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Iwakuni Residents Fight Back Against US Military Presence

Iwakuni, Japan - A group of residents of the city of Iwakuni, in the Yamaguchi Prefecture, announced plans to use a lawsuit to demand a ban on military aircraft flights in the city on May 2. Residents have long complained of noise pollution from both Japanese and US aircrafts in the city’s military base, and have sought a ban on their activities as well as damages. The group is expected to file the lawsuit at the Yamaguchi District Court later in the month. Once filed, the lawsuit will be the second of its kind to emerge from Iwakuni. According to reports, the same group of residents were plaintiffs or supporters of an earlier lawsuit in 2009 that won JPY 735 million (USD 5.66 million) in damages for the noise pollution. The earlier lawsuit failed to win the ban on military aircrafts that the petitioner had also demanded.

With Rising COVID-19 Cases, US Bases In Japan Come Under Scrutiny

The United States’ extensive military presence in Japan is coming under strong political scrutiny after a surge in COVID-19 infections. On Saturday, January 8, Japan reported more than 8,000 cases in a single day, the second time since September 2020, compared to just 456 reported on January 1. Local officials and Japanese opposition groups have blamed the US military bases in the country for being largely responsible for the rise in cases. Unlike previous waves that affected major metropolitan cities like Tokyo and Osaka, a significant number of the new infections are being reported from regions that house US troops stationed in Japan. On Saturday, when Japan recorded the highest daily reported numbers in months, the Okinawa prefecture which houses over 70% of all the US military personnel in Japan reported over 1,700 cases.

Pearl Harbor: Don’t Drink The Water Or Believe The Myths

The U.S. government planned, prepared for, and provoked a war with Japan for years, and was in many ways at war already, waiting for Japan to fire the first shot, when Japan attacked the Philippines and Pearl Harbor. What gets lost in the questions of exactly who knew what when in the days before those attacks, and what combination of incompetence and cynicism allowed them to happen, is the fact that major steps had indisputably been taken toward war but none had been taken toward peace.

Okinawans Demand Clean Drinking Water From US Military

For at least the past five years the Okinawa Prefectural Government has been monitoring the amount of foreign substances in Okinawa's water. In 2016 Okinawans discovered high levels of toxic chemicals originating from U.S. Kadena Air Base in the drinking water of the densely populated region of central Okinawa, home to some 450,000 people (ANN News). The chemicals are referred to as PFOS, PFAS, and PFOA, and are linked to a plethora of serious health problems, including cancer, reproductive issues, stunted development, immune diseases, cardiovascular problems, and hepatic issues, among others (CDC). They are referred to as “forever chemicals” because they do not breakdown and instead accumulate over time (EPA).

Hiroshima-Nagasaki: The Story They Want Us To Forget

The world's first nuclear explosion occurred on July 16, 1945, when a plutonium implosion device was tested at a site located 210 miles south of Los Alamos, New Mexico, on the barren plains of the Alamogordo Bombing Range, known as the Jornada del Muerto (day of the dead). US President Harry Truman ordered the first atomic bomb to be dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. Days later (August 9) Washington dropped a second bomb on Nagasaki. Official figures of those killed by the atomic bombs is well over 150,000 from the two cities. More than 100,000 were injured with most likely dying. Then over the years many thousands have died from the initial radiation poisoning.

‘Suffocated’: Art Becomes Form Of Protest Against Olympics

Miwako Sakauchi stands in her studio and brushes spinning swirls on torn cardboard and drawing paper, using the five colors designated as symbols of the modern Olympiad. Titled ‘Vortex’, her paintings show the “anger, fear, sense of contradiction and state violence” over the residents evicted and the trees felled so enormous Olympic stadiums could be built, Sakauchi said. “I can’t think of it as a ‘festival of peace’ in this situation. It’s totally nonsensical.” The Japanese public mostly opposes holding the Tokyo Olympics next month during a pandemic, polls have shown, even though outward dissent such as protests has been small. One little-recognized outlet where people have expressed their frustration and fear over the Olympics has been art.

Protests Grow In South Korea Over Japan’s Fukushima Water Plan

Seoul, South Korea - Lee Dong-ho, 73, has been fishing waters off South Korea’s southern coast near Japan for 40 years and his eldest son is now taking over the family business, their lifeblood. Lee farms snapper and yellowtail, mackerel and anchovy, and runs a drying and processing plant. “We are surrounded on three sides by the sea,” Lee, who lives in Dadae village on Geoje Island, told Al Jazeera. South Korea has transformed its fishing industry over the past 30 years amid criticism of overfishing. Lee represents positive change as most of his business involves marine-fish farming – as opposed to open-water catching – which now makes up more than half of South Korea domestic seafood production.

Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Nearly ‘Ended The Japanese State’

What happened at Fukushima Japan 10 years ago, on March 11th, was one of the very worst nuclear power catastrophes in history that was caused when a 9.0 earthquake generated a 45-foot-tall tsunami that slammed into the six-reactor complex. Long story short, over the course of the next several days, three of the reactors melted down. They had been operating on March 11th and they were not able to cool them because the earthquake had destroyed the electric grid, which was the primary source of electricity to run safety and cooling systems. And the tsunami wave had destroyed the emergency backup diesel generators, as well as the seaside cooling water pumps. So, there was no ability to cool the reactors and they melted down. Fortunately, the other three reactors on site were not operating that day or that would have likely led to six meltdowns.

