Japan as the heart of the nuclear dragon

There is a war going on here. It is polite. No one is getting shot, yet, but it is intense, and the outcome will determine the future of humans on this planet.


The following is a piece written by Steve Leeper, the director of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation. Steve calls us to tackle the nuclear industry, to slay the dragon, with a decisive stroke in Japan.  Recognizing that the anti-nuclear struggle there is one that will determine our nuclear future, read on for more.

I was stimulated to write today to encourage all of you to stop everything else you are doing and focus the efforts of the entire disarmament community on turning Japan non-nuclear.

There is a war going on here. It is polite. No one is getting shot, yet, but it is intense, and the outcome will determine the future of humans on this planet.

At this point, the war is overtly between the pro- and anti-nuclear power forces. At a deeper level, it is a war between war (and the dominance paradigm) and peace (and the partnership paradigm). It is also the 1% versus the 99%.

The people of Japan are still allergic to war. 86% want to be rid of nuclear weapons. Fukushima has aroused tremendous distrust of and anger at the nuclear industry as a whole. The Japanese people are smart and educated and more capable than most of defending the 99%. Japan has the potential to be a peace culture leader, to rally the peace-loving non-nuclear world to tell the nuclear weapon states and nuclear power states, “No!”

If Japan were to work sincerely and intensively for a nuclear-free world, it could bring along most of the non-nuclear nations and arouse billions of young people around the world. It could turn the young populations in the US, UK, and France powerfully against both weapons and power. It could

generate a force, an economic juggernaut, that the nuclear-weapon states could not ignore. It could greatly weaken the military-industrial complex that is leading us to our doom. It could save the human family from self-inflicted extinction.

At the same time, Japan has the potential to become rabidly nationalistic, the most loyal and most dangerously insane of all the vassals supporting the great Shogun of War Culture, the USA. The media here is not as bad as it is in the States, but it is mostly controlled by tough talkers, conflict inflamers and war interests. It has already aroused great fear of North Korea, deep anger at and fear of China plus simmering rage at Russia and South Korea over island disputes. The Internet conversations between Young Japanese, Chinese and Koreans regarding the causes and atrocities of colonization and WWII are truly frightening. The comment by the Nagoya mayor derives from the same scapegoating rage driving the Tea Party and other right wing, nationalistic, anti-immigrant movements in the States and Europe. In Japan, the 99% tend to actually trust the 1%. Under certain

circumstances, a charismatic leader could lead them right off a cliff.

Recently a delegation from the Chinese Peoples Association for Peace and Disarmament came to Hiroshima. One of my staff asked them to help us recruit Mayors for Peace and do A-bomb exhibitions in Chinese cities. Their leader said, “Sure, as soon as you help us do Nanking Massacre exhibitions in Japan.” That put an end to that. If we started doing Nanking Massacre exhibitions over here, either I or Mayor Matsui would be killed. The right wing here is a terrorist organization and we bureaucrats are terrified. They are still basically despised by most, but if they were to find a popular cause, they could cash in on plenty of latent rage. I have always felt completely safe in Japan, but I can imagine running away in fear.

The point here is that Japan has extremely strong war and peace tendencies, and the people think collectively. They flock. As they emerge from their post-disaster shock and start dealing with the heavier, long-term stress of the damage done to their economy, they could manifest their strong love for each other and fellow humans and rise to new heights of Earth consciousness, or they could become desperate, angry, and self-centered, focused on recovering lost glory and lost income. Their politicians could take the noble path of “never again on Spaceship Earth,” as they did in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or they could start selling hatred, blaming Koreans or Chinese or Brazilians or Iranians or anyone they can for their problems. They could develop a beautiful new approach to living simply with renewable energy and ancient wisdom, or they could turn very ugly, clinging to fantasies of God-given superiority.

I am well aware that we have trouble everywhere we look. From the atmosphere to the oceans to the Middle East to Africa to Detroit, we have nothing but crises to attend to. But of all our global problems, the easiest, the most important, and the one that is on the table now, is nuclear (power and weapons). And the decisive battle on that issue is taking place right now in Japan. If Japan turns toward nuclear-free peace, it can lead the world in that direction. If Japan fires up its nuclear power plants and rustles up some nuclear warheads to fend off an imminent attack from North Korea, we

are all doomed.

The disarmament community has long ignored Japan. Not everyone, of course, many of you come to Hiroshima now and then, but how many of you really put a lot of effort into lobbying the Japanese government or its missions in NY or Geneva. This is perfectly understandable because they always do what the US tells them to do. However, the whole deck of cards is in the air now. Anything can happen.

When fighting a giant, the only hope is to hit him at a pressure point, some soft spot where he is vulnerable. The most vulnerable pressure point for the global military industrial complex is nuclear weapons in Japan. And if you are interested in eliminating nuclear power, Japan is the place to do it. If we fail here and now, we will fail.

Right now, the forces for disarmament and anti-nuclear anything are spread very thinly around the world, mostly in Europe and the US. With our limited personnel, money and other resources, we need to focus. I think the whole disarmament community should focus on persuading the Japanese people and government to abandon the nuclear industry and help preserve the Earth as a livable place for human beings. I have the utmost respect for everything all of you are doing. I am sure you are engaged in absolutely vital projects. Still, I think you should all come to Japan and stay here campaigning full speed until the ongoing war over nuclear is won.

Steve Leeper is at the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation in Japan, I want to sincerely thank him for this peace inspiring piece, and for all he does for a nuclear free future, thanks Steve.