The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release


Japanese Fukushima Eye-Witnesses Challenge Capitol Hill Lawmakers and US Regulators to Stop Promotion of Nuclear Power

Delegation to describe the plight of children not adequately evacuated


A farming family from the now radioactively contaminated Fukushima region in Japan along with one American and three leading Japanese anti-nuclear campaigners, will speak at the National Press Club, Lisagore Room, on Tuesday, September 20th, 9:30am-11am.

The group will deliver eye-witness accounts about the health impacts and continued contamination produced by the Fukushima-Daiichi reactor units that suffered catastrophic damage on March 11, 2011 and the similar risk of a Fukushima-style nuclear disaster in the US. They will discuss the failures and inadequacies of the Fukushima region evacuations and particularly the impacts to children.

The speakers are also calling for the Fukushima disaster to become a new opportunity for the world to shut down all nuclear power plants as Germany has decided to do by 2022. All speakers will deliver in English other than the Sato family who will speak through an interpreter.

"The immense suffering of people affected by the Fukushima-Daiichi disaster can only be given meaning if we now learn from this catastrophe and those that preceded it at Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and elsewhere," said Kaori Izumi, director of Shut Tomari and a member of the delegation. "We appeal to the world to put an end to the age of nuclear power in the wake of Fukushima. Otherwise it can happen again, in Japan, the US or anywhere that nuclear power plants are still operating."

The press conference will take place prior to an afternoon meeting with commissioners at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The group will visit legislators on Capitol Hill on Monday, September 19. On September 21 the delegation will travel to New York where they will appeal to the UN to recognize the violation of human rights of children caused by the Fukushima disaster. They will ask to UN to cease its global promotion of nuclear energy.

WHO:The speakers are: Sachiko Sato, an organic farmer from Fukushima and a board member of "Fukushima Network for Saving Children from Radiation" and her 13- and 17-year old children, Mina and Yuuki. Yukiko Anzai, who operates an organic farm close to the Tomari reactor; Kaori Izumi, Director of Shut Tomari, the first reactor to re-start since the Fukushima meltdowns; Aileen Mioko Smith, Executive Director of Green Action and a veteran anti-nuclear campaigner in Japan; and Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste specialist at Beyond Nuclear who visited Fukushima last year. All speakers will be available for one-on-one interviews after the formal portion of the press conference.


Aileen Mioko SMITH. Born in Tokyo in 1950. Co-author with W. Eugene Smith of MINAMATA, photographs and text about Japanese methyl-mercury pollution victims. (1975) The book was nominated for the National Book Award in 1976. Aileen is executive director of Green Action, based in Kyoto Japan. She is co-founder of Stop the Monju, a citizen organization working to stop Japan's fast breeder reactor, Monju. She has been active in the Japanese anti-nuclear movement since 1982 after a year of interviewing residents living around Three Mile Island about the 1979 accident. Aileen has a Masters degree in Public Health (Environmental Science) from Columbia University.

Kaori IZUMI. Born in Hokkaido, Japan in 1957. Worked in Africa as a researcher and a UN staffer for 30 years in Scandinavian countries and in Africa specializing in land issues and women's property rights, HIV and AIDS. After working in FAO sub-regional office for Southern and East Africa based in Harare, Zimbabwe (2000-2007) and in its HQ in Rome (2007-2009), resigned FAO and returned to Japan after living abroad for 25 years. Today, Director, ShutTomari; Co-Director, Save Fukushima Children-Hokkaido; Co-Director, Red Ribbon Hokkaido Africa Support Group.

Yukiko ANZAI.Born in Saitama, Japan in 1974. Studied Hindu women's culture at Tribhuvan University in Nepal. During the last 11 years she has been operating a family organic farm, "Surje Organic Farm" with her husband. She lives 30 kilometers from the Tomari nuclear power plant.

Sachiko SATO. Born in Fukushima Prefecture in 1958. Began organic farming in 1982. Switched to Natural Farming in 1991. (Yoshikazu Kawaguchi's Natural Farming.) From 2006, began working in day care helper services for the elderly and people with disabilities for the non-profit organization Aoi Sora (Blue Sky) while continuing to do Natural Farming. Sachiko is currently chairperson of the board of directors of Aoi Sora; a board member of Fukushima Network for Saving Children from Radiation; and director of the Fukushima Conference for Recovery from the Nuclear-Earthquake Disaster.

Kevin Kamps is theRadioactive Waste Watchdog at Beyond Nuclearand specializes in issues around high-level waste management and transportation. In addition, he provides expertise on new and existing reactors; decommissioning; climate change; and federal subsidies and is the organization's lead advocate on Capitol Hill. He has visited Chernobyl and Fukushima and is a primary media spokesperson for Beyond Nuclear.

Beyond Nuclear aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abandon both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic.

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