Fishermen Oppose ‘Catastrophic’ Release Of Fukushima Water To Ocean

Tokyo - Japanese fish industry representatives on Thursday urged the government not to allow the release at sea of tonnes of contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant, saying it would undo years of work to restore their reputation. Tokyo Electric has collected more than a million tonnes of contaminated water since the plant was crippled by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011. The water is stored in huge tanks that crowd the site and it says it will run out of storage room by 2022.

Japan’s Slow Rot And Subservience To The US Will Likely Continue

To understand today’s Japan, visit its central part, urban and rural, and you will understand how deep the rot under Abe was. Outside cities like Suzuka or Yokkaichi in Mie Prefecture, rice fields and bamboo forests are dotted with rotting carcasses of cars. Many houses are in disrepair. The bus lines are abandoned. Main roads are lined up with unhealthy fast food joints, not unlike those in the US suburbia. Many public playgrounds for children are unmaintained or gone. A once-glorious cultural life has been decaying, even before the Covid-19 pandemic. Huge cultural centers, once the pride of the country, are mostly empty, with tall grass growing between the buildings. Blue tents of homeless people are pitched in almost all public parks of Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and other major cities.

US Crimes Against Humanity At Home And Abroad

The US crimes against humanity did not begin or end with the dropping of the nuclear bombs on Japan. As militant civil rights leader Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (formerly H. Rap Brown) pointed out years ago, “Violence is as American as cherry pie.” Since its inception, the US has been ingrained with a motor force of violent oppression against everyone and every country that stood in its way of its expansion for control of resources and its entitlement to a limitless accumulation of vast wealth for a few. The original thirteen colonies that rebelled against England were not motivated solely by being taxed without representation but more for the restrictions that King George had placed on the unbridled greed of the white settlers to expand and steal the lands of the indigenous nations and communities and to establish a system of slavery which was the main source of capitalist accumulation, especially for the southern colonies. At the time of the revolution close to 20% of the population consisted of Black slaves. Slavery actually ran contrary to British Common Law so the only way the emerging class of landowners in the colonies could flourish was to secede from the British Empire. In doing so it established a pivotal component of the original DNA of the United States; structural racism as a means to justify any level of discrimination and oppression

Can Cities Go Zero-waste?

In 2003 the small Japanese town of Kamikatsu set an ambitious zero-waste declaration, aiming to be 100% waste-free by 2020. The goal was to produce no trash, meaning everything from food packaging to unwanted clothing to yesterday’s newspaper should be reused, repurposed into new goods, or recycled. Now that 2020 has arrived, we can see the result: In the 17 years since establishing its goal, Kamikatsu transitioned from openly incinerating all its trash to reusing and recycling 80% of its waste. While the town made incredible progress, it ultimately fell short of its 100% goal. Its main issue? Unrecyclable plastic packaging and mixed materials still end up in the trash. As one resident explained to the AFP news agency last year, “Our lifestyle depends mainly on plastic. Consumers can reduce plastic waste to a certain extent, but we’ll still have waste if producers keep making plastic products.” The truth is, some materials simply aren’t recyclable, and only 9% of all the plastic ever created has been recycled.

Atomic Bomb Survivors Transformed Our Understanding Of Radiation’s Impacts

Hiroshima, Japan - Kunihiko Iida wants the world to know that the atomic bombs the United States dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 75 years ago next month are still claiming lives and causing suffering. Iida was 3 years old in August 1945. His father had died in battle; he was living with his mother and her parents in a house 900 meters from Hiroshima’s hypocenter, the spot right beneath the detonation. The blast crumpled the house. The family fled the city, but Iida’s mother and older sister soon died from their injuries, a fact the little boy didn’t grasp.

The Fukushima Nuclear Waste Decision Is A Human Rights Issue

Tokyo - In a matter of weeks, the government of Japan will have the opportunity to demonstrate to the world how much it values protecting human rights and the environment and to meet its international obligations. In the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, myself and other U.N. special rapporteurs consistently raised concerns about the approaches taken by the government of Japan. We have been concerned that raising of "acceptable limits" of radiation exposure to urge resettlement violated the government's human rights obligations to children. We have been concerned of the possible exploitation of migrants and the poor for radioactive decontamination work. Our most recent concern is how the government used the COVID-19 crisis to dramatically accelerate its timeline for deciding whether to dump radioactive wastewater accumulating at Fukushima Daiichi in the ocean.

Uncertainty Haunts The Future Of Non-Proliferation Treaty And Disarmament

Up until now, Hiroshima and Nagasaki mercifully remain the only instances in which nuclear weapons have been used in war; however, it has been the hope that the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki serves as a constant reminder why preventing the further use and proliferation of such weapons – and why nuclear disarmament leading eventually to a nuclear-weapon-free world – is of utmost importance for the survival of humankind and planet Earth.
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