Jeudi 24 avril 2014 4 24 /04 /Avr /2014 20:19

October 1, 2013


An Interview with 281_Anti Nuke




Posted by Roland Kelts


The stickers went up a few months after Japan’s triple disaster in 2011—an earthquake and tsunami that took twenty thousand lives, and an ongoing nuclear crisis that threatens more. They first appeared along the shabby backstreets of Shibuya, in downtown Tokyo, a place that offers some of the very few canvasses for graffiti in a city not given to celebrating street art. The British expat photographer and filmmaker Adrian Storey couldn’t ignore them. “Being a foreigner, there was a sort of brief period after 3/11 when there was this sense of community in Tokyo that I haven’t felt before,” Storey says. “Then it kind of went away, and people just went back to shopping. I was drawn to the stickers because I realized it was a Japanese person behind them, and they actually cared about what was happening. I started photographing every sticker I found.”

Some stickers are small, eight inches or so in height. Others are the size of a stunted adult or a large child. In fact, children are featured in many of them, especially the motif of a young girl in a raincoat above the caption “I hate rain,” with the trefoil symbol for radiation stamped between “hate” and “rain.” On other stickers, silhouettes of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are suspended in white space beside the logo for the Tokyo Electric Power Company, the government-allied conglomerate responsible for the operation and maintenance of the severely damaged Fukushima nuclear power plants. Sometimes the stark black lines and blotches resemble Rorschach tests.

You look and see nothing, then look again and see Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s face, his mouth suffocated by an American flag.

The artist behind them calls himself 281_Anti Nuke, and he has become a cult phenomenon among Tokyo locals. The numerals refer to an athletic jersey he wore in high school. “It’s just nostalgia,” he says. “Memories of my happier times.” Tagged as the “Japanese Banksy,” he is an unlikely manifestation of Japan’s shredded identity: a contemporary artist of dissent in a country that rarely tolerates protest and barely supports modern art. His real name is Kenta Matsuyama, though few Japanese know that, since it appears only in the fine print on his manager’s English-language Web site. He is a fortysomething father born and raised near Fukushima, the site of Japan’s most pressing nuclear disaster. We meet in the heart of Shibuya, in a second-story café overlooking the most famous intersection in Japan—a crowded network of diagonal crosswalks that is featured in nearly every film set in Tokyo.

We are hiding in plain sight. “These people,” he says, gesturing toward the window and the masses below, “they only vote for the winner; they only think about the winner. They have no concept of real strength. They feel satisfied just knowing that the party they voted for won.” (That party, the archconservative, U.S.-friendly, and pro-nuclear Liberal Democratic Party, crows about a mandate after sweeping recent elections.) He is wearing a tight-fitting gray hoodie, pitch-black jeans and sunglasses, and a white surgical mask. It’s not always easy to hear him through the mask, so he tugs it down a bit when his speech quickens in anger. “Maybe it’s true that there’s no political party you can count on, but it’s more than that. It’s fear. It’s Japanese people never doubting their leaders. Looking out at Shibuya, I’m sure that nobody out there remembers the idea of radiation anymore. People abroad know more about the crisis in Fukushima than the Japanese. The Japanese are trying to forget. I want to make them remember.”


Anti Nuke is an active Twitter user, but when he first started posting his art, he received death threats so virulent that last year he temporarily took down his Twitter and Facebook accounts and started hiding all of his personal information. Even now, his Web site is often hacked. In public, when he is not cloaked by hoodie, sunglasses, and mask, he wears a full-body hazmat suit. As for his method: “Stickers are better than graffiti,” he says, “because they are faster to apply. You just stick them on and run off. And I use very simple English to be direct, without nuances. Like, ‘I hate rain.’ In Japanese, it’s ‘Watashi wa ame ga kirai.’ So in Japanese, you really need to talk about who hates rain, and why, and in what context. But in English it’s more iconic. There’s more room for the imagination, and that’s powerful.”

281_Anti Nuke’s work is about to reach more people via exhibitions in the New York and Los Angeles, and a documentary film about his art directed by Storey will début in festivals next year. “His mission is personal,” says Storey. “He wants people to think about the same things he’s thinking about, but, like he said to me many times, it’s about the future of his children. It’s the future of everybody’s children in Japan. He doesn’t want to make a name for himself.”

Perhaps. But donning hoodies, shades, and surgical masks, not to mention the occasional hazmat suit, is an odd strategy for anonymity. “It’s fine if I become famous if it helps communicate this huge problem,” Anti Nuke concedes. “There are bigger problems in Fukushima than we know now. I’m sure of that. I’ve communicated with people there. I have family there. The Japanese government will not save them, and since the survivors cannot escape, Fukushima people hate Tokyo people for the electricity they use and cannot conserve.”

He insists that he is not anti-American, just pro-truth. “I love the American people, but I want them to help save Japan. This time, it’s the Japanese people who are to blame. We’re not aware, and we are actively trying to forget. We need foreigners to save us from ourselves.”




Roland Kelts is the author of “Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the United States.” He divides his time between New York and Tokyo.

Art by 281_Anti Nuke, courtesy of Roth Management. Photograph by Bellamy Hunt, courtesy of Roth Management.

