Anglicans call for nuclear truth in Japan

Map of the 2011 earthquake and proximity to nuclear power plants in Japan. Illustration: Wikimedia Commons/Maximilian Dorrbecker
Map of the 2011 earthquake and proximity to nuclear power plants in Japan. Illustration: Wikimedia Commons/Maximilian Dorrbecker
Published July 11, 2013

The Anglican Church in Japan/Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK) has launched the second phase of its Isshoni Aruko(Let Us Walk Together) project, set up after the earthquake, tsunamiand nuclear fallout of March 2011 that left tens of thousands dead,missing or injured.

Phase I of the project was a response to the immediate needs ofaffected people following the disaster. NSKK clergy and laity providedrelief and rehabilitation good and support for such vulnerable people aschildren, the elderly, those with disabilities, and foreign migrants.

In Phase II of the project, Let Us Walk Together: Honesty and HopeNSKK not only aims to build on its humanitarian work to date, but alsoto become a beacon of truth about the real impact of the nuclearfallout.

“Those with a financial interest in keeping Japan nuclear-poweredrarely reveal the full facts about the impact of radioactive fallout,”explained Yoshimi Gregory, a Japanese national working at the AnglicanCommunion Office.

“This is why the Anglican Church in Japan has decided it is going toundertake its own research into the impact of the nuclear fallout andmake that information publicly available. This will include the storiesof those living with the legacy of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.”

An example of that legacy is the church-run kindergartens which arein supposedly ‘safe’ areas. In fact they need to be be daily cleaned ofradioactive material inside and out before children can enter. What’sworse is that the youngsters cannot play outside because the playgroundcontains contaminated soil that has been there since the power plantmelted down.

NSKK Kayy Ikezumi

Project director Kay Ikezumi
Photo Credit: NSKK

Kay Ikezumi, the new director of the Let Us Walk Together: Honesty and Hopeproject said, “Needless to say the children, families and teachers [inthese areas] are stressed. The children need to be able to run and playand discover the world around them. It is not safe to do these thingswithin the radiation-contaminated area.”

Mrs Ikezumi said the NSKK project will help families and teachers totravel to camps away from such places, giving them a break from livingwith nuclear contamination.

NSKK will also continue to provide other humanitarian programmes forthe thousands of people still living in the temporary accommodation thathas been their home since the disaster.

On a recent visit to the country, Church of England visitors weretold that some people from affected areas were being treated assecond-class citizens. A refugee community spokesperson told them thatengagements to be married had been broken off, and jobs had been refusedto those suspected of being contaminated by radiation.

To help people understand the truth about the affects of theradioactive fallout, NSKK is going to exchange its research findingswith both secular and religious organisations in the country. It alsoplans to organise symposiums and lectures, and organise study tours toaffect areas to allow as many people as possible to learn about the trueaffects of radioactivity on humans and their environment.

In June 2012 statement, NSKK’s 59th General Synod called for nuclearpower to be abolished, “There is no denying that, even withoutaccidents, nuclear power is a real threat to people’s lives in that itimposes sacrifices on socially weakened people throughout the process,from the mining of uranium to the disposal of radioactive waste.”

It concluded, “In solidarity with other denominations and faiths, wecall for an immediate abolition of nuclear power plants and a conversionof Japan’s energy policy toward the development of alternative sourcesof energy.”


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