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Japan: Left appeals for solidarity with victims and evacuees of the earthquake/tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster

Evacuees sit through an earthquake at a temporary shelter at a stadium in Koriyama. Photo: Reuters.

Appeal for financial solidarity with the victims and evacuees of the northeastern Japan earthquake/tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster

By the Japan Revolutionary Communist League (JRCL) and the National Council of Internationalist Workers (NCIW)

March 17, 2011 -- On March 11, at 2:30 PM (JST), the tremendously powerful earthquake of magnitude 9 hit the vast area of eastern Japan, comprised of northeast and Kanto regions. The earthquake gave rise to the formidable tsunami, which devastated numerous cities and towns all along the Pacific coast from the northernmost prefecture of Aomori to the southern Chiba prefecture. At the time of March 17, the number of deaths and missing persons is already close to 20,000, and the number continues to increase.

At the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the symbol of Japan as a “major nuclear-power nation”, all six nuclear reactors from No.1 to No. 6 were damaged due to the earthquake and tsunami. All the reactors have gone out of control more or less, and dreadful extraordinary phenomena have developing such as gas explosions, fires of housing buildings, reactor-core meltdowns and radiation leaks and spills. The danger of Chernobyl-type nuclear disaster seems to be becoming more and more real. Within a 30-kilometer radius from the nuclear plant, residents have already been ordered to evacuate from the area.

There are now 500,000 evacuees who have lost their houses and/or their dearest family members. Those evacuees have lost their dwellings and foundations of livelihood, due to the threefold sufferings from the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. Fuel, food, clothing and medicine are terribly in short supply at evacuation sites that have assembled those people who lost their dwellings under the bitter cold.

In this rich and advanced capitalist country of Japan, there have been increase of unemployment and job insecurity, widening social disparity between rich and poor, disintegration of agrarian and fishery rural communities, and discarding of various social securities under the neoliberal policies of the capital. Those victimised social layers are the hardest hit by the earthquake and tsunami.

The earthquake-tsunami damage and the nuclear disaster will widen the structural crisis of Japanese capitalism, and the ruling capitalist regime and its social forces will necessarily expand and strengthen their social, economic and political attacks against the suffering population and the whole working masses.

At the earthquake/tsunami-stricken areas of Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, our comrades and co-worker union activists have already begun activities to support suffering people and to defend their lives and social rights. The pressing priority is to procure food, fuel and housing for the suffered and to secure employment for those who lost their workplaces. Our comrades and co-workers strive to develop and expand popular and autonomous initiatives among working masses and local residents all through their activities.

We call on our international comrades and friends to extend their financial solidarity to the activities of the Miyagi and Fukushima comrades and co-workers.

Furthermore, we call on the international comrades and friends.

The terrible disaster of Fukushima No. 1 nuclear powerplant has made it absolutely clear once again that nuclear energy can damage the environment irreparably, ruin agriculture and fisheries and accelerate the food crisis and accordingly, put the survival of human beings on the Earth into a fatal crisis. The capitalist propaganda about “nuclear power generation as efficient and clean resources of energy” has been definitely proved to be an outright lie. The Japanese government and the TEPCO are hiding the truth of the Fukushima disaster and worsening the nuclear crisis further.

Please intensify your global campaigns to oppose the nuclear energy and to abolish nuclear power plants. Advances of your anti-nuclear campaigns are surely to encourage the Japanese sufferers and evacuees and resisting workers and popular masses here.

With our thanks to your encouragements and solidarity to us.

International donations are collected via Europe solidaire sans frontières (ESSF), Europe in Solidarity Without Borders:

Cheques
Cheques to ESSF in euros only to be sent to:
ESSF
2, rue Richard-Lenoir
93100 Montreuil
France

Bank account:
Crédit lyonnais
Agence de la Croix-de-Chavaux (00525)
10 boulevard Chanzy
93100 Montreuil
France
ESSF, account number 445757C

International bank account detail:
IBAN : FR85 3000 2005 2500 0044 5757 C12
BIC / SWIFT : CRLYFRPP
Account holder : ESSF

Partido Lakas ng Masa: Our solidarity with the people of Japan

Statement of the Partido Lakas ng Masa

March 14, 2011 -- The Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Laboring Masses, PLM) expresses its deepest concern and sends its condolences to all the families and victims of the earthquake and tsunami that hit the north-eastern coast of Japan last Friday. Our thoughts are also with all our Japanese friends and comrades and we pledge our solidarity and support to them in these dark hours.

