All posts by japanfissures

While we are observing a new impetus of global uprising against capitalism and the state, the catastrophic situation is unfolding in Japan. The two kinds of upheaval appear to be mirroring each other, both shaking capital’s business as usual to its foundation. There is no doubt that this is the turning point of human history. The events in Japan will inexorably have significant impacts over the entire human society in every aspect, i.e., ecologically, economically and socially. They are no longer matters of a particular nation-state, but creating unprecedented fissures in the apparatus that is uncontrollably and materially becoming one with mother earth, and sustains the global power relations as well as the everyday life of the people across the planet.

Representations to the Japanese Government

Original text HERE by Citizen’s Nuclear Information Center

Representations to the Japanese Government

Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center (CNIC)

March 18th 2011

In the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, the serious situation endures. At this moment, a large discharge of radiation has not taken place. There is however a future possibility of such worst scenario. In concrete it would include meltdown of nuclear fuels by lowering of the water level in the nuclear reactors, large explosion, and large discharge of radiation from the pools of used fuels.

Since the accident, our organization has been flooded with inquiries about the safe distance from the reactors. It is evident that the evacuation distance designated by the government is far from sufficient.

Taking this situation into consideration, we make the following five representations to the government:

1.  Make all possible efforts to curb worsening of the situation by gathering all forces in and out of the country.

2.  Publicize parameters of pressure containers, reactor vessels, and fuel pools all in real time. If there are damages in equipment and certain parameters cannot be measured, make open announcements about them.

3.  Information on the radiation level inside the power plants is of grave importance. Install monitors in different places and report the data on line. In order to grasp the situation in the power plants realistically, install video cameras in different places and constantly publicize the images.

4.  Collect the data of radiation monitoring posts installed in various areas in Fukushima Prefecture, grasp the intensity and expansion of radiation, then make a simulation based upon the data, and publicize the result as soon as possible.

5.  Make clear about your method of estimating doses for instructing disaster prevention, namely, the ground upon which you determine evacuation distance at this moment.

Call for a New Campaign to Build Refugees’ Commune

Original Text HERE by Sanya Workers Welfare Center, Sanya Struggle Committee, Anti-unemployment Struggle Committee

There is no need for much phrasing about the devastating damages and tragedies caused by the earthquake of 3/11, as well as the coming catastrophic situation. At this moment, we, the coalition of self-support groups of homeless and underclass workers in Sanya, the vicinity closest to the stricken areas in the north within Tokyo metropolitan district, consider the situation as un-ignorable and will begin a new campaign to support refugees. Herein are three tasks for the struggle:

A)To create a support system by and for the people
B)To support the refugees from the stricken areas, and fight together for their/our rights and autonomy
C)To support the future refugees to be created inevitably by the effects of this calamity, and fight together for their/our rights and autonomy

About (A):
The Japanese government is dispatching massive number of the Self Defense Forces to the stricken areas. As opposed to the state-led project, our most urgent task is to create a support system, no matter how small it is, by and for the people. To begin with, we shall send persons and goods to the areas once a week. We call this People’s Rescue Troops.

About (B):
The refugees from the stricken areas have already begun their lives in the facilities installed in various places in the Tokyo metropolitan area, from which, however, the intervention of civilian support groups are rejected, and wherein what the administration supplies is said to be far less than people’s needs. It is thus our task to understand and supply what they lack. Furthermore it is necessary to begin a project for establishing the lives of the people by and for themselves from the mid-term perspective.

About (C):
Riemann Shock of 2008 caused the new wave of refugees, epitomized as it was by the so-called dispatched villages. The homeless population in Sanya area increased dramatically. But the situation now is just incomparable. Already rampant have been discharges and suspension of employment. Our fellow homeless have been mercilessly hit by the effects of the earthquake in various manners.

At the moment, the government is about to mobilize more than ten thousand troops of the Self Defense Forces at the same time as hiding its lack of agenda and seeking to contain all criticisms against it. Meanwhile the media orchestrate a major yet empty campaign of “Save Japan,” whose tendency is toward nothing short of a new form of total mobilization that the people already experienced during the fascist regime. We consider this as a total collapse of the way the state and society had been organized up until 3/11.

