Thursday, December 20, 2012

#Radioactive Japan Under LDP: Futaba-machi Assembly Finally Passes No-Confidence Resolution Against Mayor Idogawa

This is the assembly's third attempt, and this time all 8 assemblymen voted yes to demand Mayor Idogawa to step down.

Why? Because the mayor refuses to "move forward".

What's "moving forward" for the town which had to relocate to Saitama temporarily because of severe contamination from the nuclear accident?

Talking with the national government "constructively" to build intermediate storage facilities for nuclear waste in Futaba-machi, for a start. The first step will be to agree to the field survey by the national government.

The town may have no choice, but what these assemblymen are after seems to be more about money, a huge wad of money from the national government in exchange for simply agreeing to start talking.

Just change "intermediate storage facilities" with "nuclear reactors". It's the same old story. Simply agreeing to the survey will probably produce a ton of money for the town. Of all people, Mayor Idogawa should know very well.

Mr. Idogawa has been tirelessly campaigning for the people of his town, a changed man after the nuclear accident. Inconvenient for the town assembly, obviously.

For his account on March 11, 2011 as he experienced, see my post from February.

From Kyodo News (12/20/2012):

双葉町議会が町長不信任を可決 中間貯蔵施設の協議欠席で

Futaba-machi town assembly passes the no-confidence resolution against the mayor because he skipped the negotiation for intermediate storage facilities


The December Assembly of Futaba-machi, Fukushima Prefecture was held on December 20 in Kazo City in Saitama Prefecture where the town's government has been temporarily moved. Futaba-machi in Fukushima is one of the locations where the national government wants to conduct the feasibility study for building intermediate storage facilities to store contaminated soil from the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident. The no-confidence resolution against Mayor Katsutaka Idogawa was unanimously passed by all eight assemblymen.


Unless the mayor dissolves the assembly within 10 days, according to the Local Autonomy Law, he will lose his job.


Mayor Idogawa said to the reporters, "I would like to sort things out quietly. I will decide over the weekend."


The resolution criticized the mayor for having skipped the negotiation in November whereby Governor of Fukushima Yuhei Sato and other seven mayors of municipalities in Futaba County agreed to the survey [for waste storage facilities].

Mayor Idogawa, in his December 20 letter to the town residents, explains why he refused to sit down with the fellow mayors and the governor of Fukushima:



As to the intermediate storage facility, we are told to accept without any discussion because it's only the field survey for now. But how will this survey be paid for? This facility is supposed to be there for only 30 years, but there is no formal agreement on that between the national government and us. No one can live near this facility. No one lives inside the 2 kilometer radius of Rokkasho-mura [where the Reprocessing Plant is located]. The 2 kilometer radius would include almost all central Futaba. What should we do then? That discussion should come before anything else. To conduct the boring survey means the start of construction. If we look at the budget [for the intermediate storage facility] there is a line item called "survey cost" under "development". As far as the administrative decision goes, this is the start of construction. Please understand that I've been trying my best to stall [the survey] so as not to give the government the fait accompli of construction started.

It should proceed after ample discussion and understanding of all the town residents. This is the first ever such project in Japan. It is the greatest loss for the town, and if we just let it proceed without any firm promise, our children will suffer. I would like to talk patiently with the new administration, and proceed so that our children would understand. Please know that we have suffered a great loss.

Earlier in his letter, he pleads with the residents to think about their "loss", that it's not just about the loss of tangible assets like real estate but intangible assets like health and future prospect.

His words clearly fell on deaf ears of eight assemblymen who see very tangible assets (money) in front of them.

Mayor Idogawa sees the details, and knows the process. So, they'd rather shut him up, and join others in pointing the bright sky on the horizon - "Look, that's the future..."

I wonder if he dissolves the assembly and calls the election. I doubt it.

It's a new Japan - Japan that cannot focus its attention long enough to think things through and simply latches on to soundbites. I guess that has been the global trend, but Japan manages to do it in the middle of the most severe nuclear accident in the country that has contaminated wide areas in Tohoku and Kanto.


Anonymous said...

Not a Merkel fan by any stretch, but I like the term "helplessness" she used referring to Japan's dealings with the accident last year (and obviously ever since).

