Energy and Climate Policy Institute
 
KOREAN  |  ENGLISH


       Newsletter
 
작성일 : 13-09-30 14:55
Enerzine 32 Climate Change, WTO, Food Security and Capitalism
 글쓴이 : 에정센…
조회 : 4,955  
   http://enerpol.net/newsletter/Enerzine/Enerzine No.32.pdf [1827]
1. Issues 
 
                  Climate Change, WTO, Food Security and Capitalism

September 19, 2013 was one of the biggest holidays in Korea is called Chusok. It is a tradition to prepare an offering table with only the finest and freshest harvested fruits. However, during this year’s Chusok, people had been worried about preparing the offering table due to the radioactive contamination found in the agricultural products from Japan. Thus, the staff of major supermarkets and the small-scale street market vendors were busy informing the customers that their products did not come from Japan instead of focusing on promoting the products of Korea.

The problem is that even though we have checked the food products’ place of origin, we still have trepidation about the food we eat. In fact, “table” does not just define the food being served, but it has also become something beyond food during globalization and neoliberalism. Currently, Korea’s self-sufficiency rate on grains only reaches 22.6%, while the self-sufficiency rate for the other types of food is approximately 44.5%. If rice was excluded from the grain self-sufficiency rate, then the number would drop to 5%. The imported grains amount to 80% and the rest of the imported food that reaches 66% has been filling our tables. These represent the significant shares that the international markets take up and those markets produce political and diplomatic relations to occupy new spaces or maintain the existing ones within the neoliberalism regime.   

The Korean government has recently enforced a ban on all fishery products from Fukushima, as well as 7 other surrounding prefectures, and Japan countered by using its plan to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO). Japan’s audacity was beyond comprehension and this was a clear example that our rights to sanction dangerous agro-fishery products for our health and well-being are being threatened under the shallow façade of “globalization” and “free market”.

In fact, prior to Japan’s complaint, the WTO has been steadily threatening our tables under the guise of breaking down the barriers between countries for the expansion of free trade. When the 10-year grace period of rice importation ends in 2014, Korea will be immediately confronted with a full-scale rice market opening on 2015 through the rice negotiations. This does not simply mean the opening of the rice market; however, it will be a threat against the 22.6% self-sufficiency ratio of grain against the farmers who have been maintaining the number and, ultimately, against our food security. 

The food products, which make up our table, sold in the market have been continuously decreasing. There is, however, one important element, which is the climate change. It is humanity’s biggest challenge in the 21st century. The record breaking drought, which occurred in the US last year, led to the instability of the world grain supply and demand, and the impact hit the whole world. This type of situation can occur in every corner of the world including our rice market, along with the climate change that is bound to become more serious.

When we think about it, climate change is the result of the system issue. Climate change is occurring due to our excessive use of fossil fuel, which is the influence of capitalism and neoliberalism. Regardless of this fact, the countermeasure to thwart the climate change is nuclear power, which is worse than the cause of the problem, with countless lives as collateral and bio-energy that uses our food. As a result, the countermeasures have been producing more serious complications such as the Fukushima disaster and the grain price hikes.

The concerns for our table, which started from the food products imported from Japan, have to be prioritized. At the moment, the things that threaten our table are not limited to the imported food products that have been contaminated by radiation. Other causes such as the aforementioned steady pressure for market opening, climate change and GMO food products have been areas of concern as well; therefore, eating safe food, buying organic products, and choosing local foods by ourselves are not enough.

I suddenly recalled an incident that occurred in Cancun, Mexico in December, 2010. It was the place where Martyr Lee Kyung Hae stood against the fifth WTO Conference and committed suicide after screaming, “WTO Kills Farmers!” The environmental, human rights, and anti-globalization and anti-capitalism organizations, which have participated in the Climate Change Conference of the Parties, have gathered together to demand climate justice. The climate change, WTO and food security are placed not far apart within capitalism. In the end, neoliberalism will kill our table. 

