Key antinuclear confab will offer lessons for global thought

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

This weekend’s international antinuclear conference in Yokohama could play a crucial role in sharing the lessons of the Fukushima crisis with the global community and in drafting constructive proposals to abolish atomic power, the event’s chairman said Wednesday in Tokyo.

The Global Conference for a Nuclear Power-Free World, which is being hosted by six domestic antinuclear groups, is important because “the Fukushima nuclear plant accident is not just a domestic issue,” Tatsuya Yoshioka, director of the nongovernmental organization Peace Boat, said at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan.

The Saturday-Sunday conference at the Pacifico Yokohama convention center will be the largest event on nuclear and energy policy staged since the March 11 disasters sparked the country’s worst nuclear plant crisis, Yoshioka and representatives from the five other organizers said.

Many countries voiced concerns after the Fukushima No. 1 plant’s wrecked reactors started spewing radioactive fallout, including contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean. But Yoshioka noted many of these countries also face the risk of nuclear plant crises and will therefore benefit from hearing about Fukushima.

Yoshioka said he hopes to help expand the antinuclear movement and launch a citizens’ international antinuclear network, as no such body has been effectively organized yet.

He also voiced fears that if the battle against atomic energy is limited to Japan, it might continue to be waged on an “ideological” level and fail to address specific policy issues.

The event will be attended by about 100 international guests and 10,000 participants, and will include various symposiums about nuclear plants and the effects of radiation on health.