Group Introduction STOP-ROKKASHO: A New Movement Nuke Info Tokyo No. 120
By Sukiko Kannaduki*
Stop Rokkasho Bags
STOP-ROKKASHO was initiated by musician Ryuichi Sakamoto in order to tell the world via the internet, through music and art, about the dangers of the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant in Aomori Prefecture. Until then, he himself had only a vague knowledge of the dangers, but when the active tests began he learnt that “in one day the plant will release the amount of radioactivity released in one year by a normal nuclear power plant”. He expressed the feelings he had at the time as follows: “Anyone will help someone drowning before their eyes, won’t they? I don’t think you can pretend not to see. Likewise, having seen those words, I could not just walk away. I thought about what I could do and decided to set up a web site.” But it was not just the facts about radioactivity that surprised him. He was surprised to discover that, even as this terrible thing was about to happen, hardly anyone, including himself, knew about it.
It is easy for people to become interested in art and the field that he specializes in, music. He invited musicians and artists to donate their works and people from Japan and from all around the world responded. He uploaded these works onto the website. Since this novel system of disseminating information is not for profit, people can download the works, pass them on and alter them freely. Above all, he wanted people to know what’s going on. The information is presented simply, so that people who visit the web site can understand the problems with the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant.
Soon after the website was set up, coinciding with his visit to Japan (he lives in New York), he, along with environmentalists with whom he has a strong affinity, set up “STOP-ROKKASHO-JAPAN”. This is not an organization as such. It is a loose network of people who agree with the aims of the STOP-ROKKASHO website. They share information and exchange ideas through an email list and cooperate in activities opposing the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant.
His initiative has had an influence on many people, from people who did not previously know about the problems, to people who knew but were not interested. The logo by internationally renowned designer Jonathan Barnbrook and the music and art create not just a stylish atmosphere, they also make the site friendly and accessible. The large number of young supporters is particularly striking. Dynamic young people are raising the STOP-ROKKASHO placard and opening stalls at events all around the country to communicate to more and more people the problems of the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant. Some people are spreading the message through the medium of fashion by collaborating to sell T-shirts and bags, others are holding live concerts and events in clubs, while others are producing books under the Rokkasho title. Everyone is spreading the message in the field where their skills lie.
STOP-ROKKASHO was set up to spread the message via the internet, but it has crossed the boundaries of the internet and has given birth to a new style and dynamism that hitherto was unfamiliar to the shy Japanese.
The URL for the STOP ROKKASHO Web Site is as follows:
* Sukiko Kannaduki is a writer who specializes in nuclear and environmental issues. To spread the message in the fashion world, she has written a series called “I Love No Nukes” for the web site of an apparel company.