Anti-Nuke Who's Who
A Diligent Activist Fighting Geological Disposal
Nuke Info Tokyo 79
By Nakako Asada
There is a plan to build an "Underground Research Laboratory" at Tono in Gifu Prefecture to study the disposal of high-level nuclear waste generated from nuclear power plants. The developer, Japan Nuclear Cycle Development Institute (JNC), has already been collecting various data by boring a number of deep holes in the vicinity of the proposed site for the research institute. Local people are worried that Tono may be chosen as the disposal site of high-level waste. Ever since the announcement of the plan five years ago, Ms. Hideyo Kanematsu has been leading the local movement against it.
Ms. Kanematsu is a very enthusiastic learner. She not only reads the reports and materials published by JNC, (not an easy task in itself), but also scours nuclear-related Japanese magazines such as 'Nuclear Power Eye' and 'Energy Forum' and newspapers like 'Electricity News.' What's more, she disseminates such information to others. I learned a great deal from the information provided by her. She also informs journalists and Diet members of the situation at Tono.
Another side of her activities is that she puts great effort into building relationships with anti-nuclear activists in other areas, an endeavor which requires enthusiasm, much effort, and lots of time. She has developed her relationships with people in Hokkaido, Okayama, Osaka and Tokyo by exchanging information, and cherishing the network. I think the most important thing in any movement is human relationships.
I once asked her why she became involved in nuclear power issues. She said that she used to be a director of a Consumer Co-op Union, and had interests in peace issues. Then one day, she became aware of problems related to nuclear power, and gradually became involved in this area. She formed a group called the "No Radioactive Waste! Citizens' Network Gifu", and started to work on letting as many people as possible know about high-level radioactive waste. The group published a pamphlet, 'Not "Clearly Distinguished" - The Underground Research Laboratory and High-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Site', and publishes a periodic newsletter to distribute newspaper articles on high-level waste. These publications are to alert local people who aren't concerned about these issues. Activists in other areas also find the newsletter useful, as information on situations in other places can hardly be found in respective local newspapers, unless it is major news.
Last summer, the Gifu Bar Association and Japan Federation of Bar Association (JFBA) started a co-investigation which was proposed and promoted by Ms. Kanematsu. The JFBA announced this June that Tono is being considered as the disposal site. Not long before the announcement, the Law Concerning the Disposal of Specified Radioactive Waste passed the Diet. Ms. Kanematsu has made outstanding efforts in lobbying Diet members and attending committees for the deliberation of the bill. Not the least discouraged by the passing of the law, she is now preparing an open inquiry letter to the Mayer of Gifu.
Perhaps her best quality is that she never gives up.