140205 - Fukushima Follow-up 2

Guests from Japan prepared to listen to the presentations.

On Wednesday, January 29th, Peace Boat US co-sponsored the event “Follow Up on the Fukushima Crisis”. Additional sponsors included United Methodist Women, the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development, the NGO Committee on Human Rights, the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, Global Family, International Council of Women, United Religions Initiative, and the Unitarian United Nations Office.

March 11th, 2014 will mark the third year after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster, which occurred after an earthquake that triggered a tsunami that measured taller than the plant’s seawall. This event disabled the plant’s cooling system, and within one day explosions occurred when the reactors overheated.

140205 - Fukushima Follow-up 3

Rachel Clark, Peace Boat US Volunteer Staff, interprets Yayoi Hitoma’s presentation from Japanese into English.

Attending the event were five women from Japan: Hiromi Kinoshita from, Hokkaido, Yayoi Hitomi from Fukushima, Kuniko Hoshino from Niigata, Misako Kakinuma from Ibaraki, and Isako Ueno from Kochi.

Peace Boat US volunteer staff member Rachel Clark opened the event before introducing the featured speaker. Rachel spoke about the current nuclear issues Japan faces, such as high levels of radiation in food, the effects of radiation on children and families, and the leakage of contaminated water from the plant into the ocean.

Peace Boat US volunteers and the guests from Japan.

Peace Boat US volunteers and the guests from Japan.

Yayoi Hitoma, the featured speaker of the event, is a Fukushima resident affected by the nuclear disaster. She gave a presentation on Japan’s current nuclear power plants, emphasizing that nuclear power plants are dangerous and unnecessary. For example, Yayoi pointed out that though the Fukushima Daiichi plant was viewed by the government as safe and built on “stable ground”, it had actually been built on land that had water underground.

Yayoi also spoke of her activism to repeal a law  known as the Special Secrecy Law, a Japanese law that allows the government to call defense information confidential and therefore hide it from the public. This law was implemented in October of 2013, and since then the government has not been forthcoming about the plans for nuclear power within Japan.

By Maya Adelman Cabral