|Think globally and act locally. Since we human beings share the same lot
with the flora and fauna of this world, it is natural that, looking at
the global ecological system, we should take responsibility for our own
life styles within the natural environment of the continent, country and
region where we live. In fact, many world citizens are making efforts in
In spite of this, the destruction of the environment is getting worst very
fast and its depth is widening. I wish each one of us could find ways to
stop this in the places where we are living.
In the last issue I wrote about trees which were cut down in a small city
park in the country side without the consent of the citizens there. Everybody
will consider that a very small local event compared to global issues.
Nevertheless, if one can not get techniques to approach such tiny issues,
the solution of global issues will become an impossible task. What is worse,
we have to deal with both, global and local issues at the same time.
What is my attitude with regard to the trees which were cut down
and disappeared from the park?. Several citizens gathered together to decide an action program with regard
to such an elementary issue and established the citizens` forum
|This forum is different from an established and decision making body, it
is rather a grass-root network where citizens present their views, exchange
information, converse and take action together. The forum, created out
of citizens` movements in Shimonoseki, started its activities in 1990 with
the motto, Garbage Our Own Problem . Since then, it took an international outlook and began to question the
real meaning of internationalization . The forum has taken up the following themes: Development of the Town
of the Straits, Present and Past of the City of Shimonoseki from the eyes
of Koreans living there, Welfare of Senior Citizens, Convention on the
Rights of the Child, Public Information and the Right to Knowledge, Human
Rights Issues in Shimonoseki as seen by the disabled.
|In addition to that, they reviewed the public declarations of the City
Hall and City Administration, like the Non-nuclear Peace Declaration.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the defeat in the last war,
the forum members reviewed the historical materials concerning the Japanese
invasion of the Asian continent from the Kanpu (Shimonoseki-Pusan) sea
route. At the time of the big Kobe earthquake they verified the urban programs
for the prevention of disasters. Then, dioxin contamination was brought
to the fore and they began to revise, again, the issues of garbage.
Recently, the forum is not so active. Is it because people can not create
concrete plans for reforms? They lack self-reliance, and judging from the
low turnouts of voters and passive civil participation during the local
public elections, I think that we must, somehow, force through reforms.
In order to make some openings, our Labor Education Center has organized
a public meeting on April 19. We have invited both the director and the
head of the city`s maintenance and the green-belt-zone departments to inquire
about the situation of the city parks, the basic directions concerning
their preservation and amelioration, as well as to hear about the overall
planning of the new city programs.
|The discussions will center on the public budget and the selection of companies
that use public funds, on the release of public information and 14 more
different subjects. But most important of all is the actual participation
of citizens in the decision process of urban policies and its future outlook.
We want to fully participate in the global problems that lie ahead of us,
like ecological destruction, the new guidelines (Manual for mutual cooperation
in War) of the Japan-USA Mutual Security Treaty, and the bad effects of
the capital investments of Japanese ODA and private funding institutions.
In this way we can start to act responsibly.
We want to make a forum where everybody can participate in the problems affecting them. At times,
there will be reactions to the cries of the trees which were cut down in
our city parks and disposed off; at other times, we want to search for
ways to recover our damaged human society and the renewal of the environment.