Japan

US Marines in amphibious assault vehicles taking part in a US military exercise in Oura Bay, Okinawa, Japan, 2nd November 2014 Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Raul Moreno Jr. / US Navy via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

70 years after Hiroshima, Okinawa's long resistance to US military occupation

Taisuke Komatsu
Semanur Karaman
| 6th August 2015
Japan is living under the shadow of US militarism, write Taisuke Komatsu & Semanur Karaman - and most of all in Okinawa, the nation's southernmost archipelago. Against overwhelming local opposition but backed by Japan's government, the US is building a new military base that is seizing land and threatens the unique ecology of Oura Bay with its seagrass beds, dugongs and coral reefs.

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A rice field and some traditional farm houses in a small village in the South of Niigata, Japan. Photo: Norman Tannert via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Japan's 'sacred' rice farmers evade TPP death sentence - for now

Nicole L Freiner
| 3rd August 2015
Japanese rice farmers won a reprieve last week when TTP negotiations in Hawaii ended without conclusion on opening Japan up to cheap US rice imports, writes Nicole L Freiner. But with Japan keen to export more cars to the US, the victory is a temporary one. At stake is a way of life, an ancient land-rooted religion, and the future viability of Japan's farming villages.

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Contaminated earth storage area within the Iitate Village evacuated zone, December 2014. Photo: Eric Schultz / EELV Fukushima via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Japan and IAEA risk Fukushima victims' lives with forced return

Kendra Ulrich
Greenpeace Japan
| 29th July 2015
A massive decontamination exercise is under way in Iitate Village near Fukushima, writes Kendra Ulrich: step one in a plan to force 6,000 residents back into the evacuated zone in 2017. But as radiation levels remain stubbornly high, it looks like the real plan is to 'normalize' nuclear catastrophe, while making Iitate residents nuclear victims twice over - and this time, it's deliberate.

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The massive 5-reactor Hamaoka nuclear site, 200km SW of Tokyo, is built directly over the subduction zone near the junction of two tectonic plates. It was closed in 2011 to avoid a second Fukushima scale disaster. Photo: Cesar Ogasawara via Flickr (CC BY-

To stop using fossil fuels any time soon, Japan must follow Germany's lead

Peter Matanle
University of Sheffield
| 15th June 2015
Japan and Germany have much in common: both are major industrial countries that have gone nuclear-free, writes Peter Matanle - Germany by choice, Japan by necessity. But while Germany is actively pursuing its renewable energy revolution, or Energiewende, Japan, possessed of the richest renewable energy resources in East Asia, is stuck in a fossil fuel pit.

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Now it's Japan's press that's muzzled. Residents of Iitate village, about 40 kilometers from the radiation-spewing Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, prepare fopr evacuation, 13th April 2011. Photo: Kyodo News via Irish Typepad on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

After Fukushima: Japan's 'nuclear village' is back in charge

Jim Green
| 28th March 2015
Public opposition to nuclear power in Japan remains strong, writes Jim Green, but piece by piece, Shinzo Abe's right-wing government has been putting the country's infamous 'nuclear village' back in control - boosted by draconian press censorship laws, massive interest-free loans, and a determination to forget all the 'lessons' of Fukushima. Is another big accident inevitable?

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Fukushima damage showing Unit 3, left, and Unit 4, right, 16th March 2011. Photo: deedavee easyflow via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Fukushima: an unnatural disaster that must never be repeated

Arnie Gundersen
| 11th March 2015
The Fukushima catastrophe four years ago today was no natural disaster, writes Arnie Gundersen. Operator TEPCO and nuclear regulators were well aware of the danger of tsunamis, but put money before safety. Nuclear power remains the only energy source that can destroy a country overnight - and it's time to ditch it!

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The damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station as seen during a sea-water sampling boat journey, 7 November 2013. Photo: David Osborn / IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

All fouled up - Fukushima four years after the catastrophe

Jim Green
| 11th March 2015
Four years ago today the world's biggest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl took place at Fukushima, Japan. Total clean-up costs are estimated around $0.5 trillion, writes Jim Green - but work to defuse the dangers has barely begun, the site is flooded with radioactive water making its way to the sea, and underpaid and illegally contracted workers are suffering a rising toll of death and injury.

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Nuclear fail: Entergy's 'Vermont Yankee' nuclear plant shut last year because it was running at a loss even with all its capital costs sunk. It now faces a $1.24 billion decommission - of which only $670 million is funded.

