Over 11,500 people attended the two-day antinuclear conference in Yokohama with the aim of sharing lessons from the Fukushima crisis and fostering global momentum against atomic power. I'm just back from the second day; I liked how this event felt like a milestone. 10 months after the March 11, 2011 disaster, all kinds of groups and ordinary people showed up to exchange ideas and participate in a positive, forward-looking event. A lot of young people, and the staff made every effort to guide everyone to the right venue, offering simultaneous interpretation to anyone who asked for it. Excellent in every way. The organizers had hoped for a nice round 10,000 to attend, so this was a huge success.

There were peace groups and environmental groups, and the old-timers who have campaigned even back when campaigning was not very popular in Japan. There were new groups of people who have been forced to deal with the unthinkable: mothers in Fukushima, worried about their kids, and lawyers trying to do the right thing to support the citizens - and shareholders - of TEPCO.

Ms. Rebecca Harms, a European Parliament Member, made an emotional appeal on Saturday for democracy, "Please, people of Japan, learn from the German experience." I was also glad to see the Mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon, share a special message for the conference closing event on Sunday evening.

Peace Boat and the other NGOs that made this event happen should all be applauded for their organizing skills. The Yokohama Declaration also sounds like something a lot of people may want to read and sign. For once, Japanese media covered this event in a pretty impressive way. Change may be in the air. Stay tuned.

The Mainichi: Antinuclear conference calls for full support of victims in Fukushima
Citizens, politicians and scientists attending an antinuclear conference called Sunday for sufficient support to be provided to those affected by the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

Participants of the Global Conference for a Nuclear Free World also called for "full transparency" by the Japanese government and the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., when dealing with the accident and helping victims.

The requests were part of the Yokohama Declaration that more than 10,000 participants from some 30 countries adopted on the second and last day of the event in Yokohama, organized by nongovernmental organizations such as Peace Boat.

Rights should be protected for those affected by the nuclear crisis, including "the right to evacuation, health care, decontamination, compensation and the right to enjoy the same standard of living as before March 11, 2011," said the declaration.

The declaration further urged the government to collect data related to the plant crippled after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in a "comprehensive" manner.

It also called on Japan not to export nuclear power generation equipment or technology to other countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

And the declaration said Japanese atomic power plants that are currently idled should not be restarted.

Image from Kyodo: Antinuclear conference in Yokohama
Politicians and civic activists from around the world gathered for a two-day antinuclear conference Saturday in Yokohama, urging the need to phase out nuclear power and shift to green energy by learning from nuclear disasters in Fukushima and around the world.

In the opening session, Yuri Tomitsuka, a 10-year-old boy who evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture to Yokohama said, "I want to ask politicians which is more important. Is it money or our lives? I don't want to get ill. Nuclear plants are not necessary for children."

A message saying, "I just only wish there were no nuclear plants, just no nuclear plants," was cited by Tatsuya Yoshioka, representative of Peace Boat, one of the organizers of the Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World bringing together about 5,000 participants from more than 30 countries.

Update: Freelance translator & writer Kimberly Hughes got in touch and had trouble commenting. Is that something others are experiencing too? Or is it because she included a link? Do click, her report with photos from the Yokohama conference last weekend is very good! Thanks Kim!

"Thanks for the report...I've also written one and also included a link to your blog:"



Dear Martin,
I would like to attend some of these sorts of meetings (not just nuclear power) and I do not live far from Yokohama. Where can I find out about this stuff before it happens? I always seem to learn about them after they are over.
Martin J Frid said…
Thanks for the comment Mike: a good site with details is www.worldpeacenow.jp and their blog. I also like www.earthday-tokyo.org. Ten Thousand Things often is first with updates in English, although I try as well... The Yokohama event was huge with lots of young parents and kids, you would have liked it.

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