Former Prime Minister of Japan Naoto Kan joined Green Cross at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on 26 January to tell the audience there that, five years later, the nuclear disaster in Fukushima has yet to be resolved.
“The accident is still unfolding,” he said, as radioactive material continues to seep into surrounding groundwater and the ocean. He contested current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s repeated claims that radioactive contamination is “under control.” Kan, who was Prime Minister of Japan when the Fukushima nuclear disaster occurred in March, 2011, has become a tireless campaigner on the dangers of nuclear power.
As well as Prime Minister Kan, the Washington event featured Dr. Hironao Matsubara, Chief Researcher of Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies (ISEP) in Tokyo, Japan, Yoshiko Aoki, who has been providing support services to Fukushima residents forced to relocate after the disaster, Nathalie Gysi, Executive Director of Green Cross Switzerland, and Dr. Paul F. Walker, Green Cross International’s Director of Environmental Security & Sustainability.
The speakers touched upon the ongoing Fukushima remediation effort, what amounts to a refugee crisis in the areas surrounding Fukushima, and the disaster’s long-term lessons for energy and regulatory plans in Japan, Europe, the United States, and beyond.