Fresh Currents

Today I bring you news of a Kyoto Journal project I have been involved in for over 12 months now. Please help spread the word about our fundraising campaign and help us build a sustainable future!

Japan’s Flow from a Nuclear Past to a Renewable Future

More than a year after the triple meltdown at Fukushima, Japan and the rest of the world continue to grapple with the short- and long-term consequences. The myth that nuclear power can deliver us from the long-term evils of fossil fuels has been shattered. Renewable energy, long dismissed as impractical, is being given serious reconsideration. Japan can and must take advantage of this opportunity to rethink and refocus its energy strategies.

In Kyoto, birthplace of the Kyoto Protocol, a dedicated group of reporters, writers, artists, editors, and photographers associated with Kyoto Journal ( is taking a fresh look at proven and innovative alternative technologies such as solar, wind, geothermal, mini-hydro, and biomass as well as the even greater number that are being actively researched, but are insufficiently recognized and under-funded.

With your help, our goal is to produce a investigative publication,“Fresh Currents: Japan’s Flow from a Nuclear Past to a Renewable Future,” first in English, aiming to have it subsequently published in Japanese, which we will do our best to get into the hands of key policymakers, local government officials, community leaders, educators, and media outlets. Print and PDF versions will also be made available to the general public.

Why is this so important? Japan’s entrenched pro-nuclear lobby is desperate to reinstitute “business as usual,” as it has after far too many previous accidents. The nuclear industry’s dismal safety record, reflecting both amazing arrogance and catastrophic negligence, shows that safer, sustainable alternatives must be found and developed.

This is a critical moment, with a strong citizens’ movement underway demanding a national referendum on nuclear power. Even Japan’s current Minister for the Economy, Trade and Industry admits that it’s time to phase out nuclear generation of electricity. Our “Fresh Currents” project has vital potential to identify viable renewable energy mix options. We believe that it can make a significant contribution to the debate on the future of energy production – not only in Japan, but worldwide.

For more information please check the following links:

The Fresh Currents Indiegogo Fundraising Campaign
Fresh Currents on Twitter
Fresh Currents on Facebook

Some of our content contributors:

1) Interview with Tetsunari Iida: “Mr. Renewable Energies Japan,” the country’s leading expert on renewable energy. Iida has served on numerous local and national government committees, and was a key figure behind last year’s passage by the Diet of a new “feed-in tariff” that obligates power companies to use more renewable energy.

2) Aileen Smith: in recent decades, one of the most persistent critics of the nuclear establishment. Co-founder of NPOs Stop the Monju and Kyoto-based Green Action. Lived and worked in Minamata in the 1960s to publicize the methyl mercury poisoning disaster there with Eugene W. Smith.

3) Interview with Mycle Schneider: founder of WISE Paris and an energy consultant and nuclear analyst who has been an adviser to members of the European Parliament on energy issues for more than 20 years, as well as advising the French and Belgian governments, and the International Atomic Energy Agency. Schneider is a co-recipient, along with Jinzaburo Takagi, of the Right Livelihood Award, known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize,” for his work in alerting the world to the dangers of plutonium.

4) Martin Frid: Japan-based organic food expert, writing on the effects of radiation on Japan’s food.

5) Winifred Bird: Kyoto Journal contributing editor, correspondent for The Japan Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and numerous other publications.

6) Christian Dimmer: Japan-based expert on urban design, writing on more energy-efficient city design.

7) Richard Dasher: professor, Stanford University, head of the U.S.-Asia Technology Management Center, consultant to Japanese universities and Silicon Valley firms, writing on the current state of “smart grids” in the U.S. and their lessons for Japan.

8) Eriko Arita: staff writer at The Japan Times with a decade and a half of experience covering nuclear power and renewable energy issues.

9) Jonathan Watts: author of  “When a Billion Chinese Jump,” the story of China’s environmental degradation, and former environmental correspondent for The Guardian’s Beijing bureau.

10) Jane Singer, professor at the Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, Kyoto University, Kyoto Journal contributing editor.

11) Eric Johnston:  “Fresh Currents” Editor, staff reporter for The Japan Times in Osaka and a 24-year resident of Japan, including nine years in Kyoto. He has written about Japan’s nuclear power industry for The Japan Times and numerous publications since 1995, and covered the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and 2009 Copenhagen Accord climate change conferences for The Japan Times.

12) Brian Williams: Landscape artist and environmental devotee, long-term resident of Shiga prefecture, Kyoto Journal contributing editor.

13) Transcript of press conference with freelance journalist Tomihiko Suzuki: One of Japan’s leading writers on Japan’s yakuza gangsters, Suzuki went under cover as a day laborer at the Fukushima nuclear power plant last July and August. His book “Nuclear Power and the Yakuza,” published in Japanese last December, became a bestseller.

14) Also featured: extraordinary work by many concerned photographers and artists.

And more…


See also:

News Roundup: PM Noda Defies Massive Public Opposition to OK Restart of Ohi Reactors / Expert Warns of Active Faults Under Ohi Nuclear Plant
A Call for International Protest & Action: “Don’t restart the Ohi reactors”
Green Action

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