Several large demonstrations have taken place all over Japan in recent months, especially in Tokyo. The general mood is the same as elsewhere: ordinary people in Japan are fed up with their leaders' lies, particularly the lies told by TEPCO, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, and how the government has handled the Fukushima disaster. Or rather, how it has avoided handling it. This should all be eerily familiar to Americans of course; BP's lies and the US government's enabling role from the moment the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in April 2010 has continued to this day, with the tragedy continuing to unfold in deathly silence. What is happening in Japan is almost a carbon copy; denial, smear campaigns, heavy-handed tactics and, of course, total media blackout. Up to one million people may have died as a result of Chernobyl, although we'll never really know the true death toll. Fukushima is many orders of magnitude worse...
People in Japan are very angry. Even though the Fukushima disaster is nowhere near ending (in fact, it is getting worse), Japanese media are simply not covering the fallout of the worst nuclear accident in history. Aftershocks from the Magnitude 9 earthquake which struck off the coast of Japan on March 11th are hardly mentioned in the Japanese media, but the fact is they are still ongoing and people are constantly stressed out by them. The economic aftershock is also beginning to take hold in a big way. The good news, says the SOTT forum member in Japan, is that people are now starting to wake up the fact that the Japanese government, TEPCO, and the media have been lying all this time and that more people are starting to take action to actually deal with the situation rather than wishfully think it will just blow away out into the Pacific Ocean.
Like citizens in other 'democratic' countries, Japanese people have had a crash course this year in learning that their own media is as controlled, if not more so, than those 'less democratic countries' everyone loves to point fingers at. To paraphrase Japanese independent journalist, Mr Uesugi, "In Japan, control of the media is worse than in China and similar to Egypt." An outrageous example of this information blackout was a recent demonstration by over 60,000 people in Tokyo which was never mentioned by the Japanese mainstream news at all. On top of protests focused on the Japanese government's handling of the Fukushima disaster, an 'Occupy Tokyo' movement is gaining momentum as well. Nobody is receiving much information about this either, unless they check out alternative websites. What follows is an overview of some of the events that have taken place in Japan, Tokyo in particular, in the past three months.
Many of the following articles are in Japanese, but we hope to get the important ones translated into English and published on SOTT shortly.
- September 2nd: Yoshihiko Noda becomes the new prime minister of Japan and promises to phase out the country's reliance on nuclear power.
- September 5th: Typhoon Talas leaves 29 dead and 56 missing as "the worst storm in memory" leaves thousands homeless.
- September 10th: The night before the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the Shinjyuku ward of Tokyo, one of the city's major business and administrative centers, is sealed off, allegedly due to "maintenance". BS! The government was anticipating a mass demonstration which it thwarted by effectively banning anyone from showing up.
- September 11th: People gather to form a human chain by holding hands and enclosing the headquarters of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Tokyo. Also that day, supporters of the Japanese peace and neutrality NGO, 'Article 9 Association', begin pitching tents around the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Among the protesters were four young activists who began a 10 day hunger strike to draw attention to the Japanese government's plans to build more nuclear power stations!
- September 19th: 40,000 people attended a 'Get-rid-of-nuclear-power' meeting in Meiji Park, Tokyo. "We cannot help it, so we came"
- September 21st: The four activists finish their hunger strike.
- September 25th: In New York, Fukushima mothers shouted: "UN has to stop nuclear power"
A delegation of Japanese women from the Fukushima prefecture protested in front of the United Nations building in New York City while Prime Minister Noda attended a UN summit on nuclear safety. As Noda and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shook hands outside the building in front of the press, an organic farmer from Fukushima prefecture, Ms Sachiko Sato, stood in the background and shouted into a megaphone, "You can't even protect the children of Fukushima, how dare you talk about nuclear power safety?" Sato and other volunteers later formed the 'Fukushima 100', a number which has rapidly grown into thousands, organising sit-ins at government offices in Tokyo to demand greater protection for children affected by radiation.
- September 29th: 'Occupy the Ministry of Economy' - 720 people initially attended this protest, which soon became a mecca for Japan's reinvigorated anti-nuclear movement. The following brave man from Hokkaido formally launched a lawsuit against TEPCO, in which he seeks to force the conglomerate to shut down nuclear power for good.
- September 30th: The Japanese government (specifically, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) announced the detection of plutonium in Iitate in Fukushima prefecture (45km away from the Daiichi nuclear plant).
- October 10th: The Japanese government released the latest figures for airplane monitoring. The news was not good to say the least. Their solution? To offer '10,000 free trips for foreigners to visit Japan in 2012'. Eh, no thank you.
- October 15th: Occupy Tokyo kicks off in earnest. "We are the 99%!"
- October 22nd: Further mass demonstrations take place in Tokyo.
- October 27th: 500 righteously angry women from around Japan occupy the Ministry of Economy for 10 days.
- October 29th: More protestors, this time desperate mothers from Fukushima, join demonstrations with the message that "TEPCO must apologise and make good for radiating our children!!"
- October 31st: Fukushima Fallout: Scientist Marco Kaltofen Presents Data Confirming Hot Particles In Tokyo
"To summarize the paper, citizens, some doctors and scientists, some bloggers and some farmers from around the world provided samples to Mr. Kaltofen who analyzed them for Fukushima radiation. An example of what he found is a slide that contains air filters from cars in Japan and in the United States. Cars in the United States hardly have any radiation in their air filters. Cars in Tokyo had quite a lot, way too much, in fact. Cars in Fukushima Prefecture were incredibly radioactive."In fact, levels of radiation in 'hotspots' in parts of Tokyo and Yokohama, 150km+ from Fukushima, have recently been found to exceed those of Fukushima prefecture. The 12-mile exclusion zone around the Daiichi nuclear plant is therefore totally redundant and a sham.
- November 12th: "Occupy the Ministry of Economy". 40 police officers showed up at the campsite and began putting up signs saying "No entry". Police officers tried to persuade people to leave the premises, with one of them overheard saying, "I am going to keep coming to you until you pack up your tent." The protester he was giving orders to replied, "I am going to stay here until they clean up nuclear power!"