Mon, Mar 11, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Anti-nuclear activists inspired by Japanese women

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Female leaders of the anti-nuclear power movement in Taiwan said they became involved in the issue and the development of the movement because they were confident that women could play a “pivotal” role in the campaign that has swept the nation.

“I am glad that so many people stepped up and took action to voice their opinions on this important issue, but this is just the beginning. The road ahead is still long,” Irene Chen (陳藹玲), Fubon Cultural and Educational Foundation board director and founder of Mom Loves Taiwan, an association for mothers against nuclear power, said yesterday.

Chen, one of the leading figures in raising public awareness of the controversial construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮), spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a forum one day after nationwide anti-nuclear demonstrations. An estimated 200,000 people participated in the protests on the eve of the second anniversary of Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant accident.

At the forum, organized by the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union, Chen said she did not pay attention to the issue until November last year, but she understood that “late is better than never” and women should step forward and make their voices heard.

After studying the issue, Chen contacted her friends, most of whom are artists, film directors or entertainers, to coordinate efforts to raise public awareness by releasing short films and other promotional materials.

The “celebrity effect” that Chen’s initiative generated was considered by some as the primary reason why the movement’s momentum has snowballed in a short period of time.

Chen credited Tokyo-based Taiwanese writer Liu Li-erh (劉黎兒), who also attended the forum, as her inspiration, as Liu was the first writer to write regularly on Japan’s nuclear situation and anti-nuclear movement in the aftermath of the 2011 disaster.

Women in Japan, especially those who have children, took instant and substantial actions right after the incident, Liu said, by demanding transparent and accurate information, strict food safety standard as well organization of anti-nuclear events that asked the Japanese government to abandon nuclear energy in an effort that has become known as the “Mother’s revolution” in Japan.

Inspired by a similar event in Japan, Liu said Taiwanese women planned to organize an “anti-nuclear 4-5-6” event in Taiwan, with a gathering to protest construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant to be held at 6pm every Friday at Liberty Square in Taipei so people could gather and plan their next moves.

“We should not let the movement’s momentum fade,” Liu said.

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