‘On the Road to Fukushima’

When I was invited a couple of years ago to contribute a chapter for the book Censored 2013, published by the media watch/media literacy group Project Censored in the United States, I knew exactly what angle I wanted to take in writing it.

The nuclear power plant meltdown at Fukushima, Japan on 11 March 2011 immediately raised a lot of questions in the Japanese and overseas press that focused on the urgency of the accident: How serious is it? What levels of radiation are being released? What precautions should people take in protecting themselves? What measures are being taken to contain the crisis?, and so on.

But as time went on, I found that there was one pressing question that the news media in Japan, in particular, seemed to be missing altogether: How did we get here?

I set out to find the answer to that question as the central focus of my chapter for the Project Censored book. Why? Because I strongly felt that if we all were going to understand what was happening at that very moment at Fukushima, and if were to understand the likely course this catastrophe would take in the future, then we would first need to understand the past. We would need to know the historical road that Japan had taken, from the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima back in 1945, all the way up to Fukushima more than 65 years later.

And so the essay I researched and wrote became “On the Road to Fukushima: The Unreported Story Behind Japan’s Nuclear-Media-Industrial Complex” — a history so full of information, covered-up facts and unreported truths that it seemed amazing even to me that such a history had not been compiled before in the news media, at least not in one place at one time.

But then again, it shouldn’t have been too surprising, since central to the history of Fukushima had been the media establishment’s role in both countries in promoting nuclear power and the “peaceful use” of atomic energy during the Cold War period following World War II. And as we all know, the news media can be kind of shy, shall we say, about reporting the dubious things that go on right within news companies and inside the news industry as a whole.

I am proud to announce that Project Censored, recognizing the critical problem of increasing censorship of media and nuclear power issues in Japan, has just republished my contributed chapter “On the Road to Fukushima” in its entirety on the Project Censored website.

That “Road to Fukushima” chapter now on the Web is preceded by a brief update/introduction by me on the ongoing Fukushima nuclear crisis and related press censorship issues here in Japan. You can link to both the update and the main story here.

I encourage you, first, to read both the Fukushima update and the main essay itself, if you are interested in gaining an understanding of how we got to this point at Fukushima, and why. At the same time, I also encourage you to support the important work of the nonprofit organization Project Censored by purchasing the original Censored 2013 book in which this Fukushima essay appeared, since there are so many other important related “censored” stories covered in the book as well. You can buy the Censored 2013 book here, if you so wish.

Hats off to all the good folks at Project Censored — and at the New York-based Seven Stories Press, the company that prints and distributes the yearly Censored books — for carrying on the torch of press freedom and for standing up for our shared right to know things that those in authority would rather keep hidden from us. In these critical times, we all have a role to play in fighting the good fight by doing whatever we can, whenever we can, in demanding to know the truth and in sharing that truth with many others.

I welcome your comments (below), whether for or against the “On the Road to Fukushima” chapter, and look forward to the chance of further extending this important discussion with readers here on this website and beyond.

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