The Socialist

The Socialist 7 March 2018

UCU strike: bosses on the run

The Socialist issue 985

May's EU speech kicks the can down the road


NHS: public health - not private profit

Snow chaos showed the bosses' coldness - but also workers' grit

Toys R Us, Maplin: worsening retail crisis claims more jobs

Them & Us


Capitalism oppresses women - fight for socialism!

Women's oppression: the struggle goes on

The Socialist inbox: International Women's Day


UCU strike: bosses on the run

National lecturers' pension strike continues

Whole lotta shakin' goin' on in Merseyside DOO dispute

PCS: Re-elect the left and fight for decent pay

Hull workers united against bosses

FCC Environment strike solid


Syria: No ceasefire for 'hell on earth' eastern Goutha

Japan - toxic legacy of the Fukushima disaster


Salford nurseries consultation delayed

Donate to the Socialist Party building fund

Hands Off HRI campaign group meets Corbyn and Ashworth

TUSC plans to stand on Waltham Forest anti-monster block platform

Derbyshire says: No fracking way!

Coventry shows solidarity with the Syrian people


Fighting sexual harassment in entertainment

The Socialist inbox

 
 
 
 
 

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Japan - toxic legacy of the Fukushima disaster

Protesters in Japan march with signs reading 'goodbye nuclear power,' photo by James Clement

Protesters in Japan march with signs reading 'goodbye nuclear power,' photo by James Clement   (Click to enlarge)

James Clement, Coventry West Socialist Party

The magnitude 9 Tohoku earthquake of March 2011 was powerful enough to move the largest island of Japan 2.4 metres east. The tsunami which followed sparked the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. 15,000 lives were lost.

Today, there are still almost 55,000 displaced evacuees in Fukushima prefecture, forced to abandon everything. The radiation exposure there still continues to claim lives, with 50 people having died since March 2016.

On top of this, across the three prefectures of Fukushima, Iwate, and Miyagi - all affected by the disaster - 155 survivors committed suicide between 2011 and 2015.

Some may see this as a freak natural occurrence; Japan sits on the Pacific 'ring of fire' meaning it will always be highly prone to earthquakes. However, the Fukushima disaster highlighted how the interests of big business will always take precedence over human life.

As far back as 2002, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), which runs the Fukushima plant, refused a request by the now-defunct Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (Nisa) to carry out a simulation at the plant after a report highlighted the likelihood of a major tsunami hitting the region within 30 years to be 20%.

And in 2008, although a Tepco simulation showed that a 15.7 metre-high tsunami could hit the Fukushima plant, nothing was done to improve safety measures.

In September last year, a court ruling forced Tepco to pay measly additional compensation of 376 million yen (2.5 million) to 42 evacuees - on top of the 500 million yen (3.3 million) that a court had already ordered both the state and Tepco to pay out to the victims in compensation, due to the failure of both to enforce or implement safety measures.

The failure of the state to look after working class people is also shown in the disgraceful decision to increase the rent for 70% of survivors of the earthquake living in government-run housing, which will affect 16,000 households across Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi prefectures.

After the disaster, also amid the huge movement against nuclear power that developed, nuclear power plants across Japan were forced to close down operations. But the major energy corporations running them will not tolerate a loss of profits in a highly competitive market for long.

Despite massive opposition to nuclear power, plants in Fukui prefecture - which houses more reactors than any of Japan's 47 prefectures - have seen multiple reactors owned by the Kansai Electric Power Company (Kepco) resume operation.

The anti-nuclear movement has already drawn huge numbers from across many sections of society; from young people, to trade unions, and citizens' groups. For the class struggle in Japan, the need to link the anti-nuclear power movement to the need to break with capitalism will be vital.

Clearly, under capitalism the threat to peoples' lives from irresponsible, profit-hungry companies will never disappear. Instead, we need a socialist plan for the economy, putting people's needs before profit.


In this issue


What we think

May's EU speech kicks the can down the road


Socialist Party news and analysis

NHS: public health - not private profit

Snow chaos showed the bosses' coldness - but also workers' grit

Toys R Us, Maplin: worsening retail crisis claims more jobs

Them & Us


International Women's Day 2018

Capitalism oppresses women - fight for socialism!

Women's oppression: the struggle goes on

The Socialist inbox: International Women's Day


Socialist Party workplace news

UCU strike: bosses on the run

National lecturers' pension strike continues

Whole lotta shakin' goin' on in Merseyside DOO dispute

PCS: Re-elect the left and fight for decent pay

Hull workers united against bosses

FCC Environment strike solid


International socialist news and analysis

Syria: No ceasefire for 'hell on earth' eastern Goutha

Japan - toxic legacy of the Fukushima disaster


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Salford nurseries consultation delayed

Donate to the Socialist Party building fund

Hands Off HRI campaign group meets Corbyn and Ashworth

TUSC plans to stand on Waltham Forest anti-monster block platform

Derbyshire says: No fracking way!

Coventry shows solidarity with the Syrian people


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Fighting sexual harassment in entertainment

The Socialist inbox


 

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