Sunday, September 8, 2013

For Japanese Politicians, Contaminated Water Leak at #Fukushima Is All About "Who to Blame" (Other Than Themselves, Of Course)

Now that the 2020 Summer Olympic is in the bag, Japanese politicians have resumed the blame game instead of actually trying to solve the problems of contaminated water storage and leaks at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.

DPJ politicians are afraid of being criticized for their (lack of) response to the nuclear accident when they were in power. LDP politicians are afraid of being criticized for their (lack of) response to the nuclear accident now. But they can both criticize Ministry of Economy and Trade and Industry. So let's do that...

From Yomiuri Shinbun (9/8/2013; part):


Scheduling of the debate in the National Diet over the contaminated water problems at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant is going nowhere because of political bargaining.


Democratic Party of Japan demands an "inspection while the Diet is not in session" [a special Diet procedure] in order to press on the government's response, but the party's effort lacks determination perhaps due to its own response to contaminated water while it was in charge of the government. On the other hand, there is a smouldering discontent inside Liberal Democratic Party over the government response, and there is no prospect that the date is set any time soon.


Head of DPJ Kaieda requested an "inspection while the Diet is not in cession" during his August 26 press conference. On August 30 during the informal gathering of the Lower House Economy and Industry Committee members, DPJ members requested that the "inspection" be started by the middle of September. However, they readily accepted the response from LDP that they would consider it after how the government responds.

... 民主党のちぐはぐな対応の背景には、自らの政権時代の対応を逆に批判されかねないとの懸念がある。海江田氏は6日、「民主党もただ単にケチをつけるのではなく、政権与党にあった時代の事故に対して大きな責任がある」と述べており、政府を攻めあぐねる展開も予想される。

Behind DPJ's inconsistent attitude is the fear that their own handling of the problems when they were in charge of the government may be criticized. Mr. Kaieda said on September 6 that "DPJ cannot just criticize LDP, as it shares a large responsibility for the accident that happened when the party was the ruling party". They may not be able to effectively attack the government on the issue.


On the other hand, LDP does not have monolithic solidarity either. In the meeting on September 4 to discuss the government response to the contaminated water problems, there were members of the Diet who criticized METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) saying "METI is the cause of the current problems. If it (contaminated water problem) happens again, are we correct in assuming Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry will take responsibility [and resign]?"

Where have I heard something similar just recently? Oh yes, about Tokay Reprocessing Plant and its highly radioactive liquid waste and plutonium. NRA Commissioner Oshima, who is from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, just wanted to know if Ministry of Education would be held responsible, instead of being interested in understanding the situation and coming up with the solution.

While I wholeheartedly agree that METI is the cause of the current and past problems regarding the nuclear plant (most recently a METI career bureaucrat with his "assumption" about 300 tonnes of "contaminated water" into the ocean every day), it is just tired old déjà vu of politicians whose only interest is to cover their behind, whether they are DPJ politicians or LDP ones.

What's amazing to me personally is that after nearly two and a half years of abysmal track record of the national government when it comes to dealing with the nuclear accident and its aftermath (contamination, decontamination, compensating the victims, monitoring, etc.), many Japanese are still looking longingly to the national government for magical solutions.

"TEPCO cannot be trusted!" they say. But somehow they can still trust their government.

Soaring Nikkei index does wonders. It is up more than 300 points today, as investors celebrate 2020 Tokyo Olympic by buying up the stocks of construction companies and real estate companies.


Anonymous said...

How can the Japanese people be so utterly spineless?

Any fool can see that this crisis is ongoing, becoming more serious and life threatening with each day that passes, and STILL the Japanese put their faith in an administration that has been proven to lie repeatedly.

Where are the families that are about their children?

Where the patriots that care about their country?

Are these alien concepts in Japan?

So the Nikkei is up 300 points huh? Better spend all that paper now while you still can because there is coming a time when all the paper in Japan will not keep you warm in the ground.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Anon above, they have a keen sense of who has power and who doesn't. Right now, many who opposed 2020 Tokyo Olympic are busy blaming Japanese top athletes for supporting the bid, criticizing their character saying there is something fundamentally wrong with them as human beings. Very ugly to see.

Anonymous said...

Laprimavera-San, I have a great respect for your dogged reporting of the issues as you see them, and an equal respect for your language skills. If you feel I am criticising you directly, that is not my intention

Nevertheless, whilst the blame game may be ugly, it is nowhere near as ugly as the reality of the ongoing damage to the ecosystem.

The cultural status quo must never be used as a shield to hide behind. It's no longer enough to gnash teeth, wring hands and complain about the futility of the situation.

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