We have yet another problem arising from Fukushima Daiichi, threatening to make a bad situation even worse. In June a new leak was discovered under Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactor #1, and as usual TEPCO has decided to downplay the serious nature of this incident. As they have many times before, TEPCO is trying to muffle the sound of a dangerous situation with good PR. A new leak at any nuclear power plant is nothing to be taken lightly; and although TEPCO reports different results, some scientific watchdog groups have reported a possible leakage of nuclear waste into the groundwater (that is, outside the complex of FDNPP). The area surrounding the plant remains largely uninhabitable, with roughly 315,000 victims, half of whom are still without homes in the wake of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and the tsunami that followed.
This is a matter that should pique the government’s interest, and they are making a go of appearing to be concerned. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made regular visits to the affected region since re-assuming office last December. His latest visit came on July 1, and his activities included visiting a rice paddy, observing road construction, and praying. All of this occurred in the wake of the reports of this new leak, yet nothing was done during his visit to address the seriousness of the issue or to attempt to hold TEPCO accountable for not controlling their plant to this day.
This is even more of a charade than it appears. While Abe is executing PR stunts like this throughout the affected region, he has been actively pursuing the commercial export of Japanese nuclear materials in international markets. A few weeks ago, he signed trade agreements with the UAE, Turkey and the Czech Republic, agreements that will require the re-activation of additional plants in Japan. All of this is in the wake of nationwide protests against the further use of nuclear power in Japan.
TEPCO, the Diet, and Prime Minister Abe in particular need to be held accountable for their actions and to be told in no uncertain terms that the people of Japan are not in support of poorly maintained power plants and the risks they entail. They also need to understand that signing agreements with other countries to support the production of nuclear materials flies in the face of what Japanese citizens have been speaking out on for decades, even prior to the 2011 disaster. I would like to suggest a way to help Japan’s activists and victims be heard: please visit the Change.org petition by the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Plaintiffs to hold both government and private sectors responsible for such preventable disasters. I encourage you to read their complaint and sign their petition now.
Original Image: GURA FIKU