From Hiroshima to Fukushima

This video is called Hiroshima Atom Bomb Impact.

From the World Socialist Web Site:

From Hiroshima to Fukushima: The political background to the nuclear disaster in Japan

By a guest contributor

23 June 2011

This is the first of a two-part article on the historical antecedents of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster of March 11, the meltdown of the nuclear reactor in Fukushima continues to alarm people all around the world. The world witnessed the events virtually live as one reactor building after another exploded and one of the planet’s most high-tech countries tried to quell the 770 000 terabecquerel radioactivity unleashed from the meltdown with bucket and hose. Japan was desperate to convince the world that everything was under control.

Following the media reports from Japan, many people ask themselves why governments chose to gamble on nuclear power in such an earthquake-prone country—after the US and France, Japan is the world’s third largest nuclear power nation—and why the people of this land appeared to be so indifferent to the dangers of nuclear energy.

These are the questions we want to pursue.

Eisenhower’s change of course

The propagation of nuclear technology in Japan was a direct consequence of the US military’s endeavours to wield influence over the country’s development immediately after the Second World War. Shortly after the end of the war, the US began to transform Japan into a bulwark against the Soviet Union. This policy was intensified following the taking of power by Stalinist regimes in China and Korea. Having lost the monopoly on nuclear weapons, it became necessary for the US to make Japan receptive to nuclear power.

On April 20, the Japanese Mainichi Shimbun newspaper wrote: “During the eighth General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1954, former US President Eisenhower held a speech, entitled “Atoms for Peace”. His strategy was to assign relevant technologies to other countries in order to integrate them into the US power bloc, thereby securing hegemony in the Cold War against the Soviet Union. That Japan, the only country to have suffered the full force of nuclear weapons, would agree to embrace nuclear technology was of enormous strategic importance“.

The CIA agent, “Podam”

The same newspaper article quoted Tetsuo Arima, media researcher and professor of social science at the University of Waseda, concerning the Japanese pro-nuclear politician and media magnate, Matsutaro Shoriki: “After the world war, the CIA worked closely with Mr. Shoriki to advance the campaign for nuclear energy in Japan. It did so because this man had not only the necessary connections to politics and economics, but also the power to mobilise his newspaper and television empire”.

During years of research in the United States National Archives and Records Administration, Arima discovered 474 pages of CIA files, documenting in detail the progress of the introduction of nuclear technology to Japan. From one of these, he quotes the following: “Relations with Podam have now progressed to the stage where outright cooperation can be initiated”.

“Podam” was the code name for the member of parliament and CIA asset, Matsutaro Shoriki, who would later become president of the atomic energy authority he founded, as well as minister for science and technology. Shoriki is today regarded as father of Japan’s nuclear power.

The Japanese Goebbels

Shoriki’s career would have been unthinkable without his close relationship with the CIA and the Pentagon. As head of the political police in fascist Japan before and during the war, he was particularly responsible for hunting down and crushing the unions, communists, socialists and opponents of the war. Later he became a member of the upper house of parliament and head of the information department of the interior ministry, which was responsible for ideological warfare and propaganda. He had become owner of the Yomiuri Shimbun as early as 1924. This newspaper was to become the main mouthpiece for the warmongers and the military dictatorship in the 1930s and 1940s. Yomiuri Shimbun is today Japan’s largest newspaper with a circulation of about ten million. It can be said that Shoriki was the Joseph Goebbels of Japan.

Following the war, he was imprisoned as a major war criminal for three years. However, his case was never brought to prosecution. Instead, he was released without trial. The CIA and the US Defense Department needed his skills and influence to implement Eisenhower’s policy in Japan. Secret US government files show that the CIA and the Pentagon provided funds, amounting to tens of millions of dollars, for the construction of the Shoriki media empire—he was also the founder of the first private television broadcaster, Japan TV, as well as Japan’s professional baseball league.

Part 2 of this article is here.

Japan: Huge protest against nuclear power: here.

The Great Hiroshima Cover-Up: How the US hid shocking footage for decades: here.

Britain: Blockade of nuclear plant planned: here.

