Category Archives: Environment

Protest Against Contaminated Water Release

Urgent Statement
Protest Against TEPCO’s Discharge of Contaminated Water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the Ocean

On 24 August 2023, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) forced the release of contaminated water generated by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident into The Pacific Ocean. We protest with strong anger against this outrageous action, which violates the written promises made to fishermen’s groups and shows no regard for the opposition and concerns expressed by local communities in Fukushima Prefecture and other regions and groups.
The decision to discharge the water into the ocean was made without any consideration of the various alternatives that were proposed in response to the Government’s policy decision in April 2021, and shows the administration’s complete lack of respect for the opinions of citizens and parties concerned.
Although the contaminated water stored in the tanks is supposed to have had all but tritium removed, in reality about 70% of the contaminated water still contains radioactive substances such as cesium, strontium and iodine, which exceed the standard values. If the water is discharged into the ocean in this state, even if it is diluted, there is a risk that it will be taken up by fish, shellfish and algae and become concentrated and appear on our dinner tables, potentially causing damage to our health. In addition, tritium has an extremely large impact when it enters the living organism.
An even bigger problem is the Kishida Government’s shift to a pro-nuclear policy, which includes restarting and building new nuclear power stations, extending the operating periods of old ones, and strengthening support for the nuclear power industry.
Consumers Union of Japan has upheld the slogan “A Sound and Healthy Life for the Future”. The current discharge of contaminated water into the ocean and the promotion of nuclear power are incompatible with the kind of society we seek. We strongly demand that the government and TEPCO immediately stop the oceanic discharge and express our determination to move forward together with many consumers and consumers towards the early realisation of a nuclear power free society.

Photo: 24 August 2023 Protest Outside TEPCO in Tokyo, Japan

Link to Japanese here

The Asahi Newspaper: ‘Open your eyes.’ Hundreds hold protest at TEPCO headquarters

60 Years and More, for Japan’s Nuclear Reactors? No Thanks!

We Protest Against the Kishida Administration’s Passage of the GX Bill to Promote Nuclear Power

6 June 2023

Click here for original Japanese text

On 31 May 2023, the Green Transformation (GX) Decarbonization Power Source Bill, which will allow nuclear power plants to operate for more than 60 years, was passed and enacted in Tokyo, Japan. This happened at a plenary session of the House of Councillors by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito, as well as Isshin no Kai, and others. This legislation bundles together five bills amending the Basic Act on Nuclear Energy, the Nuclear Reactor Regulation Act, the Electricity Business Act, the Reprocessing Act, and the Renewable Energy Special Measures Act.

In July 2022, the Kishida administration established the GX Executive Council with the aim of realizing a decarbonized society, and in response to the Basic Policy for Realization of GX – Roadmap for the Next 10 Years released by the Council in December, the GX decarbonization bill was submitted to the Diet in February 2023 to legislate the basic policy.

In reality, the bill is not about a green transformation at all. It is an attempt to force a major change in the existing policy of reducing dependence on nuclear power as much as possible by restarting nuclear power plants, building new nuclear power plants, extending the operation period of aging nuclear power plants, and strengthening support for the nuclear power industry.

Consumers Union of Japan is strongly opposed to this legislation.

After the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011, it became clear to everyone that we cannot coexist with nuclear power plants. With the opinions of the overwhelming majority of citizens and residents as a backdrop, the Innovative Energy and Environment Policy was formulated under the Democratic Party of Japan administration to realize a society that does not depend on nuclear power plants at an early stage, which stated that “no new nuclear power plants will be built” and “the maximum operating period of nuclear power plants will be 60 years. On the surface, the Abe and Kan administrations have followed this policy.

However, the Kishida administration, after a short and formal deliberation and study that lasted only six months or so, abandoned the previous policy and took a sharp turn in the direction of bailing out the declining, so-called Nuclear Power Village, a money-laden combination of industry, academia, and government.

We must never forget the fact that a huge number of residents suddenly lost their hometowns as a consequence of the Fukushima nuclear accident, and many are still forced to live in painful evacuation shelters and are unable to return to their hometowns. The revision of the law is a disregard for the lessons learned from the accident.

