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Japanese Parliamentarian Kuniko Tanioka briefs press and NGOs on Fukushima nuclear station, worsening situation, and what has gone underreported from Japan

May 9, 2012

What: Press and NGO briefing and update on the Fukushima nuclear disaster
Who: Ms. Kuniko Tanioka, Member, House of Councillors, Japan; Deputy Secretary General, DPJ Project Team for the Fukushima Nuclear Accident; and President, Shigakkan University, Japan. Robert Alvarez, Senior Scholar for Nuclear Policy, Institute for Policy Studies.
Where: Institute for Policy Studies conference room, 1112 16th Street NW, 6th Floor, Washington DC (near Farragut North Metro Red Line)
When: Thursday, May 10, 2012, 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM 

This briefing will be livestreamed on IPS’s U-Stream channel:
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/live-at-ips

Conference call info: Dial-in: (218) 844-0850. Pass code: 400782#

Washington DC – Japan’s multiple nuclear meltdowns in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facilities, the April 2011 nuclear disaster, represent an ongoing danger to the people and the environment of both Japan and the United States. Yet little information is being shared in either country about the multiple hazards still posed by the decimation following the 7.1-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami, and the potential for the situation to worsen should another earthquake take place.

Japanese Parliamentarian Ms. Kuniko Tanioka is one of the few Japanese politicians willing to speak out publicly and critically on the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns and her government’s response to it and will be speaking out at the Institute for Policy Studies on Thursday May 10, from 12 PM to 1:30 PM. 

Ms. Tanioka is a Member of the House of Councilors in Japan and Deputy Secretary General of the Democratic Party of Japan’s Project Team for the Fukushima Nuclear Accident. She also serves as President of Shigakkan University in Japan.  Ms. Tanioka is in Washington, DC, for a brief visit and will be speaking candidly about the situation in Fukushima with members of the press and NGOs. Ms. Tanioka is also visiting with members of Congress, including U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a senior member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, who, after an onsite tour of what remains of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facilities decimated by last year’s earthquake and subsequent tsunami, expressed strong concern about dangerous nuclear material being released into the environment. In a prepared statement from his office, Sen. Wyden said: “The radiation caused by the failure of the spent fuel pools in the event of another earthquake could reach the West Coast within days. That absolutely makes the safe containment and protection of this spent fuel a security issue for the United States.”

Currently, all of Japan’s nuclear power plants are shut down, but there is a strong push by some politicians and business leaders to bring them back online. Ms. Tanioka is leading the call in Fukushima and elsewhere to ensure that the government’s response to the nuclear accident is well-managed and sufficient to provide for the people whose lives have been upended by the accident. She is joined by over 60 current and former politicians in calling for the end of the use of nuclear power in Japan.

There are hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled Fukushima; thousands more remain in Fukushima but have lost their livelihoods, their homes, their health and their wellbeing. Compensation being provided thus far to victims of the nuclear disaster is insufficient to address the fallout from the problem, according to Tanioka.

IPS Senior Scholar Robert Alvarez, a nuclear expert and a former special assistant to the United States Secretary of Energy, will join Tanioka in explaining the urgency of the Japanese situation for both the people of Japan and the people of the Untied States at the IPS briefing.

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The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS-DC.org) is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the United States and globally. We work with social movements to promote true democracy and challenge concentrated wealth, corporate influence, and military power.