No to Nuclear Power!
Faith Declaration from Fukushima 2012
The Inter-religious Conference on Nuclear Issues held in Aizu-Wakamatsu and Iwaki, Fukushima, from December 4 to 7, 2012, gathered 87 participants from Japan, Okinawa, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Switzerland, Canada and the USA. We, as people of faith, saw and heard about the effects of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima Number 1 Nuclear Power Plant incident upon the people and environment in Fukushima Prefecture and we witnessed the varied local and international responses to the situation in Fukushima. The people's stories of family and community separations, lost homes and jobs, the particular difficulties and struggles that face mothers, and their children's health problems touched us deeply. We also witnessed the work of the Aizu Radiation Information Center and saw ministries of healing and solidarity with the suffering communities. We heard how faith communities are working in other countries to phase out nuclear power and transform their use of energy. These are encouraging signs of hope. We heard for example of a three year old child who has learned to fear playing in the sand; we heard from a husband whose wife had to lie repeatedly to community members about their decision to move for the sake of their children to avoid pressure to remain in a contaminated area; we heard from a fisherman who does not know when or whether he will ever again be able to fish for his living; and we heard how residents of Fukushima are discouraged from seeking independent medical diagnoses. We saw the different readings of government and independent radiation monitors; we saw photographs of livestock abandoned to die; we saw the last words of a man who took his own life; and we saw slogans promising a healthy prosperous life based on nuclear energy in a town abandoned because of high radiation levels. As one Buddhist priest observed “Fukushima has become a place where those suffering inflict pain on each other. Fukushima is crying out, the land and sky are weeping. Please listen to the voice of Fukushima, please listen to the cries of the lives of the children who are silent.” Moved to sober reflection by our experience of the effects of nuclear power and radiation contamination, we prayerfully reaffirm the sanctity of life and hereby issue this Statement:
Those participants who also attended, in 2011, the 3rd Asia Inter-Religious Conference on Article 9 in Okinawa noted some common elements uniting the suffering of residents of Okinawa and Fukushima Prefecture, especially discrimination and the violation of human rights. These include the low priority placed by government and business organizations on the life of the communities, on the individual lives and livelihoods of residents, and on the integrity of creation; the inadequate compensation offered to individuals and families injured by government and corporate decisions; the disruption of communities; and the relationship of nuclear power to nuclear weapons. We also perceive the collusion of government, military, business and media to promote nuclear power and military bases as beneficial to human beings, which the experience of people in Okinawa and Fukushima contradicts. Our experiences in Okinawa and Fukushima further emphasized anew that all life is sacred.
Based on our research and experiences, we conclude that there is no safe use of nuclear power, no safe level of exposure to radiation, and no compatibility between nuclear power and life and peace. Nuclear weapons and nuclear power are two sides of the same coin, developed and promoted by a political, military and economic complex for its own benefit. Government, the military and business developed nuclear power for the purpose of war-making without regard to life and the integrity of all creation. Nations which have developed nuclear power but foresworn nuclear arms demonstrate the arrogance to believe they can dominate nature and natural forces. In country after country, the construction of nuclear power-generating facilities, let alone the creation and maintenance of stockpiles of nuclear weapons, has consumed vast amounts of money which could have been used to serve human needs; damaged for tens of thousands of years the environment; caused death and disease among human beings, animals and plants; caused changes in human, animal and plant DNA; placed populations at risk from nuclear attack by state and non-state actors; and arrogated to imperfect human beings decisions that determine the life and death of human and natural communities. We are newly reminded that all humans make mistakes but too often those who benefit ignore or fail to learn from those mistakes.
As people of faith, we commit to care for life unreservedly, to protect all life, and to speak the truth and break down misleading myths about nuclear power and nuclear issues to our own communities and with one voice to all people. We do so while attentively and respectively listening to those who suffer most directly the consequences of nuclear accidents. Indeed, we commit to stand with those who suffer, wherever they may be, and act in unison with them to address the injustice done to them by denying their right to live in peace with justice. We further commit to monitor the movement of radioactive materials by governments and businesses and to sound the alarm against passing on the problem of nuclear waste disposal to marginalized communities, non-nuclear nations and future generations.
Therefore, we resolve:
- to initiate serious discussion in our own faith communities about civilian and military uses of nuclear energy and to develop and enact plans of action as faith communities, including individual lifestyle changes;
- to inform the public about the true relationship between nuclear weapons and nuclear power technology and to expose and challenge the deliberate cover ups and disinformation regarding nuclear power;
- to initiate direct nonviolent action to oppose misuse of nuclear power;
- to create and work with already existing collaborative networks of faith communities and faith-based organizations that go beyond national and religious boundaries to effect the abolition of nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons and to work to that end with experts and organizations similarly committed to truth and restorative justice;
- to pray for and with the people of Fukushima and other communities suffering the harms caused by nuclear power while amplifying their voices as they tell the world of their experiences;
- to send this statement to the World Council of Churches Assembly in 2013 along with a workshop on the impact of nuclear power; and
- to work together to transition from a society based on nuclear power to a society based on renewable, sustainable, truly clean and safe energy.
In conclusion, holding the Inter-religious Conference on Nuclear Issues here in Fukushima awakened us, people of many faiths and nations, to the reality of suffering caused by nuclear power. We have pledged to work to abolish nuclear power, to heal the living communities affected by it, and to restore creation as fully as possible. From here, we journey to our own communities to begin fulfilling our pledge and commitments.
December 7, 2012
All the participants of the Inter-religious Conference on Nuclear Issues