Surf's Up! And Thumbs Down for Rokkasho


June 21 is International Surfing Day, and addicts to this peculiar sport/lifestyle/excuse-to-go-to-the-beach here in Japan will meet at Hiratsuka, Kanagawa prefecture southwest of Tokyo.

Surfrider Foundation Japan is also making the waves politically speaking, as they participate in anti-nuclear demonstrations and collect signatures to stop the controversial Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant, a huge plutonium factory in Aomori prefecture. Fishermen, farmers - and surfers - are worried about the radioactive fallout that could contaminate pristine water and air in northern Japan. Similar to the COGEMA plant in La Hague, France in scale, this is a very big, very bad idea in this earthquake-prone part of the world.

What can you do about it? Read more below the fold.

Brought to you by Martin Frid at


Catch the wave or just enjoy the sunset at this lovely beach, on this side of the Pacific Ocean...

Listen to Jack Johnson, two songs supporting the anti-Rokkasho campaign and Surfrider Japan video (7:29, in Japanese)

Surfrider Foundation has started a petition drive against the operation of Rokkasho Nuclear Waste Reprocessing Plant and against the discharge of radiation into the atmosphere and the ocean. You can read more and sign the Online Surfrider Petition against Rokkasho.

Why the thumbs down? A single day's radiation discharge from this plant is estimated to be the equivalent of what is produced at a typical nuclear power plant during an entire year. The publicly announced plan for the discharge is to release it into the atmosphere and into the ocean, through pipes, about three kilometers offshore. Activists say this threatens the safety of the food supply, people's lives and the lives of future generations.


(Photos from the demonstration against Rokkasho in Tokyo, January 2008. Image courtesy of Surfrider Japan)

The rising momentum has extended its reach to Hawaii, the ultimate destination of all surfers. On July 12th and 13th, 2008, Surfrider Foundation Oahu Chapter will be presenting the documentary film "Rokkasho Rhapsody" at the University of Hawaii Spalding Auditorium in collaboration with Surfrider Japan. Organizers of this documentary film hope to provide information about the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant, and also to encourage discussion and bring attention to the world's future energy sources, how much risk is acceptable, and how the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant might affect the coastal area and marine life of beautiful Hawaii in the event of an industrial incident. It's not in their backyard, but the effects are profound and awareness is crucial. If you happen to be in Oahu for your summer vacation, this is worth a look.

But for those folks who cannot make it to Hawaii, you can buy postcards made by Consumers Union of Japan and other groups here to support the campaign.


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