resistance against nuclear energy. He mentions the homogenizing quality of media accounts, accounts that frame the Japanese locals as naive and unaware of the perils of nuclear energy. In fact, there had been a consistent voice of opposition within Japan towards the use of nuclear energy, a voice that the government chose to ignore.
If you are a new reader to east306, peruse the blog and learn about the many passionate resistance movements that don’t get enough attention in the daily media.
Project east306 would like to thank Brian Bergstrom for providing such stimulating and insightful material and Olivier Marin for conducting the two interviews.
Hitomi Kamanaka Tour
Tour Coordinator and Lead Sponsor: Chiho Kaneko
Nuclear Disaster to Sustainable Future by Hitomi Kamanka
Post-disaster Fukushima Display by Keiko Kokubun
Display and Update on Nihonmatsu by Chiho Kaneko
“Ashes to Honey: Toward a Sustainable Future”
2 hrs, 15 mins
Savoy Theater, 26 Main Street
Presentation – November 1, Time: TBD
Screening – November 1, Time: TBD
Howe Library, 13 South Main Street
Presentation – November 2 – 11:00 am
Screening – November 30 – 6:30 pm
Presentation – November 2 – 7:00 pm
Latchis Theater, 50 Main Street
Screening – November 6 – 7:00 pm
New England Youth Theater, 100 Flat Street
Unitarian-Universalist Church, 220 Main Street
Presentation – November 3 – 6:00 pm: Supper, 7:00 pm
Screening – November 10 – 7:00 pm
Hitomi Kamanaka, an award-winning documentary film director from Japan, first witnessed the terrible effects of radiation when she went to Iraq in 1998. Many Iraqi children were dying from leukemia after the Gulf War (1990) and the suspected cause was radiation exposure from depleted uranium warheads used during the War. She has studied the decades-long suffering of Hiroshima atomic bomb victims from internal radiation exposure, the nuclear contamination at the Hanford nuclear facilities on the Columbia River in Washington State in the 1980s, and the small northern Japanese village of Rokkasho, fiercely divided over the construction of a nuclear recycling facility.
Screening: “Ashes to Honey: Toward a Sustainable Future” (2010):
In this film, Ms.Hitomi Kamanaka, an award winning Japanese documentary film director, chronicles the lives of people in Iwaijima, a small island community in southern Japan. For thirty years this fishing hamlet has been protesting the government’s plan to build nuclear reactors across the bay. Can a small community fight the political and economic might of the nuclear power industry? She also takes us to Sweden in this poignant film to show how the collective determination of citizens can lead to a way out of reliance on fossil and nuclear fuel. Real people, real lives, exquisite cinematography. Enjoy Ms. Kamanaka’s acclaimed film. (2hrs. 15min)
Sponsors: Upper Valley Sierra Club | The Safe and Green Campaign | The Citizen’s Awareness Network
The New England Youth Theater | The Savoy Theater | Chelsea Green Publishing
The Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence