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6th Memorial Service of East Japan Earthquake of 2011 Observed by Japanese-Speaking Congregation in London


Original Japanese written by Yuki Johnson

The English below written and arranged by Heeday, based on the original Japanese

The English edited by Rev. Dr. Henry French, ELCA


The Japanese-speaking church in the UK, where Ms. Yuki Johnson is active, held a service to commemorate the East Japan Earthquake of March 2011 again this year, six years after the disaster. The Anglican-Episcopal Church in Japan, its Tohoku Diocese, and we, the No Nuke Project, sent messages to the Japanese-speaking congregation.

One of its leading members, Ms. Yuki Johnson, has sent us the following report on the service as well as some nice photos taken by Mr. Shu Tomioka.


 We Won’t Forget You

      For victims of the 2011 Great Eastern Japan     Earthquake and Tsunami

    Marking the h Anniversary of the disaster

 9:30 – 13:30

 11th March (Sat) 2017

  Please come to see the memorial tree

    at St Margaret’s Church

    Westminster Abbey


(Photo taken by Shu Tomioka at 11th March 2017)

We held a vigil in commemoration of the 2011 disaster on March 11th. Though the venue, Westminster Abbey, was not open to the general public on that particular day, we had more participants than we expected. At least 500 people attached a cherry blossom, the symbol of our remembrance of the victims of the 2011 disaster, to the Tree of Hope placed at the venue. Many of them also left deeply meaningful messages. The photos shown here were taken by Mr. Tomioka, a wonderful friend of mine.
With many thanks,   (Yuki Johnson)


At St. Margaret’s Church




— Ms. Yuki Johnson (center), volunteers, secretary of the Consulate, chairperson of the Fukushima Prefecture Association, Rev. Jane, and others



— Cherry flowers with names of places where victims lost their lives in the 2011 disaster written on them



— The flowers were attached to the illuminated Tree of Hope, together with the participants’ prayers






A Day of Horror: The March 11, 2011 Japan Earthquake  A Foreigner’s Perspective Bradley Lobue


An Endorsement:
March 11th marks the 6th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Mr. Bradley Lobue, an American living in Japan published an e-book chronicling his experiences not only on that day, but also in the subsequent weeks and months. The book is a detailed account of his experiences with the earthquake and the nuclear crisis. It gives details about the event from his perspective.

A note from the author:
The effects of March 11, 2011 still linger for those of us who remain in Fukushima prefecture. The road to recovery has not been easy and will take more time before many people can reclaim the lives they had before that horrific event.  Thankfully, we have seen signs of life breathing back into Koriyama over the past few years.  Radiation levels have drastically dropped to manageable limits in general, although Koriyama still suffers from “hotspots” (where radiation levels are still well above the norm) in various neighborhoods and locations.  Damaged houses and buildings are being razed and rebuilt.  New roads have been constructed and businesses are returning to the area.  Koriyama is boldly rising from the ashes.

I have written an e-book about that fateful day, as well as the weeks and months following, from my perspective; a foreigner living in Fukushima prefecture. It’s titled A Day of Horror: The March 11, 2011 Japan Earthquake-A Foreigner’s Perspective. The book is for sale on Amazon in countries where available.  I hope that you enjoy the book.

Thank you for your kind support and consideration.
Bradley Lobue



Standing Up For “Life”—In search of a Nuke-free World A summary of a lecture by Rev. Makito Aizawa

Original Japanese lecture by Rev. Makito Aizawa, No Nuke Project

The English below written and arranged by Heeday, based on the original Japanese

The English edited by Rev. Dr. Henry French, ELCA


+++ Standing Up For “Life”—In search of a Nuke-free World+++

This was the title of the lecture delivered by Rev. Makito Aizawa, chairperson of our No Nuke Project, in July 2016, at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Yokohama.

The flyer for the lecture quoted Rev. Aizawa: “I believe we need to see this issue (of nuclear power) in terms of ‘life’ granted to us by God—from the viewpoint of faith, above anything else.”
He began his lecture by saying, “This is an issue we cannot ignore, as we live as Christians and as humans.”

Rev. Aizawa wrote a summary of the lecture, which was delivered in Japanese. The lecture was very easy to understand and full of good viewpoints. In the hope of sharing it with as many readers as possible, the No Nuke Project presents an English summary of the lecture below.


  1. Introduction
  2. The church should stand with life
  3. Issues with the nuclear power system
  4. A nuclear accident is comparable only to a war
  5. “Your thoughts are not of God but of men”
  6. The court decision to suspend the operation of the Oi Nuclear Power Plant
  7. Our standpoint

An English summary of “Standing Up For “Life”—In search of a Nuke-free World,”

a lecture by Rev. Makito Aizawa



“Standing up for “life”—in search of a nuke-free world.” This is a serious and crucial subject. I am not an engineer, and I am not an expert on nuclear power generation. Still, as we live as Christians and as human beings, it is an issue we cannot ignore. So, how should we understand and respond to the system of nuclear power generation?

