Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Reuters: #Fukushima residents say resounding "no" to nuclear energy

The government has been holding this sham of public meetings in 20 locations in Japan to "hear" from citizens what the government should do with its long-term energy policy.

It's the one planned and organized and analyzed by one of the biggest PR and ad agencies in Japan, and the politicians attend the meeting as if they are just props. The government was accused of letting the employees of electric power companies (nuclear plant operators) speak at the meetings.

The most recent one was held in Fukushima City, and almost all the citizens who were allowed to speak said "zero nuke". To be expected, Yomiuri Shinbun ignores the news, Asahi Shinbun reports but with no mention that almost all of the citizens were against having any nuclear power plant. Nikkei Shinbun, Kyodo News, and a host of local papers quoting Kyodo News report it (if you read Japanese, here's a link to see for yourself). And Reuters reports it.

From Reuters (8/1/2012):

Fukushima residents say resounding "no" to nuclear energy

(Reuters) - Get out of nuclear power and do it fast, angry Fukushima residents told Japanese government officials on Wednesday at a public hearing on energy policy held in an area ravaged by a nuclear disaster that has whipped up opposition to atomic power.

The Fukushima hearing, the ninth out of 11 planned nationwide, sought to gather views on nuclear power's role in the nation's energy mix as the government struggles to cover a power shortfall by that could threaten economic growth.

Meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima nuclear plant after an earthquake and tsunami on March 11 last year caused radiation to spew over large areas of Fukushima, forcing more than 160,0000 people to flee. In the following months, all of Japan's nuclear plants were shut for safety checks. Two reactors resumed operations last month.

"I want all the reactors in Japan shut immediately and scrapped," a grey-haired woman, who introduced herself as a farmer living 65 km (40 miles) from the Fukushima plant, said at the public hearing in the prefecture capital.

"Many people are now aware that the government's talking of 'no immediate risk to health' is tantamount to 'long-term health risk'," she said to the applause of about 200 residents packed in a small concert hall.

Goshi Hosono, minister in charge of the response to the nuclear crisis, was heckled as he apologized for the suffering of people in Fukushima.

"I will never forget what I heard today, and I'm determined to do everything I can," he said.

Fukushima prosecutors on Wednesday launched an investigation after more than 1,000 residents filed criminal complaints against 15 former and present Tokyo Electric Power officials, including former company president Masataka Shimizu, and 18 government officials, including Nuclear Safety Commission head Haruki Madarame, a lawyer for the group, Hiroyuki Kawai, told Reuters.

Kawai said Tokyo prosecutors had launched a separate investigation.

A panel of experts appointed by parliament concluded last month that the disaster could have been prevented and that failure to take precautions was the result of "collusion" among the utility, regulators and the government.

"After reading the report by the parliament-appointed panel, prosecutors could not stand idly by," Kawai said.


Japan met about a third of its energy needs with nuclear power before the disaster and had plans to boost that share to more than half, in part, to combat global warming.

Now, three options that the government has put on the table are to phase out nuclear power completely as soon as possible, aim for a 15 percent share of the power supply by 2030, or a 20-25 percent share by the same date.

Residents of Fukushima, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, overwhelmingly backed the zero option, with all but one of the 30 who were picked in a draw to speak backing a swift exit.

The Asahi newspaper reported this week that elsewhere 70 percent of those taking part in the hearings opted for the nuclear-free scenario. It is not clear how the hearings will affect the final energy plan that could come as soon as this month.

But commentators said it would be hard for the government to ignore the findings as 17 months after the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, many still live in fear and thousands hired to dismantle the Fukushima plant face decades of grueling and dangerous work.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's decision to restart two reactors in Japan's western manufacturing hub to avoid blackouts galvanized the anti-nuclear movement.

More than 100,000 people attended an anti-nuclear rally last month and protests staged weekly outside of Noda's residence have grown, with ordinary workers and mothers with children joining the crowds.

"I'm scared. I'm really scared," said a middle-aged woman, addressing the hearing.

"I'd like the government to think about why people have gathered in front of the prime minister's residence every Friday since April. That's not fashion. That's not a temporary fever. That's a heartfelt scream from the public."

(Additional reporting by Linda Sieg in Tokyo; Writing by Tomasz Janowski; Editing by Ed Lane)

"But commentators said it would be hard for the government to ignore the findings as 17 months after the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl"? Who are these commentators? Do they think Japan is a democracy or something?

Reuters clearly doesn't know about the ad agency managing this whole event.


Anonymous said...

Hosono: "I will never forget what I heard today, and I'm determined to do everything I can," he said.

The best thing you could do is quit your job and go back to shizuoka to perform community service cleaning roadside waste until your trial.

Anonymous said...

One more thing Hosono, donate all of your wealth to charities involved in medical care for the Fukushima children.

Everything you can... what an asshole. His involvement only makes things worse.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Anon@5:09 And the question should not be how much nuclear we will be using beginning in 30 years, but how much we will be using beginning in 30 days.

kintaman said...

That's great but it is too late.

Anonymous said...

"Nuclear Witnesses," Insiders Speak out:
John Gofman, Medical Physicist

"Licensing a nuclear power plant is in my view, licensing random premeditated murder. First of all, when you license a plant, you know what you're doing--so it's premeditated.
You can't say, "I didn't know." Second, the evidence on radiation-producing cancer is beyond doubt. I've worked fifteen years on it [as of 1982], and so have many others.
It is not a question any more: radiation produces cancer, and the evidence is good all the way down to the lowest doses."

Dr. John W. Gofman

NATO to keep nuclear arsenal
Sun Nov 7, 2010 7:39AM GMT
Commander of NATO's Allied Command Transformation (ACT) General Stephane Abrial says the Western military alliance has to keep its tactical nuclear arsenal.
"As long as the world is nuclear, the (NATO) alliance has to keep nuclear weapons," Abrial said in a security conference in Halifax, Canada on Saturday, AFP reported.

Anonymous said...

A referendum on nuclear energy needs to be on whether Japanese people want nuclear power or not, like it has been done in Italy. Not by 2030, not 15% or 20% but yes or no, now.
Unfortunately it appears that Japanese citizens can only ask if please the government would be so gracious to hold a ballot, as opposed to the goverment being required to hold it if enough valid signatures have been gathered. Kind of a joke.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the Tahara (Lexus) plant in Aichi Prefecture has been chosen to accept debris? I had read that Aichi had selected the site of a former industrial waste treatment site near Nagoya harbor district, but wasn't sure if they are going to push forward in using the Lexus plant for disposal?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

I'll ask people in Aichi. As far as I know, the disaster debris won't go anywhere except to Tokyo and Tohoku (already been accepting). Osaka City and Kitakyushu City are the only two places whose mayors are crazy about accepting, and crazy governors of Miyagi and Iwate still want to send their debris to.

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