In Germany, nuclear power plant phase-out was achieved in April this year, without being distracted by the energy crisis caused by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

Consumer Union of Japan strongly protests the Kishida administration’s shift in nuclear power policy. We also express our determination to move forward together with consumers, citizens, and many others toward the early realization of a nuclear power free society.

Read more:

Beyond Coal: Japan’s Cabinet approves policies to implement GX, NGOs respond


The GX Basic Policy is to promote, in the name of carbon neutrality, the use of nuclear power, hydrogen and ammonia co-firing with fossil fuels, and carbon capture and storage (CCS). It has been criticized by NGOs like Kiko Network as “prolonging the life of coal-fired power generation, hindering the promotion of necessary climate change measures such as the buildup of renewable energy, and eventually decreasing the global competitiveness of Japanese industries while increasing the burden on citizens through rising energy costs”. Co-firing hydrogen and ammonia with thermal power plants has only a minor effect on CO2 emission reductions, and CCS is far away from practical use. Rather, these technologies will fix large amounts of long-term CO2 emissions by extending the life of fossil fuel thermal power plants. The roadmap under this policy is far from the reductions required to achieve the 1.5°C target.

Japan Resources – 189

Please click here for our latest English newsletter (pdf): JR 189


From the Editors: Over 90 Consumer Organisations Have Signed Our Peace Appeal!

Symposium: Let’s Connect Citizens for Peace in Asia! Peace Action by Japan, Korea and Taiwan

90 + Support For Our Consumer Peace Effort

GM Zucchini Found in South Korea: How about Japan?

Action Day to Bring Citizens’ and Farmers’ Voices to the G7 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to Stay GM Free

Open Letter of Inquiry on Artificial Turf

In the News: Corteva’s Genome-Edited Maize Not Commercially Cultivated at Present

From the Editors: Over 90 Consumer Organisations Have Signed Our Peace Appeal!

Consumers Union of Japan and Shufuren Association of Consumer Organizations, took the initiative to protest against Japan’s proposal to increase its military spending. Over 90 groups including many local co-operatives have now joined together. It is a pretty impressive movement!

For our Annual Meeting on 18 June we have invited speakers from Taiwan and South Korea, who share our views on peace in this region of the world. You can join us in Tokyo or follow the Peace Action online.

– Editors

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to stay GM free

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the world’s leading forest product certifier, has decided to back away from a process that critics said would have opened the door to overturning FSC’s long-time core certification policy that prohibits the commercial use of genetically modified (GM) trees. The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, which closely monitored the FSC discussions, noted: “The field testing and release of GM trees pose unprecedented threats to forests, wildlife, and communities that live near them.”

In November 2022, Consumers Union of Japan joined over 130 environmental and social justice groups from 34 countries that signed a statement to stop GM trees.

Blog: Dialogue, Share; No to Monopoly

Recently, an acquaintance entrusted me with proofreading a manuscript. It was a large work about Hannibal, the Carthaginian warrior who fought against Rome in the Mediterranean world in ancient times. Although I had to read many war stories, I was reminded that human beings have not changed one iota between the societies of B.C. and those of today.

In search of food, resources, and wealth, humans tend to wage wars of aggression with cease-fires, make and break alliances, and so on. To win wars, human wisdom is invested and technological innovations are advanced. (Archimedes even invented a new stone thrower.)

In wars, casualties are suffered and resources are wasted. Modern society, for example, has become completely stuck, as it were, in a state of exhaustion due to excessive science and technology, which is damaging the natural environment on which all human beings depend and our own health.

In order to achieve our goal here at Consumers Union of Japan, of “connecting healthy lives to the future,” neither war nor the development of new technologies is necessary. We do not need to monopolize the world by force, but to share it through dialogue.

As Kohei Saito, a noted author of “Capitalism in the New Age,” says, “Rebirth of the Common” will be the key. Human wisdom should not be used to win wars, but to bring smiles to everyone’s faces.

(Keiko Fukaya)