Monday, November 5, 2012

#Radioactive Japan: Naoto Kan Is One of Candidates Considered by an Anti-Nuke Citizens' Group as Next Governor of Tokyo

Never a dull day in Japan, full of (literally) fantastic stories.

This one I thought was a bad joke floating on the net, but it turns out the joke has a real possibility. So far, it is just a possibility, but the anti-nuclear citizens' group "Let’s Decide Together / Citizen-initiated National Referendum on Nuclear Power" set up a committee called "I Change Tokyo", and will interview several candidates on November 8 to decide who to endorse.

From the tweets (here and here) by the secretary-general of the group and a publishing author, reporting on a preliminary meeting they had on November 4:


Seven people made presentations about the candidates they would endorse. [The candidates were] Makoto Yuasa, Hiroko Uehara, Kenji Utsunomiya, Naoto Kan, Taro Yamamoto... We decided to speak with [these candidates] and ask them not only about "beyond nuclear" (脱原発) but 6 issues including nuclear plant referendum in Tokyo and punishment over the national flag and the national anthem.

As this news spread and people were dismayed, a horde of people started filling the net defending Kan by the now familiar refrain: "He saved Tokyo!" "He saved the world!" "Resolute leader!" "He stopped Hamaoka!"
  • Mr. Makoto Yuasa is a social activist and a former advisor to PM Naoto Kan.

  • Ms. Hiroko Uehara is a former mayor of Kunitachi City in Tokyo and a Social Democrat.

  • Mr. Kenji Utsunomiya is a high-profile attorney.

  • Mr. Taro Yamamoto is an actor turned anti-nuclear activist.

If Mr. Kan is really running for the governor of Tokyo, I guess temporary "downsizing" is in fashion. The boy wonder mayor of Osaka City was the governor of Osaka Prefecture, and now he says he will enter the national politics.

Among other things, I remember Mr. Kan as hiding behind TEPCO in early April in 2011 when they had to dump low-contamination water to make room for the highly contaminated water collected after cooling the broken reactors at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. Messrs. Kan (PM) and Edano (Chief Cabinet Secretary) and Kaieda (Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, in charge of NISA) had a middle manager of TEPCO make an announcement in the press conference, instead of them, particularly the "resolute" prime minister, announcing it. The message was clear: the nuclear accident was a problem of a private enterprise, nothing to do with the government. When the neighboring countries got upset that they hadn't been informed prior, Mr. Edano said the Foreign Ministry had sent them a fax.

Some argue that the citizens of Tokyo who elected Ishihara deserve no better. I suppose. But even those people didn't expect disaster debris with radioactive particles, arsenic, and asbestos to be burned right where they lived, thanks to the "resolute" governor.

Other mainstream choices for the coming gubernatorial election? Current Vice Mayor of Tokyo Naoki Inose with the strong endorsement from Mr. Ishihara, and Ms. Yuko Ando, Fuji TV newscaster, as LDP candidate.

The rationale behind the female newscaster is that a woman will be more attuned to what matters to people, kinder and gentler coalition building skills, and other typical blah blah blah. Well that has worked well for the citizens of Yokohama City, whose mayor "attuned" to the people's concerns kept feeding school children with radioactive beef despite protests from the parents.

Laugh and be merry. A laugh a day keeps radioactive cesium at bay.


Anonymous said...

I would like Ishihara and Inose to explain the reason why they used public money to purchase TEPCO shares from an insurance company *after* 3/11.
I would also like to know exactly when the transaction occourred and the price paid.
I asked these questions to mr. Inose by email but got no reply whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

"punishment over the national flag and the national anthem."

I'm not familiar with the issues revolving around the flag and anthem can someone explain this? Is it about punishment for flag desecration or playing the national anthem at inappropriate times or places?

Anonymous said...

@6:24 I believe this is about singing Kimi ga yo or standing at the flag; some public school teachers have received labor related sanctions for refusing to sing/stand.
Kimi ga yo was the anthem of the Japan Empire and legally became Japan anthem in 1999; probably those teachers feel the anthem is too tied to Japan's military past.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't matter who they elect because Ishihara shall soon become Grand Supreme Overlord.

Anonymous said...

Kan should be at The Hague, in a detention centre, facing serious charges for his decision to allow his co-defendants, TEPCO management, to knowingly release highly radioactive materials into the Pacific Ocean. The cesium he released may only be around for 200 years, but alpha and beta radionuclides will doom this ocean(and seas it connects to) for thousands of years.
Already contamination has appeared on the North American coast, Russia, Korea...
It is an insult to justice that this man, and the others responsible, are walking freely, in positions of power.

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