Running in reverse: the world's 'nuclear power renaissance'

Dr Jim Green
| 29th January 2015
The global rebirth of nuclear power was meant to be well under way by now, writes Jim Green. But in fact, nuclear's share of world power generation is on a steady long term decline, and new reactors are getting ever harder to build, and finance. The only real growth area is decommissioning, but that too has a problem: where's the money to pay for it?

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Black smoke at Fukushima Daichi, 24th March 2011. Photo: deedavee easyflow via Flickr.

Fukushima and the institutional invisibility of nuclear disaster

John Downer
| 20th December 2014
The nuclear industry and its supporters have contrived a variety of narratives to justify and explain away nuclear catastrophes, writes John Downer. None of them actually hold water, yet they serve their purpose - to command political and media heights, and reassure public sentiment on 'safety'. But if it's so safe, why the low limits on nuclear liabilities?

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IAEA experts examine recovery work on top of Unit 4 of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, 17 April 2013. Photo Credit: Greg Webb / IAEA Imagebank via Flickr.

Fukushima 40-year, £11bn cleanup progresses - but the worst is yet to come

Justin McCurry
the Guardian
| 14th November 2014
The clean up at Fukushima faces enormous challenges, writes Justin McCurry. First, managing 500,000 tonnes of contaminated water stored onsite. Next, removing molten fuel from reactors 1, 2 and 3, a task so hazardous that it's been put off until 2025. Even robots have been unable to enter the reactor buildings - and no one knows where the molten fuel has gone.

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Japanese knotweed makes short work of concrete and tarmac. In its native habitat, it has learnt to crack up volcanic rock. Photo: Rob Tanner.

Japanese knotweed - could a tiny insect tame the monster?

Kate Constantine
| 17th October 2014
Since Japanese knotweed won a gold medal in 1847 as 'interesting new ornamental of the year', it has become far too much of a good thing, writes Kate Constantine. But could the oriental triffid be tamed following the UK introduction of a specialist pest from Japan's volcanic uplands?

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After a history of accidents at the site, the three ageing reactors at Mihama, Japan, are among those likely never to restart. Photo: Kansai Electric Power Co via IAEA Imagebank / Flickr.

Rocky road ahead for Japan's nuclear restart

Jim Green
Peer de Rijk
Nuclear Monitor
| 26th September 2014
Japan's government is trying to get its failing nuclear power industry up and running, write Jim Green and Peer de Rijk. But in the post-Fukushima world, it faces formidable obstacles. Experts believe most reactors will never restart - and Japan's stricken utilities may have to find $30 billion or more to finance their decommissioning.

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After the Fujushima catastrophe, this rice was grown nearby by IAEA to test methods of soil decontamination. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via Flickr.

Fukushima radiation damages rice genome

Gregory McGann
| 18th September 2014
Research on the biological effects of radiation near the Fukushima nuclear disaster site finds a powerful response in rice seedlings, writes Gregory McCann. The discovery will do nothing to boost consumer confidence in resumed rice exports from the Fukushima region.

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Icelandic fin whale meat on sale in Japan. Photo: EIA.

Iceland's whaling and whale meat exports - the IWC must act!

Clare Perry
| 10th September 2014
Tomorrow the 65th meeting of the International Whaling Commission begins in Slovenia, writes Clare Perry. Among the issues: Iceland's slaughter of fin whales in defiance of the IWC moratorium, and its illegal export of their flesh and blubber to Japan - over 2,000 tonnes this year alone. The IWC and its member nations must act.

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IAEA Experts at Unit 4 of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, 17th April 2013, as part of a mission to review Japan's plans to decommission the facility. Photo: IAEA Imagebank.

Fukushima - we need health studies now!

Joseph Mangano
Janette Sherman
| 2nd August 2014
A massive health crisis is following the 2011 nuclear disaster at Fukushima, write Joseph Mangano & Janette Sherman - not just in Japan but around the world. But the health impacts remains woefully under-studied. Scientists must wake up and undertake serious research without delay.

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Unit 4 of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via Flickr.

Fukushima - the continuing catastrophe

Harvey Wasserman
| 11th June 2014
Fukushima has largely disappeared from the mainstream news, writes Harvey Wasserman. After all, who wants to read about children with cancer, continuing huge radiation leaks, and the very real possibility of another catastrophe as big as Chernobyl?

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Coal workers in Shizuishan, China. Photo: Bert van Dijk via Flickr.com.

Japan must stop financing coal

Nicole Ghio
| 23rd April 2014
Japan is the world's biggest financier of coal development, setting developing countries on a dirty, coal fired energy track. As President Obama visits Japan, Nicole Ghio urges Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to re-apply its coal billions to build a clean, renewable energy future.

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