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Thursday, June 26, 2008

An Article in "The Global Educator"

Here is my article in the Summer 2008 Issue of The Global Educator, a journal by PAGE BC, or British Columbia Teachers for Peace and Global Education. Please click on the photos to enlarge.

Here is the cover of the journal.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Documentary Film "Rokkashomura Rhapsody" in Vancouver

Peace Philosophy Centre Presents:

A Documentary Film

"Rokkashomura Rhapsody"

Directed by Hitomi Kamanaka

Produced by Group Gendai


102 minutes

English Version (Narration in English by Director Kamanaka, and Japanese parts with English subtitles)

Dates and Times:

Tuesday June 17th - 10:00 AM 2:00 PM 8:00 PM

Thursday June 19th - 10:00 AM (CANCELLED) 2:00 PM (CANCELLED)

Saturday July 5th - 2:00 PM

(Door opens 15 minutes prior to each screening time.)

Location: Peace Philosophy Centre (Vancouver, BC, Canada)
* Exact location will be provided by email to those who reserved.

Admission: $5 General; $3 Students

Reservation Required: Email or call604-619-5627 with your name, number of people coming, and which day and time you would like to attend.

Children are welcome. Please give the number and ages of children at the time of reservation. Please bring children's activities e.g. snacks,drawing, crafts, to keep them busy during the film. It is caregiver's responsibility to ensure children's safety during the event. Please note that 8 PM screening on June 16th is for over 12 years old only.

Japan imports 28% of its uranium from Canada. Much of that is used in the more than 50 nuclear reactors throughout Japan. This film is about how local citizens are coping with the construction of a giant nuclear reprocessing plant in Rokkashomura, a remote village in Aomori Prefecture, Japan. Japan, while its self-sufficiency rate of energy is only 4%, boasts only 50% reliance on oil as energy source, but this film asks - at what cost?

For more information about the film, here is Yumiko Kikuno's report of the recent screening of Rokkashomura Rhapsody in Yokohama.

Here is the event information in Japanese.

We hope to see many of you there!

Peace Philosophy Centre

Friday, June 20, 2008

Talk by a Gulf War veteran, Dennis Kyne in Tokyo

Peace Journalist Yumiko Kikuno

On May 9th 2008, I attended a talk event,”Truth of Depleted Uranium Weapon” by a Gulf War veteran, Dennis Kyne in Tokyo. He had served as a medic for the US Army since 1987 and joined Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield during the Gulf War in 1991. After the Operations, he saw a horrible sight on the way from Kuwait to Baghdad, which was called “Highway of Death.” The highway was destroyed and radioactively contaminated by 340 tons of depleted uranium weapons (DU) by American air strikes. Dennis started to wonder what happened to many returned soldiers from the Gulf War who suffered from illness or died. And then, he could no longer believe a policy of US forces and discharged from it in 2003. Dennis, who claims that depleted uranium weapons has to be regarded as nuclear armaments, has currently worked on movements for abolition of DU and nuclear arms or anti-war campaigns.


   Depleted uranium weapons are made of nuclear wastes emitted from nuclear power plants. Its characteristics, such as heavy and solid, make it possible to penetrate a heavy tank. When DU weapons go through a target, they burn at a high temperature and become more like gas. As a result, air, water and soil would be contaminated by those radioactive particles, and soldiers and people in the battlefields would suffer from internal radioactive exposure caused by inhaling DU dust. The rate of cancer, leukemia or deformed baby in Iraq and Kosovo, where DU weapons have been used, has drastically increased.

   Dennis showed the participants many photographs that he took in the battlefields. These pictures could support Dennis’s comment that this weapon destroyed living things, but it did not effect on substances. For example, one soldier’s body was carbonized, but the jeep’s tire beside the body was not destroyed. Although the other body melted, its boots kept their original forms. There was not any bombshell trails around a corpse that was severely damaged. Although I already knew internal radioactive exposure due to DU weapons would give severe damages to people, I was really shocked again by new information about devastated battlefields.

The Gulf War veteran said, “The US government has reported that DU will not be harmful to the environment and people because radiation from DU is much lower than that of the natural backgrounds levels of uranium in the environment. However, it is not true. We have to inform across the world that it is dangerous for people to be exposed to even low does once they are internally contaminated by radiation.” He continued his speech, “When I was a child, I believed mission of an army was to keep peace. However, now I think American policy has destroyed peace. It is impossible to export democracy with war and the forces are not capable to create peace. In addition, capitalism ruins democracy. Moreover, chronic fear is necessary to keep war culture. Sadly, American citizens tend to believe wrong information that the US government gives to justify war.” In addition, Dennis explained some schools in the US set Junior Officer Training Cadet to recruit students aged between 14 to 17. The course is supposed to provide students with an opportunity to learn manner or discipline, but what they will actually learn is marching or fighting strategy.  The government gives subsidy to schools that adopt the program. Students, who complete the course, will be able to get promoted fast when they join the army.

    We sometimes find out the truth that is the last thing that we would want to know. However, I think we should consider that the shocking truth is not the thing to bring fear or hopelessness to our society, but a chance to raise issues. It might be a message to make us realize what has happened in our world and I want to believe the reason why horrifying truth surfaces is that it could be possible to solve the problems. Dennis Kyne, who has witnessed lots of scenes from hell, wrapped up his talk, saying,” Peace is possible!”

