With the closing ceremony...

...comes the end of our Campaign “Tokyo 2020 – The Radioactive Olympics”

One year later than planned and despite all the protests, the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games have taken place: ten years after the catastrophe that shocked the country in March 2010 – the earthquake, the tsunami and the multiple nuclear meltdowns in Fukushima.
As the end of the Paralympics drew to a close, so did our two-year campaign “Tokyo 2020 – The Radioactive Olympics“. We have achieved a great deal together: we invoked the international Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Japanese government not to hold the baseball and softball games in the city of Fukushima as well as to stop the torch relay from running through the contaminated areas in Fukushima prefecture. Through this we were able to raise the international public profile of the dramatic situation of those still affected in Japan. We were also able to inform the German Olympic Sports Confederation (Deutscher Olympischen Sportbund) of the consequences of Fukushima and the fate of the people living there. The survivors of the atom bombing on Hiroshima also protested at the IOC when President Bach rejected the request for a minute’s silence on Hiroshima Remembrance Day.

The Japanese government named the games “The Recovery and Reconstruction Games” in an attempt to present the affected areas with a degree of normality to the eyes of the world. But for those who still live there today, normality does not exist.


Anti-nuclear work despite the pandemic

The core of our campaign was to show solidarity with those in the Japanese population who were and are affected by post-Fukushima radiation. It is encouraging that, due to the civil protests and current lawsuits in Japan, only nine NPPs are in operation as opposed to a previous 54 reactors. But Japan is also entrenched in the lie that nuclear power is an answer to the climate crisis: the government is planning to bring more nuclear reactors back online.
Furthermore, the government has refused to acknowledge the possible health repercussions resulting from the dumping of radioactive cooling water from the stricken reactors, planned to begin in 2022; consciously breaching international agreements regarding the protection of seawater.

Our campaign was able to network nationally and internationally – aided by our multilingual newsletter websites and flyers. These contacts, linked through our campaign, will be able to help us with future anti-nuclear work. An expression of this networking was shown in the joint international alliance demonstration in February 2020 outside the ICO’s headquarters in Lausanne.

In March 2020, the handing over of our petition to the Japanese Embassy had to be cancelled – the Corona pandemic had reached Europe. The Olympic Games were also postponed for a year.

The pandemic dominated public discourse worldwide and media coverage of the Olympic Games was not exempt. In the face of rising infection rates, staging the Games in Japan remained controversial right up until the last minute.

The health impacts of the Fukushima radioactive contamination became merely a secondary theme. However, the tenth anniversary of the radioactive catastrophe on March 11, 2021, afforded us a far greater response. Within the framework of our international symposium “Ten Years Living With Fukushima” in February, we could publicly make a connection with the Olympic Games.

At the start of the torch relay in 2021, IPPNW, together with their partner organisations Sayonara Nukes Berlin and .ausgestrahlt, presented the Japanese Embassy with 10.819 signatures. Aired on March 24th under the motto „No Olympic Games in Contaminated Areas!“, ten percent of the signatures originated from outside Germany.

Further communication with the German Olympic Sports Confederation led to our critical information material regarding the health consequences of Fukushima being made available to all athletes in the German Olympic team. A great success for our joint efforts!


Games in the shadow of the atom.

The IOC most recently came under public criticism for its handling of Japanese atom bomb victims. Thomas Bach, president of the IOC, rejected a request from the mayor of Hiroshima and the survivors of the atomic bombing for a minute’s silence on Hiroshima day of remembrance, August 6th. Bach’s conduct was branded as un-Olympic by the Japanese public.

The Games closed with a, for us as IPPNW, central theme: the terrible consequences of atomic bombings and the catastrophic impact of a nuclear accident are two sides of the same human endangering technology. Both still shaping Japan’s reality today.

We thank all those who have supported our campaign.

Dr. Alex Rosen
Dr. Jörg Schmid
Paul-Marie Manière