God provides us all equally with the following three things: Life, Time, and Death. Indeed, we are all equal in these things. This is a solemn truth. Keeping this truth firmly in mind, and with a special focus on “life,” we will consider the issues of nuclear power generation.

God has granted each and every one of us a life. Therefore, we are living in this world.

Precisely speaking, we were created to live, and we only have one life. We can easily see how precious this one life is. Once it is lost, we have no alternative. Another way to put it is to say that it is never permissible to destroy a life.

We naturally say “No!” to any act that destroys life, be it a war, verbal abuse, neglect, or the refusal to live together. I think there are many other ways life can be destroyed. On March 11th, 2011, we were made aware of one more path to destruction. The meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) began to spread deadly radioactive substances. As many say, this tragedy radically changed the way we live and think.

【The church should stand with life】

In Genesis 2:16–17, we read: “You may eat from any tree in the garden except from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; the day you eat from that, you are surely doomed to die.” This is a command of God with deep meaning. In this text, we learn that some “fruits” are never to be eaten. In other words, there are some things we must not do.

Now, let us think about this prohibition one more time. As we consider nuclear power, this command of God shows us where we must stand. “The day you eat from that (nuclear power), you are surely doomed to die,” and that is precisely what we humans have done.

Now, do you not experience a tendency in church to avoid things political? How often have you heard it said: “A church is not the right place for politics.” I know well that there are ministers and laypeople who share similar beliefs. Still, let us think twice. Should we really avoid things “political” in church?

The Standing Committee of Catholic Bishops, part of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan, gave a clear response to the question in its statement dated April 7th, 2016. I believe we too should listen to their response. Let me cite part of it here.

“There have been criticisms of political remarks made by the Bishops’ Conference. Why does the Conference make political statements? Are such statements not against the principle of separation of church and state? On these questions, as we said, in the first paragraph of the message we issued last year, ‘The church must not remain silent on issues involving the life and dignity of humans.’

The Roman Catholic Church certainly does not stand on any particular political ideology. Still, the Bishops’ Conference has the duty to declare that believers need to be aware of recent political trends in Japan, trends which could someday lead to serious threats to ‘the life and dignity of humans’ in the very places where we live.

Also, ‘separation of church and state’ does not mean ‘separation of politics and religion,’ but ‘separation of a state government and a religious organization.’ The true meaning of the principle is that a government must not hold power over any particular religious organization, and vice versa. No religious organization should exercise any state power, or enjoy a cozy relationship with a government, or receive any profits from it. That is the true meaning of the principle.”

Friends, I hope we can stand on the same foundation. When we hear the criticism that a church must not be engaged in anything political, I suggest we respond: “We are not supporting or disapproving any particular political party. What we are doing is speaking out on issues of life and the dignity of life. We cannot remain silent on such issues.”

【Issues with the nuclear power system】

The heart of the problem of nuclear power generation is that it inevitably produces deadly radioactive substances (“fallout”), which threaten life. Back in the early years of nuclear energy development, there was the hope that we would someday be able to neutralize such substances. By now, however, most experts agree that this hope is gone, due to the immense technical problems and huge financial investments required.

The issues surrounding the processing and storage of radioactive waste will remain with us long after we abolish NPPs. Many radioactive elements have a half-life of some dozens of thousands to millions of years. (Pu239 has a half-life of 24,110 years, and Np237 some 2.14 million years.)

Dozens of thousands to millions of years—time too long for us to imagine. Can we ever safely store deadly radioactive waste over such long periods of time? This is especially critical given that Japan is located in a geological area with frequent earthquakes. In a place like this, it is most probably impossible to safely store the “waste of death” somewhere underground for many thousands of years.

Additionally, attempting to store such waste for such a long time inevitably means that we are burdening future generations—who will not benefit from today’s power generation—with life-threatening radioactive substances. Is this ethically permissible? (See a recent Japanese publication titled “Datsu-genpatsu no Tetsugaku” (literally, “Philosophy of Freedom from Nuclear Power”) by Satoh & Taguchi.)

The common uranium contained in uranium ores (U238) has a half-life of some 4.5 billion years. Used nuclear fuel must be kept in isolation for 100,000 years, until its toxicity weakens sufficiently.

Now, let us think of how old the human race is. The first human species named “homo…” emerged some 1.8 million years ago, with “homo sapiens” appearing some 200,000 years ago.

The more we operate NPPs, the more radioactive waste is produced. All of this waste requires storage over astronomical periods of time. The nuclear power generation system leaves highly toxic waste, which cannot be processed, as well as the problem of its storage and all the serious dangers involved, to future generations. The longer we operate NPPs, the more of such waste is left to the future. All these troubles and dangers for future generations are being created just for the sake of our power consumption today. Thus, we have a system in which our easy living comes at the sacrifice of future generations.

