The 11 March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and related melt down at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has led to great suffering for the people of Japan and has increased radioactive contamination across the globe. It has also sounded a warning bell throughout the world about the long-term health, environmental and economic risks of nuclear power.
As with Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, the accident at Fukushima has reminded us once again that nuclear technology is unforgiving and accidents cannot be contained. The situation is not under control as declared by the Japanese Government. The nuclear power plant is still unstable and workers continue to work under life-threatening conditions.
Radioactive contamination is spreading. This is a regional and global emergency. People are either forced to flee with their children or live with unacceptable health dangers and prolonged radiation exposure. In Fukushima prefecture, evidence of radioactive material has been found in the breast milk of mothers and the urine of children. Lives are threatened, including those of future generations. The regional economy has been destroyed.
Every step in the nuclear fuel chain has created Hibakusha, a term initially used to describe survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, but now used for all victims of radiation exposure. Uranium mining, nuclear weapons testing, accidents at nuclear power plants, and the storage and transport of nuclear waste have all created Hibakusha.
The experience of these Hibakusha around the world is one of secrecy, shame and silence. The right to information, health records, treatment and compensation has been inadequate or denied with excuses of “national security” or due to cost. This lack of accountability is not limited to Japan, but is a problem fundamentally present in the nuclear industry everywhere due to the corrupt relationship between governments and the nuclear industry.
We now stand at a crossroads. We have the choice to break out of the nuclear fuel chain and move towards efficient, renewable and sustainable energy that does not threaten health or environment. For the sake of future generations, it is our responsibility to do so. Turning away from nuclear energy goes hand in hand with nuclear weapons abolition, and will contribute to lasting world peace.
The global solidarity shown towards the people of Fukushima and the spirit of those gathered at the Yokohama Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World demonstrates that connections between people are truly what will create the foundations for our future.
We call for:
1. The protection of the rights of those affected by the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident; including the right to evacuation, health care, decontamination, compensation and the right to enjoy the same standard of living as before 11 March 2011;
2. Full transparency, accountability and responsibility of the Japanese Government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and the establishment of an independent body to disseminate information to the public to reverse the history of concealing information from the public and releasing contradictory information.
3. Ongoing comprehensive data collection and radiation measurement of humans, food, water, soil and air to inform the urgent and necessary measures to minimise the populations exposure to radiation. Data collection will be necessary for generations and inter-agency governmental undertakings and the support of the international community are required. Corporations that have profited from the nuclear industry should carry their share of the costs.
4. A global road map for the phase out of the nuclear fuel chain – from uranium mining to waste – and the decommissioning of all nuclear power plants. The ‘safety myth’ has been destroyed. Nuclear technology has never been safe and has never survived without massive public subsidies. Renewable energy is proven and ready to be deployed on a decentralised and local scale if only policies to promote it were advanced to support local economies, such as Feed-in-Tariffs.
5. Currently closed Japanese nuclear power plants to not be reopened. Japan’s energy needs can be met by implementation of policies including the Feed-in-Tariff law that has been adopted and the structural separation of ownership of transmission and production of energy.
6. The prohibition of export of nuclear power plants and components, especially to industrialising nations in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
7. Support for local and municipal authorities that play an important role in creating a society not dependent on nuclear power. We encourage solidarity between local municipal leaders, regional parliamentarians and civil society to promote strong communities, decentralization, bottom up approaches and an end to economic, racial and gender discrimination.
8. Actions, demonstrations, seminars and media events to be held throughout the world on 11 March 2012 to protest the treatment of the citizens of Fukushima and call for a nuclear power free world.
Based on the above principles, the participants of the Global Conference have launched the “Forest of Action for a Nuclear Power Free World”, containing concrete plans for action. These many recommendations will be submitted as appropriate to the Japanese Government, governments of other nations, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) and so on.
10,000 people came to the Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World in Yokohama, and 30,000 watched online. We, the participants are determined to maintain an international network to support Fukushima, cooperation among those affected by radiation through the Global Hibakusha Network, the establishment of the East Asia Non Nuclear Power Declaration Movement, and a network of local municipal leaders and mayors.15 January 2012 Declared at the Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World Yokohama, Japan