A Nuclear Respite In Japan; The Buddha Of Fukushima Comes To Tokyo

“Look around you. Do you think Tokyo needs nuclear electricity?” Naoto Matsumura, observing Tokyo life in Yurakucho, one day after all the nuclear power stations have been shut down in Japan, temporarily.

Japan’s last operating nuclear power plant reactor went off yesterday, but only for maintenance. Japan had 54 reactors before the Fukushima Daiichi power plant accident last year. This weekend Tomari nuclear power plant in Hokkaido shut down and  Japan is running without nuclear energy for the first time in 42 years.

The Washington Post reported some anti-nuclear power demonstration in Tokyo on Saturday, which coincided with Children’s Day. The traditional 鯉のぼり/koi nobori, carps flying in the air, on the Children’s Day,  became the symbol of the anti-nuclear movement.

Naoto Matsumura, the well-known farmer, who stood alone against the government’s decision last year to evacuate the cities situated within the 20km zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, because the fauna in that zone would go out of control, visited Tokyo on Saturday and Sunday. The purpose of his visit was to participate in  a fund rising event in Yokosuka for the Fukushima animals.

Naoto Matsumura and his friend Mr. Kaneko said at a press conference in Tokyo last February that they were actively trying to set up an NGO to look after the abandoned farm animals or residents’ pets. After three months of struggle, Mr. Matsumura said that his NGO called “Ganbaru Fukushima” (“がんばる福島”) got approved  by The Civil Society Support Center of Yokohama very recently, and will be officially starting out on May 11th 2012. “It is almost 90% sure that they will approve our activities, but the official starting date will be on May 11th”, he said today. The NGO’s leader is Naoto Matsumura, and the vice-presidents are Mr. Kenji Kaneko, together with professor Yamashita, from JAXA. Under the three leaders of the new group, there are an additional 10 people from various backgrounds supporting Ganbaru Fukushima’s activities.

Naoto Matsumura, on his way home to Koriyama this evening, the closest city to Tomioka Town where he lives, paid a visit to TEPCO headquarters near Shinbashi station, in Tokyo. As he was staring at the buildings, he recalled all the times when he went there to ask the leaders to shut down all their nuclear power plants. On Saturday, it became reality. Matsumura on his way to Tokyo station said: “Look around you. Does Tokyo need nuclear electricity? Is the city in darkness?”

Naoto Matsumura at Tokyo TEPCO headquarters, near Shinbashi station one day after all the nuclear power plants shut down in Japan.

And he quietly walked from TEPCO headquarters to Tokyo station to take a bullet train back to Fukushima.

Naoto Matsumura spent two days in Tokyo. He went back home on a Sunday evening. He said: "I will stay in Tomioka town until its soil will be completely decontaminated."

Comments
6 Responses to “A Nuclear Respite In Japan; The Buddha Of Fukushima Comes To Tokyo”
  1. Nanci Caron says:

    Thank you for writing this article! It is wonderful news that Matsumura-san is starting his own NGO. Hopefully, more funds will be raised for his mission of caring for the animals, and restoring life in Tomioka. It’s amazing to think that a collective voice against unmanaged nuclear power is also being heard. Matsumura-san is a dedicated soul – hero to many – and an unwavering guardian of Fukushima’s animals. He has support from people all over the world. As a fund-raising coordinator for him in America, I am humbled by his dedication and personal sacrifice. I look forward to being able to promote the commencement of his NGO!

  2. HSSL-TYO says:

    Much respect for Matsumura-san. The way Tepco deals with him is outrageous.

    The people of Japan should get the revolt movement really going, bumrush Tepco HQ and lynch some motherfuckers already. It’s been over a year and the situation is getting worse while politicians and Tepco are playing blame games and trying to cover their own ass. Really tho, fuck em. fuck em all. I’m done being polite and diplomatic about this. The food is getting more contaminated every day and what does the government do? raise the tolerance levels. Hospitals aren’t allowed to run tests on citizens who want to know how much cesium or whatever they got in their system. When I see a youtube of little kids in their infinitely cute lil’ kimonos eating produce during a matsuri while a Geiger counter is flipping out, it literally brings tears to my eyes.

