4 years on from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Greens in Japan and Europe jointly advocate for a nuclear free energy economy
by Heiwa Hasegawa, Co-Representative of the Greens Japan, Monica Frassoni and Reinhard Bütikofer, Co-Chairs of the European Green Party
"4 years have passed since the greatest earthquake in Japan’s history caused a giant tsunami and triggered a devastating nuclear catastrophe in the eastern part of the country, causing a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. However, the scale of the nuclear crisis continues to unfold, and the deadly effects of this accident are still on going.
"The number of evacuated persons who cannot return to their homes is in the hundreds of thousands, many of who still live in difficult conditions. Whole families were torn apart, yet the subsequent processing of financial compensation and reparation has been severely delayed and is not even sufficient to ensure people a decent living, let alone set up a new life.
"Concern about the long-term health risks is also growing. A rise in the incidents of thyroid cancer among children, who lived close to the power plant at the time of the accident, is striking. Since radiation exposure is more prevalent in the young, 370,000 children and adolescents, who used to live in the prefecture, will be regularly screened for thyroid cancer throughout their lives. Sadly, every year the number of ill children is rising.
"We do not only face a nuclear waste crisis, but also a contaminated water crisis. The massive volume of cooling water not only pollutes the groundwater, but also the ocean. Unfortunately, TEPCO has not changed its attitude concerning transparency, hence counteracting a secure reconstruction of the Fukushima area.
"In light of these developments, a clear majority of Japanese people are against a nuclear restart. Today, we can count back to 541 days without nuclear energy in Japan.
"Globally, many countries are phasing out nuclear or planning to shutdown reactors, turning away from dirty fossil fuels like coal and oil, towards renewable, eco-smart alternatives. Japan demonstrated that it is capable to radically reshape its energy landscape and will continue to impact the nuclear industry globally. A zero-nuclear tolerance policy is our stand.
"Japanese and European Greens commemorate this day to honour the dead and the victims still living. We will continue to cooperate with local and global partners, in order to support citizens and victims. Moreover, we will work continuously with the Global Greens to ban nuclear energy globally, and instead actualise a transition to a sustainable energy policy and society."