During our struggle to fight against the coerced removal and practices such as community kitchen in the past several years, we have been searching for a method by which the process of struggle itself contains germination of people’s society. This attempt has been just in an embryonic stage. Now we believe it necessary to concentrate our forces more than ever toward this goal in confrontation with the calamitous situation. This must entail a full-hearted rejection of restoration of the previous society, of reconstruction of the society based upon nuclear power, and a move toward creation of a society by and for the people.

We know at the moment we are overwhelmingly weaker than the state project in terms of material power. But we might be able to surpass, if and only if we can gather the power of the many. We call for a collaboration of all of those individuals and movements who share the same intention as ours.

March 21st 2011
Sanya Workers Welfare Center
Sanya Struggle Committee
Anti-unemployment Struggle Committee

Kill No One: Statement On the Fukushima Nuclear Accident

Original text HERE by All Freeter’s Union

“Unexpected Situation” is the phrase repeatedly used to rationalize deaths of tens of thousands of people caused by the recent disaster. This man-made calamity, I repeat, the worst man-made calamity is being rationalized with the single phrase, which still leaves hundreds of thousands individuals exposed to radiation and millions’ livelihoods destroyed.

The current state was never unexpected. Many people have repeatedly taken assumptions and given warnings over possibility of this very situation. The severe accident at the nuclear plant, hydrogen explosion and the massive radiation dissemination, following earthquake and tsunami, had been publicly warned by many, not limited to anti-nuclear activists or nuclear experts.

The disaster was folded within the capitalist system itself.

In order to support the urban energy consumption of Tokyo and other big cities, millions of people outside metropolis are violently exposed to radioactivity. All electric companies in Japan, except for the one in Okinawa, have always kept steady profit by destroying the livelihoods of rural communities. The Japanese government, too, is unequivocally responsible for supporting the corporations by permitting local monopolization, and laying out the legislative system beneficial for them to increase the number of nuclear plants. Electric companies and Japanese government must pay their debt now.

The government and TEPCO (The Tokyo Electric Power Co) must publicize all of the concealed contents of necessary labor being performed at the Fukushima plant. What kind of workers are running across which part of the plant for watering the reactor; who connect the pipe joints; who open the valves; who wipe radioactive splashes off, and who orders to do so (…). This demand is not for creating a heroic tale, but it is for us to overcome the ugliness of praising the plant workers as if they were the victimized hero in Kenji Miyazawa’s utopian tale or returning national spirit. We ought to distance ourselves from this disgusting cold-blooded fact that we are asking the nuclear plant workers, for the sake of “millions of lives,” to commit themselves to do the work that we ourselves are never willing to do. Instead we should support the rejection of labor that forces workers to face death.

Now we are about to become “nuclear disaster victims.” The first victims are those who have already been exposed to radiation while working at the nuclear reactors, and then those who will have to face long-term health risks from the explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi Reactors. But the nuclear disaster will not end at that. The accidents will continue hammering the agriculture of entire Tohoku region for years to come, and will boil-up the prices of safer products across the nation and elsewhere. Meanwhile, the urban poor will certainly be excluded from the distribution of safer food. Commercial businesses are closing down, because of the planned blackout in response to the lack of electricity, and the urban poor will suffer cut-downs in jobs and income; in consequence they end up reducing their buying power. We all are disaster victims.

We demand Japanese Government and TEPCO an immediate closure of all the nuclear power plants across Japan.

Cease all business that devours human life.

TEPCO must compensate all the nuclear disaster victims.

TEPCO must compensate all those exposed to radiation for their medical and daily expenses to insure their recovery from the health damages they suffer.

TEPCO must compensate for all financial losses of businesses that unavoidably shut down their operation following the accident.

They must compensate for all financial sufferings of those who were forced to wage cuts and unemployment.