    It’s all beyond me. I don’t know if this one is true but it wouldn’t surprise me: prof. Busby thinks that the reason they are burning nuclear waste all over the country now is that in the future, when A LOT of kids are getting leukemia etc., people can’t hold the government accountable for fucking up lives by destroying the control groups. ‘kids in Miyazaki are getting cancer too, so there’s no correlation. We are not to blame for killing your kid and eradicating your bloodline.’

    I invested my future in Japan, I lived in Tokyo when 3/11 hit. Now I am back ‘home’ and scared to go back. I worry about people in Japan I care about. Over here in Europe, most people have no clue how bad the situation is, but another big quake is gonna hit Japan and when Fukushima dai 4 gets compromised, live on earth is pretty much done for. I cannot grasp why there isn’t some sort of world coalition trying to tackle the problems 24/7.

    I am doing my best to raise awareness over here, but the apathy of people and also the media is doing a great job killing my motivation. Apparently the biggest environmental disaster in history is not enough for people to start caring. I am almost at a point where I am willing to do jail time if I could have some impact in raising awareness, no kidding. Maybe it’s not as bad as I think it is, but one thing’s for sure, there’s no solid scientific consensus, so why take the risk of downplaying the situation.

    皆様、WAKE THE F@#% UP!!!!

    反乱!

    • V.B. says:

      “I lived in Tokyo when 3/11 hit. Now I am back ‘home’ and scared to go back. I worry about people in Japan I care about. Over here in Europe, most people have no clue how bad the situation is, but another big quake is gonna hit Japan and when Fukushima dai 4 gets compromised, live on earth is pretty much done for.”

      Did you had a basic science education? If not, you should read a bit about radioactivity and how it works, because NONE of what you are saying here makes any sense whatsoever.
      Let me explain why.
      1. Three out of four reactor already had major breaches. The consequences, while far from negligible, are nothing compared to e.g. Chernobyl. That is because the nuclear fuel did not burned, so most of it stayed in the plant or nearby. This means that Fukushima Daiichi ground is contaminated with plutonium, fission products and that it will most probably be inhabitable from the next millenium (unless we scoop the contaminated soil and treat it as nuclear wastes, but it is a HUGEEE business). However, the rest of Japan is globally habitable. There is a contamination plume heading 30-50km northwest from the plant, in which it is probably not good to eat local food and to raise kids. Excepted that, there are a few hotspots here and there. Nothing really life treatening except if you don’t know that it is there and you spend your time on it.
      If a fourth plant would blow up, it will “just” add 1/4 more to the total contamination, thus not change the problem as it is.
      As for the marine contamination, natural dilution already took care of most of the problem – but fishes and seafood might be contaminated so in the next 10-30 years systematic control should be implemented.
      2. There is indeed a major earthquake that we know will happen in the next 20 years, on the Chiba/Tokyo fault line. There is an history of recurring earthquake here, every 100 years or so, and usually of magnitude 7-8. The last one was in 1923 and is known as the “great kanto earthquake”, magnitude 7.9. This will most probably have major consequences in Tokyo megalopolis, but Fukushima is 200km away for the most probable epicenter. If it goes as planed and the earthquake is magnitude 8, you have to realize that this means it will be 20 times less powerfull that the Tohoku earthquake. In Fukushima, it could indeed destroy the whole containment/mitigation work in progress – but the consequences will NOT be a nuclear explosion of something like that.

      I just want to add that I am living in Tokyo since september 2010. I left Japan for two weeks after the earthquake but I am back since then and in Tokyo there is no problem.
      I shall also precise that I am a research scientists and that my PhD research was related to nuclear wastes storage.

      • HSSL-TYO says:

        Thanks for the explanation V.B., it makes a lot of sense.

        It’s been a while now and I have calmed down a bit. But I am still not 100% cool with it all. I won’t go in to it and I respect your expertise, but there’s other people with PhDs that claim different things. I am an academic too so I know what proper research is, but the scientific consensus isn’t there. The track record of cover-ups from governments and corporate isn’t reassuring either.

  3. InJM says:

    @HSSL-TYO

    Fear-mongering doesn’t help anything.

  4. karaj says:

    original song about fukushima, and the ‘buddha of the forbidden zone’ who stayed behind after it was evacuated, to care for the abandoned animals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPHY-XYH6is

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