「俺は劣化ウランを見てしまった。」-湾岸戦争帰還兵 デニス・カインさんの講演

                        Peace Journalist  菊野由美子






知らなければよかったと思う真実もある。だが、ショックな真実は我々に恐怖や絶望をもたらすものではなく、問題提起に過ぎないのではないだろうか?今、我々はこのような社会に住んでいるというメッセージで、それは解決可能だから表面化されたと受け取りたい。デニスさんは講演をこう締めくくった。“Peace is Possible!”様々な地獄絵を見てきた彼の言葉である。

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

(Japanese) Canada Apologizes to First Nations People for Residential School Abuses

2008年6月11日 歴史的なこの日に





ハーパー首相のスピーチは このリンクで見られます。

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Yumiko Kikuno's Report on "Rokkashomura Rhapsody" Screening in Yokohama

Film Rokkashomuramura Rhapsody and Talk by director Hitomi Kamanaka in Yokohama, Japan

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.

Opponents say, “I want to keep this land healthy to pass on to the next generation.” “No more Chernobyl !” “Renewable resources, tourism and local industry would help Rokkashomura to develop, not a reprocessing plant.” Keiko Kikukawa has been working on Stop Rokkashomura movement, running her tulip farm. She has realized that she has to expose her life to people not to be treated as unpatriotic and called an extremist and she also wants to save her land in a way she can enjoy. Now, many young people have visited the tulip farm to help her.

Supporters say,”I cannot complain because energy is necessary in terms of economic development.” “I cannot help it because it is a decision done by the government.” “The facility has given me a job.” A man has decided to work at the Rokkashomura reprocessing plant to raise his two children because he cannot make a living by fishing. Many other supporters’ opinions reveal complicated backgrounds that make most residents ignore this issue.

After the film screening, Hitomi kamanaka said in her speech,”I filmed this documentary because I did not want to think that there was nothing I could do.” When she went to Iraq in 1998, she saw many children with cancer died because they did not have enough medical treatment. Then, she found that economic sanction prevented Iraq from importing anticancer drugs because anticancer drug could be a material of mass-destruction weapons. She also came to know the reason why the number of children who suffered from cancer had drastically increased was internal radiation exposure caused by depleted uranium weapons made of nuclear wastes from nuclear power plants. She was shocked to know that there still were many people who were exposed to radiation by weapons even after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. She thought that Japanese, whose energy consumption was the second in the world, could not say to people in Iraq, “We need electricity, so it cannot be helped!”

She also pointed out that most Japanese are not informed of the fact that Rokkashomura has been burdened with all sorts of energy issues in Japan. In addition, she did not want this documentary to bring new conflicts to the community because whether one was a supporter or an opponent, one has their own story of how they reached their decision. And then, she shared with the audience some episodes: she was refused interview to Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited and also spent about a year until the supportered agreed to be interviewed.

Members of this screening event have changed their awareness and started to do what they can do. Film Rokkashomura Rhapody is a strong tool to connect people for the movement of Stop Rokkashomura!

Yumiko Kikuno, Peace Journalist

Friday, June 06, 2008

Documentary Film "Rokkashomura Rhapsody" in Vancouver

*** 映画会会場前での予期していなかった工事のため、6月19日(木)10時、2時の回は中止となりました。申し訳ございません。7月5日(土)午後2時の上映会は予定通り行います。ぜひご参加下さい。***

Documentary Film Rokkashomura Rhapsody (Directed by Hitomi Kamanaka, 2006, 102 min. English Version) to be shown in Vancouver! See here for English

鎌仲ひとみ監督ドキュメンタリー映画「六ヶ所村ラプソディー」(2006年 グループ現代 102分)バンクーバー初上映決定!今回は、働いている人、子育て中の人、さまざまなスケジュールの人の都合に合うように、平日、週末、午前中と夜も含め、計6回の連続上映会を企画します。今回は監督やプロデューサーの協力を得て、いらしていただきやすい入場料の設定が可能となりました!



第1回 10:00AM
第2回  2:00PM
第3回  8:00PM (この回だけ12歳以上のみ)

第4回 10:00AM (中止)
第5回  2:00PM (中止)

第6回  2:00PM


★場所 ピース・フィロソフィー・センター 
(カナダ・バンクーバー 場所についての詳細は申込いただいた方にメールで送ります)
★入場料:一般 5ドル 学生 3ドル 

★申込:予約制。なるべく上映の前日までに、 か、電話 604-619-5627 に、何回目の上映か明記し、代表者のお名前と、人数、連絡先をお願いします。当日でもOKです。1回の定員は15名とします。









Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Film Yasukuni 靖国神社と映画「靖国」

Yumiko Kikuno's report on her visit to Yasukuni Shrine and Documentary Film "Yasukuni "

Peace Journalist 菊野由美子




そして、5月10日渋谷シネ・アミューズで映画「靖国」を観た。この映画館の前にも警官が配置されていた。映画「靖国」は、中国人監督 李纓氏が10年の歳月をかけて靖国神社とそこに関わる人々を追ったドキュメンタリーである。靖国神社のご神体として、昭和8年から終戦までの12年間、靖国刀が作られており、昭和29年に製造が復活され、今も現役最後の刀匠・刈谷直治さんによって作り続けられている。彼の存在はこの映画に欠かせない。刈谷さんは、ただ職人としてはずかしくない刀を黙々と作り続けているのだ。監督の質問にも長い沈黙の後、ボソッと答える。この“沈黙”にこそメッセージがあるようだ。





Application for 2008 Hiroshima/Nagasaki Program is now closed

All the three spaces for the 2008 Hiroshima/Nagasaki Peace Exchange Tour have now been filled. The application is now closed. Thank you very much for your interest.

If you would like to receive information of next year's program, please email


Satoko Norimatsu