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A-bomb survivors question denial of ICAN leader’s request for meeting with Abe via The Mainichi

Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the international nongovernmental organization that won last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, was denied a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during her current visit to Japan in spite of her request for one, on the grounds of scheduling difficulties.

ICAN was instrumental in the adoption of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Japan has not signed this treaty, but even so, calls have arisen from within Japan, the only country to have been attacked with nuclear weapons in warfare, for the prime minister to meet and talk with the ICAN leader.

Prime Minister Abe is scheduled to return from a trip to Eastern Europe on Jan. 17. Fihn arrived in Japan on Jan. 12, is staying in Tokyo on Jan. 16 and 17, and will leave Japan on Jan. 18. Speaking to reporters after a tour of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima on Jan. 15, she expressed disappointment that she had been denied a chance to meet Prime Minister Abe even though she had been able to meet the leaders of other countries. She noted that Japan, in particular, had been subjected to A-bomb attacks in the past, and said she was keen to talk with the prime minister and figures in the Japanese government. Fihn added she looks forward to a meeting at the next opportunity.

The same day, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said in a news conference that denial of the meeting came down to “the fact that it was difficult in terms of schedules, nothing more, nothing less.”


The U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons bans the use, development, testing, production, stationing and stockpiling of nuclear weapons, as well as the threat of their use — the basis of nuclear deterrence. The accord was adopted in the United Nations in July last year with the majority approval of 122 countries. However, Japan, which is under the protection of the U.S. “nuclear umbrella,” did not take part in treaty negotiations.


Meanwhile, Tomoyuki Mimaki, 75, representative director of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo), voiced distrust toward the government. “I’m disappointed in the prime minister,” he said. “Does the government really think that being under the ‘nuclear umbrella’ is the best thing?”

Koichi Kawano, 78, chairman of the Japan Congress Against A- and H-Bombs, commented, “I guess that the prime minister can’t confidently give a reason for not participating in the treaty. As an A-bombed country, Japan should be offering a congratulatory message for (ICAN’s winning of) the Nobel Peace Prize, but instead it’s fleeing without any message.”

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We Need a Complete Nuclear-Weapons Ban via The Nation

The terrifying incident in Hawaii proves that nuclear disarmament is as important as ever.


We have been taught that these weapons are not meant to be used. We are taught that they protect us from conflict, war, and further nuclear proliferation. This lethal myth is based on the premise that in order to maintain international peace and security, we need certain countries to wield the capacity to slaughter civilians, incinerate cities, and destroy the entire planet. We believe that nuclear war will never happen, that nuclear weapons prevent it.

But many of us—including the majority of the world’s governments—understand that the only way to prevent nuclear war is to eliminate nuclear weapons. The alert in Hawaii could have prompted a nuclear war. So could a tweet from a president with a bruised ego. And so could any number of things. As then–UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in 2013, “There are no right hands for wrong weapons.”

It is in this spirit that 122 governments voted to adopt a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons on July 7, 2017. While the nuclear-armed states currently oppose it, this treaty offers an alternative to nuclear war.

It prohibits the use, threat of use, and possession of nuclear weapons, and sets out a process by which states with such weapons can join and eliminate their arsenals. Significantly, it recognizes that any use of nuclear weapons would be contrary to international humanitarian law. It puts nuclear weapons on the same legal footing as the other weapons of mass destruction (biological and chemical). The treaty makes no attempt to justify the possession or use of these weapons and makes no arguments in favor of deterrence doctrines. Nuclear weapons have been granted an exception for far too long. The 1970 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was supposed to lead to disarmament: The nuclear-armed states agreed to eliminate their arsenals in exchange for the rest of the world agreeing never to develop them. But while proliferation has been limited, the nuclear-armed have failed to deliver on their disarmament commitments. Some have reduced the size of their arsenals only to invest billions of dollars into modernizing them. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons takes a new approach: outlawing these weapons for everyone, under all circumstances.


Disarmament will not be easy. But what is more of a hassle: engaging in the work of eliminating nuclear weapons, or losing entire cities, continents, the planet?

Read more at We Need a Complete Nuclear-Weapons Ban

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Can this bike project bring tourists back to Fukushima? via CNN

(CNN) — It’s been over six years since the northeast coast of Japan’s Honshu island was hit by a devastating earthquake, leading to a deadly tsunami and nuclear disaster.
The hardest hit of all the affected prefectures, Fukushima is still fighting to lure tourists back to its beautiful natural landscapes.
Among the locals helping revive the local travel industry is Jun Yamadera, founder of bike share company Fukushima Wheel, based in the prefecture’s capital of the same name.
Like other bike share systems, Fukushima Wheel encourages citizens and tourists to explore the city on a shared bicycle. But there’s so much more to the project.
It also serves as a cost-effective way to collect big data from the city through citizen science. An environmental sensor has been mounted on each bike, measuring data such as radiation levels, temperature, air pollution and more.
The wheels are equipped with LED displays that can be customized to show advertisements.
The project also comes with a complementing smartphone app that doubles as a city guide, offering points-of-interest and discounts to the venues around you. It also measures how much you’ve exercised and carbon emissions.

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ICAN事務局長来日 安倍首相、なぜ会わぬ via 毎日新聞

菅官房長官「日程上、難しい」 被爆者「逃げ回っている」













全文はICAN事務局長来日 安倍首相、なぜ会わぬ


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Pentagon Suggests Countering Devastating Cyberattacks With Nuclear Arms via The New York Times

WASHINGTON — A newly drafted United States nuclear strategy that has been sent to President Trump for approval would permit the use of nuclear weapons to respond to a wide range of devastating but non-nuclear attacks on American infrastructure, including what current and former government officials described as the most crippling kind of cyberattacks.