Anonymous said...

This has been the recurring history of nuclear power back in the "good old days" Dr. John Gofman was a high priest in the nuclear priesthood from its earliest days. He helped isolate the world's first milligram of Plutonium and went on to be come the Assoc. Director of the Lawrence Livermore Radiation Lab from 1965-1972. At Livermore Dr. Gofman conducted research on radiation induced cancer and chromosome damage until the AEC stopped his work and began watching him. The more Dr. Gofman agitated against the AEC's cavalier attitude towards nuclear safety the further the nuclear priesthood pushed to discredit his position eventually he became a nuclear pariah. The government and industry went to great lengths to ruin Dr. Gofman when they couldn't the industry branded him "beyond the pale of reasonable communication and actively ignored him. If you mention John Gofman at a meeting of nuclear insiders you'll be jeered at and shouted down.

Stuff like this and people wanting 20 mSv to be declared safe make me agree with Gofman books like "Population control through nuclear pollution",(with Arthur R. Tamplin, Ph.D.) 242 pages, 1970

Anonymous said...

Is there some way to send messages of support to this brave man? Maybe if there was a bit of "outside" i.e. outside Futaba, support, it would give him the strength to continue his struggle. His struggle is for Japan, for all of us, and he deserves to be supported.

Anonymous said...

I found the Futaba email address at the bottom of Mayor Idogawa's letter mentioned in the article above (there's a link to the page), and sent him this message. Maybe others would like to do the same?

Dear Mayor Idogawa,

I don't know if you speak English, but if not, I hope you have a friend or colleague who can translate this.

I read about the motion of no confidence that the town assembly just passed on you. I just wanted to send you a message of support. You are fighting for the children of Futaba, but also for the children of Japan, and of other countries. You are a true visionary, and I want you to know YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I wish we could find a way to voice our support for you better. The forces you are fighting have money, they have power, but you are doing the right thing, with the tools you have. I hope the people of Futaba realise this in time, and don't allow their children's future to be bought - again - by nuclear interests.

Japanese school textbooks teach children to praise heroes of the past, like Chiune Sugihara. But at the time Sugihara was following his conscience and saving the lives of thousands of Jews, he was disgraced, sacked from the Ministry, treated as a traitor by those in power, and reduced to selling lightbulbs door to door. It is only now that the textbooks teach children to admire him. And the same is true with Fukushima today. Unfortunately many people in Japan today are in denial of what's happened, and many more can be bought.

I hope you know that many of us DO understand what you are doing. We are thinking of you, and hoping you have the strength to go on with your important and courageous struggle. DO THE RIGHT THING!

With warmest wishes

Anonymous said...

I have to wonder if the "principle" is worth fighting for since I have to assume the assembly is making decisions based on their knowledge and/or "feeling" that the town will NEVER be as vibrant or "clean" again after Fukushima anyway so might as well take the money & run and the displaced residents will be better off moving further away from the disaster site and the one proposed??!! IDK the details or mindset involved but I no longer wish to live in the western USA as I'd been planning until I saw the cesium deposition maps & ATM's of plume dispersal & jetstream that didn't spare us in the Midwest much,if any fallout or bioaccumulation impact since it still hammered parts of Europe after crossing the Atlantic & back again & STILL does! No-I cannot begin to say I understand what they should be doing,but I know building more reactors or creating more fuel isn't what I would expect of a people known for their intelligence and virtue. They still have to find someplace for all of the contaminated water and debris from the disaster and facilities for it will be found across Japan as the disaster has only just begun and radiation will increase over time as Chernobyl has shown although media censorship will attempt to erase any connections between millions of deaths and even if they shut them all down and focus all efforts on developing a way to deal with it-we will still be threatened with extinction by the waste,stockpiles of weapons & fuel(MOX,etc.)and the developing countries who are committed to projects started before 3/11 and who seek to be nuclear powers for the rest of the century! I both thank and support the Honorable Mayor whatever he ultimately decides to do and should he step down I hope he gets the hell out of there and continues the fight from a safe distance & hope he writes a manuscript of his struggles with the Atomic Rats who've invaded City Hall,but wish him the best of luck in his life.

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