We call for all those who have not suffered immediate effects of the earthquake and tsunami. Let us get out from
the never-ending loop of information radiation: overwhelming spectacle of tsunamis and fires, numbers that convey water levels in the reactors, comments made by proxy scholars and specialists repeating, “no immediate effects to your health.” This information radioactivity gives us an inevitable helplessness that we don’t have an option but to prey, that forces us to silently justify the excuses by the government and TEPCO attempting to obscure who and what system are responsible for causing this catastrophe.

We believe that it is imperative for us to immediately nullify the information radioactivity、and begin to name and prosecute those who are truly responsible.

March 17, 2011
All Freeters’ Union

To Survive in Tokyo

Original Text HERE by Ilcommonz

Read my story as a personal account of a musician living in Tokyo. I’ve just canceled a two-week tour in Europe that was supposed to start from the 16th of March. I’m not certain what other tour members would choose to do, but we, the touring members, discussed that each of us ought to make up our own decisions, and respect them whatever they are. Since the day of the quake, until today, I have struggled to make decision as to whether or not to go. No matter how hard I questioned to myself, my answer was: “I don’t want to leave Japan now.” I have a few reasons to bring up, but none of them sounds rational. These are all very personal sentiments. However, one thing that I can assure is this sense that I have to see with my own eyes and experience not only the current situation but also what would happen from now on in the city I live in. This might sound exaggerating, but I would like to live the same destiny with everybody else. I have never felt like this before; I am surprised to have this sentiment myself. What I mean by ‘everybody’ is, to my understanding, not a collective of Japanese people whose faces are invisible, but the people that I love, … and the places I love, … things that are very indistinct. Of course I have never made a mutual agreement to live in solidarity with those whom I love; rather, this is my very personal, selfish and unusual sentiment. Facing this, I strongly felt that I would not want to leave Japan even for mere 2 weeks.
Right now the press conference of the Tokyo Electric Company continues on TV. The nuclear plant is being unveiled as confronting a much more serious situation than all of us have expected. I can only wonder what really is happening. Never did I imagine radiation could happen to my own everyday life; it was thought to be always someone else’s.
During the last three days, I’ve received innumerable messages from my music friends all over the world. Every message expresses deep concerns about Japan. Some of the friends even offered me a place for shelter, for which I am very grateful. Perhaps it is not us in Tokyo who really need help at the moment, but it is those who cannot even read this. I hope the situation gets better even a little. (“Hope the situation gets better even a little” by Yoshihide Otomo, March 15th 2011)

I am not going to run away from Tokyo. Because all the electricity produced in the Fukushima Nuclear plants were consumed in Tokyo, not provided for the people there. We have polluted Fukushima for the sake of Tokyo…. (A Twitter post by travellinmagro myu, March 15th 2011)

The nuclear plants run amok in Fukushima. Right at this moment I felt a big shake in my house again. The epicenter was Shizuoka, but even Tokyo hit magnitude 4. The radio warned us to “be cautious of after shocks, because old wooden and non-earthquake-resistant houses are in danger of collapse.” Amidst of this, I was thinking of the same thing. I was thinking of what to do from now on within my house in danger of collapse. When it stopped shaking, I found an answer. Whenever I face a necessity to think and react to sudden incidents, I always begin wondering to myself what I am, rather than my individuality. I am not a musician, not a poet, but an anthropologist, contemporary artist, and activist. As a contemporary artist, I very much empathize the musician refusing to leave Japan. As an activist, I identify with a poet who is not going to run away from Tokyo. And as an anthropologist who shares a similar mind or the same feeling, I would like to stay in the place where these people live until the end comes, and together I would like to see things through. Therefore, after having shaken by the quake, the answer that came out was this: I would remain in Tokyo till the end. Although this decision has a strong political aspect, that is not rational at all. I hate nuclear power. Not only do I hate it, but I am against it. Strongly against it. Absolutely against it. I believe that not only the Tokyo Electric Company but also the pro-nuclear power policy of the Japanese government are wrong. That the people living elsewhere suffer for the benefit of Tokyo is wrong. And I am living thanks to the electricity produced by the nuclear power plants. I am using the light in my room as I type this right now, relying on the same power. This is a contradiction, the most evident contradiction. I intend to accept this contradiction as it is, since I know something might come out from being smeared in a big contradiction. And for now, I wish to punish myself by this acceptance. Furthermore I would like to connect myself to something by being smeared by radiation, by sharing it as the common that is of the most ominous kind.
With my body and mind smeared with the contradiction and radiation, I would like to protest against the nuclear power, stronger than ever. As it is often said, one tends to think highly irrational under an emergency circumstance. For this precise reason, I am determined to see through what this irrationality is going to produce, that which we would not see otherwise. I would like to survive for that. No matter what the government tells us, I will remain and survive in Tokyo.

