Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World 2012 Yokohama --- A Great Success!

Chizuko’s Blog No.17
January 17th, 2012

The Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World was held on 14-15 January at Pacifico Yokohama in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture. 5,000 people attended the conference on the first day and 5,500 on the second, with 5,000 participating in the demonstration march on the first afternoon, and an overall total of 15,500 participants from 30 different countries. WAN also attended as an advocate.

Many of the participants were younger people, who appeared to have come of their own will. Every hall, every booth was so full of energy and enthusiasm.

You can see the reports of the conference on the UStream Archives.

I made a speech at the final event of the second day. You can see the speech (in Japanese) at the following URL. (37:15 – 43:15)

Here is my draft of the speech. It is a short one of about 5 minutes.

I’ve learned that this conference is called “Datsu-genpatsu Global Conference” [which literally means “Global Conference for Getting Away/Escaping from Nuclear Power].

The phrase “Getting away from nuclear power” makes me feel uncomfortable.

We’ve traditionally had the words “anti-nuclear/non-nuclear power.” When did they make us stop using them?

But it can’t be helped. “Getting away from” something suggests that we have experienced and passed through it. But fact is we haven’t even passed through it really.

Japan has got dirty.

Japan has experienced nuclear exposure five times in its history so far --- Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the Daigo Fukuryu Maru, JCO and Fukushima. In the first three we were the victims. In the last one we have become the perpetrators. Now we cannot blame anybody for the disaster. It is we who have contaminated the earth and life. We’ve got dirty.

That’s enough. Let’s stop doing this.

At this conference there was another thing I felt uncomfortable about. That was too much use of the words “Nippon [Japan],” “Kono kuni [this country]” and “Kono kuni no katachi [the form of this country].”

This is the “GLOBAL Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World,” not the “JAPANESE Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World”

There are two reasons for this title.

First, even if Japan can succeed in abandoning nuclear power, what will happen if Korea or China makes nuclear plants in the coastal areas and if they have accidents? Japan will be polluted too. There are no borders for the pollution. You could say that the fact that the pollution from the Chernobyl disaster spread throughout Europe has united the area.

Second, we’ve learned the lesson that peaceful and military uses of nuclear power are two sides of the same coin. Even if only Japan has the Three Non-Nuclear Principles --- not possessing, not producing and not permitting the introduction of nuclear weapons into Japan --- it is of no use if other countries have these weapons. Furthermore, the idea of coming under somebody else’s nuclear umbrella is totally out of the question. Now that you have received the Nobel Prize for Peace after the end of the Cold War, President Obama, please admit that nuclear weapons are “inhumane weapons.” Please visit Hiroshima and offer an apology.

Neither abandoning nuclear power nor abandoning nuclear weapons can be accomplished by a single country. That’s why we need to be united. That’s why we’ve gathered here beyond national borders.

Now I’ll tell you three things I’ve found out through participating in several sessions at the conference.

1. It’s OK, we can do without nuclear power.

2. It’s OK, we do have alternative and renewable energy sources.

3. But I’m not sure if this is OK; Can we ever decide on doing that?

There are people who have planned and organized this conference, to whom I’d like to express my sincere appreciation.

When I first heard about the plan, I felt it too bold. Too little time for preparation. Too big and expensive a conference site like Pacifico Yokohama. Will they ever be able to fill it up? It was so bold that I could not but help. Here is the result. The hall is full.

It’s us who made it full.

Let’s give ourselves a big round of applause.

I won't forgive media organizations if they are not going to cover this conference properly!

Here is the answer to the third thing in my list above.

We, everyone here, will decide our future.

Let’s act together.

Original article written by Chizuko Ueno http://wan.or.jp/ueno/?p=1169
Translated by A. Tawara

You can also see some video reports in English about the conference at the following URLs.

Opening Event

Special Closing Event

Civil Society in 2030: Drawing up the Future of Energy, Food, and Education

Toward a Nuclear Power Free East Asia

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