SVCF Bulletin No. 60 issued on February 20, 2015

Skilled Veterans’ Corps for Fukushima at crossroads

“Memorandum discussed at the 38th regular Diet meeting” On January 29 (Thu), 2015 the 38th regular Diet meeting was held in meeting room no. B103 of the House of Councilors Hall. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the future direction of Skilled Veterans’ Corps for Fukushima. Though the outline was already stated in a previous issue of SVCF bulletin, we repeat the gist below.

Last August, under the approval of the Board of Directors, a “Future Working Group” was established with the aim of deliberating upon and determining the future direction of SVCF. The group has held nine rounds of meeting until last December and then presented a set of reports and proposals to the Board of Directors. Nevertheless, views on the group’s proposal were sharply divided in pros and cons at the Board of Directors’ meeting. Instead, the Board of Directors set forth a transitional period of one year to discuss how SVCF should be in the future on various occasions like in the regular Diet meeting and others.

This is the 1st round of meeting at the Diet. At an onset, President Kunio Ito and 4 responsible members of the FWG stated their views. (The details were released in a previous issue of SVCF bulletin.)

The focal point regarding the problem presentation is divisible into two categories. One is whether our original objective to take over young workers’ hazardous radioactive exposure will still be reasonable and justifiable at this time, whether the objective should be altered, or whether SVCF better be disbanded. Another one is whether we should give up our status as a public interest incorporated association and reorganize the remaining body into a general incorporated association.

In the meeting, as we asked each of 31 attendees for their comments, we could not adequately talk within the 2 hour time limit. Below shows a selection of the opinions and views exchanged during the day.

Some say the objective is no longer realistic. If so, why don’t you go and seek views from members all over Japan? There must be quite a few members who wish to continue activities.

We should separate the issue between the alteration of scope of business and the return of the title.

We should not be bound under the strict rule of non-profitable organization. We should do whatever we wish or what we must do in order of priority.

There is no way to confirm decision-making with over 700 regular members. What is the difference and conformity of Board Directors, constituent members, regular members, and supporting members?

We should convince each member of the impossibility to work inside the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Originally, we were a short-term based organization against the prevention of catastrophe. We should have established a proper system and organization for the long term operation.

There existed a long term vision at the onset. So long as the nuclear power generation remains, we should continue the seniors’ corps through generational shifts.

We continue advocating our original objective, stick to the enactment of a national project, and remain a body whatever form it takes.

The crisis still continues. We should not desist definitely. We should not retreat in face of fading the memory of the accident.

I admit the crisis still continues but the crisis changes in substance. Accordingly, SVCF’s role changes.

Even if we are refused by TEPCO to do so, we should enter the site. There are ways to do so.

We should not avoid the stance on pros and cons for the nuclear power generation. We should announce breaking with the nuclear power generation. In time we shall see new horizons expand beyond the present limitation.

SVCF’s advantage is that we face up the stricken nuclear power plant without arguing the pros and cons for the nuclear power generation. Members have different views but unite to cope with an emergent problem. This is a SVCF’s merit.

Do whatever SVCF can do. The title of public incorporated association helps publicly.
Watcher’s activity is invaluable indeed. It should remain at all costs.

Three Board Directors concurrently serve in the Future Project Working Group. Why was the group’s proposal rejected in the Board of Directors?

Supposing SVCF is reserved for a future emergency, do the members train themselves regularly?

While we keep the original objective, do anything we can at present.

First president, late Mr. Yamada used to follow his rule: “we forget the essence when we focus on marginal issues.”

A nuclear accident may occur at any place. We need to organize an action body against a local nuclear power plant accident throughout Japan. We keep the body through generation shifts.

We should establish a branch office in Fukushima. We should change the address of registered office to Fukushima. We should root in Fukushima for reasonable activities.

Why do we repeatedly discuss the direction? We have done so many times but won’t produce any real action. I am so bored with absurdity.

Is SVCF’s discussion forum merely a kill-time opportunity for lazy and talkative seniors?

In the SVCF’s office I happened to take a phone from a remote place and was reproved by the caller saying “Disbanding is absolutely out of the question. It is endless to take over young workers’ hazardous radioactive exposure.”

In a meeting last summer, late President Yamada asserted “We may disband when we deviate from the principle.”

So long as Japan engages in nuclear power generation, a suicide corps is needed. SVCF’s origin was a task force at the risk of our lives. Only a nation state can issue an executive order which may result in death. As an official body similar to military, police, and fire fighters, senior task force for nuclear disasters should be established. SVCF is just a human reservoir for that mission.

I have only done monitoring so far. When I go on an on-site mission in Fukushima as a member of SVCF, I feel myself much more appreciated than if I were a private volunteer. We absolutely need the title of SVCF with which we feel pride and authority.

I wish to do even collateral work for Fukushima people. In such an attempt, the title of public is more beneficial than general.

“We seniors are ready to act at any time.” is our sales point. We better maximize this merit and plan a material role, for instance, symposium for the public.

The symposium in last September was quite meaningful. We may examine the direction after the resume on the symposium is publicized.

Whatever we name it: “Skilled Veterans’ Corps” or “Public Interest Incorporated Association”, there is no substance.

The secretariat is not organized at all. Nobody takes the role of Director General. Is there anybody who assumes SVCF’s practical operations?

Even if we may hear of a nice suggestion, there is no clerical capability to materialize it into a shape. Manpower lacks extremely.

The above views were all presented at the meeting. There were some other views which were irrelevant to disbandment of the SVCF. In view of the theme of meeting, the above seem to cover what matters now.

Roughly grouping these views, we see SVCF’s objective, organization, and manpower are focused. The regular Diet meeting this time has highlighted and revealed inner serious problems which lead to the decision to disband. Before we start discussion, there is a note of caution.

This may be my personal view as a writer of this article, however, there are few who produce deeds rather than words and who talk more but present least few suggestions. There is no system for summarizing the results of discussion or the constructive ideas within SVCF. In order not to be rumored a “kill-time opportunity for the lazy and talkative seniors” we are requested to discuss in constructive ways and to produce meaningful actions.

At the end of this meeting, President Kunio Itoh closed with a somewhat humorous remark appealing “We wish to disband the SVCF next March. Anyone who is against my tentative decision comes forward with a concrete plan, such like, “I do so and so as a new President.”

Drafted by Hidekazu Miura Edited by Yoshio Hirai