Yet another serious issue is that nuclear power generation and the making of nuclear weapons basically use the same technology. Reprocessing and enrichment of used nuclear fuels can produce plutonium, which is the essential material of many nuclear weapons. In short, slow nuclear fission takes place in a NPP, while a rapid outburst of it occurs in a nuclear bomb. Many say that one reason why some nations keep operating their NPPs is that they want to maintain the technology to produce nuclear bombs.

In Japanese we use two different terms – “genshiryoku” (literally, “atomic power”) for power generation and “kaku” (“nuclear”) for weapons. Thus, nuclear power generation is “genshiryoku hatsuden” in common Japanese. However, in Chinese, it is usually核 (nuclear ) 电站. Today, some Japanese speakers prefer to use “kaku hatsuden” (nuclear power generation). But, language aside, the nuclear waste from NPPs is highly dangerous, and it is an inevitable byproduct of “nuclear” power generation.

【A nuclear accident is comparable only to a war】

Now, let us turn our attention briefly to the “Statement of War Responsibility” of the Anglican-Episcopal Church in Japan. With this statement, the Anglican-Episcopal Church in Japan demonstrated its awareness “that we are called to do justice as the people of God, and to become a church that hears the screams and painful cries of a world split apart and in agony, and so become an instrument of peace. And we pray for this transformation.” Thus, we will denounce war, and strive to build up and live in peace.

Now, from the viewpoint of peace and war, let us look at what nuclear power does. We can see that, in terms of severity, scale, etc., a major NPP incident is comparable only to war. In short, a nuclear incident exceeds many other tragedies in our world in terms of cruelty and severity. I learned this from the Japanese publication mentioned above, “Datsu-genpatsu no Tetsugaku.”

Once a major nuclear accident hits a NPP, or another nuclear facility, a tremendous area of land is rendered uninhabitable and some dozens of thousands of lives are threatened. In this sense, a nuclear accident is comparable only to a war.

For instance, see the statistics below from actual major NPP accidents:


Death toll

Chernobyl Forum estimates the death toll ascribable to cancer related to this historic nuclear catastrophe at 4,000 among the 600,000 people who had considerable exposure to radiation in the three countries mainly affected by the accident, namely Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. Greenpeace’s estimate of cancer deaths related to Chernobyl is 93,080 all over the world. The New York Academy of Sciences has 985,000 as the total death toll including causes other than cancer.

  • Emigration

Soil contamination forced some 400,000 residents to emigrate out of an area of some 10,000 km2 (2,471,054 acres) area of land.

  • Economic loss

Belarus suffered a gigantic economic loss equivalent to 32 years of its national budget.

As you see, these figures show a leviathan of catastrophe comparable only to a war.

<Fukushima Daiichi>

  • Refugees

Some 154,000 residents of Fukushima Prefecture left their homes to settle in other places. (As of March, 2013.) This figure is very close to the displacement of people during wars and civil wars.

  • Uninhabitable and under-control lands

An area of some 1,000 km2 (247,097 acres) around the NPP is uninhabitable, with another 14,000 km2 (3,459,353 acres) of land under control for radioactivity. No “accident” other than a nuclear-related one can render such a massive area of land uninhabitable. In terms of scale, only a war is comparable to this.

As shown above, a nuclear accident kills numerous victims with cancer and other issues, renders a huge area of land uninhabitable, and radically destroys the livelihood of the people living there. What is comparable to a catastrophe like this? Only war is.

Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution renounces war. We, the Anglican-Episcopal Church in Japan, have adopted the Statement of War Responsibility. When we consider this, we know what we should do.

Now, once a NPP is put into operation, it produces radioactive waste. Though this is a plain fact that all the experts knew well, it caught the attention of many others after March 11th, 2011. The Anglican-Episcopal Church in Japan, therefore, in the 59th Regular General Synod of 2012, adopted a resolution named “For a World without Nuclear Power Plants – The Anglican/Episcopal Church in Japan Opposed to Nuclear Power Generation.” In essence, the resolution says the church “seeks for a world free from nuclear power,” since it “threatens lives created by God…destroys nature created by God …and deprives people of the peaceful life intended by God.”

Obviously, as the resolution points out, radioactive waste, now existing in huge quantities with no way to neutralize it, threatens the lives of people for many millennia to come. Radioactive substances remained stably underground for millions of years. Now, the nuclear power system has dug them up and is destroying the ecosystem of the planet. Nuclear accidents have destroyed the foundations of all too many people’s lives, people who are now forced to lead a life without stability.

【“Your thoughts are not of God but of men”】

Now, let us hear the word of our Lord. “Get behind me, Satan, for your thoughts are not of God but of men” (Gospel of Mark 8:33).

This is Jesus’ rebuke of Peter. It does not mean we should forget about things human. Rather, it means we have to have our priorities right. Giving a higher priority to things human over things Divine—for instance “money first” over life—can result in a catastrophe, as the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown has proven to us.

