Japanese woman wins ‘Green Nobel’ – The Foreigners magazine In tokyo
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Japanese woman wins ‘Green Nobel’

Written by on June 16, 2021

A senior member of a Japanese nongovernmental organization fighting climate change has been picked for this year’s Goldman Environmental Prize.

The prize, known as the “Green Nobel,” was established by a US foundation in 1989. It honors those who have worked to protect and enhance the natural environment. Six recipients are picked every year from each of the world’s inhabited continental regions.

This year, the prize for Islands and Island Nations goes to Hirata Kimiko, a board member of the Kyoto City-based Kiko Network.

She is the third Japanese national to win the prize, and the first in 23 years. She is also the first Japanese woman to receive the honor.

Hirata developed an interest in climate change while at university. She has been spreading awareness on the problems with greenhouse gas-emitting coal-fired power plants for more than 20 years.

When plans to build or add to 50 coal-fired power stations were unveiled after the 2011 accident at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Hirata posted their construction plans and environmental impact assessment documents online and urged local residents to take part in public hearings.

The prize organizers note that plans for 13 of the 50 power stations were canceled by 2019, thanks to Hirata’s efforts. They describe her work as equivalent to cutting carbon dioxide emissions of 7.5 million cars annually over a 40-year period.

Hirata said the movement was made possible by cooperation among those who have voiced their concerns.

She vowed to continue making proposals on how to shift to a greener society and economy.


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