As a result of the March 11 th 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and the tsunami that followed, a major accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company's (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant caused massive radiation leaks into the environment. The accident still has not been brought under control and radiation leaks continue to contaminate Fukushima , and a huge area including the Tohoku (Northeastern) and Kanto (Eastern) regions of Japan , as well as the world's marine environment.
Despite the experience of the accidents at the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plants, we were unable to prevent the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Even small doses of radiation cause damage to genes. In particular, the greatest danger is to children and pregnant women, who hold the fate of the next generation in their hands. It is now obvious that nuclear power and human beings cannot co-exist. While the people of Fukushima and others continue to suffer as a result of the accident, we believe that international society should stand by those affected, broaden the circle of support and, for the sake of future generations, together seek a worldwide phase out of nuclear energy.
The Japanese government has been proud of Japan 's technological prowess. However, the accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant has proven that technology cannot prevent severe accidents. After the accident, the former Prime Minister, Naoto Kan , proposed phasing out nuclear energy and the Japanese government declared its intention of reviewing national nuclear energy policy. The government stated, “While conducting a thorough review of the causes of the accident, taking into account the views of all sectors of the public, the government will advance the consideration of future energy policy, including whether to build new reactors.” (July 1 Cabinet Decision).
However, regarding the export of nuclear power plants, on August 5 th the Japanese government approved a cabinet decision indicating a continuation of its policy of exporting nuclear power plants. The cabinet decision declared, “Importing countries are primarily responsible for assurance of the safety of nuclear power plants” and “If other countries desire to adopt Japanese nuclear power technology, bearing in mind recipient countries' wishes, we believe we should provide those with the highest safety standard in the world.” Without completing the review of the causes of the accident and without conducting sufficient nation-wide debate, the Japanese government's promotion of nuclear exports is clearly a double standard and a mistake. Furthermore, it is unethical for the Japanese government to continue to export nuclear power plants when the accident has not been brought under control and many people still live under very difficult circumstances, lacking adequate support. Indeed, it could even lead to the expansion and spread of devastation.
It is also clear that, without even including the cost of responding to accidents, the cost of nuclear power is enormous. To export nuclear power plants is to impose that cost on ordinary people in the importing country. From the perspective of business or international cooperation, promoting technology for energy saving and renewable energy is more promising than nuclear power.
Japan experienced nuclear devastation from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki , and also from the Fukushima nuclear accident. We sincerely hope that the government of Japan will lead the way to a worldwide phase out of nuclear energy and show an example of building a sustainable and peaceful society that is not dependent on nuclear power, so that human beings need never again suffer a catastrophe caused by nuclear power.
Friends of the Earth Japan
Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES)
Network for Indonesian Democracy Japan
The Takagi Fund for Citizen Science
Citizen's Nuclear Information Center
*1 st Deadline
September 15 th 2011
November 18th, 2011