Japan’s Movement for Democratic Socialism demands abolition of nuclear power

From the central committee of the Movement for Democratic Socialism (MDS), Tokyo, March 27:

Let us struggle for democratic reconstruction of eastern Japan, and for the total abolishment of nuclear power plants!
More than two weeks have passed since March 11th gigantic earthquake that hit eastern Japan. The death toll is increasing even now, reaching almost thirty thousand to include those who are still unknown whether safe or not. MDS extends our deepest condolences to all the victims in this disaster. Particularly, Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant poses a serious issue as it continues to deteriorate its radioactive contamination. In Fukushima as well as in neighboring prefectures, shipments of vegetables and raw milk have been suspended since higher level of radioactive substance was detected from them. Tap water contaminated by radioactive iodine has expanded to encompass the Tokyo Metropolitan area.

According to SPEEDI (System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information), the amount of radiation emitted from Fukushima Daiichi up until March 24th shows the disaster has reached Level 6 of INES (International Nuclear Event Scale) ratings, which is regarded as Serious Accident. The scale has surpassed the level of the Three Mile Island accident (Level 5) in 1976 and, in some localities, severe soil contamination has been detected reaching the level of Chernobyl disaster (Level 7) in 1986 in the then Soviet Union. There is a possibility that the land surrounding the area will not be habitable for a long time to come. Still now Fukushima Daiichi continues to emit radiation and defies any prediction as to when we can contain it or whether it will proceed to the total breakdown of containment vessels of reactors.

The true cause of the devastation brought about by the earthquake and Fukushima Daiichi disaster lies in the neo-liberal policies of the government and global capitalism to promote nuclear energy, militarization, and destruction of local communities. Nuclear strategy is the centerpiece of the national security for the government and global capitalists who have developed and possessed state-of-the-art nuclear technology, diffusing the myth of nuclear safety. The Fukushima disaster is not a natural disaster, but one that is politically generated.

The logistics to supply refugees evacuated in shelters with food, medication, and oil for heaters is heavily paralyzed so that they are forced to live in the wretched circumstances. Some refugees even died while taking shelter at evacuation sites. These are the results of policies of the government and the global capitalists to have weakened the organizations for disaster damage prevention and for rescue operations, basic lifelines, and the local government mechanism. The restructuring of local governments in the last decade has diminished the number of cities and towns by 34% to 51% in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures. It has caused the widening economic gap between the urban centers and peripheral areas, which, in turn, has resulted in the emergence of the disadvantaged in terms of disaster prevention. The paralysis of logistics does not merely result from the damaged roads made impassable by the earthquake. The serious shortage of oil in the Tohoku Region comes from deregulation in which oil companies have reduced oil production facilities in those areas; now they have 40% fewer oil refinery facilities and 70% fewer oil tanks than in 1995. This has made the areas vulnerable to the earthquake damage and the stable supply of oil is made impossible.

The deteriorating damage of the earthquake and the nuclear power plant disaster show that this society will be ruined if we allow global capitalism to act as it pleases. The reconstruction does not mean to return to the original state, but to break away from the nuclear energy promotion, military build-up, and neo-liberalism, and to move forward to reconstruction of democratic local communities.

Toward democratic reconstruction and abolishment of nuclear power plants, let us work together on the following actions.

1. In order to protect our life and health from expanding radioactive contamination, let us evacuate children, pregnant women, and refugees in the vicinities of the crippled power plant to safer areas. We demand that the government and local authorities take necessary measures to implement the evacuation.

We accuse the government and corporate media of discharging the misleading safety propaganda by repeating the cliché that “it would not affect human bodies immediately.” They conceal the danger of internal exposure to radiation and late-onset disorder that will appear years later. We will disclose the risk correctly and demand that the government be responsible for taking measures of risk prevention and evacuation on human-life-first basis. There is no safe level of radiation under which human bodies will not be affected. Besides, the data are often manipulated for the best interest of the national strategy and energy corporations. The lessons we can learn from past accidents tell us to evacuate if we detect the level of radiation higher than usual, and not to take in contaminated food and water.

2. We demand that the government and local authorities secure safe water and food, also that affected farmers and fishermen be fully compensated by TEPCO and the government.

3. We demand that all the radiation-exposed residents be given sufficient medical treatment and living assistance.

4. We demand that the government and TEPCO stop abusing the power plant workers, without due consideration for the safety in their attempt to tackle with the accident. Especially the life and health of those workers working on subcontract or irregular basis should be respected.

5. The government and power companies should be held responsible, and all the nuclear power plants be abolished. We demand that a drastic shift toward eco-friendly distributed energy system such as solar and wind power be realized. Ideally, electric energy should be put under democratic control of the local communities, and we will launch a campaign to strengthen democratic regulation of the power companies. The present rolling blackouts are the result of dependence on nuclear energy. This should be switched to utilizing other electric generating facilities at full capacity, and we should realize a system where electricity can be supplied from any areas of the country. We will hold responsible those who have promoted nuclear power plants, such as companies association, corporations, corporate media, opportunist scholars, carders of labor unions like Rengo, etc., and local authorities.

6. We will not allow any dismissal, wage cut, and cancellation of official job offers for reasons of earthquake disaster and black outs, and we demand workers rights be protected. We demand also that the government and TEPCO compensate the damage caused by the blackouts. The government and the corporations should be responsible for stabilizing employment of workers.

7. We demand that the government and the local authorities should take necessary measures to provide special financial assistance to small and medium-sized companies in their effort to stabilize employment and recovery.

Movement for Democratic Socialism, March 27

See our last posts on the Fukushima disaster and the global nuclear threat.