日本基督教団 The United Church of Christ in Japan

SCF(Student Christian Fellowshipm) Members Visit Tokyo’s Anti-nuclear Tent Village


by Ueno Yosuke, member

Hanamaki Church, Iwate Prefecture


On Sept. 11, 2011, following the East Japan Earthquake (in March), two tents opposing nuclear energy were put up in front of the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry in Tokyo. People from all over Japan, as well as people from around the world, have visited this site, where information about nuclear energy and radioactivity is displayed and discussed. While the national government has charged the group with unlawful occupation of the space, there is another group of people who fervently support them. This group consists of mothers, grandmothers, and other women from Fukushima. As a group, they are quietly continuing their appeal, “We do not need atomic energy.”


As one who knew nothing about atomic energy and radioactivity at the time, my anxiety grew stronger daily following the disaster. For the first time I realized that ignorance could prevent me from protecting myself. From that point on, I spent every day checking the Internet, reading books, even going as far as Fukushima to attend lectures to gain a basic knowledge of nuclear energy and radioactivity. While being told that there was no danger, the more I learned about the effects of radioactivity, the more concern I felt. Wondering if others simply did not understand, or whether I myself was confused, I felt a strong need to share what I was learning and feeling. The SCF answered that need. SCF members listened to the information that I had obtained and provided opportunities for me to see other material and discuss my concerns. However, in the midst of the varied understanding and opinions, I began to feel frustration, trying to develop my own view regarding nuclear energy and radioactivity. One day a friend told me about the tent village, so in January 2012 I made my first visit, together with some SCF members.


Among the participants, there was one from Fukushima who had a friend working at the nuclear power station as well as ones who were abroad at the time of the disaster. Thus, since we had such different experiences with nuclear power, most of us had not really come to a firm position on the subject.


Regarding the tent village itself, it took considerable courage for me to visit the first time because I had imagined a tense atmosphere and confrontation. However, after visiting a second and third time, we became attracted to the people we met there. We were greeted by different women on each visit, but each of them had a gentle spirit and would engage us in discussion without pressure. When asked direct questions, such as “Is Tokyo safe?” or “What’s wrong with nuclear energy?” they would simply say, “Please investigate and study the issue. Then things will become clear for you.” Their calm response made a deep impression on me.


In April 2014, about ten of us visited the tent village. It was my fourth visit. This time I met a woman who had moved to Tokyo from Fukushima so that she could participate in the sit-in. When speaking of the conditions of the sit-in and her state of mind, there was no doubt of her strong opposition to atomic energy. On the other hand, she herself wonders how long the sit-in will continue and said that she would like to quit if she could. After all, she is ready to return to the normal lifestyle she knew before the earthquake. Seeing this woman, who has given up her comfort to engage in this sit-in, caused me to feel embarrassment and shame.


Reflectively, she also said, “Because I am here, I have been able to meet many people. When I realize that the nuclear plants would probably be back in operation if it were not for this anti-nuclear movement, I feel that though slight, there has been some change.” Although the end is not in sight and the heartbreaking sit-in continues, I feel that I am hearing hope. I sincerely believe that the tent village will continue to encourage us to confront the nuclear disaster, and as long as there is nuclear energy, it will remain an essential site.


This spring I returned to my home in Iwate Prefecture. While remaining open to the thoughts of others, from now on I want to follow the example of those women who have so strongly influenced me and find ways to express my thoughts and concerns in concrete ways. Even if those concerns are not expressed through direct action, I believe they will be connected with the thoughts of those women.


Further comments by SCF Director Noda Taku


Following the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, day and night brought many anxious young people to SCF, which adjoins the parsonage in which I live. One of those young people was Ueno Yosuke. With him as a leader, we began a seminar that was held twice a month at SCF. The decision to visit the tent village was the result of the prayers of this group. The richness of SCF is not simply in the smiles shared together but also in sharing anxiety and pain in rich church fellowship. Recently, the tent that these women and elderly people had occupied was destroyed by a right-wing group, but their protest against nuclear power continues. (Tr. JS)


