I translated this March 18th conversation with Yu Tanaka(Japanese 1 and Ja 2) to help deal with the ominous and depressing news from the Nuclear Disaster in Fukushima. Yu Tanaka has been talking with grass roots groups at locally organized events all over Japan for over ten years, combined with his local activities (solar panel installation on buddhist temple roof, fluron recycling, Aluminum recycling..) and books over the years it's hard not to be impressed. He has good proposals and historical grounds for breaking up Electric Company monopolies and has not lost sight of the global warming/climate crisis issues with an exclusive focus on the dangers of nuclear power. I first came into contactYu through the Fukuoka chapter of the Jubilee 2000 movement, trying to pressure the Kyushu/Okiawa G-8 Summit to drop illegitimate debts weighing down the Global South. I was able to meet him in person around the same time thanks to a local hosting of the grassroots National Symposium on Pump Storage Dams.
Douglas Lummis has made Takashi Hirose's work available in English over at Counterpunch. Takashi Hirose is a powerful speaker on Nuclear Power. Takashi Hirose is very helpful for understanding nuclear power, but I didn't find his views on the economy or global warming to be as constructive. A strong critic of the irresponsibility and 'stupidity' of the bureaucrats in the government (METI, Ministry of the Economy, Trade and Industry) and Electric Monopolies, at the end of one of his speeches I was surprised to hear him deny global warming as a problem arising from human fossil fuel consumption. I'm impressed by his dedication on the nuclear issue, but an attempt to have a discussion about the economy at a grass roots meal afterwards brought up some kind of Rothberg(?) Conspiracy talk that was disappointing for me. On the other hand, conversations with Yu Tanaka always felt constructive, he's clear about the dangers of environmental catastrophe but he also points out where we can find hope, and encourages local initiatives – starting your own NPO bank to invest in local people meeting local needs….
Another Counterpunch article by Nirmal Gosh out of Thailand mentions a meeting with Yu Tanaka.
Just over two weeks after the deadly tsunami, I met with Yu Tanaka, one of Japan’s lonely breed of anti-nuclear activists, in a Tokyo cafe. I put to him the proposition of the pro-nuclear lobby that coal was more dangerous because more people die in coal mines every year, millions suffer from respiratory problems because of fossil fuel emissions, and CO2 drives global warming. Coal and nuclear are false choices, he said. In the case of Japan, neither is needed. A study by Tokyo University has shown that Japan with its extensive coastline and technological skills, can develop a smart grid and exist