In the right sequence of priorities, life comes first. I suppose most people share this belief. Still: “Whether one is completely ignorant of God or a believer in God, a human is susceptible to impulses of rage, jealousy, desires to monopolize and dominate, etc. He/She can be enslaved by money or possessions. Also, without Divine help, a human often looks down on others who are inferior to him/her in power, physical might, intelligence, possessions, etc. and even considers such people’s lives as less important than his/her own.” (p. 13, “Hiboryoku ni yoru Heiwa eno Michi” (literally, “A Way to Peace through Non-Violence), a publication of the Social Committee of Catholic Bishops, part of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan.)

As we think of our Lord’s saying, “Your thoughts are not of God but of men,” in the context of our modern society, it sounds like “Your thoughts are not of life but of money.”

I heard Prof. Hirofumi Uzawa, a theoretical economist, say that the foundations of our lives, the atmosphere, water, forest, soil, etc., are not to be left to the care of the market economy. We can easily see the evidence of this claim in, among many other tragedies, the victims of Minamata disease, whose lives depended upon the Sea of Minamata, which was polluted by a big business. They were forced to sacrifice their lives and health for money. (Heeday’s note: Minamata disease was a severe form of mercury poisoning first discovered in 1956, in a place called Minamata, Kumamoto Prefecture, Kyushu, Japan. A business named Chisso Corporation had a chemical plant there, which released wastewater containing methylmercury into the sea facing Minamata, poisoning many residents there. Their traditional lifestyles depended on seafood.)

Yet another example of such victims are those whose land, which they inherited from their ancestors, was taken in exchange for money, due to the national government’s development policy. Prof. Uzawa’s theory rings loudly as a serious warning. Clearly our socioeconomic system can produce more such victims. The essentials of people’s lives must not be given over to the market mechanism, he says. This is something important we need to learn.

Another scholar, Prof. Takeshi Umehara, in a lecture, described a spiritual idea called “Somoku Kokudo Shikkai Jobutsu” (literally, “Grasses, trees, soil, minerals— everything can become Buddha”). The idea recognizes the nature of Buddha in everything—animals, plants, minerals—which, in turn, means they can all be transformed into Buddha. In other words, this idea proposes a way of life that coexists with nature. The Fukushima Daiichi disaster has made it clear that we now need to reconsider our sciences, technologies, and civilization from the viewpoint of “Somoku Kokudo Shikkai Jobutsu,” i.e., coexistence with nature.

As we live our eternal life, as promised by Lord Jesus, I think we must live together with nature as well. The creation story of the book of Genesis tells us to live together with and take care of nature. Not control it. Don’t forget: our responsibility is to let God-given nature prove its inherent beauty.

Both religiously and ethically, we cannot keep NPPs running. They produce deadly waste, and we have no way to process it into something safe. This alone is a strong enough reason to prohibit NPPs. Insistence on restarting NPPs seems to come from insistence on getting more and more money and profit. Holding economic growth above human life is a perversion. The way we should live is to build up a society that values life, thinking of things Divine first and then things human.

【The court decision to suspend the operation of the Oi NuclearPower Plant】

Now, from this viewpoint, the Fukui District Court’s decision of May 21st, 2014, which suspended the operation of Units 3 and 4 of the Oi NPP, located in Fukui, Japan, was of tremendous significance. Especially notable is the court’s position on “loss of the nation’s wealth,” which I think is in line with what the Bible teaches us.

<Loss of the nation’s wealth>

“Though the defendant (The Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc.) claims that restarting the NPP in question should lead to a stable supply of power and cost reduction, the court believes that the rights of many related to their very existence must not be discussed as a tradeoff with power rates and other issues. Such a discussion in itself is not permissible from the standpoint of legal justice.

Considering the relationship between power generation and nuclear energy here in Japan, we, the court, conclude that suspending the operation of the NPP in question will not result in any serious power shortage, nor would it cause any threat to a human’s life or body. We can safely ignore such a possibility.

Even in the defendant’s arguments, the inconveniences that might result from suspending the operation of the NPP in question are all within the domain of power supply stability and cost. Though some claim that an increase in power supply cost means a loss of the nation’s wealth, even if the suspension of the operation of the NPP in question would result in a large trade deficit, it would not mean any loss of the nation’s wealth. We, the court, believe the true national wealth is both a rich natural environment and people living in that environment with peace and stability. If these are lost irretrievably, it is the true loss of the nation’s wealth.

Also, though the defendant claims that NPPs help in the reduction of CO2 (carbon dioxide) emission and, therefore, are environmentally positive, once a severe accident occurs at a NPP, environmental destruction follows. We have witnessed that the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown is the most serious and greatest incident of environmental destruction in the whole of Japan’s history. Thus, it is utterly illogical to argue that a NPP’s operation should continue for the sake of environmental protection.”