Par fukushima-is-still-news - Publié dans : Anti-nuclear activity/opinion - Communauté : Fukushima blogs
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Jeudi 24 avril 2014 4 24 /04 /Avr /2014 20:16

 April 24, 2014

Evacuation from Hamaoka could take 28 hours 


Shizuoka Prefecture says it could take more than 28 hours for around 860,000 people within a 30-kilometer radius of the Hamaoka nuclear power plant to evacuate in the event of a serious accident.

The Hamaoka plant, run by Chubu Electric Power Company, is located nearly at the center of the projected focal area of a mega-quake that could hit central Japan in the near future. The operator closed it following a state government request after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.

The prefectural government that hosts the plant on Thursday released estimated evacuation times for a range of scenarios. It made the calculations after the area for which prior planning is required for a nuclear disaster was expanded from 10 kilometers to 30 kilometers.

The Shizuoka prefectural government says an evacuation will take 28 hours and 15 minutes if residents are guided to evacuate in stages to avoid traffic jams. This would be despite partial road blockage due to multiple disasters involving an earthquake and tsunami.

But it says it could take longer, as the scenario is based on the most efficient evacuation methods. For example, it assumes 3 people would ride in one car.

Prefectural officials in charge of nuclear security say they will discuss these calculations with local municipalities. They say they want evacuation plans to reflect the estimations.

Apr. 24, 2014 - Updated 02:35 UTC

Par fukushima-is-still-news - Publié dans : Nuke safety - Communauté : Fukushima blogs
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Jeudi 24 avril 2014 4 24 /04 /Avr /2014 20:15

 April 23, 2014

Ohi nuclear plant operator tightens safety 


The operator of the Ohi nuclear power plant in central Japan has submitted to regulators a revised estimate for tremors from potential earthquakes at the plant.

Kansai Electric Power Company was aiming at an early restart of the off-line plant. But the revision concerning the possible impact of a quake would require additional reinforcement. This could take time.

The revision was demanded by the country's Nuclear Regulation Authority in its safety screening, a precondition for the plant's restart.

The utility on Wednesday revised the depth of the potential epicenter of a nearby quake from 4 kilometers to 3 kilometers. This means a stronger tremor would shake the plant.

NRA Commissioner Kunihiko Shimazaki approved of Kansai Electric Power's decision, calling it a safer path.

The revision would require the operator to spend significant time strengthening the plant's facilities. The utility will be facing a summer without nuclear power for the first time since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster as another plant also needs to clear similar hurdle.

The Ohi plant was allowed to operate for 14 months through September last year as an exceptional case to cover Osaka and surrounding areas' demand for electricity after the Fukushima Diichi disaster.

The plant is one of the first 6 nuclear power plants to apply for the tightened safety screening last July.

Apr. 23, 2014 - Updated 12:30 UTC

Par fukushima-is-still-news - Publié dans : Nuke safety - Communauté : Fukushima blogs
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Jeudi 24 avril 2014 4 24 /04 /Avr /2014 20:14

 April 22, 2014

Fukushima evacuees discuss whether to go back home


Residents of a town in Fukushima Prefecture who fled the accident at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March 2011 are considering whether to go back home.

Officials of Naraha have begun hosting town meetings to discuss return, now that the government has finished removing radioactive material from living areas.

The first meeting was held on Monday in Iwaki city, where 80 percent of the town's residents have evacuated.
About 60 people took part in the event.

Officials explained that radiation in residential areas of Naraha has dropped by half from pre-decontamination levels. It's now at 0.44 microsieverts per hour, and a municipal panel of experts has judged the town livable.

They also reported that a makeshift shopping mall has been built in the town for returnees.

But many residents were wary. One person said it's too early to go back as radiation levels remain high in other parts of the town. Another asked the officials not to rush and to make careful decisions.

The town plans to hold meetings inside and outside Fukushima Prefecture through May 2nd.

Mayor Yukiei Matsumoto said the town will listen carefully to what residents have to say, and make sure their lives can be rebuilt whether or not they decide to return.

Apr. 22, 2014 - Updated 06:32 UTC


Par fukushima-is-still-news - Publié dans : Practical problems for the Japanese population - Communauté : Fukushima blogs
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Jeudi 24 avril 2014 4 24 /04 /Avr /2014 20:13

April 23, 2014

Hospital reopens in Fukushima evacuation zone


More than 3 years after the nuclear accident in Fukushima, medical service has resumed in an area near the damaged nuclear plant where evacuees are allowed to make temporary visits to their homes.

The Odaka District of Minamisoma City, Fukushima Prefecture, was designated as an evacuation zone after the nuclear accident in March 2011. Residents are now allowed to visit their homes during the day because decontamination efforts have led to a drop in radiation levels.

The Odaka Municipal Hospital reopened on Wednesday at a refurbished building previously used as a rehabilitation facility.

Outpatients can consult with doctors 3 days a week. No inpatients are accepted.

The city hopes the service will help more residents return to the town once the evacuation order is fully lifted.

The former head of the hospital, Doctor Tetsunosuke Takahashi, has returned as a part-time doctor. He says he was relieved to find his patients doing fine. He says he'll be happy if he can be of service to them.

Apr. 23, 2014 - Updated 08:09 UTC

Par fukushima-is-still-news - Publié dans : Practical problems for the Japanese population - Communauté : Fukushima blogs
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