Japanese activist’s tweet leads to criminal charge

JoeandmariIn a highly political case, a Japanese anti-nuclear activist faces criminal prosecution over a Tweet she sent in July.

Mari Takenouchi is the founder of Save Kids Japan and a free-lance English-bilingual journalist publishing at savekidsjapan.blogspot.jp. She advocates that mothers and children, who are most sensitive to radiation exposure, be supported and relocated outside of the contaminated zones around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power site.

She tweeted a pair of quotes dismissive of radiation concerns – one from the CIA-funded father of Japan’s nuclear industry, Mr. Yasuhiro Nakasone, and the second from Ms. Ryoko Ando, director of the Fukushima ETHOS project — prefacing them with the words, “Common points of the 2 criminals of the century”.

ETHOS is a program where residents including pregnant women and children are encouraged to keep living in contaminated areas while carrying out decontamination and radiation measurements. A similar project in post-Chernobyl Belarus had an adverse impact on children’s health. Both are supported by pro-nuclear forces that seek to establish a new, post-Fukushima regime of exposure limits for affected areas and populations. Explaining the program, Ryoko Ando has said, “It is important to establish your own standard of radiation safety to achieve your true sense of security.”

On January 28, police called Mari Takenouchi to tell her that Ryoko Ando (legal name Yoko Kamata) had filed a complaint accusing Takenouchi of criminal contempt. Police visited Takenouchi’s home in February, interviewing her and asking her questions for six hours. The prosecutor will review the information gathered and likely decide by next July whether to move forward with the charge of criminal contempt. It is a minor offense that could result in fines and up to a month in jail.

Takenouchi recently wrote on her blog:

I would like to apologize regarding the expression of “criminals of the century” to both Ms. Kamata and Mr. Nakasone.

At the same time, I would like both of them to reflect themselves [on] what they have done.  I used the word “criminal of the century” due to my long time resentment seeing that nobody has taken true responsibility after the nuclear accident while lots of children are left being exposed to radiation.

In addition, I had a slight hope that both Ms. Ando and Mr. Nakasone, whom I criticized, would rethink what they have done and reconsider the situation of children who have been exposed to radiation.

Following the police investigation, Ms. Ando particularly objected to the expression, “human experiment” regarding ETHOS, but Mari Takenouchi said, “I have no intention to withdraw this word, because what is going on in Fukushima is truly a human experiment.”

A petition asking the prosecutor to dismiss the complaint can be signed at http://bit.ly/MariTakenouchi