Murakami Tatsuya is the former mayor of Tōkaimura or Tōkai village located approximately 75 miles north of Tokyo and 111 miles south of the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Tōkaimura is considered the birthplace of nuclear power in Japan since the Japanese government built the first reactor for commercial use there in 1965 in collaboration with British nuclear scientists. As Mr. Murakami reveals below, the Japanese government at the time informed the residents of Tōkaimura only of the building of a nuclear research institute, not a power plant. As time passed, Tōkaimura became heavily dependent on the nuclear industry for its revenue and people’s livelihood. On September 30, 1999, the village had a nuclear criticality accident at the JCO nuclear reprocessing plant. It killed two people, left one person in critical condition, and exposed 667 people to radiation. They were the first victims of a nuclear accident in Japan. Mr. Murakami dealt with the emergency situation as mayor and subsequently became a vocal opponent of Japan’s nuclear energy policy. Since the Fukushima Daiichi Plant accident of 2011, he has been a leading figure in the anti-nuclear movement involving 24 village and town mayors, which calls for the abolition of all 54 reactors in Japan. The interview took place at his Tōkai residence in the summer and winter of 2014...
read: Katsuya Hirano, "Fukushima and the Crisis of Democracy: Interview with Murakami Tatsuya 福島と民主主義の危機 村上達也氏に聞く", The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue 20, No. 1, May 23, 2015