Home > Japan, op-ed > Japan to use Oi nuclear reactors despite overwhelming oppositon and unknown dangers

Japan to use Oi nuclear reactors despite overwhelming oppositon and unknown dangers

June 17, 2012

Though only a small number of Japanese protest in the streets, opinions polls cited in recent Japanese news reports show a majority of Japanese want a move away from nuclear power.

It’s taken a bit of time but the govt have announced “local approval” for the Oi reactors. About 2/3rds or so of the Japanese people oppose it, but as long as a few politicians say yes the go ahead is given. These are a few reasons why it makes no sense to me:

  1. The investigation into the causes of the March 11 disaster is incomplete, and the role the earthquake/tsunami is not yet fully understood (was it the EQ that knocked all power out first?)
  2. The new safety standards cannot take full lessons from the March 11 disaster because some lessons cannot possibly have been learnt
  3. The “standards” they have chosen will not fully be implemented until about 2016
  4. Oi appears to be sitting directly above a fault which could cause an EQ it is not designed to withstand
  5. Only the Daichi and Daini plants have a completed sea wall (obviously it didn’t work, but there is something there)
  6. The new nuclear agency will at best not be in place until after the summer is over
  7. Bringing the reactors to full capacity will give them time to generate much electricity in time for summer demand
  8. J-media says about 66%-70% of public oppose using the reactors at this time
  9. A minimum of 7.5 million signed a petition Nobel laureate Oe presented to the govt, or 6.25% of the population – significant for Japan

These facts lead me to conclude the govt’s only concern is a) the profits of the power monopolies (buying natural gas costs them more than nuclear energy) and b) ensuring that nuclear energy is not allowed to be proven unnecessary. If it is as necessary as they claim, let the population go without power and have higher rates this summer. If there are significant problems then perhaps nuclear energy is needed for the factories in this economy – a ridiculous premise but ok fine . I suspect they refuse to allow a test because if there are no significant power shortages, and there might not be, opposition to nuclear energy might become more active.

A true independent media would discuss these and other concerns in a clear manner. Instead EX-SKF reports they are ignoring the 15th protest and a lot of what is happening at the PM’s residence in Tokyo. This brief conversation published in EX-SKF illustrates why ignoring the public and focusing on irrelevant things turns so many people against nuclear energy; it isn’t the Fukushima disaster, it is it the government’s and media’s absolute refusal to listen to the people.

Some people who participated in June 15 demonstration reported that they were asked by a reporter from one of the major weekly magazines in Japan about Taro Yamamoto, actor-turned-antinuke activist. He recently got married, and is evacuating to a less contaminated area. According to these people, the reporter asked them:

What do you think of Mr. Yamamoto? Don’t you think he is deserting under enemy fire?

One countered the reporter with a question:

Why don’t you instead report on this protest, as it is happening?

The reporter’s answer, according to this person, was:

I cannot write about it, I am just a reporter.

The person further asked: Isn’t it because writing about it is against the editorial policy of your magazine?
The reporter didn’t answer.” (see original)

No wonder the Economist is praising Noda. All it is concerned about is corporate profit and Noda, the nuclear lackey, just restored millions in profits to the 12 energy monopolies in Japan. 2013 election? The DPJ is going to lose anyway, what do they care? It isn’t like the LDP are against nuclear energy. And those hoping in Hashimoto realised he was just as crooked as any other politician when he “suddenly” supported nuclear energy use when it looked likely Osaka would get the same status as Tokyo. Ah, Japanese politics. The only difference with the American version is the Japanese aren’t as good at propaganda. At least the Americans tell a good story when they force something on their people. The Japanese just do it in your face and smile. About 70% oppose something and the government does it anyway. Now that is democracy!

This is an op-ed piece submitted by Commodus Dio. The views therein do not necessarily coincide with those of the editors or staff.

Categories: Japan, op-ed Tags: , , ,
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