Monthly Archives: July 2010

CUJ: Local Energy Production For Local Energy Consumption

Resolution to aim for a clean break with nuclear power generation – We request a conversion of Japan’s energy policy

Nuclear power generation leads to radiation poisoning at every level: from the workers involved in uranium mining for the fuel used in nuclear reactors to the final disposal of high-level nuclear waste known in Japanese as shi no hai, “ash of death” or “lethal ash.” Human life and the natural environment are at risk and it is clear that we do not need nuclear power generation that pushes this “ash of death” to the children of future generations.

We, who value human life and the natural environment, must insist that nuclear reactors and other related facilities such as reprocessing plants will not be constructed anywhere. The earthquake-prone islands of Japan are particularly unsuitable for such construction.

Around the world, people are carefully watching plutonium reprocessing efforts related to nuclear fuel. Japan’s resumption of the Monju reactor in Fukui prefecture has contributed to increasing global anxiety.

Nuclear power is promoted as an answer to the problem of climate change. However, the reality is increased electricity consumption, for example by private homes using more electrical gadgets and night-time use of electrical power. This is due to the fact that nuclear power generation is not effectively adjusted to the power demand of society. Moreover, the future of truly clean energy has been stifled by a lack of funds for energy conservation and renewable energy.

The Basic Energy Plan was amended in March, 2010 to include numerical targets and international development of nuclear power, stating that Japan will work on the construction of new nuclear power generators and expansion of existing facilities, as well as on the early establishment of a nuclear fuel cycle. This also involves trying to adopt “innovative” energy technologies, such as next generation light-water nuclear reactors, fast breeder reactors and FBR closed fuel cycle technology by the end of this fiscal year (March 31, 2011).

Furthermore, the Parliament is discussing the Basic Law for Prevention of Global Warming as submitted by Japan’s government, which also relies on the use of nuclear power. We note that Japan’s government is involved with the business sector in frantic sales promotion of nuclear power plants to foreign countries.

We hereby resolve to request a diversified and rich energy policy with local energy production for local consumption under the slogan of “a vigorous and healthy life connected to the future” instead of the current national policy that promotes nuclear power plants and nuclear power generation.

Resolution adopted by the participants at the 37th general meeting of Consumers Union of Japan

June 6, 2010

We Oppose Full-Body Scanning at Airports

We Oppose the Introduction of Full-Body Scanning at Japan’s Airports

Statement by the Citizens Association Opposing Phone Tapping and Consumers Union of Japan

January 19, 2010

The U.S. government introduced whole body scanning at airports on December 25, 2009. This involves acquiring photographic images that reveal the nude body using X-ray techniques as a way to examine passengers. The claim is that such scanning is needed after attempts to bring bombs on board aircrafts. After that, physical examination using the same type of scanner has been extended to Canada and some EU member countries including the U.K., the Netherlands, and Italy.

However, other countries including Belgium and Spain are taking a skeptical approach to the introduction of such inspections, and in Germany, the opinion is divided.

We do not agree that the counter-terrorism argument is a valid explanation for introducing full-body scanning.

Such views are presented in mass media without taking into account privacy rights. We strongly request that whole body scanning should not be introduced in Japan, and that each government should make their own decisions regarding this issue without simply following the decisions made by the U.S. government. Moreover, we request that Japan’s government will clearly state that there will be no introduction of whole body scanning in the future.

1) We have strong misgivings about the violation of privacy related to collecting fingerprints and facial recognition through the US-VISIT (United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology) system, as introduced in 2009 and the introduction of taking naked full-body images from 2010.

2) We also have misgivings about the influence of X-rays on the human body during the exposure to radiation. Although it is reported that the amount of radiation is small, there is no guarantee that there is no influence when the whole human body is exposed.

3) Secondary use of the acquired images are technically an easy process, and there is no way to guarantee that individual privacy rights are not violated in the future, as information that must be protected are stored and accumulated on computers as electronic information.

4) It is uncertain if whole body scanning can properly identify small amounts of liquids or nonmetal materials, etc. The argument that scanning is needed for “counter-terrorism” is in fact a one-sided attack on individual privacy rights, as the effectiveness is doubtful.

5) The broader issues of human rights and civil liberties are seriously at risk with the introduction of severe monitoring systems that collect personal information including body data, careers, interpersonal relationships etc.

For more details, please see the website (Japanese)