Anti-Nuke Who's Who
Tireless leader of hometown campaigns
Nuke Info Tokyo 77
by Junji Fukuda
A meeting of the Electric Power Development Coordination Council will be held in the coming July. Nuclear power promoters are pushing hard to realise their plan to build a third reactor at the Shimane Plant, while local residents are squaring off to fight the plan. Yasue Ashihara has been deeply involved in the movement, working as the secretary general of the local campaign against constructing additional reactors as well as representing the 140 plaintiffs in the Shimane Power Plant Unit 1&2 Case.
She joined the anti-nuclear movement in the 1970s when the plan to build Shimane Unit 2 Reactor was introduced and was taking practical shape. She began activities by forming the 'No Nuke Matsue Civic Group' with fellows. She says that it was a movement where "people with little kids came together, thinking about children's future..."
She continues: "Compared with that time, people now see nuclear power generation in very different ways, owing to the accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. The public opinion is that nuclear power is dangerous and so we should shift from nuclear power to new energy sources such as solar and wind power. By and large, Japan is moving toward a nuclear phase-out. I am convinced that persistent anti-nuclear activities by local residents around the nation led to the current situation. "
Ms. Ashihara, a mother of two children, works as a recording secretary at the Shimane office of the Zenkoku Ippan Rodo Kumiai (a national labour union). Being well-versed in labour campaigns, she plays a valuable role as a bridge between residents' campaigns and organisational anti-nuclear movements, which tend to get estranged from each other.