At present, within the 18 nations mining uranium, 75%
of the extraction takes place within or close to an area
inhabited by indigenous people, and as a result these
people are suffering from lung cancers and other illness,
according to Toyosaki Hiromitsu of the Shukan Kinyobi
(issue 862), a weekly magazine.
As of the year 2007, of the yearly supply of nuclear fuel
uranium for Japanese reactors, 33% was mined from three
fields in Australia. Of these, the largest, the Olympic
Dam area, was owned by the Kokada Aborigines and was
a place regarded as sacred to them. However in 1986,
they were forcibly removed from their land when mining
began, sent to distant reservations, and scattered among
In Canada, which supplies uranium to the United States,
many Dene First Nation people, who carried sacks of ore,
died of lung cancer. In the United States, many Navajo
people have also been victims. These indigenous people
had never been given any information that the element
uranium had such a deadly effect, and so those living near
the mines suffered great harm.
Refineries were built on the indigenous people’s land
and on waste material, which maintained 85% of its
accumulated radioactivity, with the result that polluted
run-off caused many related accidents in the United States,
Canada and Australia.
After the Japan nuclear accident in 2011, Hopi Prophecy,
a documentary movie made in 1986, was viewed with
interest in Japan. The Hopi Tribe of Native Americans has
lived near the Grand Canyon in the Four Corners area of
the U.S. for over 2,000 years. When the U.S. Government
discovered uranium ore in that area, the Hopi people were
Japan’s Nuclear Power Generators and
the Rights of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
deceived and mining began. It is said that the uranium
was used to build the atomic bombs that were dropped
on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So the tragedy of the atomic
bombing of Japan, the nuclear disaster of 2011, and the
suffering of indigenous peoples are related. “Nuclear
Racism” is a term that refers to environmental destruction
and the discriminatory harm done to indigenous peoples.
Adopted by the United Nations in 2007, the Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states in Article
29 that in observing their traditions they have the right
to preserve their environment. Maintaining the quality
of water in rivers and protecting forest and woodlands
from destruction is an established right. Nations must
take measures not to store harmful material or dispose of
such waste in an unsafe manner, and they likewise have
a responsibility for the maintaining the environment and
implementing plans for its restoration.
However, the existence of indigenous peoples continues to
be ignored. Uranium continues to be mined and refined.
Responsibility for the environment as well as maintaining
and implementing plans for restoration are not being
carried out. This is truly an enormous problem.
For more information about the aboriginal peoples’ point
of view and the urgent necessity to rethink nuclear power,
see Hokkai District Ainu People’s Center URL, http:www.
douhoku.org/ainu/ (Tr. GM)
Based on Hokkai Kyoku Tsushin (Hokkai District News) No. 182
From the blog of the Hokkai District’s Ainu Information Center
by Miura Tadao, head of the center, as summarized by Kawakami
Yoshiko, chair of the KNL Editorial Committee and pastor of Okubo
Church, North Subdistrict, Tokyo District
北海教区通信 No.182 アイヌ民族情報センター活動ブログより 三浦忠雄