FoE Japan: Building a peaceful and sustainable world for all
by Fukakusa Ayumi, FoE Campaigner, Climate change and energy
The non-governmental organization FoE Japan, a member of Friends of the Earth International, has been committed to environmental and human rights issues since 1980, aiming to build a peaceful and sustainable society where all life on Earth (humans, ethnic groups, living creatures and nature) can live together with dignity.
While providing support to those who have been suffering from the March 2011 Tokyo Electric Power Company Fukushima Daiichi NPS disaster, we are committed to policy-recommendation activities to realize an “energy shift” in society by stopping destructive and dirty energy including nuclear, large hydro dam, and coal thermal power generation. We are also engaged in a wide variety of research and policy-proposing activities to stop climate change, such as requesting industrialized countries, which are the major carbon dioxide (CO2) emitting countries, to support people in developing countries who are facing serious impacts from climate change; encouraging forestry businesses to shift to environmentally friendly tree use; and listening to the locals who suffer from environmental destruction and human rights abuse resulting from large-scale development projects in which Japan is involved, and demanding the cancellation or improvement of those projects.
Since the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in 2011, we have been making special efforts to stop the use of nuclear energy and provide support to people in Fukushima. We are engaged in protecting the rights of victims, in putting forward policy recommendations to prevent the Japanese government from exporting nuclear technology and from restarting the nuclear power plants once totally suspended after the disaster in Japan, and in conducting recuperation holiday programs for children living in Fukushima Prefecture.
In 2012, the Japanese Diet passed the Nuclear Disaster Victims’ Support Act and we were committed to its establishment. Since then we have been working hard to substantiate the contents of the act. In 2016, we participated in a newly established organization named Cooperation Center 3.11 as a founding member. The Center aims to provide consultation and support to those who relocated after the nuclear disaster.
Since the deregulation of the electric power retailing market in Japan, FoE Japan has been operating as the secretariat of the Power Shift Campaign, which encourages consumers to switch to renewable power suppliers that care for local communities, human rights and sustainability, while requesting power suppliers to introduce more sustainable and renewable energy. We also publish policy recommendations to influence governmental energy policy-making, such as the governmental Strategic Energy Plan, to build a momentum toward a nuclear phaseout.
In a campaign organized to stop the Japanese export of nuclear power plants, we exchange ideas with civil communities in the countries planning to import the nukes, conduct local surveys, collect the scarcely-heard voices of those living in the municipalities where siting of the plants is planned, and introduce the collected information to people in Japan.
Using such fancy wording as “volume reduction” (of radioactive wastes) and “revitalization” (of Fukushima), the Japanese government contrives to distribute the water and soil contaminated by the nuclear disaster widely across the country. FoE Japan closely watches governmental councils and administrative discussions, communicates with nay-saying residents in the vicinities of the sites of the government-planned “volume reduction” demonstration experiments, and publishes policy recommendations.
We also organize a recuperation holiday program (“Fukushima Poka-Poka Project”) for families living in disaster-affected, high-dose areas. The program has been functioning as a means of providing children in Fukushima with opportunities to play outdoors without restraint, and their mothers with opportunities to share concerns about exposure to radiation. The program accepts more than two hundred participants each year. While the national and municipal governments are promoting evacuees’ return to disaster-affected areas, the importance of such a holiday program is increasing.
FoE Japan will make further efforts in the future to realize a nuke-free, sustainable society.