“Nothing About Us Without Us !” as IAEA sets up its operational base in Fukushima - Report on the Japan-IAEA Ministerial Conference

The Fukushima Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety co-organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the government of Japan was held in Koriyama from December 15 to December 17, 2012. The Conference took place in the midst of the general election being held during the same weekend, to which a lot of media attention was devoted. About 700 people from 125 countries and organizations participated in the Conference.


The more I leaned about IAEA, the clearer it became to me what an obstacle this organization is for those of us who are striving toward the world without nuclear power. IAEA committed an unforgivable crime in Chernobyl, together with the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and the Nippon Foundation, by withholding and hiding information on the health impact of radiation in order to trivialize it. Moreover, it is unbelievable that the hands of the World Health Organization (WHO) are tied by IAEA in carrying out its own health assessment. When I visited Chernobyl last fall, Mr. Andreyev, who heads the Chernobyl Association and was one of the Liquidators himself, was harshly critical of IAEA and said, “We need to dismantle IAEA”, and “IAEA did not disseminate any information we obtained risking our lives”.

During these three days of the Conference, the main streets were covered with policemen, and closed off to the public by fences and barricades. What did the international nuclear mafia talk about in this environment? Did they experience a bit what it is like to live in Fukushima in fear, when an earthquake of magnitude 4 shook on the first afternoon of the Conference? The Fukushima Prefectural government as a host displayed beautiful pictures of Fukushima and treated the guests with meals with ingredients produced in Fukushima, to make a point that Fukushima’s reconstruction is well underway and it is safe here.


Yuhei Sato, Fukushima Governor, and Yukiya Amano, the Director General of IAEA, signed a memorandum of understanding on the joint projects focused on radiation monitoring and decontamination.

Our message in protest against this Conference was “Nothing About Us Without Us!”. About 200 people gathered to protest each day. The Fukushima Action Project, which was created as a citizen’s watchdog group for IAEA in Fukushima prior to this Conference, presented a statement of demands to IAEA. Included there was the demand for IAEA to urge the government of Japan to decommission all the nuclear power plants in Japan, and to minimize the radiation exposure for children. An IAEA spokesperson received us outside, in the back of the conference center building, a momentarily gesture pretending to listen to us.

What will happen to Fukushima now? A full range of nuclear promoting international organizations will be coming in and trying to exert their influence? It is certain that the safety campaign that focuses on decontamination is going to be strengthened even further and maneuvered to stop the outflow of population. Then I am afraid the people of Fukushima will be rendered as guinea pigs and statistical data. But I also know that there were a number of environmental groups and anti-nuclear organizations from various parts of the world that came to Japan at this occasion to take part in the citizens' parallel events. I cannot help but keep my hope strong that by connecting with them, and working closely with them, we will be able to show the true color of IAEA to the rest of the world to bring it down.


We cannot see radioactive substances with our eyes. But I believe, we take actions, when moved by the power of something we cannot see.


Setsuko Kuroda 

Fukushima Women Who Don't Want Nuclear Power


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