Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Slow and Rude Awakening of Japanese Citizens Over the Nuclear Crisis

They are nowhere near the majority ( who eat any food and go anywhere without a single worry about radiation contamination), probably not even 10% of the population. But thanks to the net and particularly the social media like Twitter, the Japanese people now have a direct tool to observe how the officialdom works, firsthand.

The most recent case in point happened yesterday, over the so-called "public hearing" held by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The public hearing was about the approval of the result of the so-called stress test of one of the nuclear power plants operated by Kansai Electric Power Company (Ooi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukui Prefecture, in the so-called "Nuclear Ginza").

NISA and the Ministry clearly thought it was conducting a routine "public hearing" where the experts would rubber-stamp the conclusion already reached by the Agency which is staffed with employees from companies in the nuclear industry on temporary assignments and where the public, if any were there, were supposed to sit there quietly to observe the proceedings. Yesterday, NISA was to ascertain the safety of the Ooi Nuke Plant, paving the way for the re-start, and was expecting a smooth sailing. It did ascertain, but it was decidedly not a smooth sailing.

The citizens who went to the public hearing didn't want to just sit and listen, and sensing trouble the NISA quickly moved to close off the meeting, telling the citizens to watch the proceedings on a monitor in a separate room. When the citizens said no, and didn't obey NISA's order to stay in the separate room and entered the conference room, the Agency called in the police.

Then the order apparently quickly went to the media to report the incident as it was happening and paint the protesters as lawless and rude. Here's one typical report by Nippon Television News (1/18/2012); just about every sentence is incorrect:


An anti-nuclear group has forced its way into a meeting held at the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency under METI, and the police has been called in.


The NISA was expected on January 18 to discuss the appropriateness of the stress test that would be used to determine whether to re-start the Reactors 3 and 4 at Ooi Nuclear Power Plant (Ooi, Fukui Prefecture) and to declare it would be "appropriate" to re-start the plant. However, the citizens' groups who were against nuclear power plants barged in to the conference room from the separate room set aside for the public [to monitor the proceedings] and disrupted the proceedings, so the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry called the police.


According to the police, the citizens' groups are doing the sit-in inside the building.

The reality was:

  • It was not an organized "group" of anti-nuke protesters but a bunch of citizens, including people from Fukushima Prefecture who were exercising their right as citizens to participate in a "public hearing";

  • They lined up and obtained the tickets to participate in the hearing;

  • The meeting was open to public, but the NISA decided to move the public to a separate location to avoid interruption;

  • They didn't barge in violently as portrayed by the MSM, didn't interrupt the proceedings, but they were asking questions as concerned citizens.

And how do we know that? Because an independent media (IWJ) was net-casting the whole thing live, and people were tweeting, watching the netcast live.

Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano, whose refrain as the chief cabinet secretary was "There is no immediate effect from radiation" (he now says he only meant for a couple of days or weeks at most), called the citizen's behavior "unacceptable" and said that "some of the commissioners are being forced to remain in the room". How dare the lowly citizens interrupt the government scientific proceedings beyond their comprehension?

Two commissioners left the meeting in protest when the NISA did hold the meeting 4 hours later in a separate room shutting out the citizens entirely.

As Sankei Shinbun (1/18/2011) reports:


Two commissioners on the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency's expert panel to assess the stress test conducted on Ooi Nuclear Power Plant operated by Kansai Electric Power Company left the meeting in protest. Hiromitsu Ino, professor emeritus at Tokyo University and another commissioner protested against the NISA's decision to hold the meeting without the public attending.


Ino emphatically said, "The reason for NISA not to allow the public to attend the meeting was supposedly some irregular remarks [from the public] in the previous meeting. But that only delayed the proceedings by a few minutes. It is absurd to exclude the public for such a flimsy reason."


Commissioner Masashi Goto, a former nuclear power plant engineer, said "You get heckled in the Diet. If NISA cannot tolerate such a minor thing, the agency will further lose credibility. I cannot participate in a meeting behind closed doors where the public is shut out."


Ino also criticized the decision by NISA that the stress test for Ooi Nuke Plant was appropriate. "They say it was a comprehensible safety evaluation, when in reality only a small portion was evaluated."

Professor Ino is the one who said the other day that a Containment Vessel at Fukushima II (Daini) Nuclear Power Plant was broken from the March 11 earthquake.

Some on Twitter are still incredulous that the police was on the government's side, not on the citizens' side. Other long-held beliefs in a trust-based society that have been shattered, at least for a portion of the population, since March 11, 2011 include:

  • The government of all levels, from national to municipal to an unofficial unit of "self-governing" neighborhood association, exist to protect citizens;

  • The government officials don't lie, for the most part;

  • Producers and distributors are honest, caring about the safety and quality of the products that they produce and sell;

  • Food in Japan is safe, and the government will make sure it remains that way;

  • The police is there to protect citizens;

  • Public hearing means the public get to voice their opinions;

  • They can trust the experts because they are from prominent academic institutions in the country;

  • They can trust the politicians because they are from prominent academic institutions in the country;

  • They can trust school teachers because they are from prominent academic institutions in the country;

  • If it is reported in the mass media, it must be true;

  • Nuclear power plants are safe.

  • and on and on and on...

The list is endless and still growing. Too bad it took one of the worst nuclear accidents in history for the citizens to realize they've been had.


Anonymous said...

What is a "public hearing" in Japan?

Is it a hearing where the public is officially permitted to ask questions and express their opinion, or is it just a "public listening" where the public has to sit quietly and just observe the proceedings?

