Japan marks six months having passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake
September 12, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo
On September 11, to mark six months having passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake and the subsequent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, a protest march against nuclear power plants entitled “9.11 Anger in Fukushima March,” was held in an open area near the Fukushima Prefectural Office.
According to the protest organizers, 200 people including local citizens marched, chanting, “Decommission the nuclear power plants!” “Give us Fukushima back!” and “Protect the lives and future of our children!”
Participants in the protest march pointed out that 10 of the 54 nuclear power plants in Japan are located in Fukushima Prefecture, saying that, “Just as the Japanese government locates 75% of the United States military forces in Japan in Okinawa, the Government forces less wealthy prefectures to accept military bases and nuclear power plants that could cause trouble for the local people. We don’t want military bases or nuclear power plants. They put our lives in danger.” The protesters linked the issue of the presence of U.S. military bases in Okinawa with that of the nuclear power plants in Fukushima.
People who spoke at the rally said things such as, “The people of Fukushima Prefecture may be meek and mild, but the time has come to speak up and act.” “Health is more important than money” and “Everyone in the prefecture is angry. Although many people hesitate to speak up, we cannot trust a government that doesn’t give priority to the lives of children, to the lives of our children.”
With regard to swiftly decommissioning the nuclear power plants, the protesters shouted, “Ganbarou!” (trans: We’ll give it our best shot!) three times.
When interviewed by the Ryukyu Shimpo, the head of Fukushima Association to Protect Children, Sachiko Sato, said, “This is a fight between those who value money and the rest of us who value people’s lives. It is not that military that protects people’s lives. The nuclear accident has destroyed the natural environment of Fukushima. We don’t need U.S. military bases that could destroy the beautiful sea around Okinawa.”
Seiichi Nakate, the head of the Fukushima Network for Saving Children from Radiation, said, “I would like to express our gratitude to the people of Okinawa for supporting us to the extent that they have. I sense that we need to become linked to the people of Okinawa at grass-roots level and fight for our future.”
Fifty-one year-old Mieko Touyama, a member of the network, said, “Both Okinawa and Fukushima face very similar issues. The nuclear accident has made us keenly aware of the pain the people of Okinawa suffer. [With regard to the issues of the U.S. military bases in Okinawa], I feel sorry about the situation that they are in.”
After the rally, the participants marched through the downtown area chanting slogans – “Give us back our sky and sea!” or “Give us back our arable land!” and formed a human chain in front of the local government hall, where the Fukushima chapter of the Reconstruction Headquarters in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake is located.
(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)
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