— From Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend), July 2014 issue


Summarized by KNL Editor Kawakami Yoshiko

脱原発テン トひろば訪問。SCFの活動より 上野洋介

東日本大震 災後、2011年9月11日から、反原発を訴える2つのテントが東京の経済産業省前に張られました。「経産省前テ ントひろば」には、原発・放射能について情報共有と議論ができる場として、日本中・世界中から人々が訪れます。国からは不法占拠だと 訴えられているこのテントを必死に守る人々がいます。お母さんやおばあさんなど、福島の女性たちです。「原発はいらない」という願い を、座り込みによって静かに訴え続けているのです。

震災後、原 発や放射能について何も知らなかった私の中では不安が日に日に大きくなっていました。知らないことがとても不安で、無知では自分を守 れないと初めて身をもって感じました。そこで私は毎日インターネットや本で勉強し、時には放射能の基礎知識の講演会を聞きに福島まで 足を運びました。ですが放射能の影響を知れば知るほど、現状が安全だと言われているのは本当なのか不安になりました。周囲の人々が知 らないのか、自分がおかしいのかわからなくなった私は、調べたことや感じたことを共有したいと強く思いました。そんな私の不安を受け 止めてくれたのがSCFだったのです。SCFでは自分の調べたことを聞いてもらい、資料を見たり議論をする機会も設けました。ですが原発や放射能への意識や考えは人に よってバラバラで、強い意思表示はなかなかできず、葛藤を抱えてもいました。ある日、仲間に「ひろば」を教えられて連絡をとり、2012年1月、テントひろばを初訪問したのです。


私達の仲間は、福島出身・原発で働いている友人がいる・震災当時日本にいな かった……など原発と の複雑な関係から、自分の立場を定められない人がほとんどでした。テント広場についても、緊迫した激しい場を想像していたため、初回 の訪問には勇気が必要でした。それでも2回目、3回目と通っているのは、そこで出会う人々に私たちメンバーが惹かれたからです。毎回 違う女性が迎えてくださるのですが、皆さんとても穏やかな雰囲気で、特定の意見を強要することなく対話してくださいます。「東京は安 全ですか?」「原発ってどうしていけないのですか?」など、失礼にあたりかねない質問に「調べてみてください。するといろんなことが 見えてきますから」と言ってくださったのが今でも強く心に残っています。

2014年4月に、10人ほどでテ ントひろばを訪問しました。4度目の訪問 です。今回お会いしたのは、座り込みのため福島から東京に移住している女性でした。座り込みの近況や心境についての語りには「原発を なくしたい」という、変わらぬ強い意志が感じられました。一方、「いつまでこのような生活が続くのだろう」「やめられるならばやめて しまいたい」という本音も聞きました。というのも、彼女たちは以前は福島で日常を過ごしていた普通の女性だったのです。日常を投げ 打って座り込む姿に、何もできていない自分が恥ずかしくなりました。



一方で「ここにいるから出会えた人もたくさんいる」「反原発運動がなかったら 原発はきっとすでに再稼働していただろうと考えると、少しずつだけど変わってきている」との言葉には、終わりが見えず心が折れそうな 座り込みにも希望がある、と聞いた思いでした。テントひろばは時間が経っても原発事故を思い出す勇気をもらえる場であり、原発がなく ならない限りは必要な場所なのだと、私は純粋に思います。この春私は岩手県の実家に戻ります。今後は、他者の考えを受け止めながらも 自らの強い意志をにじませるテントひろばの女性たちに倣い、自分なりの方法で思いを形にし続けていきたいと思います。直接的な行動で はなくとも、それがきっと彼女たちの思いにつながると信じています。


SCF主事より  原発事故の後、私が住む牧師館が併設されたSCFには昼夜問わず多くの不安を抱えた若者が訪れました。その中の一人が上野くん。SCFでは月に二回、彼を中心に学びの時を持つようになりました。テントひろば訪問も、そんな彼の想いを共有した仲間たちの祈りの結果です。笑顔だけではなく痛みや不安をも分かち合う教会的な交わりが、SCFの豊かさなのです。最近、この女性と高齢者ばかりのテントが右翼の襲撃により破壊されましたが、現在もこの反原発の訴えの闘いは続けられています。野田  沢


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