Takagi Fund Asian Grant Program Business Trip Report
We are facing a number of difficult issues, such as nuclear power/energy issues, climate change, biodiversity loss, genetic manipulation, health hazards caused by toxic chemicals, and environmental pollution. What can the each of us do to tackle these issues?
The 20th century is the era where the development of science technology has changed our way of life dramatically. A “convenient and wealthy society” however has obtained at the expense of the environment and ecosystem via mass production and consumption as well as excess economic development.
The more specialized science is these days, the more it has become clear that the decision making processes which general citizen must involve have been left in the hands of the “experts” who have lost the big picture.
The Fukushima nuclear power accident caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, has attacked the safety myth of nuclear power, as the most conspicuous symbol of science technology. It also throws at us citizen significant challenges on how we are facing present science technology.
Jinzaburo TAKAGI (1938-2000) started his early career as a nuclear chemist at the dawn of the nuclear industry. However, his research and engineering experience turned him into a strong critic of nuclear energy, both in military and commercial uses.
This is because he found radioactive substance behavior to be complex, hard to handle by human beings, and exploita ble for making inhuman weapons and also questioned the undemocratic situation in which nuclear power plants are introduced by the policy initiatives.
He worried about how could he fulfill his responsibility as a scientist, so he decided to step off the ladder to the top status within the nuclear elites and he made an effort to create the Citizen's Nuclear Information Center (CNIC) with a group of colleagues which offers technical information for the general public to respond to their worries, devoting the rest of his life to realizing a nuclear-free society, democratic public decision-making, and the advocacy of “citizen science.”
In 1997, he received the Right Livelihood Award, often referred to as the 'Alternative Nobel Prize, for his accomplishments as a scientist from the viewpoint of citizens, serving to alert the world to the unparalleled dangers of plutonium to human life, and his advocacy activity which contributed to the recent scale-down of Japan’s plutonium program.
He believed that the mission of citizen science is develop a vision for a sustainable world based on a future we want and encourage people to organize and make social transformations.