Written by Bo-young, Cho (Researcher : jobo8184@yahoo.co.kr)


2. Opinion

                                          Prime Minister Abe’s Fraudulent Practices
                                      -2020 Tokyo Olympics Controversy Based on Lies-

The 2020 Olympic Games, which is going to be held in Tokyo, Japan, is an absurd and abnormal decision that I am embarrassed to even write about.

A disaster, which had been classified as a Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), occurred in Japan and the well-being of the whole world was at stake, not just Japan.

On July 22, 2013, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) finally acknowledged that radioactive water from the plant was reaching the ocean. On August 19, 2013, the Japan Atomic Energy Commission admitted to the radioactive water spill for the first time, but assessed that the leakage was only at Level 1, which was a minor safety issue. Three days later, however, the assessment was overturned and the leakage was raised to Level 3, which was a significant anomaly.

The major cause for concern is that the contaminant water leakage will not cease in the future due to the surrounding terrain of the Fukushima Nuclear Plant, wherein the tanks that can store the water are far from sufficient, and the radioactive polluted water is still flowing to the ocean whenever an unexpected situation such as a typhoon takes place. In other words, Japan’s radioactive contamination has not even been thoroughly identified and the people were left in the dark as to when it will subside.

Due to these circumstances, on September 7, 2013, which was not even less than a month after the revelation, Prime Minister Abe’s lies hit the zenith. At the IOC Conference, Abe assured the panel by stating, “Tokyo is one of the safest cities in the world. The contaminated water has been contained within the 0.3 ㎢-harbor of the First Fukushima Nuclear Plant.” Eventually, Tokyo was named as the host of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. As if nature was mocking this statement, Typhoon Man-yi hit Japan and TEPCO dumped the contaminated water into the ocean again.

The scenario of this fraudulent act was completed with the concealment of the Fukushima disaster, the sacrifices of the residents for the concealment, the countless sacrifices of the whole world, which will also become affected by the radioactive contamination in the future, and the Japanese government’s financial insolvency. Despite the aforementioned future repercussions, Prime Minister Abe and the Liberal Democratic Party are still taking all the political support that they need. This is a typical fraudulent act of upping the ante by giving meaningless hope to all (the illusion of the Tokyo Olympics), taking advantage of others’ money as funds (the people’s taxes), and fleeing the scene after gratifying one’s appetite only (getting the people’s votes through false achievements).

The lies of Abe, needless to say, have played an active role in the IOC’s decision in choosing Tokyo because he told them what they wanted to hear. In fact, due to the unstable factors of the other two finalist cities, the IOC was looking for an excuse to turn a blind eye on Japan’s radioactive threats.

Istanbul, which was the first Muslim city to run for the Olympics hosting city candidacy, had a political issue due to its recent large-scale anti-government demonstration. Madrid, on the other hand, had been shortlisted for 3 consecutive times and was currently facing a financial crisis. Japan has been chosen because it has already hosted major sporting events such as the Winter Olympics, Summer Olympics and World Cup in the past. Moreover, it has a relatively easy access to financing, regardless of what would happen after the event. The only drawback that the IOC had with Japan was the radiation hazard; however, Abe “solved” this problem to the delight of the IOC. 

At this moment, Abe has been busy serving himself and his cabinet (excluding the Japanese citizens) by taking advantage of the other countries’ governments and international organizations. The IOC and Korean government should think long and hard as to whether or not to be led around by fraudulent Prime Minister Abe and his cabinet on becoming the “golden triplet”. Bearing in their minds that ocean around Fukushima is still boiling, that is. 

Written by Bo-ah, Lee (Researcher : boah8596@naver.com)

 
   
 




 
     Energy and Climate Policy Institute
    [04207] 2nd FL, 14-15, Mapo-daero 14ga-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea
    Tel. 82-2-6404-8440 _ Fax. 82-2-6402-8439 _ E-mail. mail@ecpi.or.kr _ Website. http://ecpi.or.kr