Gauss Network National Meeting

June 16-17, 2001

Kumamoto, Japan

About 120 people gathered to hear presentations from invited speakers, including Prof. Teruya Ogino of Kyoto University School of Engineering, who gave the keynote speech on the problem of EMF; Patricia Ormsby, who spoke on the observations of a foreigner in Japan and the situation in foreign countries; author Shunsuke Funase who spoke of the ironies of the situation in Japan; and lawyer Tsune Misumi, who spoke on legal approaches to confronting the problems posed by EMF in Japan. Appeals were heard from activists throughout Japan.

Local activists said that there could have been many more people in attendance, but they were reluctant to come into the center of the city.

After hearing the main presentations, the meeting split into four sub-meetings:
1) chaired by Prof. Ogino, on basic knowledge regarding effects of EMF,
2) chaired by Mr. Kawakami of Kumamoto, on cell phone tower siting, with a focus especially on the legal issues,
3) chaired by Mr. Takebayashi, on problems of high-tension lines, and
4) chaired by Mr. Funase, on opposition movements.

Reports were heard from each sub-meeting the next morning in a general meeting attended by about 50 people, who completely filled the rented room. Prof. Ogino commented that it might have been better for someone who wasn't a veteran to speak about the basics, but the sub-meeting was satisfied with his explanations.

The cell phone tower siting sub-meeting had a long report. There was news from local opposition movements throughout Japan, discussion of medical effects seen upon turning on the power in a tower--lots of examples of illness but no proof of cause. Nosebleeds, lack of energy, malaise and depression have been frequently seen. The need for measurements of fields, plus information on effects, illnesses, etc. was noted. There has also been concern over reports of increased lightning strikes in the vicinity of the towers. Measurements of field strength have been taken around Tokyo Tower, but it is very complicated. Even passing cars affect the readings.

Reflections or blockage from buildings hard to compensate for. The lowest readings occur on Sundays, when there are fewer people.

Experience in dealing with different companies regarding cell tower siting was discussed. Docomo has been particularly bad, causing 80% of the problems in Kyushu, but Cellular is also a trouble-maker. J-Phone not as bad as Docomo. In its reports, Docomo has denied that even one household was opposed, when there was considerable local opposition. Their report may say "no houses in the vicinity" when there is a house 43 meters away, but the tower is only 42 meters tall, and therefore poses no danger of falling on the house. When confronted with opposition at an explanatory meeting, Docomo representatives got up and left. It seems that bad people are coming out in this field more and more. The companies are targeting smaller apartment/condo buildings now. They get turned away from bigger buildings when people opposed convince others to oppose it too.

There have been some success stories, even in one case where construction had already begun (the local people had not been told about the plans). By spreading information, they got 100 people opposed and built up a good network.

A lawyer spoke, saying there are no regulations restricting tower siting in Japan. The problem is we have not elucidated the danger to health, and under the current system, that must come first. Companies threaten to sue citizens for opposition, since the law says they can build the towers. We must attack the inconsistencies of the current laws. A boycott may be seen as going too far. Threats of lawsuits frighten citizens into dropping opposition, but companies lose these. If they come across as bullies, they lose their standing. It is best to stand tough with the opposition, because the company has its image to protect, and they will relent. Be prepared to go in a large group repeatedly to sit-ins at city hall. To get the administration to move may take that much.

Regarding high-tension lines, those with 500,000 V are increasing. Typhoons topple the towers, and so do earthquakes. The results can be devastating: fish boiled alive. Strong EMF directly below, but the problem with the word "field" here is that it suggests a limited area--how far does it reach? There was also a suggestion to approach it from the point of view of its being an eyesore; we need to preserve the refreshing beauty of nature.

Regarding opposition movements, we have to address fears. If we obey the law, there will be no problem. It was suggested not to fear threats of being sued or having trouble with the police, etc. Gandhi's tactics were brought up. He obeyed the rules to the letter and did not let violence phase him. Also suggested that whenever you take action, you should call in the media. It does no good if you do not have coverage. There is a directory available on who to call.

The meeting subsequently discussed financial and business matters. There was a proposal to change the name to include the cell phone problem, which was not around when Gauss Network started. Japanese "denjikai" (EMF) suggests local, limited problem, while "denjiha" (EMW) suggests a problem that spreads far and wide. EMW should therefore be preferable.

Mr. Oshiro from Okinawa made a bold statement to the meeting, proposing a movement to reduce the level of EMW. He has been experiencing problems in Naha. We need a unified nationwide movement. Must stress the emergency nature. Children are badly affected. He feels it is not going to far to say the downfall of society is possible. (There was lots of agreement, but others appeared more cautious.) Electrosensitive people are very aware of the damage. If we can get signatures nationwide (100,000 possible in Kyushu alone) we would get noticed. We should do a march. Proposal to have a five-day movement in Tokyo from September 24.

Finally, Gauss Network worked on details of its declaration: in England, up to 16 is the suggested age for recommending children not to use cell phones. Need to find out why. In Japan, through junior high may be more appropriate. A suggestion also to recommend that adults not use them, as it gives a bad example to kids. It is like tobacco, but harder to accomplish. Suggestion to produce a manual on cell phone use.

Afterwards, the Kyushu network held a meeting to work out business matters. Mr. Oshiro and Ms. Ormsby joined the Kyushu Network as advisors.



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