For decades, American presidents have threatened “first use” of nuclear weapons against enemies in only very narrow and limited circumstances, such as in response to the use of biological weapons against the United States. But the new document is the first to expand that to include attempts to destroy wide-reaching infrastructure, like a country’s power grid or communications, that would be most vulnerable to cyberweapons.

The draft document, called the Nuclear Posture Review, was written at the Pentagon and is being reviewed by the White House. Its final release is expected in the coming weeks and represents a new look at the United States’ nuclear strategy. The draft was first published last week by HuffPost.


Gary Samore, who was a top nuclear adviser to President Barack Obama, said much of the draft strategy “repeats the essential elements of Obama declaratory policy word for word” — including its declaration that the United States would “only consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States or its allies and partners.”

But the biggest difference lies in new wording about what constitutes “extreme circumstances.”

In the Trump administration’s draft, those “circumstances could include significant non-nuclear strategic attacks.” It said that could include “attacks on the U.S., allied, or partner civilian population or infrastructure, and attacks on U.S. or allied nuclear forces, their command and control, or warning and attack assessment capabilities.”



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原発事故時の不安に対応、大学が放射線観測網 via Yomiuri Online







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国費で原発事故対策に賛否 「電力会社の責任放棄」「避難対策は国の責任」 玄海関連受注、九電側に利益 via 西日本新聞







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原発「適合」に抗議 via しんぶん赤旗








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Report: Illinois’ aging nuclear reactors have been ignoring regulators via The DePaulia

There is an invisible, looming threat lurking alongside Illinois’ rivers and lakes. Nuclear power plants that have outdated backup power systems and are vulnerable to flooding, but the state’s nuclear reactors have been ignoring years of warnings, according to a Better Government Association (BGA)  investigation.


Illinois has the most nuclear power plants of any state in the country, and ignoring regulators’ warnings has the potential to lead the state, and the nation, into a disaster if a mishap occurs.

Nuclear power plants use the energy from nuclear material to boil water, similar to the way a coal plant works. They also need water to keep the reactors cool, so this large appetite for water means the plants have to be near abundant fresh water, like rivers or lakes.

Yuki Miyamoto, a DePaul professor who specializes in nuclear ethics, said that it is critical for the owners of these plants to follow safety regulations because they are aging and require more attention.

“Nuclear power plants originally have a life of 40 years,” Miyamoto said. “But now we are extending the limit, as we have not built any new ones since the Three Mile Island accident.”

Two reactors the NRC found problematic were in Byron, IL and Braidwood, IL, which is only 53 miles southeast of Chicago. The NRC found faulty valve systems that are designed relieve water pressure in the event of an accident, according to the BGA’s report. These faulty valve systems, and the dismissal of their critical conditions, were what led to the nuclear disaster at Three Mile Island in 1979.

If a reactor floods, radiation could seep into the rivers and lakes that the power plants use to keep the reactors cool. But people also depend on those water sources for drinking water, and contamination could cause a national emergency.

“Not knowing the magnitude of the flood, it is extremely hard to know what to expect and how far it would reach,” Miyamoto said. “I do know even as the spilled radiation would affect the lives of residents of Chicago, the authorities would assure people, ‘It’s not dangerous.’”

Laura Hood is a DePaul student who is from Dresden, IL – where there is a nuclear power plant the NRC has deemed vulnerable to floods along the Illinois River. She said growing up that close to a nuclear reactor didn’t cross her mind until she was in high school and the Fukushima reactor melted down in Japan.

“It was always one of those things that you never really noticed,” Hood said. “Just another weird building in the middle of nowhere. But they are really dangerous and knowing my family still lives so close to one makes me nervous.”

Hood’s family is in the agriculture business, growing soybeans on their farm about 8 miles away from the Dresden reactor.  If an incident occurs, it could contaminate farmland for thousands of years. Depending on the severity of the accident, it could leave farming communities with radiation-laden soil.

When told the reactor near her family’s home is susceptible to flooding, she said she “can’t believe no one is doing anything about it.”

Michael Serrano, a chemical engineering student, believes that nuclear power is effective if used properly, but should not be put near any community’s drinking water.

“The risk-reward for having a reactor on Lake Michigan is extremely low,” Serrano said. “Millions of people would be out of drinking water (if an incident occurred).”


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Nuclear-capable B-52 bombers join B-2s, B-1Bs on Guam amid tensions with North Korea via The Japan Times

The U.S. Air Force announced Tuesday that it has deployed six of its powerful B-52 strategic bombers to Guam amid tensions with nuclear-armed North Korea.

The six planes, accompanied by 300 airmen, join three of the air force’s B-2 stealth bombers that were also recently dispatched to the U.S. island territory, home to Andersen Air Force Base, a key American outpost in the Pacific.

The base is also currently hosting several B-1B heavy bombers. While both the B-52 and B-2 are capable of carrying nuclear payloads, the B-1B has been modified to carry conventional ordinance only.

The deployment, conducted “in support of U.S. Pacific Command’s (PACOM) Continuous Bomber Presence mission,” according to a U.S. Pacific Air Forces statement, is likely to raise eyebrows in North Korea, which last year threatened to fire missiles near Guam.


“The B-52Hs return to the Pacific will provide U.S. PACOM and its regional allies and partners with a credible, strategic power projection platform, while bringing years of repeated operational experience,” the U.S. Pacific Air Forces said in its statement.

“This forward deployed presence demonstrates the U.S. continued commitment to allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region,” it added.


Overflights of the Korean Peninsula by heavy bombers such as the B-52, B-2 and B-1B have incensed Pyongyang. The North sees the flights by what it calls “the air pirates of Guam” as a rehearsal for striking its leadership and has routinely lambasted them as “nuclear bomb-dropping drills.”

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