Anonymous said...

Japan loves their prominent academic institutions.

Anonymous said...

"public hearing"
Resembles the "Live Chat" held on the PBS website today. Welcome 200+ online, we are happy to not post or answer any of your questions regarding our Frontline program Nuclear Aftershocks that aired last night. Please feel free to read along as we chat amongst ourselves.
A salute to the people in Japan who are now showing up and trying to change the status quo.

Nancy said...

The NRC did a public meeting that was supposed to have public input and commentary on the GE reactor design. The meeting was abruptly ended with no opportunity for the public to ask questions.

This meeting sounded like it was supposed to be at a minimum open to the public. Govt officials seem to forget who they work for.

Is there still the ability to stop Oi from restarting?

Dr. Bob said...

Of course the real "crime" of the citizens is that they refuse to stand in awe of the majesty of wealth. Three cheers for those members of the hearing who refused to participate in the charade.

Anonymous said...

Throw these charlatans into the nuclear hell pits they've created with their lies and politeness.

What they call civilized.

no6ody said...

It would be a shame if the IWJ had an 'accident' because they cannot grovel at the feet of Mammon like the rest of the press.

"A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people." J F Kennedy

"Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing often and for the same reason." Mark Twain / Samuel Clemens

Anonymous said...

Some of the Japanese seem to have had enough. They just want to know the truth and they sense they are being treated unfairly so like any human who believes they have certain rights in a democracy they, even without thinking it through, pushed to find the answers.
I hope we see more of this from the Japanese people. They deserve better.

Also, thanks EX-SKF for doing such a great job!

Anonymous said...

A ray of hope... Japanese citizens awakening. Hooray for the people of Kansai (western Japan) and Fukushima.

Back in November 2011, it was also the students of Kyoto University (prestigious national university in Kansai) who ran a strong protest against Dr. Yoshiya Shimada of National Institute of Radiological Sciences who is known to disseminate inaccurate radiation information (and paid for doing so). (See

When Shimada did the same lecture at Tokyo University, no students there protested.

Just a few weeks ago, a citizen's group in Osaka successfully collected enough signatures to press referendum on the nuclear power, while Tokyo people failed to do the same at the press reporting. (See

"Learning is not cumpulsory... neither is survival,” said W. Edwards Deming, the quality guru whom many Japanese engineers and business people worship during post WW-II modernization. Perhaps they should better heed the Deming's advice once more.

gr81 said...

The police need to understand that the government AND the nuclear mafia will kill them too, in exchange for a few more nuclear dollars.

Anonymous said...

Little Canary said...

After 10 months of 3.11, Slow and rude people doesnt have anyone respect.

How many atomic bombs do the Japanese need to take in order to awake?

People over 18 years old believing in the status Quo and that Japan is a peaceful country, among all the beliefs mentioned in this blog, should stop their routine and study society as an adult.

Maybe they read too many mangas.

If they do not behave as a mature person they are as much as guilty as the ellite, I will say even worse than them.

Poor kids Stupid parents, leave japan and stop whinning and been a cowards if you have the courage and respect for yourself.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Two atomic bombs and Bikini Atoll incident didn't deter the Japanese political class at all. If anything, they were jealous. They wanted something like that themselves. Thus the nuke plants as "peaceful" use of atomic energy. Thanks to newspaper like Yomiuri, brainwashing was so successful it lasted all the way until March 11, 2011. It is still working for the majority.

Chibaguy said...

@anon 11:02
I agree with you that comics and TV have dumbed down the public. As for the majority that wants to pretend nothing happens, so be it. As for the minority that wants to leave Japan or move further south, it is not as easy as said.

Aside from this, the Japanese school system does not encourage one to think. Most of the learning is rote just like a procedure.

Anonymous said...

These people must be arrested and spend long time in prison for daring to protest against nuclear power. They are taking orders from the Chinese Communist Party, it wants to see less power in Japan so Japan's economy is damaged.

Companies must know who these people are so we can put names on a blacklist and they cannot every be hired. They must leave Japan to find work other than sexual industry.

Greyhawk said...

The awakening has taken root in Japan.

Anonymous said...

"Resembles the "Live Chat" held on the PBS website today. Welcome 200+ online, we are happy to not post or answer any of your questions regarding our Frontline program Nuclear Aftershocks that aired last night. Please feel free to read along as we chat amongst ourselves."

I believe it was partly a Miles O'Brien product wasn't it?
He reminds me of nothing so much as a limp puppet picked up occasionally and only for the intention of doing another Popular Mechanics to you.

With an eyeball trained on this site, enenews, and mochizuki's, Frontline will pull the wool over the eyes .. at the behest of the IAEA and its policy of elevated ionising radiation concerns do not apply to Japan.

Anonymous said...


You are the epitome of the ass licking arrogant Japanese borg stereotype! Just like the employees of Chisso(the company responsible for causing Minimata disease) who beat up the foreign photographer who helped exposed the horror, you'd rather see simple folk die from mercury poisoning than admit you work for a despicable company.

Japan's economy is shit regardless of any imagined Chinese plot and is the sole doing of the Japanese.

Anonymous said...

Actually we should thank this nasty little specimen j4p4nftw for unwittingly shedding some light here on the stupidity, paranoia, insularity, and downright criminal/gangster mentality that is produced by the corporate and bureaucratic structures that dominate Japanese society.

Anonymous said...

1:59 PM, I totally agree.

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