We also join Filipinos here and abroad who, up to now, wait for official news from the Philippine government as to the real situation of our Kababayans who were affected by the earthquake and tsunami. We call on the government to put its contingency plans in motion without losing precious time, which is crucial, when disasters such as these strike. The government should get its act together to ensure that vital information and other services needed by the victims and their families are given in a prompt and efficient manner.

No to nuclear power

The horrors of the devastation wrecked by the earthquake and tsunami have been intensified by the dangerous state of meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear powerplant and the explosion at the Fukushima nuclear reactor. The accident, in which unspecified quantities of radioactivity were released, highlights the grave inherent hazards of nuclear power generation, and confirms the scientific assessment that all nuclear reactor-types can undergo a catastrophic accident like Three Mile Island (US, 1979) and Chernobyl (Ukraine, 1986), irrespective of the precautions taken and safety systems installed. An estimated 65,000 to 110,000 people perished in Chernobyl. The toll from Fukushima is as yet unknown, but is likely to be high.

The nuclear accident in Fukushima, once again sends out a strong message to the world, that nuclear energy projects should be abandoned and that all existing nuclear power plants around the world should be shut down. Nuclear energy is neither "clean" nor "safe" and is not a substitute for non-renewable energy sources, such as fossil fuels.

No to Bataan nuclear powerplant

The Philippines, like Japan, lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire where 90% of the world’s earthquakes occur and where 80% of the world’s largest earthquakes originate. The Fukushima nuclear accident only shows us that no amount of safety precautions will prevent a possible nuclear meltdown and accident in earthquake prone areas like Japan and the Philippines. If in Japan we are now witnessing a possible nuclear catastrophe, that well-trained scientists and nuclear physicists with world-class technological know how are unable to prevent, what assurance do we then have that the same accident will not happen to the Bataan nuclear powerplant (BNPP) if it is operationalised? The BNPP was also found to have 4000 defects that prompted the mothballing of the project in 1986 by the late President Corazon Aquino. No amount of safety precautions will prevent a Chernobyl or Fukushima-like nuclear disaster, or even worse, happening in the Philippines.

Partido Lakas ng Masa calls on President Aquino’s government to stop all efforts to re-open the talks on the possibility of rehabilitating and operationalising the Bataan nuclear powerplant. The government should find other alternative source of renewable energy, that are sustainable and environment friendly, plentiful and easily available in the Philippines, i.e. plenty of sun or solar, wind, thermal and hydropower energy sources. The government should commit itself to giving top priority to renewable energy – solar, wind, thermal and hydro – and place renewable energy power generation at the centre of a national energy program and strategy.

Australia's Green Left Weekly: Japan: Let this be a call to act now

Damage from the tsunami in Minimisanrikucho, Japan.

By Peter Boyle

March 20, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- I am sure we all shared similar reactions to last week’s earthquake-tsunami tragedy in Japan.

First, we blinked at reports of a big earthquake. Perhaps for a moment our response was dulled — worn down by the string of recent disasters: the Christchurch earthquake, the Queensland floods and cyclones.

Anyway, this was Japan, a rich country and probably the most earthquake-prepared nation in the world.

Then came the images of the tsunami that followed; too much like the work of a special effects wiz from Hollywood. The water seemed too powerful and entire towns and villages seemed to wash away too easily. But this time it was real, as was the mounting death toll.

Then there was more horror as a nuclear disaster unfolded. Japan is the third largest nuclear power user in the world with 53 nuclear reactors that provide 34.5% of its power needs.

Surely it would be prepared to deal with a nuclear disaster?

Scenes of survivors picking helplessly at the rubble have no doubt shocked many around the world.

Our hearts should be with those survivors struggling to find loved ones, to clear the mess and to somehow begin rebuilding.

