Monday, May 9, 2011

PM Kan's Hamaoka Nuke Plant Shut Down Request Was Made Under Pressure from the US

Shigeharu Aoyama, former journalist and a current member of Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission who went in and took the ground-level video of Fukushima I Nuke Plant on April 22 and caused consternation at Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, appeared on Asahi TV on the morning of May 8 (Japan Time) and revealed that Prime Minister Naoto Kan requested that Chubu Electric Power Company shut down Hamaoka Nuke Plant because of a strong pressure from the United States since early April.

So much for Kan's words, that he was requesting the shutdown for the "safety and security of the Japanese citizens". (See my previous post on Hamaoka.)

The interest of the US, alleges Aoyama, is the safety of its base in Yokosuka, home to the US 7th Fleet, which is downwind from Hamaoka.

Aoyama said he himself received phone calls from both the US Defense Department and the State Department, and was told by the US officials: "We're just out of Fukushima. That Hamaoka..." (These are his words in English, in the video.)

Aoyama also revealed that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) did the estimate of power demand and supply in case of Hamaoka shutdown at the request from the government, but the Prime Minister didn't request to see the estimate before he made the "request" to Chubu Electric to shut down Hamaoka.

Well, METI bureaucrats didn't bother to offer, either.

As Aoyama said, the area that Chubu Electric covers has Toyota, Honda, and Suzuki, among other companies large and small. Oops.

The video is in Japanese. The talk about Hamaoka and the US pressure is right in the beginning.

(h/t あ)


wren said...

Thanks for all these posts. I wouldn't have readnor found much of this anywhere else on my own and really appreciate the time and effort involved in putting this out.

Anonymous said...

Ahahaha. So much of Japan politics seems to be like Kabuki theatre... much beautifully exaggerated posturing and meaningless declamations.

So, the PM got pressured. He knew he did not have the authority to shut the plant down. He did not want to shut it down. Hence, he did not try to get his party make a new law or something, did not yell at NISA to close it for safety reasons (of which many could no doubt be found upon a thorough and ill-intentioned inspection).

No, what he did was issue a statement that it should be closed down, to which Chubu very properly responded "fuck you, fuck the horse you rode in on and his momma, and oh btw how would you like it if we had all of Japan's industry giants who happen to need that electricity come on over and fuck all y'all as well?" WHICH WAS ONLY TO BE EXPECTED.

The guy swallowed his pride and did what he thought was best for the country: nothing of significance, while still appearing to cater to the desires of the USA and the "environuts".

netudiant said...

It seems that Japan was very lucky to have Fukushima.
This disaster in a fairly sparsely inhabited part of Japan, has made the consequences of a serious nuclear accident very clear to all. It has also laid bare inadequacies in Japans preparations for handling such a disaster.

Given this warning, it would be irresponsible for any leader to just continue as before. Still, while it is surely less problematic internally to attribute the decision to US pressure, it reflects poorly on Japans political leaders. Is there no one in the government who is willing to say that this action is taken in the best interest of Japan and to fight on this basis if necessary?

Anonymous said...

Chubu did not respond with a "fuck you". In fact they decided to shut down the reactors as requested.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

I wonder what's in it for Chubu for shutting down Hamaoka. It must be lucrative enough for them.

@netudiant, "Is there no one in the government who is willing to say that this action is taken in the best interest of Japan ..?" - Well, Kan did say that, without meaning it, if Aoyama is right. Many Japanese seem to want to believe Kan. Japan has been conditioned into thinking of the world outside Japan first. Be an exemplary "global citizen". Fukushima accident seems to have made them "global" for sure. Exemplary, maybe not.

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