By Justin McCurry for The Guardian – A court in Japan has ruled that negligence by the state contributed to the triple meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011 and awarded significant damages to evacuees. Although courts have awarded damages arising from the disaster in other cases, Friday’s ruling is the first time the government has been held liable. The Maebashi district court near Tokyo awarded ¥38.55m (£270,000) to 137 people who were forced to evacuate their homes in the days after three of Fukushima Daiichi’s six reactors suffered a catastrophic meltdown, the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.
By Michael Caster for Waging Nonviolence – On October 17, Hiroji Yamashiro was arrested for cutting a wire fence at a protest against a U.S. military base in Okinawa. He has been held in detention ever since. Yamashiro, the chairman of the Okinawa Peace Movement Center, has been a fixture of the nonviolent opposition to military base expansion on the island for years. The 64-year-old Yamashiro had undergone cancer treatment in 2015, and medical tests two months into his detention revealed a decline in his health. Nevertheless, since his arrest almost five months ago, he has been held in pre-trial detention — mostly in solitary confinement, denied bail and any contact with his family.
By Niamh McIntyre For Independent – A Japanese company tasked with cleaning up Fukushima, the site of the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, has admitted that its attempts to probe the site are failing repeatedly due to incredibly high levels of radiation. The nuclear meltdown at Fukushima in 2011 was triggered by an earthquake and tsunami which left around 18,000 people dead and more than a million buildings destroyed. At least 100,000 people living near the plant were forced to leave their homes. High rates of mental health problems and post-traumatic stress disorder have been observed within the displaced population.
By Erich Pica for The Huffington Post – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe met with Donald Trump for a two-day summit in Washington, D.C. on February 10 and at Mar-a-lago, Trump’s golf resort in Florida, on February 11. They met to iron out the trade and economic relationship between the world’s first and third largest economies. The backdrop was the Trump plan for a bilateral U.S.-Japan trade agreement that would cement the two countries’ economic relationship now that the U.S. has withdrawn from negotiations for a multilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal with Japan and eleven other countries. The two right-wing and nationalistic heads of state announced after the conclusion of Friday’s formal talks that they had agreed to establish a formal “bilateral dialogue framework” on trade and related economic and security issues. The “dialogue” negotiations will be co-chaired by U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence and Japanese Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso.
By Dorothy M. Ehrlich for ACLU – Seventy-five years ago, in one of the darkest moments in American history, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066. Immediately, the federal government began forcing 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry into concentration camps for fear they posed a threat to national security. For many years, we have recognized the infamous date of the order, February 19, 1942, with a “Day of Remembrance” at ceremonies throughout the nation designed to ensure that this indelible stain on our democracy is never forgotten. It is ordinarily a solemn occasion and a day of reflection. But on this day, the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, our current anti-Muslim crisis sounds a chilling echo of that earlier injustice, which must not be ignored. This year we are called to transform our quiet reflection into a fierce resistance.
By Lawrence Repeta for the Japan Times. There, a 64-year-old antiwar activist has been held in detention on trivial charges for more than 70 days. Over the past two years of peaceful protests against U.S. military base expansion in northern Okinawa, Hiroji Yamashiro emerged as the face of Okinawan resistance, the man with a megaphone in hand who urged crowds of protesters to speak out. Arrested on Oct. 17 and denied visits by anyone other than his attorneys since then, he has been silenced.
By Staff of World Beyond War – You recently announced plans to visit Pearl Harbor in Hawai’i at the end of December 2016 to “mourn the victims” of the Japanese Navy’s attack on the U.S. naval base on December 8, 1941 (Tokyo Time). In fact, Pearl Harbor was not the only place Japan attacked that day. The Japanese Army had attacked the northeastern shore of the Malay Peninsula one hour earlier and would go on to attack several other British and U.S. colonies and bases in the Asia-Pacific region later that day. Japan launched these attacks in order to secure the oil and other resources of Southeast Asia essential to extend its war of aggression against China. Since this will be your first official visit to the place where Japan’s war against the United States began
By Staff of Sea Shepherd – After final preparations in Australia, two Sea Shepherd vessels are now on their way to the Southern Ocean to intercept the Japanese whaling fleet in a bid stop their slaughter of Minke whales. The marine conservation organization’s flagship vessel the Steve Irwin departed Saturday from Seaworks, Williamstown in Melbourne, followed by its fast new patrol vessel the Ocean Warrior, which departed from Hobart, Tasmania on Sunday. They’re now on their way to the vast Southern Ocean in an effort to prevent the Japanese whaling fleet, which left Japan on November 18th, from killing its self-allocated quota of 333 Minke whales.
By Tomohiro Osaki for The Japan Times – After a new round of calls for the resignation of Japan’s gaffe-prone agricultural minister, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition on Wednesday gave up trying to pass a bill to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement through a special Lower House committee. The failure by the Liberal Democratic Party-Komeito coalition to adopt the bill at the committee tasked with TPP deliberations — a key step toward its passage through the Lower House plenary session…
By Staff of MintPress News – MINNEAPOLIS — The discovery of unapproved GMO wheat in a Washington state farmers’ field could have serious consequences for U.S. exports of the staple crop. On July 29, the USDA published a statement from its Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS),confirming the discovery of “22 genetically engineered (GE) wheat plants growing in an unplanted agricultural field in Washington State.”
By Ellen Brown for Web of Debt – When then-Fed Governor Ben Bernanke gave his famous helicopter money speech to the Japanese in 2002, he was talking about something quite different from the quantitative easing they actually got and other central banks later mimicked. Quoting Milton Friedman, he said the government could reverse a deflation simply by printing money and dropping it from helicopters. A gift of free money with no strings attached, it would find its way into the real economy and trigger the demand needed to power productivity and employment.
By Justin McCurry for The Guardian – Tens of thousands of people on the Japanese island of Okinawa have taken part in one of the biggest protests against US military bases in recent years, weeks after the arrest of an American base worker in connection with the murder of a 20-year-old local woman. The protesters, many of whom wore black, braved scorching heat to call for an end to the island’s role as host to more than half the 47,000 US troops in Japan.
By Takazato Suzuyo for The Asian-Pacific Journal – A 20-year-old woman missing since late April was found dead on May 16, 2016. The suspect is a former Marine who is a civilian employee of the U.S. military at Kadena Airbase. Local police report that he confessed to the woman’s rape and murder, and told them the location of her corpse. This crime comes barely six weeks after a U.S. sailor assigned to Camp Schwab was arrested for the rape of a Japanese woman in a Naha hotel.
By Staff of Tele Sur – Japanese citizens demand the U.S. stop building new military bases and a stronger control of its personnel while in the country. Over a hundred protesters in Japan took to the streets on Sunday to speak out against the U.S. military presence on the island of Okinawa, where U.S. soldiers have outraged locals by engaging in crimes from rape to murder.