March 11, 2021 marked the 10th anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. On this day, Peace Boat collaborated with various parters to co-organise the “Global Conference for a Nuclear Free, Renewable Energy Future: 10 Years Since Fukushima.” Kicking off with youth-led and cultural events the evening before, over 100 speakers gave presentations in 75 sessions in both English and Japanese throughout the two days. Held online, there were more than 15,000 views of the virtual sessions on the actual day, while by the end of the following weekend, over 47,000 views had been recorded, with participants hailing from 63 countries and regions. With the exception of some sessions such as films, recordings of each programme are available as archives. The event was hosted by the Federation of Promotion of Zero-Nuclear Power and Renewable Energy (Genjiren), with Peace Boat joining as a key partner organisation.
The opening session of the event in English, sharing perspectives from leading Japanese civil society experts on the ongoing nuclear disaster and the energy future, can be viewed online here. It provides a comprehensive overview of lessons of the past ten years, current challenges and campaigns, and steps forward for both Japan and the international community, featuring Iida Tetsunari (Founder and Chairperson, Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies (ISEP), Fukakusa Ayumi (FoE Japan Staff), Aihara Hiroko (freelance journalist from Fukushima) and Aileen Mioko Smith (Founder and Executive Director, Green Action), hosted by Peace Boat’s Meri Joyce.
3.11 Declarations by 5 former Prime Ministers
On the occasion of the conference, five former prime ministers simultaneously announced 3.11 Declarations, emphasising that now is the time for Japan to move toward zero nuclear power plants and 100% renewable energy. These strong statements were made based on their experience as former heads of government, and a recognition of the need for Japan to take stronger leadership. Three former prime ministers, Koizumi Junichiro, Hatoyama Yukio, Kan Naoto gathered at the Constitutional Museum in Tokyo, venue of the plenary session, while two former prime ministers, Hosokawa Morihiro and Murayama Tomiichi, sent messages to the event. Please refer here for the 3.11 Declarations.
Fukushima Virtual Tour
If it were not for the COVID-19 pandemic, surely many people from around the world would have visited Japan and Fukushima at this time, to learn, show solidarity, and share the situation internationally. Since this was not possible, Peace Boat collaborated with the environmental NGO Friends of the Earth (FoE) Japan to conduct a virtual tour delivered live from various locations in Fukushima prefecture on this day. As the message that “the disaster is over, and Fukushima has recovered” is being spread, what is the local situation truly like now, ten years since the disaster?
By visiting local sites and hearing from local residents, this programme provided an opportunity to together consider what the impacts of the disaster have been, and what lessons we must learn.
With guidance in both English and Japanese, this bilingual virtual tour took participants to Iitate Village, and areas along the coast of Fukushima in the vicinity of the nuclear power plant including the towns of Futaba, Namie and Tomioka.
View the live tour on YouTube here, as well as the series of testimony videos in multiple languages created as part of FoE Japan's "Mieruka Project," with collaboration by Peace Boat.
Local guides: Hasegawa Kenichi (Iitate villager, former dairy farmer), Takamura Miharu (leader of the Association for Telling Live Lessons from the Nuclear Power Plant Disaster), Itakura Masao (resident of Yonomori)
Navigators: Kawasaki Akira (Peace Boat/ICAN), Fukakusa Ayumi, Yano Eriko (FoE Japan). Director: Matsumoto Hikaru (FoE Japan). Interpreter: Yoshikawa Michi.
Messages from around the Globe
In addition to presentations during lectures and workshops, many experts and leaders from around the world shared video messages in support of the event. Below is a selection; all can be viewed here on YouTube in both English and Japanese.
Christiana Figueres (former UNFCCC Executive Secretary), Audrey Tan (Minister of Digital Affairs, Taiwan), Silvia Kotting-Uhl (Chairperson of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety Committee, German Bundestag), Choi Yul (President, Green Foundation, Korea), Tomas Kåberger (Chair of Executive Board of Renewable Energy Institute, Sweden), Cora Weiss (United Nations Representative for the International Peace Bureau, United States), Scott Ludlam (former Australian Senator), Ricardo Navarro (President of NGO CESTA, El Salvador), and many more.