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Anti-Nuke Who's Who


Jinzo Isobe
"We are not fighting. We are seeking the truth."

Nuke Info Tokyo 78
Interviewed by Masakazu Saeki

"I never even dreamed of seeing such an unjust judgement. It is an unexpected and mis-directed judgement. The Monju-type nuclear reactor is not developed elsewhere in the world, and Monju itself had an accident and has been left by the government without any plan to restore it. The judge must be ashamed of making such a judgement." The words of Mr. Jinzo Isobe, the leader of the Monju Case plaintiffs, on 22 March 2000. Mr. Isobe spoke calmly, controlling his profound distress over the Monju ruling. (See NIT pp. 1-2) He was born 90 years ago, in September 1909.

On 3 February last year, Mr. Isobe, in a wheel chair, entered the Fukui Local Court of Justice to make the final statement. "At the first hearing, I said that scientists should not be too proud of themselves. I regret that the defendants never gave any serious thought to that. The most important thing is that people apply themselves to their vocations, while keeping their belief in Buddhism; and that the government always bear in mind the mercy of Buddhism. To name the first breeding reactor ヤMonju,' after one of the many Buddhist saints, was a sacrilegious act, and the reactor was punished by Buddha. I believe the best choice for us is not to re-operate it but to refrain from its further development. I beg the judge to consider this point and make a judgement which answers our thoughts."

Already 15 years have passed since Mr. Isobe brought the case to the court. That was on his 76th birthday. He lives in Nouma, Tsuruga-city, 7 km away both from the Monju reactor and the Tsuruga nuclear power plant. He used to run a liquor shop while farming and fishing as well, but his life has changed. He is not able to go fishing now, and has handed over the rice field and the plum field to his daughter and her husband. The liquor shop has been scaled down to a couple of vending machines. These days his daily routine is to clasp hands to the household Buddhist altar in the morning and to look at the Tsuruga bay from the window of his room.

A nuclear disaster drill was held on the day after the judgement. Mr. Isobe's house is in the area of 'house stand-by'. Twenty years ago, the tradescantia in his garden told him of the danger of radiation by turning from indigo to pink.

As for the pending appeal, he vigorously declared that he would summon up all the strength in his old body to lead the Monju Case plaintiffs to the very end. He added: "We are not fighting anyone. Let's just concentrate on getting to the truth behind Monju and other nuclear power plants." These words are perfectly expressive of his character.

 



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