Stop Rokkashomura! This is a movement that has to be spread and grown not only in Japan but also through the world. Once the nuclear reprocessing plant at Rokkashomura, on the northern tip of Japan’s main island, starts commercial operation, it will discharge EVERY DAY the same amount of annual radioactive pollution emitted by one nuclear plant. Researchers estimate that the Rokkashomura reprocessing facility would release 240 times as much radioactive particles as a nuclear reactor does into the air and 300 tons of radioactive waste water to the ocean every year ( RIZINE, 2007). Scientists and activists have claimed that a vast amount of radioactive contamination from Rokkashomura would destroy environment and give critical damage to present and future generations over centuries to come. Surprisingly, most Japanese do not know this issue and are not informed about it from media. To raise awareness of this issue, one of supporters for Stop Rokkashomura and a film director, Hitomi Kamanaka has filmed a documentary, “Rokkashomura Rhapsody.”
In May 11th, 2008, I attended the film screening of Rokkashomura Rhapsody held by a group called “Tea Party for Pregnant Mothers, Babies and Moms” in Yokohama, Japan. Asami Pritchard, a member of the group said, “I want especially mothers to watch this film. Although some of our members did not have enough sleep because their babies cried at night, they made a great effort to make and hand out fliers for this event.” I thought their promotion paid off because I saw not only many mothers but also fathers with their children and babies in the venue.
This documentary shows many complicated factors that contribute to the divided community of Rokkashomura, providing opinions from both supporters and opponents of the reprocessing facility. I think it is important to know why people support the plant because it would be impossible to find creative solutions without listening to supporters’ ideas.
Rokkashomura in Aomori Prefecture, on the north of Japan, with a population of 12,000, was developed by people who came back from Manchuria in China or Sakhalin in Russia after World War Ⅱ. The Japanese government purchased their lands to invite the biggest industrial plan, but the project never became reality and the nuclear reprocessing facility was built there instead. A nuclear reprocessing plant does not generate any electricity, but produces plutonium made of nuclear wastes collected from nuclear power plants. Plutonium is a highly toxic substance and a material of nuclear bombs.