*Take this as an irrational thought of a man who lives in Tokyo. As with Otomo, I’d like to acknowledge that those who have different ideas and ways of living “ought to all make up our own choices,” and I’d like to “respect them whatever they are.”


Japan — Fissures in the Planetary Apparatus

Taking into consideration the unprecedented situation in Japan, we find it necessary to establish a place for exchanging critical voices from there and elsewhere, to find a way out of the dystopian cul-de-sac, and create a path to undo and reorient the course of the world whose worst effects are manifest there at the moment.

While we are observing a new impetus of global uprising against capitalism and the state, the catastrophic situation is unfolding in Japan. The two kinds of upheaval appear to be mirroring each other, both shaking capital’s business as usual to its foundation. There is no doubt that this is the turning point of human history.

The earthquake and tsunami of maximal scale devastated the Northeastern part of Honshu, with an increasing number of losses and refugees and a worsening nuclear disaster. The activity of the planet has shown not only the unequivocal magnitude of its nonhuman force but also the degree in which our society and its infrastructural system forged by capitalism are relying on, merging with, implicated in and expanding over the planet in an ominous manner. What the so-called natural disaster is showing is nothing but the implication of the apparatus in the environment and its fatal effects.

The events in Japan will inexorably have significant impacts over the entire human society in every aspect, i.e., ecologically, economically and socially. They are no longer matters of a particular nation-state, but creating unprecedented fissures in the apparatus that is uncontrollably and materially becoming one with mother earth, and sustains the global power relations as well as the everyday life of the people across the planet. At the moment what these events embody are an extreme negativity, especially in contrast to the on-going uprisings world over. What the name Japan implies has in a day transformed from a shaky yet euphoric consumerist society to a people on a possible path to apocalypse.

Though in such devastating conditions from which resident foreigners are encouraged to escape, the people in Japan are struggling for survival. The struggle involves two asymmetric forces; On the one hand, there are efforts of the state and capital to sustain its governance and economic operations as normal as possible, even at the expense of fully concentrated rescue measures. On the other hand, the struggle of the people entails multiple dimensions: (1) survival in the multifaceted crises, (2) sacrificial labor at risk of death; (3) challenge to build their own commons resisting the state-led projects, imposed as it is under the names of emergency and the national spirit.

We observe that certain national intellectuals or so-called opinion leaders are playing the role of raising the dead spirit (Yamato-damashii) from the fascist regime toward total mobilization under the state.

Meanwhile the people are demanding the state concentrate its capacity for solving the problems of refugees and nuclear contamination, as well as publicize full information on these conditions. Also importantly, independent of the rescue missions led by the Self-Defense Forces, some groups are preparing to build refugees camps of different scales in cities such as Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka, with hopes to create communes. The far eastern archipelago is entering a new phase of struggle for survival, a class struggle facing catastrophic conditions.

In this sense Japan has achieved a critical power, with the fissures open up in an unprecedented manner, beyond our intention and preference, that would pose a series of fundamental questions concerning the thoughts on the world and the practices to change it. This is one of the most crucial junctures that we have seen in the country, that the people might be able to turn around the orientation of the future, to pave a new way for the sake of both human and non-human life forms.

In this situation, we feel a need of gathering a critical information exchange among active voices in Japan and elsewhere. We intend to translate, quote and analyze as much information as possible from Japanese into English, and translate your encouragements, comments, suggestions, analyses, proposals and anything written in English into Japanese for the vantage point of the people struggling there and everywhere.

J-Fissures Editorial