Statements Archive
Jun 12, 2012 - Rio+20 Peace Boat Statement: Learn from Fukushima for a Nuclear-Free, Sustainable Future
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from June 20 – 22 2012. World leaders and civil society representatives from all over the world will come together at this conference. Following the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and the meltdown of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactor, Peace Boat calls for the following:

1. Learning from Fukushima, and breaking away from Nuclear Power
Contamination from the huge amount of radioactive material that was released from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactor is polluting the atmosphere, soil, forests and oceans, and is spreading across the whole planet. The Japanese government has announced that this accident has been "resolved", however in reality the nuclear plant is still extremely unstable. Nuclear power plant workers continue to be forced to work in extremely harsh conditions.

Widespread radioactive contamination has devastated agriculture, fisheries and stock farming. People have been forced to evacuate or to live with prolonged radiation exposure. Radioactive substances have been found in breast milk and babies' urine, clearly demonstrating that many lives, including those of future generations, are being put at risk. Without sufficient compensation from the government, communities and families have been broken and people live under the stress of unemployment, isolation. Warnings of food and agricultural produce contamination have been announced all over the country. A comprehensive understanding of the full extent of the contamination and a full investigation of its future effects, including health concerns, are key challenges for the future.

The "myth" of safe nuclear power was a sham. Nothing can be 100% safe in the face of the power of nature, and once an accident with nuclear technology occurs, the damage caused can never been undone. Nuclear power and humanity cannot co-exist. Now, more than 70% of the Japanese people support a move away from nuclear power. Furthermore, this desire is spreading through out the world, as demonstrated in the 'Yokohama Declaration for a Nuclear Power Free World'.
At Rio+20, Japan has the responsibility to share its experience at Fukushima with the world, and lead a discussion based on the lessons of this accident. For this reason, Peace Boat will bring a delegation of people of Fukushima to share their voices at Rio+20 and calls for the Japanese government to also fulfill this responsibility.

2. Community-centerd Development based on Renewable Energy
The situation in Fukushima has also revealed many problems of the current socio-economic system that relies on nuclear power. The government and the nuclear industry have worked as one to develop nuclear power, at the expense of people's lives and rights. The mass production-consumption and centralized, city-based economic system needs to be fundamentally reexamined. We need a transition to a community-centered economy, based on renewable energy. Diverse initiatives towards such a transition are being undertaken within Japan, as part of recovery efforts following the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

The definition of "development" needs to be changed from being based on economic scale to using human development, security, rights and co-existence with nature as its basic criterion. We must work towards a society where all people on this planet can live in safety and achieve self-realization.

3. Shift Military Expenditure to Sustainable Development
As will be discussed during Rio+20, the distribution of and access to food, water, natural resources and energy are serious global issues of our day. Global issues such as climate change are potential causes for armed conflict. Yet, global military expenditure amounts to as much as 1.7 trillion dollars, and the manufacturing and trade of weapons continues to happen all over the world. This is a critical situation for the survival of human life. As stated in the Global Article 9 Campaign, we demand urgently that military expenditure be reduced, and for those resources to be shifted to the environment, poverty eradication, peace, human rights and energy issues.

4. Join Hands as Global Citizens, and Pursue Global Interests
In order to realize these demands, people and governments of the world must join hands and continue to work together. We must learn from past mistakes as well as take inspiration from success stories, share our knowledge and work together. Rather than pursue short-term profits of national interest, it is vital that we respect global interests. As fellow human beings who share this planet, we appeal for efforts to be made in order to leave a sustainable world for future generations. Peace Boat will continue its global voyages for peace and sustainability as part of this effort.

Rio+20 is an extremely important conference, which will affect the future of the human race and the earth's environment. We call on global leaders to take into account the above points when discussing issues such as "Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)" and the "Green Economy". Furthermore, we call for governments and citizens to lay the foundations to enable us to work together and take action on a global level at this conference.

June 12, 2012
Peace Boat

Download this statement as a PDF here.