The Environment

A Message from Japan:

Nuclear Accident a Horrible Disaster.
We Need to Change the Whole Society!

By H. Yamamoto

Already 70 percent of nuclear plants in Japan are now driven to shutdown. This summer is the decisive moment to stop operation of all nuclear power plants and force the bourgeoisie and Japanese government to decommission and demolish all nuclear facilities, like in Italy and Germany.

Labor unions have the power to realize this ambitious aim by unifying at the forefront of the anti-nuclear struggle.

Create a fresh movement against nuclear weapons, nuclear power plants and mass unemployment under the global economic crisis! —In Struggle and Solidarity, International Labor Solidarity Committee of Doro-Chiba1.

Four months have passed since the March 11 earthquake and subsequent nuclear accident. But some five thousand people are still missing and a hundred thousand evacuees have no place to settle.

Extremely high-level radioactivity prevents access to the site of the nuclear accident, making it impossible to search for the missing persons or to bury the deceased. Contaminated debris and rubble have been left there untouched for four months. There seems to be no administrative policy at all. The actual situation of the affected areas is far from “reconstruction.” The reality is a horrible heap of debris. If the disaster were only the result of the earthquake, reconstruction work would have been carried on sooner and more easily.

Radioactive contamination is spreading far beyond the quake-stricken regions to other part of Japan, affecting cattle, fish, vegetables, tea as well as mud from wastewater treatment plants, ashes from refuse incinerators and so on.

A dairy farmer committed suicide, leaving a brief message on the wall of the barn, “If there had been no nuclear plant....” He is only one of the farmers who killed themselves in despair for the future since March 11. The nuclear plant accident and its horrible aftermath have deprived a large number of people in the affected areas of their way of life and of their lives themselves.

How and why nuclear plant construction has been promoted

Nuclear plant accidents caused by nature, once they erupt, result in limitless damage and disaster. In spite of this common knowledge, how and why it was possible to build 54 nuclear plants in Japan, a quake-prone country—and a bombed country with the traumatic experience of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and, therefore, the major advocators of the anti-A bomb movement—is incomprehensible!

In 1954, Japanese society was being shaken by boiling anger at atomic and hydrogen bombs, triggered by the contamination of a fishing boat “Daigo Fukuryu-maru” which was struck by a U.S. hydrogen bomb experiment in the Bikini atoll on the South Pacific Sea. To cope with this situation, the ruling class worked out a deceitful and outrageous policy of “atoms for peace” in an attempt “to meet evil with evil.” The principal players were NAKASONE Yasuhiro, notorious promoter of JNR privatization, the CIA of the U.S. and SHORIKI Matsutaro, president of the Yomiuri, the major and popular daily paper. A systematic propaganda machine was organized by the mass media to persuade Japanese public opinion into believing a myth of controllable and useful nuclear power that would bring a significant benefit to human beings.

“After me the deluge”

The demagogic myth of controllable nuclear power was proved to be a complete lie by a series of nuclear plant accidents: Three Mile in U.S. in 1979; Chernobyl in the former U.S.SR in 1986; and Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing plant accident in the UK early in 1957. All of these accidents caused serious radioactive contamination on a large scale and brought about numerous deaths and diseases by exposure. Moreover, nuclear waste needs to be conserved for tens-of-thousands of years, which demands huge amount of cost, time and human energy. But no technology has been developed yet as to how to handle the matter of radioactive materials. Nobody knows exactly what nuclear waste buried into the earth or dropped into the sea will become. In a word, “After me the deluge.” It is an exact expression of what those promoters of nuclear policy really are. These irresponsible people have been shamelessly insisting on “the protection of the global environment” to push forward construction of nuclear plants.

Their real intention is independent nuclear armament and electric power as its byproduct

The primary driving force of the policy of nuclear development is an obsessive desire of the Japanese ruling class for independent nuclear armament. Plutonium produced by nuclear power plants provides indispensable material for atomic bombs. Possession of Plutonium guarantees Japan to be a nuclear-armed state. Their fundamental aim is to appear on the stage of world politics with nuclear force and secure profit in the world market. Electric power production is only a subsequent effect and serves as deceitful rhetoric to conceal their real dangerous intentions. No consideration has been made over the spread of radioactive contamination caused by possible nuclear plant accidents. No attention has been paid to maintain security and safety. The daily life of workers is completely out of their interest. The reality forced upon people in Fukushima is a result of their outrageous behavior for a long period.

Chernobyl, 25 years after

The Kan administration recently referred to the perspective of settling the nuclear plant accident and was obliged to admit that it would require decades to take out the molten fuel rods from the wrecked nuclear container and to complete the decommissioning of the nuclear plants.

In Chernobyl, 25 years after the accident, former inhabitants who had been forced to evacuate quite unprepared are still not permitted to go back to their home village, and entry is forbidden into the areas 30 kilometers from the accident site. A large amount of bulldozers, helicopters, machine tools, etc, which had been used to deal with the accident, have been abandoned and lay there as they were 25 years ago because of heavy contamination, which prevents any kind of access. Stone coffins are covering nuclear plant facilities, which have become old and rotten. Radioactive materials are still diffusing into the air and soil. It is now urgent to repair the stone coffin and to stop radioactive diffusion.

Change the society

The main feature of the nuclear policy is identical with that of neo-liberalism: absolute priority of the pursuit of profit with total neglect of other serious issues. The whole society is based on the principle of competition that demands concentration on the effort to increase, gain, or profit at the sacrifice of security measures, public consideration, a welfare agenda and other social needs in the name of reducing cost. Such a society must be overthrown. Labor unions have the power to realize this by unity and should now to fight at the forefront of the struggle of the masses of people to abolish nuclear plants.

Doro-Chiba Quake Report No.31, July 19, 2011