Oshidori Mako, Comedian and Journalist, Tokyo, Japan

“I’m being followed”

Oshidori Mako is a comedian and freelance journalist. With her critical questions at news conferences on the situation in Fukushima, she managed to incur the wrath of Tepco bosses. One of their leaked internal memos said that the authorities should hold her to account for her persistent and uncomfortable questions. While Oshidori Mako is indeed opposed to nuclear energy, she doesn’t regards herself as an activist but rather an investigative journalist who specialises in health issues, which also includes the effects of radiation.

“The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan exerted a significant amount of pressure on the well-known monthly Fujin Korin. That’s why the editors decided that an article of mine we had already agreed on could only be published if three articles in favour of nuclear energy are published at the same time. Pressure was also put on an advertising agency, which is why a planned television appearance with me was cancelled at the last minute. I’m not allowed to speak about nuclear energy and the nuclear power plant operator Tepco. I’m also being followed by the Japanese security services Kôan and have been on a black list since 2013. When I now try to interview mothers from the Fukushima prefecture, security service employees try to photograph the women and their license plates. A former agent told me that this approach is part of an intimidation strategy, and it explains why many mothers no longer want to give me information.
On the whole there are severe restrictions and pressure on freelance journalists who want to look at the consequences of the nuclear disaster. These days it’s almost only the positions of the government and Tepco that can be found in the mass media. Coverage will be all the more difficult with the law on protecting special state secrets, which will also affect reporting on the health consequences.”

 

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"the mice will prevail."