Thursday, July 6, 2017
On Friday, June 30th, the Tokyo District Court held the first hearing of the criminal trial against former Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) executives over the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. The trial comes six years after the disaster, which resulted in the loss of livelihoods and assets for many of Fukushima’s residents, including those forcibly ordered to leave their homes. Given the massive scale and widespread impact of the disaster, it seemed an immediate investigation by police and public prosecutors was in order. Instead, Japanese law enforcement agencies—as if under orders from pro-nuclear forces within the government—did not pursue the matter despite public calls for an investigation. Without any recourse, survivors of the nuclear disaster took to filing several class-action lawsuits against Tepco. The prosecutors continued, however, to refuse pressing criminal charges against Tepco executives, ignoring the violation of basic human rights of Fukushima’s residents. After a prolonged battle to bring the case to court, the survivors’ grievances were finally accepted by the committee for inquest of prosecution, which oversees cases dropped by prosecutors, and prompted a criminal trial that will determine whether ex-Tepco executives are liable for professional negligence in the 2011 disaster (TERAHIMA Shigehiro).
On June 24th, a memorial service to remember IWASAKI Matsuo was held at the Space Tampopo Plaza in Tokyo. He was a former Kokuro Tosodan (National Railway Workers’ Union Dismissed Members Group) member and died of cancer in February at the age of 68. Among the 1,047 workers laid off as a result of the division and privatization of Japan’s railway industry in the late 1980s, Iwasaki relocated to Tokyo from Kagoshima, where he was laid off, to work as a full-time organizer for Kokuro Tosodan; in recent years, he was involved in the anti-nuclear movement in his hometown. Two members from Kottaji, a Korean modern folk song group of which Iwasaki was a core member, traveled to Japan for the memorial service where Kottaji singer Park Hyan-Mi captivated the audience with her performance of “Bird,” a song based on a poem by the famous Korean playwright and poet Kim Chi-ha (photo). The jovial atmosphere of the memorial service reflected the exuberance with which Iwasaki lived his life. “Although I was working for the postal service and not the railway industry, Iwasaki and I became instant buddies as fellow laid-off workers,” NAGOYA Tetsuichi said in a speech. “No matter what happened at the top, Iwasaki never wavered.” Then, he added jokingly, “Perhaps the possibility of wavering never even crossed his mind…. He was quite an unworldly person.” His comment drew laughter from the crowd. (MATSUBARA Akira)
On World Refugee Day, Protesters Challenge Immigration Bureau’s Disregard for Human Life After Death of Vietnamese Man
As part of “World Refugee Day,” the group Immigration Detainee’s Friends (SYI) staged a demonstration in front of the Ministry of Justice on June 20th in response to the death of Nguyen The Hung, a Vietnamese man who died of subarachnoid hemorrhage in early march while detained at the East Japan Immigration Center in Ibaraki. During an assembly that took place on June 18th under the heading “Challenging the Immigration Bureau’s Disregard for Human Life: Why Nobody Is Held Accountable for An Immigrant’s Death,” SYI members decided on the following set of demands:
1. Investigation and public release of details regarding Nguyen’s death in cell 7B at the East Japan Immigration Center.
2. Disciplinary dismissal of KITAMURA Akihiko, director of East Japan Immigration Center at the time of Nguyen’s death.
3. End all practices that may result in the death or mental/physical abuse of detainees in custody of the Immigration Bureau.
On World Refugee Day, SYI members delivered the list of demands addressed to the current director of the East Japan Immigration Center, as well as WADA Masaki, Director-General of the Immigration Bureau, and Minister of Justice KANEDA Katsutoshi. (SYI members)
２０１７年６月２０日、「世界難民の日」企画の行 動として、霞ヶ関の法務省中央庁舎前にて、今年３月２５日に茨城 県牛久市の東日本入管センターに収容されていたベトナム人グエンさんがくも膜下出血で亡くなられたことに関する抗議と申し入れを行なった。以下は、６月１８日の集会「入管の人命軽視を問 う なぜ人が死んでも責任を取らないのか」参加者一同で決議した要求項目である。１. ２０１７年３月２５日、東日本入管セン ター７Bブロックにおけるグエンさんの死亡の経緯を調査、公表すること。２. 事件当時、東日本入管センターの責任者（所長）で あった北村晃彦氏を懲戒免職とすること。３. 入国管理局の職務下において、対象者に死亡または心身の障碍を引き起こすかもしれ ない一切の行為（収容を含む）をやめること。上記、３項目を東日本入国管理センター現所長、法務省入国管理局長 和田雅樹 氏、法務大臣 金田勝年氏に宛て提出した。（SYI 収容者友人有 志一同）