【Our standpoint】

There is a series of daily editorials, called “Vox Populi,” in a major Japanese newspaper named “The Asahi Shimbun.” I found an interesting folk tale in one editorial: A man was living happily with a lovely wife. One day, when a dog barked at the wife, she showed her true self – a fox. (Heeday’s note: In Japan’s fairy tales, a fox often turns itself into a human and deceives people. Ancient China had a legend of a fox-turned monster, which spread into the Japanese archipelago along with Buddhism.) The man, though shocked to learn he had been deceived by a fox, was unable to give up the happiness he enjoyed while he was deceived. So, he asked the fox to turn into the wife again.

I think this tale can be applied to Japan’s relationship with NPPs. “The Fukushima catastrophe has set many people free from the curse of the ‘NPP safety myth’ and revealed the true color of nuclear power. Still, some leaders are unable to give up the ‘happy deception’ and are eager to be deceived again.”

Minako Saitoh, a literary critic, analyzed why Japan has so far been unable to give up NPPs. She has come up with five reasons:

  • Reluctance to give up—“We have worked so hard to restart some NPPs. How can we give up on them so easily!?”
  • Fear that giving up NPPs now would prevent any future restarts
  • Forlorn hope that technologies will overcome current suspicions about NPPs and prove their safety
  • Insistence of the pro-nukes people to “save face” over against those voices calling for abolishment of NPPs
  • Desire of the pro-nukes people to save their own skin, by avoiding all the risks involved in NPP abolishment

In essence, what is driving some people to restart NPPs includes “reluctance, fear, saving one’s face and skin, and forlorn hope.” If this analysis is true, we just cannot accept such things. And I am afraid that the analysis is correct.

In April 2011, Chancellor Merkel of Germany installed the “Ethics Commission on Safe Energy Supply,” which later, on May 30th, 2011, submitted a report saying Germany could abolish nuclear power within a decade. The report’s main points included:

  • No matter how we improve NPP safety, an accident can happen.
  • Once such an accident takes place, nuclear energy proves to be more dangerous than any other form of energy.
  • Leaving radioactive waste to future generations is a serious ethical problem.
  • There are other energy sources safer than nuclear.
  • To alleviate global warming, using nuclear power in place of fossil fuels does not provide a solution.
  • We should gradually eliminate NPPs through the development of renewable energies and by improving energy efficiency. This will create great opportunities for future economic growth as well.

I think what really matters is “determination.” If we make up our mind to abolish NPPs, we will engage in more research, share more ideas, and find new ways to do so. This will accelerate the spread of renewable energies. Small technologies will be developed, one after another.

The top priority issue with nuclear energy is safety, I think. Yet one serious question is what “safety” really is. Some people speak of technical safety, scientific safety, and so on.  Yet these so-called “safeties” can confuse relevant discussions. To me, true “nuclear energy safety” can become a reality only after we have the technology to neutralize radioactive waste. And such a technology is only forlorn hope.

In 2006, a Buddhist poet named Shinmin Sakamura passed away at the age of 97. He wrote a poem titled “For those who come after me”:

For those who come after me

For those who come after me

I will toil

I will persevere

I will cultivate the rice paddies

And prepare seeds

For those who come after me

I will keep clean mountains, rivers, and the ocean


Yes, for those who come after us

We all do everything we can


For those beloved ones

Who come after us and those who come after them

For those who inherit the future

Everyone does what (s)he can


(From a collection of Shinmin Sakamura’s poems titled “Shikoku” (literally, “Land of Poems”)

Let me conclude this lecture with an impressive appeal made by a (then) 11-year-old child, who was a refugee from Iwaki, Fukushima and currently resides in Tokyo. This appeal was read at the opening ceremony of the “Tokyo – Hiroshima Route” of the March of Peace of the People against A&H Bombs 2014. The ceremony was held in front of the “Daigo Fukuryu-maru” Museum located in Yume-no-shima, Koto Ward, Tokyo, on May 6th, 2014. (Heeday’s note: “Daigo Fukuryu-maru was the tuna fishing boat that was hit by deadly fallout from a hydrogen bomb test conducted in Bikini Atoll in 1954. One of its crew, Aikichi Kuboyama, died half a year later.)

Here is the whole text of the appeal:

“Since I left my Fukushima home on the day after the meltdown began, I have not seen my home again. In March 2011, when I was a 2nd grader, I became a child living in Tokyo. All the things I cherished, my school, home, friends, and everything else, disappeared. A new life began and I started to go to school from my shelter.

I and my little brother, weeping and vomiting, just did whatever we had to do. Most of us, refugees from Iwaki, are from outside the “specified areas for refugee compensation”  and so receive almost no compensation.* So, most of us are in poverty. Also, most children among us are living separately from their fathers. Their dads have to keep working in Fukushima. Otherwise, we will not be able to make our living as refugees. Without the NPP meltdown, all of us would be leading an ordinary life in our homes. I too spent a year and a half away from my dad. Back then, I was extremely happy on those few days when I met my dad. Yet every time he went back to Fukushima, my little brother covered himself up with “futon” sleeping mats and wept. I felt so sorry for him, because I wanted to cry too.

