Monday, March 25, 2013

#Radioactive Japan: Once TEPCO, Always TEPCO, Even for Female Employees

Japan is the number one country in the world where nearly 90% of the citizens believe in anthropogenic global warming. 54 nuclear reactors in Japan have been justified as carbon-free "clean" energy to help fight the global warming.

The truth is that nuclear energy has been pushed by the electric power companies because it fattens their bottom lines thanks to the accounting allowed by the national government. No matter how much the nuclear power generation costs, the power companies are allowed to fully transfer that cost to the consumers (mostly retail, household customers) and add a fixed percentage of that cost as their profit. In other words, bigger the cost, bigger the profit.

But nuclear energy was actually not needed to meet the demand in the beginning of this century, as the economy was still in doldrums after the massive real estate bubble burst and people had other sources for heating and cooking (natural gas, heating oil). So what did the power companies and the national government come up with?

A coordinated push to increase electricity consumption by launching a campaign of "all-electric lifestyle". It suddenly became "cool and sophisticated" to heat the house using electricity, cook with electricity. Electricity consumption skyrocketed in large cities like Tokyo, justifying more nuclear reactors to meet the newly created "demand" in a country with declining population and the economy that was going nowhere.

At the same time, TEPCO, for one, was busy educating the impressionable mothers, selling them the story of global warming and how they could help save the planet by going clean electric.

The company didn't do it themselves, of course. It used a subcontractor.

Mainichi English (3/25/2013):

'Housewives' educating children on energy linked to TEPCO PR firm

A puppet theater troupe advertising itself on its website as "started by a group of housewives concerned about energy" was in fact founded by staff from Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)'s PR firm, the Mainichi has learned.

According to the website of the puppet theater troupe in question -- Kappa no Kawataro Ichiza -- in 2000 a group of housewives set up an online "energy club" to exchange their views on energy after taking their "children to visit a nuclear power plant and discovering the great efforts being taken to supply energy to private households."

The puppet troupe was launched after club members decided they "wanted to pass on the importance of energy to (their) children," the website continues. In 2002, the troupe was certified as the Japan Industrial Location Center (JILC)'s "energy theater caravan nonprofit organization project."

According to a leading member of the group, however, all five members of the troupe belong to a research firm doing publicity work for TEPCO. Their PR work involves holding parties at their homes for fellow housewives and informing participants of the necessity of nuclear power. One troupe member threw approximately 300 such parties at her home.

Upon hearing from participants at the parties that they wanted their children to learn the same information, the group responded to a JILC call for theater troupes to educate young children about energy. Group members said they made a presentation at the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy -- which commissioned the JILC competition -- before the public competition, and were promised assistance on the spot. The members did not explain, however, whether they went to the agency on their own initiative or were encouraged by another party to do so.

One puppet show plot entails "kappa," a creature from Japanese folklore, receiving a letter from a polar bear asking for help. The kappa set out to find that melting ice has separated a baby polar bear from its mother. While the mother and cub are reunited, the kappa are dumbfounded to hear about global warming. Another of the group's shows features a trip to the Edo period (1603-1868) in a time machine to get a glimpse of life without electricity and an understanding of how convenient life has become because of it.

Through 2005, the troupe received up to 2.5 million yen a year in assistance as part of the agency and JILC program, performing at schools in areas hosting nuclear power stations, and at events in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Each member received 7,000 yen per performance. After financial assistance subsequently plummeted to 600,000 yen per year, however, the group chose to cut off its affiliation with the project. Since the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, the troupe has performed for children at the request of the Atomuseum in Niigata Prefecture.

The members admit to some feelings of discomfort with their dealings with TEPCO PR officials.

"TEPCO employees sometimes come to our parties for training, but they say they want us to keep their presence a secret form the people we've invited," one member said. "There are things (TEPCO) won't tell even us."

Now they say they are uncomfortable, after being busted by Mainichi. They also quickly took down their website (here's a cache). They took down the youtube videos on their channel, but here's one copied by a user - "Kappa meets dinosaur":


Anonymous said...

Even though I, for one, believe global warming is quite real, I'm still disgusted by how far "big money" goes to play us for fools and to make even bigger money. Nothing wrong with making big money, nothing wrong with using any and all information to making even bigger money. But for crying out loud, do so with some integrity and honesty!

Anonymous said...

Global warming may be real to some degree, but I doubt it's caused by all the things they claim. Those people are just pushing their personal agenda, using global warming as an excuse.

It's like how they keep whining about caring for the environment and forcing crap onto us, while they dump toxic waste on it.

Anyway, I think the point is that there's a lot of stuff we don't really need that's not worth the long term negative consequences. It's a shame hardly anyone cares about those. If you offered most people $1 to do something that could destroy the world in 100 years, they would probably do it.

Anonymous said...

This is so low of TEPCO it deserves an AMOEBA award.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reminding us about this scam for pushing for greater electricity use, I had forgotten about that but that is exactly correct. We also know that heavy industry are the ones pushing for the nuclear reactor restarts, as even Kyodo reported. As for global warming, we have cliimate-gate, where top scientists were caught rigging the data - blatant fraud! Al Gore? Give me a break, the guy is the biggest huckster of all time, except for Dick Cheney. Whether AGW is scientifically true or not (many good minds dispute it, but I am not in favor of air and water pollution from heavy use of coal and oil), the reality is that no policy even comes close to reducing CO2 by what would be needed even by their own targets. So while the science of CO2 causing climate change is highly debated, the policy is just out there to scam taxpayers yet another way with the carbon tax.

VyseLegendaire said...

Lol @ the conniving housewives pretending that they didn't know full well what they were doing. "Oh we felt bad about hiding the TEPCO employees at our parties, but the money had nothing to do with it!"

Anonymous said...

I wonder how the invitees to these parties feel now. A bit like suckers?

Anonymous said...

All electric homes are great for Tepco because they lock the customer in: switching to use gas later on is economically very difficult.
Energy wise using electricity to make hot water is nonsense: a gas boiler has efficiency above 80%, electricity does not get to 40% (because of heat discharge at the electric plant). All electric homes make hot water in the night, when demand is low and rates are cheap, and store it in a tank. Such homes are very good for nuclear industry because they absorb baseload in the night (nuclear plants can hardly adjust their output to match a variable load).
IH cooking tables look cool and they are also useful to enhance your basic electricity fees because you need more installed power. Similarly, but to a lesser extent, for hot water pots, rice cookers, electric ovens: at full power they all use a lot of electricity and you tend to need all of them just before dinner time.
By the way, if you put the right proportion of water and rice in a plain pan (!) you can cook excellent Japanese-style rice without any rice cooker; it is easy, after a little training even technology spoiled Japanese ladies can do it. The right proportion is just a little more water than rice, in volume.

NYUltraBuddha said...

Off topic, but interesting piece about tsunami debris

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