Global Environmental News
“Nuclear Power… A Matter of Commonsense and Nonsense”
- Japan’s Movie Director, Iwai Shunji, Visits South Korea with Post-Nuclear Movie
It has been one year since the Fukushima Nuclear Plant accident, which occurred on March 11th, 2011, but its aftereffects are still being felt. The 8th Green Film Festival in Seoul, which was held soon after the accident (May 2011), dealt mainly with the problems and solutions of nuclear energy through the theme, “Issue 2011: The Shadow of Nuclear Energy, Atomic Power, and Energy Consumption”. During the festival there were many films that portrayed the problems the Japanese society was facing after the Fukushima Nuclear Plant accident.
At the 9th Green Film Festival in Seoul, the theme focused on the problems of nuclear power generation with, ”Focus 2012: Fukushima, Stories from After the Accident”. With the exception of a short animation film called “The Crazy Dance” from Bosnia-Herzegovina that describes a nuclear explosion, all six films featured at the festival were made by Japanese directors after the Fukushima accident.
“The story we should tell as survivors of the Fukushima accident” – Director Iwai
The presence of Iwai Shunji, a well-known movie director from Japan, at the Green Film Festival in Seoul was the highlight of the event. His movie, “3.11: Iwai Shunji and His Friends”, is about the conversations the director has with his friends who are victims of the tsunami and the Fukushima accident. Shunji’s visit to South Korea with his “post-nuclear movie” was of great interest not only to Korean filmmakers but also to environmental activists and the general public; tickets for each screening of “3.11: Iwai Shunji and His Friends” were sold out at the festival.
Iwai Shunji, who is well-known in Korea for his movie, “Love Letter”, says, “I became concerned with the problem of nuclear energy after the Fukushima accident.” Shunji, who is from Sendai, says of the damaged district of Fukushima, “the fact that my hometown suffered such a disaster was itself a devastating shock”. And it was this shock that gradually led him to become interested in nuclear power, the environment, and the entire system.
The Issue of Atomic Generation and Radioactive Contamination…A Matter of Commonsense and Nonsense
On the 10th of May, at a press conference held at the CGV movie theater in Yong-san, Seoul, the director Iwai said of his motivation for making his movie, “After the Fukushima disaster, a load of nonsensical reports about this calamity appeared in the Japanese press. For example, some said that radioactivity is not harmless, or even suggested that it is better for one’s health to be exposed to it. Others reported that there was no one who died as a result of the Chernobyl accident.”
In his movie Iwai Shunji questions people from various fields, such as Matsuda Miyuki (actress), Koide Hiroaki (Nuclear Reactor Laboratory of Kyoto University), Ueski Dakashi (Journalist), and Kobayashi Dakeshi (music director), what the future of Japan holds after this disastrous earthquake. As we listen to their voices about the dangers of nuclear development, we realize that 3.11 is not just a problem that impacts Japan.
Iwai points out that it is impossible to have a commonsensical discussion about nuclear power in Japanese society. He said, “I hope my movie can offer people an opportunity to think about how serious and frightening nuclear power is. I decided to voice my own concerns as a human being, regardless of my occupation.” He also said, “The Japanese press never says anything bad about nuclear power plants. Citizens in Japan have constantly held assemblies and fought against nuclear plants, and now as a result, all fifty-four nuclear plants in Japan are shutdown. Sakamoto Ryuichi is also raising his voice against nuclear plants. It is easier for people who are working overseas like him and me to voice our opposition than those who are based in Japan. Our documentary staff, the people I’ve worked with and I, hope the message about the dangers of nuclear energy can be delivered to people all over the world through the Seoul Environmental Film Festival.”
The 9th Green Film Festival in Seoul, the biggest international green film festival in Asia sponsored by the Korea Green Foundation, was held from the 9th to the 15th of May at the CGV Young-san in Seoul. 112 films from 26 countries, the highest number of films ever, were shown and over eighty thousands people participated in the festival with tickets being sold out 23 times out of the total 93 screenings.