On the first anniversary of Japan’s triple natural disaster (earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown), a small group of mothers are standing up to the powerful forces of the nuclear industry. Thousands of citizens have joined them to demand a radiation-free future for their children.
Too little, too late
The catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan's northeast coast on 11 March 2011 quickly wrecked the cooling and control systems of the region's nuclear energy plants. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) was unable to regain control of the situation, and what followed was the most devastating nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.
To make matters worse, in the immediate wake of the disaster the government abjectly failed to help those most in need: children and pregnant women trapped in radiation hotspots. So a brave group of women took matters into their own hands. Avaaz took up their cause and launched a campaign calling for the immediate evacuation of children and their families still trapped in Fukushima City and other radiation hot spots. More than 150,000 citizens across the world stood with the Fukushima mothers and their families.
Embarrassed into action, the government offered compensation: but not nearly enough to cover the cost for families of relocating out of the radiation zone. The authorities have yet to provide adequate support for the most vulnerable victims, and has threatened to evict mothers and other activists camping outside the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Metoi) in Tokyo, where they are demanding accountability. More than 38,000 Avaaz members in Japan sent a flood of messages to trade minister Yukio Edano's inbox, urging him to allow the activists to exercise their freedom of speech: thanks to them, the police came and left without evicting the mothers.
A new chance
Now, Japan has the rare opportunity to turn an unprecedented disaster into a global beacon of hope – by leading the transition from nuclear power to a safer, cleaner future. All of Japan’s nuclear reactors are scheduled to be shut down for stress tests by this summer, and groups and individuals across Japan are coming together to push for them to stay shut: to ensure a future free from nuclear disaster.
Take action: Let's stand with the Fukushima mothers and their thousands of their supporters, and spearhead a movement to ensure a radiation-free future for their children, all of Japan, and the world. Sign this petition to light the way to hope.