But just as they have had to overcome a sinking into inertia that can come with shock, we must draw our lessons and start to act:

1. Show our solidarity and respond generously through the aid appeals.

2. Play our part to end the nuclear madness by ending Australian mining and export of uranium. Some of the exploding nuclear plants in Japan are fuelled by uranium exported from Australia — more blood-stained corporate profit.

3. The Japan disaster was not a result of climate change but if we don’t address the climate change crisis terrible catastrophes on this scale (or greater) will become more common in the future.

Time is running out — we need to shift quickly to renewable energy sources not dangerous nuclear power.

Green Left Weekly is committed to this course of action.

[This article first appeared in Green Left Weekly, Australia's leading socialist newspaper. Peter Boyle is national convenor of the Socialist Alliance of Australia.]

Socialist Party (USA): In solidarity with the people of Japan

By Andrea Pason and Billy Wharton, co-chairs Socialist Party USA

March 15, 2011 -- The Socialist Party USA extends its most sincere wishes of sympathy and solidarity to the people of Japan as they suffer from the greatest tragedy since World War II. We have watched in horror as the deadly tsunami wiped out whole towns, killing tens of thousands of people. Even areas that were left untouched by the direct devastation are now suffering from shortages in the most basic and vital supplies to ensure people’s health and welfare.

We support the efforts of International relief organisations who are responding to the crisis. We also call for the substantial resources of the US government to be used in the initiative to relieve the suffering of the Japanese people. It is moments like this where we recognise, and others should realise, how important the kind of global connectedness necessary to create an international system based on solidarity and mutual cooperation is most necessary.

Political statements seem out of order given the depth of human suffering. However, we are also quite concerned about the potential dangers facing the Japanese people and people around the world from the damaged nuclear reactors. Though the storm was a natural phenomenon, the dangers inherent in nuclear energy, not to mention nuclear arms, are not; they were created by human hands.

We pledge and hope others will as well, to redouble efforts to end the “Nuclear Renaissance” currently underway in the US and hope other countries will do the same in ending the use of nuclear energy and the elimination of nuclear arms stockpiles worldwide. This is especially critical now as we see first hand the added devastation from the release of unknown amounts of radiation from the meltdown of possibly multiple nuclear power plants. We can only guess at the added cost of life, and fear the unknown effects on future generations.

Only a program of green renewable energy forms can meet the long-term demands for energy while ensuring the safety of the world’s population.

Today, we stand together with the Japanese people who are struggling to deal with this most terrible tragedy. There are no words that can effectively convey our sincerest sympathies to the people of Japan at this dark devastating time.

We hold on to the hope inherent in socialism that even in the darkest moment of disaster, a better world is possible. We hope that our simple message of solidarity to the people of Japan and to the family members here and around the world dealing with loss of loved ones may contribute in some small way, to raising the spirits of those in despair and to building greater links of friendship in the future.

[Visit the Socialist Party USA at http://www.socialistparty-usa.org/.]
  

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Venezuela sends humanitarian aid to Japan


Venezuela sent a plane from its national airline, Conviasa, with 19 ton cargo of food and medical supplies to the city of Nagoya, located 262 kilometers from Tokyo. This represents an unprecedented action of humanitarian aid in the history of this South American country.

According to the Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this is the longest flight of the Venezuelan aviation to aid an affected country. 16,000 kilometers were covered in 21 hours and the plane had a crew of 28 people.

"We are proud to say that this is the first time that Conviasa arrives in Japan and it is because humanitarian reasons. We are aiding the brother Japanese people and assisting 200 South Americans with their evacuation." The Venezuelan Ambassador to Japan Seiko Ishikawa expressed.

In its return flight, Conviasa's Libertador Simón Bolívar A340 Airbus will bring back 200 people from Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Cuba and Bolivia, among other countries. This represents part of the support given by the Bolivarian Government to the Latin American community living in Japan.

"An earthquake of 9 on the Richter scale and a tsunami affected Japan on March 11, 2011. The death toll is of 9,000 people, more than 12,000 are missing and 320,000 lost their homes and are going through the shortage of products and the radioactive pollution of water, milk and vegetables.

The aid sent by Venezuela comprises 167 packages of blankets, 612 cans of sardines, 578 cans of tuna, 708 packages  of mineral water and 108 packages of medical supplies.
RNV / MPPRE / Edited by MinCI / March 23, 2011

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