March, 1st 2012
We are forming a non-profit study forum and public screening called “Cinema Forum Fukushima (CFF).” CFF focuses on the issue of Nuclear Energy. CFF will showcase approximately ten films mainly feature length documentary films, including some short films. During this showcase, CFF will facilitate after screening discussion with the audiences on the topic presented by the films. In doing so, we hope to raise awareness of health and environmental risk posed by the nuclear industry, eventually empowering public to denuclearizing our community. In order to achieve this goal, CFF will screen the films that emphasize these themes:
- Hazardous nature of radioactive substance and radiation, how low level radiation, especially the internal exposure, damages the children’s health and future generation in a long term, what the change occurring on human body between natural and artificial radioactive substances are.
- Case study on the severe accidents in the world.
- How public apathy toward nuclear power plants ruin individual lives and an entire community.
- How the nuclear industry including government underestimates the risk of radiation and marginalizes actual health damage from low level radiation such as constant radioactive leakage from nuclear power plants.
- How the nuclear industry preys on the weak.
- Sustainable energy and how to promote non nuclear energy
This CFF project is being put together on the first anniversary of the powerful earthquake and tsunami in Japan on March 11, 2011, that shut down the cooling systems of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The loss of cooling systems caused the triple meltdown, which became severe accidents like the one in Chernobyl Power Plant in 1986. This catastrophe terrorized not only Japanese people, but also people around the world. As an organizer of CFF, I must confess that I had not paid much attention to nuclear energy before this accident. Learning from scratch, such as hazardous nature of radioactive substance on the public health and the environment, deep-seated social problems in the nuclear industry, gradually made me realize that nuclear energy is a demonic chain reaction in modern society. Along this learning process, I came across a 2004 Academy Award in Short Documentary film called “Chernobyl Heart -Children of Chernobyl” directed by Maryann DeLeo. This film showed that children in Ukraine and Belarus still suffer from thyroid carcinoma, leukemia and teratogenic risk. The irony I found was that the most abused victim were children who did not choose the nuclear energy by themselves. Moreover, the severe accident of this nuclear power plant has disintegrated not only regular life of the family but also the entire community. It also gave me a glimpse of a not so distant time in Japan. In three to ten years, many children near Fukushima might face the similar sickness posed by the nuclear accidents. I no longer could not sit back as an onlooker.
Currently many Japanese filmmakers are capturing drastically changed daily lives in Fukushima in variety themes in which a nuclear disaster can contain. The past documentary films related the Chernobyl disaster and other topics on nuclear energy issues from many other countries, are released in Japan by popular public demands. Those documentaries made by Ukrainian, Belarusian, Russian, German, and American filmmakers have been recorded the pain of victims in return for the possibility of sincerity. In the same spirit, Japanese filmmakers have begun recording people of Fukushima on the theme of whatever their sincerity demands. In doing so, they recapture Fukushima crisis internally through victim’s experience, and disclose the depth of health and environment hazard on the severe accident which were hidden previously to the people’s eye. In result, most of the films are capable to restructure viewer’s emotion in a meaningful way toward undermining infestation of apathy. The world has realized this global threat. Germany and Italy have already made their decision not to rely on the nuclear powered society. I and collaborator of CFF strongly believe that people in the US should join this denuclearizing movement as a modern citizen.
According to IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) in 2010, on this planet there are 437 reactors in 29 countries generating total of 365,725 MW/year. The US is the giant in the world, which possesses 104 reactors. Just I was not aware of the risk of nuclear power plants and how radiation can damage public health and environment until last year, I strongly feel that majority of people in US are not well informed. As the nuclear industry, including the Japanese government, have tried to play down the risk in public, any other pro nuclear organizations all over the world have done in the same way to underestimate the risk of radiation and marginalize actual health damage from low level radiation such as constant radioactive leakage from nuclear power plants. In this climate without preparing for possible threat, the Fukushima disaster resulted in secondary damage crippling the public, such as delayed evacuation order by local authority, careless feeding of contaminated fodder to farm animals by local farmers, and careless circulation of contaminated food by local businessmen.
In US, this year the government has approved to construct a new nuclear reactor in Georgia after a moratorium of more than 30 years. President Obama said in his 2010 State of the Union Address as below,
“But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. And that means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country, because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy, and America must be that nation.”
After witnessing the severe accidents in Chernobyl and Fukushima, it is impossible for humans to declare nuclear power plants are safe and clean energy, it is impossible for humans to assure that there won’t be another severe accident nor human errors, while the detoxification method of radiation is unfeasible. As a citizen of a country that possesses nuclear power plants, the American public must be deeply informed the reality of nuclear hazard. Knowing a nuclear Catastrophe could happen in our community in the near future, and understanding the risk with the right information, these are the first steps to avoid the catastrophe and secondary damage. Through screening films about people’s suffering in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Navajo, Hanford Site, Bikini Atoll, Three Mile Island, Nevada-Semipalatinsk, Chernobyl, Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Fukushima, we will be able to decipher heavy toll on human rights, and seek progress among audience. In doing so, we will creatively come up with our next action toward non nuclear society. Cinema Forum Fukushima would like to provide the place to exchange variety of opinion among people, and search our own possibility of sincerity through public screenings.
Lastly, I would like to share quote from Susan Sontag who has influenced and motivated this project,
”Our Sympathy proclaims our innocence as well as our impotence. To that extent, it can be (for all our good intentions) an impertinent —if not an inappropriate— response. To set aside the sympathy we extend to others beset by war and murderous politics for a reflection on how our privileges are located on the same map as their suffering, and may —in ways we might prefer not to imagine— be linked to their suffering, as the wealth of some may imply the destitution of others, is a task for which the painful, stirring images supply only an initial spark.” ~Susan Sontag “Regarding The Pain Of Others”
CFF Program Director