Saturday, June 1, 2013

"Abenomics" Growth Strategy: "Government United as One" to Push for Nuclear Reactors Restart, By All Means Necessary

Reading the reference documents for Prime Minister Abe's "Competitiveness Committee" make your head spin, and make you think it is still 1960s Japan for them, right before the Tokyo Olympic (1964), with words like "striving to be the world number one", "international competition", "global leader".

And sure enough, at the core of this "international" growth strategy is nuclear power generation, just like in the 1960s.

Asahi Shinbun reports it has obtained the draft of the "Growth Strategy" of the Abe administration to be finalized and formally announced by mid June. The wording, from little what's reported in the article, confirms my suspicion that the Abe administration and LDP, whose members are second- and third-generation politicians and/or academics who have precious little experience in working in the "real" economy, are stuck in 1960s.

(Real economy? Isn't that another name for the stock market?)

From Asahi Shinbun (5/31/2013; part):


It has been revealed that the draft of the growth strategy to be finalized by the Abe administration in June will contain "utilization of nuclear power plants" and a promise that "the government united as one will make utmost effort" to restart the nuclear power plants. After the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident, there is still a persistent view that Japan should move away from nuclear power. But the administration is going to make its stance clear that nuclear power is indispensable for the economic growth under "Abenomics", the economic policy under the Abe administration.


The draft will be presented at the June 5 meeting of the Competitiveness Committee, which is in charge of compiling the growth strategy for Japan. The draft will be officially decided upon by June 12, and a formal cabinet decision will be made on June 14 to make this growth strategy as official government policy. If "utilization of nuclear power plant" is to be part of the growth strategy, that will mean Japanese economy and society will continue to depend on nuclear power in the medium to long term.


Asahin Shinbun has obtained the draft copy of the "Growth Strategy". In the section for energy policy, the strategy calls for measures to meet the electricity demand after a nuclear accident and to suppress the utility cost from rising because of the increasing fuel cost for thermal power generation so that growth companies can operate easily [without disruption].


The measures will include "resolutely carrying out electrical power system reform", "introducing high-efficiency thermal power generation", and "utilizing nuclear power". Specifically, those nuclear power plants deemed safe by the Nuclear Regulatory Authority "will be restarted, as the government honors the decision [by the NRA]", and "the government united as one do whatever necessary" to obtain the understanding and cooperation from the local communities [where the nuclear power plants are located]. The government will make it clear that its policy is to actively promote the restart of nuclear power plants.

The actual sentence in the draft that Asahi Shinbun quotes in the article:

Utilization of nuclear power generation


"If the Nuclear Regulatory Authority decides it is safe, the government will honor the decision and proceed to restart the nuclear power generation. In doing so, the government united as one will make utmost effort to win understanding and cooperation from the interested parties in the local municipalities where nuclear power plants are located.

The "interested parties" simply mean politicians and bureaucrats in the local municipalities.

There is another thing in the so-called "growth strategy" that I find it personally scary:


Commercialization of methane hydrate

Of all nations, I want Japan to stay out of the risky venture like this.

But that aside, Japan's long-time obsession with "international" this and that is very funny to me, considering how little they actually care about the "international" community, as evidenced by the recent faux pas by Governor of Tokyo and Mayor of Osaka City.

Those foreign "macro" investors (those who invest based on the government and central bank policies of a nation) who have been pouring money into Tokyo Stock Exchange seem to have thoroughly confused these boys and girls of the Abe administration, who have taken the soaring Japanese stock market (until very recently) is the strongest endorsement from the world that so-called "Abenomics" is working.


netudiant said...

One might think that government policy should be long sighted enough to look at social trends as well as narrow economic parameters.
I see nothing here that even mentions the reality that most young Japanese don't have the resources, financial or emotional, to start a new family. Yet without children, what is the point of the entire effort? Is there no one who is paying attention?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Netudiant, those things are "minor details" for these people. And for most Japanese. Surprising for a country whose rise was based on "attention to minute details".

netudiant said...

arevamirpal::laprimavera If that is really true, then only the Emperor can save the country, to reset the priorities as required.
He seems to be reasonably aware of reality and it seems he still commands the respect of the people.
Whether he has the will and the opportunity to speak out is of course another matter.
Apart from him, is there nobody in the media or the religious community or even academia who commands respect and who is willing to speak up?

Anonymous said...

Translation: "to obtain the understanding and cooperation from the local communities" = "coerce, threaten, bribe, deceive, corrupt, sell out the local communities" - pressure them relentlessly, now matter how many years it takes, until they give in.

Anonymous said...

Good explanation of Abenomics in plain language, with good charts:
Must Watch! Christine Hughes of Otterwood Capital Gives Detailed Warning on Japan

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Anon at 4:27PM, most municipalities where nuke plants are located are more than happy to have them restarted. The so-called "stakeholders" only include politicians and people who are connected to those politicians to make money.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday evening an NHK special (1 hr?) tried to explain how trading companies like Itochu and Sumitomo are working hard to procure LNG to electric utilities at 12USD/millionBTU rather than the current 16 household ratepayers are footing. 16 dollars has been reported as *the* most expensive rate in the world; 12 dollars is the rate currently paid by Europe.

The program also described, with somewhat less emphasis, how hard the Abe government and the bureaucrats are working to the same end.

The program did *not* explain why trading companies join the goverment negotiations, what do they bring to the table for the commission they charge and how much that commission is. The program did not delve into whether trading companies are making any donation to political parties who allow them to join government negotiations.


Anonymous said...

(contd.) The same program explained also how a lot of infrastructure (pipelines, liquefaction terminals) is being built in US, Russia, Australia and even Mozambique in order to commercialize LNG. All these new projects are supposed to be completed in about 4 years.

The program did not go as far as stating that we need to restart npps in order to keep paying the highest LNG rates in the world for 4 more years. The program did not recall that household ratepayers are providing most of the profits electric utilities make, nor it recalled that Japanese utilities have no incentive at procuring fuel at a reasonable price because they are guaranteed a fix profit rate on top of their costs.


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