USA: As Nebraska’s two nuclear power plants on the Missouri River are threatened by rising floodwaters, an AP report reveals that three-quarters of US plants are leaking radioactive tritium: here.

Jeremy Corbyn looks back at the atomic bombardment of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the hands of the US government: here.

Desmond Tutu, Project Syndicate: “Eliminating nuclear weapons is the democratic wish of the world’s people. Yet no nuclear-armed country currently appears to be preparing for a future without these terrifying devices. In fact, all are squandering billions of dollars on modernization of their nuclear forces, making a mockery of United Nations disarmament pledges. If we allow this madness to continue, the eventual use of these instruments of terror seems all but inevitable”: here.

8 thoughts on “From Hiroshima to Fukushima

  1. AAPSO Statement on

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki

    In this month we commemorate the 66th anniversaries of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima on Aug. 6 and Nagasaki on Aug. 9 1945.

    During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted two atomic bombings on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, the first on August 6, 1945 and the second on August 9, 1945. These two events were the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date. For six months before the atomic bombings, the United States intensely fire-bombed 67 Japanese cities. Together with the United Kingdom and the Republic of China, the United States called for a surrender of Japan in the Potsdam Declaration on July 26, 1945. The Japanese government ignored this ultimatum. By executive order of President Harry S. Truman, the U.S. dropped the nuclear weapon “Little Boy” on the city of Hiroshima on Monday, August 6, 1945, followed by the detonation of “Fat Man” over Nagasaki on August 9.

    The atomic bomb that detonated on the Japanese city of Hiroshima carried the explosive power of 12.5 kilotons (or 25 million pounds) of TNT. Three days later a second atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki, carried the explosive power of 22 kilotons (or 44 million pounds) of TNT.

    Hiroshima; No one will ever know for certain how many people died in the attack on Hiroshima. The U.S. government estimates that 70,000 people died as a result of initial blast, heat, and radiation effects. By the end of 1945, the Hiroshima death toll was probably over 100,000. The five-year total may have exceeded 200,000.

    Nagasaki ; similarly it will never be known for certain how many people died as a result of the atomic bombing on Nagasaki. As many as 40,000 people died initially. By January of 1946 the number of deaths probably approached 70,000, with as many as 140,000 total dead within 5 years.

    And those who affected by the blasts became known as hibakusha (Atom Bomb Survivors). Weeks after the explosions, even those who where uninjured began to succumb to a terrible plague. Those affected would loose their hair and purple spots would erupt on their skin. Vomiting, diarrhea, and uncontrollable bleeding from the gums was followed by death. At the time the Japanese did not realize they were dying from radiation sickness, instead they imagined they were in some Buddhist Hell. Sadly, hibakusha in Japan are still dying today from their radiation induced sicknesses and wounds. This accident has affected even those who were born to the affected mothers.

    The bombing of these two cities marked the first use of atomic weapons in warfare. Atomic weapons deliver enormous explosive power and heat energy, but also poison those who are in the vicinity of the explosion with radiation. The bombs’ radiation killed thousands of people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the explosions. Moreover, radiation effects killed thousands more in the months that followed. Sadly, many more people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki suffered the effects of “radiation sickness” for decades after the August 6th and August 9th bombings.

    According to the U.S. government, the bombs were dropped not only in an effort to end WWII and to prevent the planned invasion of Japan by U.S. forces that was expected to cause 1 million U.S. casualties , but also the united states wanted by interring the post ww2 era by nuclear supremacy to shape the character of the cold war . However, some historians believe that the bombings were unnecessary because at the time the bombs were dropped the Japanese were ready to surrender.

    Really the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a war crime worse than any that Japanese generals were executed for in Tokyo and Manila. There were many more deaths in the following years from the radioactive climate left behind by the bombings.

    In this occasion Afro Asian People’s Solidarity Organization “AAPSO” call all leaders of the nuclear states to eliminate nuclear weapons and to cut funding for nuclear weapons and to redirect those funds to meet the needs to the people.

    As, more than two decades after the end of the Cold War, nearly 23,000 nuclear weapons, over 95% of them in the arsenals of the United States and Russia, continue to pose an intolerable threat to cities and people everywhere .

