Environmental Justice

by Chinatsu Kitamura

“Environmental justice” combines environmental protection with social justice. And “environmental justice movement” was movement which took place in the United States in the 1980s as criticism to “environmental racial discrimination.” It criticized the worst situation which thrust on poor people to concentrate Hazardous-wastes processing plants. In the United States, the environmental justice office was established in U.S. Commonwealth Environment Protection Agency in response to the rise of environmental justice movement of society in 1992. Then, in the United States, the contents of the damage of the minority who were weak groups in the world become clear with a rise of environmental justice movement. Mark Dowie said that the main damage of environmental racial discrimination is following.

First, the lead concentration in an African-American baby’s blood is so high. It is caused by a factory, a leaded gas which was delayed regulation, paint, and so on. Second, according to research of Environmental Protection Agency, the federal government, a hazardous-wastes disposal site is located in the communities of an African and a Hispanic people who are low income group in many cases. Third, the influence of a uranium mine and radioactive waste is concentrated on the place which former inhabitants live. For example, the number of cancer cases of his teens of the Navajo nation is 17 times the national average. Fourth, there are many pesticide poisoning persons among Hispanic agrarian laborers. Fifth, there are asthmatic who live in the big city to cause by the air pollution among the black people. And mortality rate is 5 times the white people.

Like this, although the minority has received environmental racial discrimination, the nuclear development and nuclear power generation as most serious damage are the points which cannot be overlooked for us who live in Japan.  For example, in the accident of the nuclear power plant, the number of the worker who was exposed to radiation concentrated on the subcontract workers to compare with the employee of an electric power company. This subcontract worker’s sources of supply are a cheap laborer and the minority. Furthermore, also in a nuclear test, when the wind in the nuclear test place in Nevada blew in the direction of big cities, such as Los Angeles and Las Vegas, an experiment was suspended. However, it was carried out when blowing toward the area of a minority like Nevada or Utah.

As for this, the same sight is seen also in a nuclear power plant of Japan. For example, the Tokyo Electric Power did not have a nuclear power plant in the own territory, but it located the nuclear power plant in the land of the next company and supported mass consumption of the metropolitan area. Thus, Fukushima suffered great damage in the earthquake on March 11. The majority desires a better life and forces a big burden on a minority. However, the majority have to solve the problem by yourself. Therefore, I think it is important to become a minority’s position and to just think.


Kiyoshi Toda. 2009. Kankyouseigi to heiwa-amerika mondai wo kangaeru- (Environment justice and peace.-Considering the problem of the United States-). Houritsu bunkasha.

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