Geography Archives: Japan

  • Post-3/11 Japan: Learning from Crises Past, Facing the Critical Present

    Two months after the disasters of March 11, most of the rhythms of everyday life have returned to Tokyo.  Although dimmed city streets remain as daily reminders of the critical nuclear situation 140 miles north, the university campuses that were deserted over an extended spring break have refilled.  Although the earth still shivers, the anxious […]

  • Labour Market Flexibility

    One of the most persistent demands of the advocates of neo-liberalism in India has been for the introduction of “labour market flexibility”, by which they mean the absolute right of employers to hire and fire workers as and when they please, without any let or hindrance.  The absence of such flexibility, they claim, has been […]

  • Lèse Majesté, the Monarchy, and the Military in Thailand

    Excerpt: Despite the fact that millions of Thais believe that the centre of power among the conservative elites today is the Monarchy or the Privy Council, the real centre of power, lurking behind the Throne, is the Military. . . .  The power of the Military is not unlimited and it relies on the ideology […]

  • The Class Dynamics of Asian America: A Primer

    The notion that Asian Americans are model minorities originated in the 1960s, mainly in reference to the socioeconomic gains of Japanese and Chinese Americans in particular.  It did not take long, however, for that very idea to be applied to Asian Americans as a whole, especially as it continues to be perpetuated by the mainstream […]

  • It’s the (German) Banks, Stupid!

    Or what’s behind Germany’s hesitant statements on Greek debt restructuring, Ireland’s move against subordinated bondholders, and the ECB’s stance on interest rates. . . . Europe is at it again, trying to pretend that it has stemmed the tide of insolvency through its program of lending huge amounts of money (at high interest rates) to […]

  • Budget Battles: Sound, Fury and Fakery

    Weeks of highly publicized debates — some in Congress, more in the mass media — brought Republicans and Democrats to a budget deal.  To maximize public attention, they threatened a possible government shutdown.  Both parties said that large government deficits and accumulated debt were “serious problems.”  They agreed that solving them required only spending cuts, […]

  • The Anna Hazare Scam

      Analytical Monthly Review, published in Kharagpur, West Bengal, India, is a sister edition of Monthly Review.  Its April 2011 issue features the following editorial. — Ed. In the last weeks we have had an illuminating example of how a thoroughly corrupt regime can manipulate a thoroughly pliable media.  One can hope that in time […]

  • Japan’s Nuclear Power Plant Workers, Exposed to Radiation, Hidden from Sight

      隠された被爆労働:日本の原発労働者 Kenji Higuchi (樋口健二) is a photographer in Japan, acclaimed for his work of documenting the effects of industrial pollution and the exploitation of nuclear power plant workers.  This documentary film was released by Channel 4 (UK) in 1995.  Cf. Tim Shorrock, “Japan’s Nuclear Nightmare (Part One)” (18 March 2011); Tim Shorrock, “Japan’s Nuclear […]

  • The U.S. Government Response to the Nuclear Power Plant Incident in Japan

    Testimony at a hearing entitled “The U.S. Government Response to the Nuclear Power Plant Incident in Japan,” held by the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the U.S. House of Representatives, 6 April 2011 Summary The crisis underway at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has revealed serious nuclear safety shortcomings […]

  • Gilbert Achcar’s Defense of Humanitarian Intervention

    Gilbert Achcar defends the recently “UN-authorized” imperialist intervention in Libya on the ground that general principles may require exceptions in concrete cases.  “Every general rule admits of exceptions.  This includes the general rule that UN-authorized military interventions by imperialist powers are purely reactionary ones, and can never achieve a humanitarian or positive purpose.”1  This kind […]

  • US Nuclear Power Plants: Internal NRC Documents Reveal Doubts about Safety Measures

    In the weeks following the Fukushima accident, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and nuclear industry officials have been asserting that US nuclear plants are better prepared to withstand a catastrophic event like the March 11 earthquake and tsunami than Japanese plants because they have additional safety measures in place. According to internal NRC documents, however, there […]

  • Fukushima: Far from Under Control

      For weeks TEPCO and the Japanese government have tried to assure us that the crisis at Fukushima is stabilising and that the situation is under control.  However, the recent decision to dump over 15,000 tonnes of highly radioactive water directly into the sea seems to suggest just the opposite.  TEPCO’s decision to further contaminate […]

  • China Reacts to Fukushima

      The dark cloud hanging over the future of nuclear power because of the unfolding crisis in Japan may have a silver lining in China by increasing attention to reactor safety. Within days of the earthquake that crippled the nuclear plants in Japan, the Chinese government abruptly suspended approvals for new plant construction, suspended work […]

  • Fukushima: IAEA Confirms Very High Levels of Contamination Far from Reactors

    Today the IAEA has finally confirmed what some analysts have suspected for days: that the concentration per area of long-lived cesium-137 (Cs-137) is extremely high as far as tens of kilometers from the release site at Fukushima Dai-Ichi, and in fact would trigger compulsory evacuation under IAEA guidelines. The IAEA is reporting that measured soil […]

  • The disaster in Japan and a friend’s visit

    Today I had the pleasure of greeting Jimmy Carter, who was President of the United States between 1977 and 1981 and the only one, in my opinion, with enough equanimity and courage to address the issue of his country’s relations with Cuba. Carter did what he could to reduce international tensions and promote the creation […]

  • The Lessons of Fukushima

    Testimony before the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, 29 March 2011 The Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant in Japan experienced a station blackout.  A station blackout occurs when a nuclear power plant loses electrical power from all sources except that provided by onsite banks of batteries.  The normal power supply comes from the plant’s […]

  • Long Blackouts Pose Risk to US Reactors

      Long before it happened in Japan, regulators in the United States knew that a similar, days-long power failure, whatever the cause, could lead to a radioactive leak in this country. Alan Kolaczkowski, Nuclear Engineer: Looking at the blackout situations and losses of all power, we know that once those pumps finally die off — […]

  • IAEA Data Appear to Show Increased Ground Contamination.  Why Doesn’t the IAEA Just Say So?

    It’s difficult to make any sense of the data being reported from various quarters regarding dose rates and contamination levels at varying distances from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) could do a public service by establishing a consistent reporting framework so the public can assess whether radionuclide release rates […]

  • Global Warming: Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer

    Nuclear power is unreliable for fighting global warming. Scandals, earthquakes and accidents can shut down numerous plants simultaneously. When one of these problems occurs, without sustainable alternative energy sources, fossil fuel plants must kick in, spiking greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Japan’s Muslim Community Aiding Tsunami Victims

      People from all walks of life and different faiths have come to the aid of the victims.  Members of the Muslim community of Tokyo are among the thousands of sincere and caring volunteers who are rushing supplies to Japan’s needy. . . .  Between Tokyo and the ravaged areas lies Fukushima Prefecture, where radiation […]