My dad worked hard, alone in Fukushima, but later he overworked himself and had both physical and mental problems. He had to quit the work and settled down in Tokyo. At long last, we are together. Still, currently we are experiencing many difficulties.

I did hear about what atomic bombs did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, yet I never imagined my own house would experience fallout from above 69 years later. And the fallout ruined the life of my whole family.

I lost so many things after the NPP meltdown. My house, my family’s smiles, and many other things all disappeared.

I hope a tragedy like this will never happen again, to anyone, anywhere. So, all of you participants in this March of Peace, please keep Japan on the right track, until I and my generation grow old enough to move Japan’s politics. Please let us inherit a safe future, a future without atomic bombs or NPPs. I and my fellow kids will learn everything we can, so we can inherit such a future, a future I earnestly and desperately hope for.”


* “Specified areas for refugee compensations”: Following the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown, the Japanese government granted some compensation to those refugees who fled from the areas specified for such compensation. However, compensation is not given to those who fled, by their own decision, from areas not specified.

(End of this summary)

In another “Refresh (Retreat) Program,” St. Timothy’s Kindergarten’s kids visited Aqua World Oarai

Original Japanese written by Izumi Koshiyama, No Nuke Project

The English below written and arranged by Heeday, based on the original Japanese

The English edited by Rev. Dr. Henry French, ELCA


On Thursday, February 23rd, 2017, the kids of St. Timothy’s Kindergarten, located in Onahama, Fukushima, took a ride on a big bus to visit “Aqua World,” a prefectural aquarium in Ibaraki, Japan. Though their hometown, Onahama, stands on the Pacific coast and has its own aquarium, named Aquamarine Fukushima, it does not have dolphin and seal shows. Aqua World, located in Oarai, Ibaraki, has such shows. This made the kids very excited and happy.

In front of the shark tank, a boy of the kindergarten’s mid-aged class had sparkles in his eyes as he shouted, “Here are sharks!!” He was a lover of sharks, and watched every single move the sharks made with both of his hands on the tank’s glass.



Now, at the sea water tank of Okhotsk, the kids found many Paracanthurus hepatus, the fish featured in the Disney movie, “Finding Dory.” They were lost in the movie world. “So many Dories!!!”



Until the Ocean Show began, the children savored their lunches together.大洗水族館(2017年2月23日Ⅲ)


Now, the long-awaited Ocean Show. The performances of seals and dolphins made the kids go head over heels with excitement. “Hurrah, hurrah!! Yay!!!”






Kids of St. Paul’s Kindergarten having fun in the snow

Original Japanese written by Izumi Koshiyama, No Nuke Project

The English below written and arranged by Heeday, based on the original Japanese

The English edited by Rev. Dr. Henry French, ELCA


On Friday, February 10th, St. Paul’s Kindergarten had another outing. A large bus took the kids and teachers to “Family Snow Park Bandai x 2,” a park for nature exploration and athletic activities located in the town of Inawashiro, Fukushima.

This Friday was blessed with a fresh snow fall. The kids’ homes are in Koriyama, where it had snowed some before they got on the bus. When they got off the bus at the park, they were surprised by the very heavy snow cover. However, tons of snow could not discourage them from walking to the slope with vigor and joy!



“Wow, the slope is almost here!” The kids dashed through the glorious white.



Some tried sitting on the snow, while others tried lying down on it, but the snow was so cold some started crying.



“This is not sand.” “Wanna make a cake of snow?” Time stopped for them as they played in the snow.



“All I see is snow, snow, and more snow; how could there be more snow?”


The kids were told to “Use your feet as the brake to stop the snow sled,” but for this kid the brake did not work well, and a teacher down the slope had to catch the kid.


Rev. Naoto Iwasa and Ms. Minako Sakihara, a teacher, who came all the way from subtropical Okinawa, joined the snow fun tour to help the teachers. The two were shocked to see how deep the snow cover was. The kids wrote, and gave them, letters of thanks.


“PAX” – a program to help mothers raising a child “Yoga and massage for mothers and babies”

Original Japanese written by Izumi Koshiyama, No Nuke Project

The English below written and arranged by Heeday, based on the original Japanese

The English edited by Rev. Dr. Henry French, ELCA


On January 31st, 2017, at “Wakuwaku Hiroba” (“Hustle Square”) at St. Paul’s Kindergarten, the No Nuke Project held “Yoga and Massage for Mothers and Babies,” targeted at one-year-olds. The instructor was Ms. Yoshie Hatakeyama.

First, each mother sat on the floor and held her baby on her lap. As the instructor sang a song, each mother “rocked” her baby, moving forward and then backward, or sometimes standing up with the baby in her arms. Both the mothers and the babies seemed very happy as they relaxed together. Then they enjoyed playing with colorful cloths.



