Sign petition for Japanese educator, jailed for protest against burning nuclear waste

[Nuclear Resister update: Professor Shimoji was released from jail on December 28.]

Information from Civic Activity – an organization supporting citizens opposing spread of radiation.

On December 9, 2012, Masaki Shimoji, an associate professor of economics at Hannan University was arrested and jailed by the Osaka Prefectural Police.  This arrest is extremely unjust in form and content.  It is clearly a crackdown on citizens’ movement.

Professor Shimoji and others are opposing the “area-wide management of the disaster debris” measure, which intended to spread, incinerate and bury harmful substances in the disaster debris all over Japan that should not be incinerated, such as radioactive material and asbestos.  Osaka-city is trying to begin regular incineration and burial beginning in February 2013.

Below is the timeline for the arrest. A letter from Prof. Shimoji follows this information.

Please sign this petition to demand the immediate and unconditional release of Associate Professor Masaki Shimoji.

At 3 pm on October 17, 2012, voluntary citizens opposing to test incineration of disaster debris in Osaka-city, including associate professor Shimoji, gathered on the sidewalk outside the northeast corner  of Osaka station.  They began to walk towards Osaka city hall, walking through the east concourse inside Osaka station from north to south.  This act was considered a “violation of Railway Operation Act,” “forcible obstruction of business, “ and ”non-withdrawal,” and used as charges for the arrest.

However, this act of “walking through the station” was conducted nearly two months ago, and it is extremely unnatural for them to arrest him for it now.  We can’t help but consider it as an intentional crackdown on citizens’ movement.

Voluntary citizens including associate professor Shimoji, in consideration of the anxious feelings of mothers with small children, especially those who evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture and Tohoku and Kanto regions to Kansai area, have been actively trying to stop the spread of radioactive contamination.  Fukushima nuclear accident negatively affected the  health and wealth of an enormous number of people.  It is the responsibility of the government, the electric companies and the nuclear industry that should be in question for having forced the operation of nuclear power plants without appropriate safety measures.


Letter from Professor Shimoji:

None of the alleged facts of crime in the arrest warrant is true.  I am extremely surprised that the public safety police officers openly arrested me for the alleged facts which differ from the actual facts, despite having been present in the location of the alleged crime and witnessed everything that went on.

Why did the police arrest me going so far as lying in the arrest warrant?  The reason is because I opposed the restart of nuclear power plants and have participated in a citizens’ movement opposing the spread of radiation.  In particular, I have severely criticized the wrongful conduct by the police which I encountered during my activities.  I have done nothing wrong.

Currently, Japan where we live as well as the entire world are in a critical situation.  Fukushima nuclear accident is not over, and if the spent-fuel pool in reactor 4 collapses, it is not too much to say that it could lead to a massive disaster which could end not only Japan but the rest of the world.  Radioactive contamination has not been properly dealt with at all, and the contamination is being spread through the circulation of food and other goods.  In the midst of this situation, the government lies about “insufficient electricity” to try to continue using nuclear power plants.  This is nothing but insanity.

What sort of measures the government will take in the next six months to one year will change our future to a great extent.  Every day I look at my students and wonder what sort of world they will live in when these 20-year-olds turn forty like me.  Each time I think about it, I feel sorry, as the older generation, about not being able to prevent this nuclear accident.  They are not guilty of any wrongdoing.  I would like to do the little I can do in order to leave the world in a better shape than this.  Since the accident already happened, there is not much time left for us.  However, there is still hope.

I am not able to move around at this time.  However, I haven’t given up.  I can send my voice out like this.  And if many more of you take an action and raise your voices, we will certainly make it in time.

I would especially like to call to individuals who teach at a university like me and also those called specialists such as physicians and scientists.  Please learn particularly from citizens who might appear to “be ignorant and lack calmness.”  Please speak out for those whose voices are being ignored and taken lightly.

Truth only appears through criticisms and responses.  It’s not what is talked about by authorities such as the government.  Go to the opposite side, and act so that the truth is revealed by posing questions against the authorities.  It is okay even if you are wrong.  Always be on the side of the weak and protect their words and existence which are always taken lightly.  Even if you might be wrong, speak paradoxically so that the truth would be revealed through an exchange of statements with the authority.  It doesn’t matter what your specialty field is.  Please be brave.

Lastly, I would like to speak about the issue of disaster debris with which I have been most deeply involved.  The city of Osaka forced the test incineration in the end of November and is getting ready for the start of regular incineration in February 2013.  As I have repeatedly stated everywhere, the areawide management of disaster debris will not be good for anybody.  It is not even supporting the disaster-affected area: it steals from the recovery budget and interferes with the recovery process.  At the same time, it will spread radiation all over the place, forcing the residents of contaminated areas to resign themselves to tolerate radiation despite opposition and mitigating responsibility of the Tokyo Electric Power Company as the perpetrator.  The price to be paid for this is our lives, and lives of the children and the children yet to be born.  Such nonsense measures should not be tolerated.  We absolutely must stop them.  Those of you who have been learning about this and causing actions together, please do not give up.  Keep fighting.  Also, those of you who didn’t know about the issue of disaster debris, please learn about it now so that you can lend us your power.  This is a fight to protect nothing other than our own future itself.

I don’t know when I will be released from confinement, but I will be released someday.  Even though I am not physically there, my thoughts are with you.  My colleagues who have been unjustly arrested must be feeling the same way during their confinement.  I am looking forward to seeing you soon.

December 12, 2012
Masaki Shimoji