    Recent studies have shown that a nuclear war involving no more than 100 Hiroshima-sized bombs—about 0.3% of the global nuclear arsenal—could have catastrophic, long-lasting effects on the global climate leading to a drop in average surface temperatures, reduction of the ozone layer, a shortened agricultural growing season resulting in a global famine of unprecedented proportions.

    Actually the 2010 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review did not lead to substantial changes in the U.S. nuclear force structure, only marginally reduced the role of nuclear weapons in national security policy, explicitly rejected reducing the high-alert status of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and Submarine Launch Ballistic Missiles, and retained the capability to deploy U.S. nuclear weapons on tactical fighter-bombers and heavy bombers, including at NATO bases in Europe, while proceeding with a modification of the bombs carried on those planes.

    In addition to this , there were many nuclear catastrophic such as Japan’s 9.0 earthquake on March 11 caused also massive tsunami that crippled the cooling systems at the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan . It also led to hydrogen explosions and reactor meltdowns that forced evacuations of those living within a 20km radius of the plant. Japan’s Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters finally admitted earlier that reactors at the Fukushima plant experienced full meltdowns. Such these accidents urge us to raise the Nuclear safety actions taken to prevent nuclear and radiation accidents or to limit their consequences.
    We all must implement the existing obligations in the Non-Proliferation Treaty” NPT”. The nuclear weapons states have made solemn promises to the international community to negotiate in good faith to achieve nuclear disarmament. Each of the nuclear weapons states accepted this obligation when it signed the NPT, and extended this promise at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference. India and Pakistan, which are not signatories of the NPT, have committed themselves to abolish their nuclear arsenals if the other nuclear weapons states agree to do so. The only nuclear weapons state that has not made this promise is Israel, and surely it could be convinced to do so if the other nuclear weapons states agreed to the elimination of their nuclear arsenals. The International Court of Justice, the world’s highest court, unanimously highlighted the obligation for nuclear disarmament in its 1996 Opinion: “There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.” This means an obligation to reduce the world’s nuclear arsenals to zero.
    AAPSO appeals to the nuclear power countries in particular and to all countries in general, that it is our responsibility to protect the future generation from any nuclear calamity and eliminate all the nuclear weapons from the world.


  2. Mountain War Time

    Wednesday 19 October 2011

    by Isobel Dixon

    ‘Will Mount St Helens continue to build until it surpasses its former majesty, or will it blow itself apart in a new fury of destruction?’

    National Geographic, Vol. 160 No. 6, December 1981

    Renowned for its height and perfect cone,
    the American Fuji-san
    now rises with a broken crown

    above the slopes made mud- and ashscape,
    burying bobcat, spotted owl and elk.
    Ghost vapours from a methane lake

    unfurl, before the pearly everlasting
    and the lilies of the avalanche
    emerge. Trailing blackberry, lupine,

    bracken fern, disguise the scars
    of that May day in this volcanic arc.
    The Cascades shaken, parted

    from old certainties. Remember,
    here, this is the Ring of Fire,
    the lava flow not far from where,

    made pure, Element 94,
    plutonium, formed Fat Man’s core –
    the Sumo Bomb, its promised rain of ruin:

    molten kimono flowers singed to skin,
    a city threshed and sewn with blossoms, fissioning.

    Isobel Dixon grew up in South Africa, and she now lives in Cambridge, England. Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Financial Times, The Guardian, Magma and elsewhere, and she has been commissioned to write poems for the British Film Institute. This poem is featured in her most recent collection The Tempest Prognosticator (Salt), and was written for Roddy Lumsden’s 50 States commission in 2008 on the state of Washington. Plutonium formed the fissionable core of the Fat Man bomb dropped on Nagasaki, and the Hanford Works atomic energy plant in Washington State (in which Mount St Helens stands) was instrumental in the development of the bomb. “The Atomic Age began at exactly 5.30 Mountain War Time on the morning of July 16, 1945,” wrote William Lawrence after witnessing the test blast for Little Boy, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

    Well Versed is edited by Jody Porter.


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