Next came the massage. To begin with, the children had a patch test to confirm that the aromatic oil used in the massage (named “almond sweet”) would not cause an allergic reaction. Then, using a doll, the instructor demonstrated how to effectively massage the children’s calves, knees, belly, chest, back, and soles. (The soles were massaged without oil, as applying oil to the feet could result in slipping.)

A belly massage improves digestion, while massaging the chest enables deeper breaths. Such massages are especially effective if done just before going to bed. (If your baby is ticklish, just opening and closing his/her arms is effective too.)



To conclude, the mothers listened to Yoshie’s stories, drawn from her own child raising experience, and they asked her questions while they enjoyed herbal tea blended by the instructor. The mothers and their babies all had a very relaxing time.

One thing to keep in mind during winter on the Pacific side of Japan: the atmosphere is very dry. So, it is a good idea to apply a moisturizer to the skin after a shower. This will help prevent skin allergies.

Every childcare story Yoshie told revealed her deep affection for kids, and was very helpful and practical to the mothers.

I, Izumi Koshiyama, experienced child raising many years ago, yet the yoga and massage were a delight to me as well.

St. John’s House of Prayer, Isoyama, at Shinchi, Fukushima

Original Japanese written by Izumi Koshiyama, No Nuke Project

The English below written and arranged by Heeday, based on the original Japanese

The English edited by Rev. Dr. Henry French, ELCA

The little town of Shinchi, Fukushima, was devastated by the gigantic tsunami caused by the seismic catastrophe of March 11th, 2011. The devastation from the ocean brought serious harm to all the members of St. John’s Church—an Anglican congregation—who were living close to the church. Three of the church’s members were killed. All the other members who survived the catastrophe had no choice but to settle down somewhere else as refugees. How about the church building? It was demolished as a “dangerous building” on February 16th, 2013.

The Tohoku Diocese, Anglican-Episcopal Church in Japan, launched the “Rebuilding Project of St. John’s Church, Isoyama” and has been striving to rebuild the church over the last five years and nine months. The Diocese bought a new piece of land in Kumano, Shinchi and reopened the church under the name of “St. John’s House of Prayer, Isoyama.”

While the general rebuilding of Tohoku, the hard-hit region of the 2011 seismic disaster, is still in progress, many refugees from the vicinity of Fukushima Daiichi are still living in temporary housing in Shinchi.

At 4pm, Sunday, December 25th, 2016, the “House of Prayer” celebrated its first Christmas Mass, attended by 31 people. Worshipers included St. John’s own members as well as visitors from Nagoya, Sendai, Aizu, Onahama, and Koriyama. After the Mass, they spent time sharing peace and gratitude for the reopening of the church.

The House of Prayer (with its parking lot behind)



Scenes from the Christmas Mass

Lectionary reading by Mr. Miyake, a layperson of St. John’s
Homily by Rev. Hasegawa


Recent scenes from the emergency temporary housing at Izumi-Tamatsuyu and Watanabe-Hiruno, Fukushima

Original Japanese written by Izumi Koshiyama, No Nuke Project

The English below written and arranged by Heeday, based on the original Japanese

The English edited by Rev. Dr. Henry French, ELCA

The emergency temporary housing at Izumi-Tamatsuyu, located in Iwaki, Fukushima, provides temporary housing to refugees from the little town of Tomioka, whose entire territory is part of the no-go zone. Another hard-hit town, Okuma, is also completely within the off-limits area and its former residents now live in the temporary housing of Watanabe-Hiruno, Fukushima.

The Fukushima Daiichi meltdown forced these people to leave their hometowns more than five and a half years ago. Those refugees have made good friends in their temporary residences, yet one of them told me that separation from such new friends might happen someday. Therefore, said the refugee at a “Comfy Café” held at one of the temporary housing facilities, making the most of the present time is the thing to do. That message still rings in my mind. A “Comfy Café” meets every Friday morning at the temporary housing of Izumi-Tamatsuyu (for Tomioka refugees), and every Thursday and Saturday morning at Watanabe-Hiruno (for Okuma refugees).


Scenes from the temporary housing of Izumi-Tamatsuyu, Iwaki, Fukushima (housing for refugees from Tomioka)

Present of potted flowers, and a ∗“potato boiling party”

On Friday, November 25th, the Japan Red Cross Society’s Iwaki Branch presented countless potted flowers to the refugees at Izumi-Tamatsuyu
People from the Red Cross Society joined in the※ “potato boiling party” with the refugees, on the same day.

※ “Potato boiling parties” (known as “imoni” in Tohoku Japanese) are common in the Tohoku region of Japan. At such parties, occasionally held outdoors, people boil potatoes and many other foods, and then eat them together as an act of friendship. Especially during the harsh winter of Tohoku, an indoor “imoni” brings people together around the boiling pots, and they enjoy “warmth” both physically and mentally

For a Wikipedia page explaining the Tohoku custom, visit


Scenes from the temporary housing of Watanabe-Hiruno, Iwaki, Fukushima (housing for refugees from Okuma)

A scene from a Comfy Café held there

The staff prepares for the Café before it starts, making coffee. (December 10th)
The participants enjoy chatting about their health and many other things over sweets presented by donors, handmade pickles, and pumpkins cooked for the winter solstice. (December 10th)


In Japan, many cook and eat pumpkins on and around the winter solstice, wishing for good health throughout the winter.

Dealing with the aftermath of Fukushima Daiichi’s meltdown will cost twice as much as originally expected

Original Japanese written by Kay Ikezumi, Secretary General, No Nuke Project

The English below written and arranged by Heeday, based on the original Japanese

The English edited by Rev. Dr. Henry French, ELCA

The cost of dealing with the aftermath of the Fukushima meltdown has doubled. Japan’s national government plans to provide more loans to TEPCO.

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has estimated that the cost of dealing with the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown, including the decommissioning, compensation paid to those affected, etc., could grow to some 21.5 trillion yen (USD195.5 billion, at USD = JPY110). Two major reasons for this are (1) decommissioning work is taking longer than originally expected, and (2) much more in compensation to affected farmers is necessary. This new estimate doubles the total cost from the former estimate of some 11 trillion yen.

To help the operator of the devastated nuclear power plant, TEPCO, finance this massive cost, Japan’s national government has announced a plan to increase the maximum interest-free loan available to the power company from 9 trillion yen to 14 trillion. Yet how is the government going to finance this increase? It plans to finance it from increased usage rates for power provided by TEPCO and other major power companies. In short, the consumers of power will have to bear the burden of the expanded loans to TEPCO. This new estimate is to be presented to the relevant committees of the METI and the investigation committee of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), in November, turned its back on its own “rule of 40 years” for nuclear power stations’ operation and gave the go-ahead to the “life prolongation” of Unit 3, Mihama Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), located in Fukui, Japan, and operated by the Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO). This was the third outdated reactor whose life prolongation was approved by the NRA, after Units 1 and 2 of KEPCO’s Takahama NPP, also located in Fukui, a prefecture situated in the middle of Japan along the Japan Sea coast. Moreover, Japan has seven other NPP reactors that have been in operation in excess of four decades and, including those seven, the nation has sixteen reactors in all that have been in operation longer than 30 years. If the NRA stays on its current path, we will see more and more outdated reactors put back to work, which increases the risk of another major accident. Any such an accident will lead to heavier financial burdens in its aftermath.

Compensation, decontamination, decommissioning, and…. We have yet to see an end to any of these issues. We cannot let the current nuclear power policies remain as they are. If we do, more lives will be wasted, and Japan could be bankrupted.

Germany has determined to abolish all its NPPs by 2022, and there have been firm moves to make Europe nuke-free. Taiwan has moved to the nuke-free road, deciding to abolish its NPPs by 2025. Both Germany and Taiwan have learned precious lessons from Fukushima. Both governments have listened to the voices of their people. Why can’t Japan’s government do the same?

Japan is carrying an ever-expanding financial burden, and has experienced many unexpected tragedies from the use of nuclear power. Japan should be a leader in a worldwide movement to set our planet free of nuclear power. That should be a major part of the compensation paid to those affected by the Fukushima meltdown.

(Original Japanese written on December 8th, 2016)

Rehearsing a Christmas pageant

Original Japanese written by Izumi Koshiyama, No Nuke Project

The English below written and arranged by Heeday, based on the original Japanese

The English edited by Rev. Dr. Henry French, ELCA

“Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee” (The Gospel according to Luke 1:28).

This year, once again the kids at St. Paul’s Kindergarten are enjoying a blessed Advent.

^ The Sakura Class (Cherries) (3 years in age or younger): This class is learning the meaning of Christmas and having a good time with friends and the nurses.

^ The Tampopo Class (Dandelions) (Younger kids of regular kindergarten age): They are learning about the birth of Jesus so they can celebrate Christmas with joy.

^ The Momo Class (Peaches) (Medium-aged kids): They are also learning about the birth of Jesus so they too can celebrate Christmas with joy.

^ The Hikari Class (Lights) (Older kids): This class is moved by the birth of Jesus and waiting for His coming with longing.

The Hikari Class is now rehearsing a Christmas pageant. Today, they had their first dress rehearsal.

The kids helped each other put on costumes, which had hooks on the back.
They look happy in their costumes.
She is dressing as one of the three magi.
Praying together before the church, to start off the rehearsal

This is the sixth Christmas after the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown began. The situation of Fukushima’s children has not turned for the better. Still, all the parents and faculty members of the kindergarten are doing their very best, working together to keep the children safe. While, with the passing of time, more and more people are losing their concerns over Fukushima, many people, both in and out of Japan, are still graciously helping us. We are very thankful for it!

We ask for your continued help, so our children can grow up strong and happy.

(Original Japanese written on December 7th, 2016)