Monday, October 1, 2012

Nikkei: "Obama Administration Expressed Grave Concern Over Japan's "No-Nuke by 2030(s)" Policy, Japan Dutifully Scrapped It" (and Nikkei Scrapped the Article 5 Days Later)


Japanese media has been saying for some time that it was the US government who pressured the Noda administration to drop the "zero nuke by 2030" (which morphed into "zero nuke sometime in 2030s) from its new nuclear and environmental policy decision. Tokyo Shinbun reported it a while ago, and now Nikkei Shinbun just reported it with more details. There is no news reported in the US on the matter.

The difference of the Nikkei Shinbun's article is that it names names: President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

It's hard for me to believe that this president has time for trivial matters like actually governing the affairs inside and outside the US in the election year (he must be very busy right now preparing for the big "debate"), but that's what Nikkei Shinbun wants us to believe. The article also mentions Secretary of State Clinton pressuring the Noda administration officials by strongly indicating it was the wish of President Obama and the US Congress that Japan scrap that silly nuclear energy policy.

And then, one added twist: the Nikkei article has disappeared.

The particular article was published on September 25. Nikkei is one of the better ones in retaining the links to the articles, but not in this case. It was still on Nikkei's site as of yesterday, I bookmarked it to write about it later. When I clicked on the link this morning, it was gone.

However, thanks to this blogger, the article was preserved just the way I read it yesterday.

So, here's Nikkei article that has disappeared (9/25/2012; emphasis is mine):

米、原発継続要請は「大統領の意向」

The US request that Japan continue nuclear power plant is "the President's idea"

2012/9/25 0:12

野田政権がエネルギー・環境戦略で掲げた「2030年代に原発ゼロ」の政府方針を巡り、米政府が「オバマ大統領の意向」として強力に見直しを求めていたことがわかった。核不拡散・平和利用に向けた日米協力の枠組みが崩壊しかねないとの懸念が背景。結局閣議決定を見送ったが、あいまいな決着の火だねは今後もくすぶりそうだ。

It has been revealed that the United States government was strongly urging [the Japanese government] to reconsider its policy of "zero nukes in 2030s" which was part of the energy and environmental strategy of the Noda administration, as "President Obama wishes it". [The US objection] was based on the fear that the framework of Japan-US cooperation for non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy might collapse [under the new policy]. [The Noda administration] eventually shelved the cabinet decision, but this ambiguous resolution may cause further trouble in the future.

複数の当局関係者によると野田政権が8月以降、原発ゼロの明文化に動く過程で米側は日本政府に対し、「国家最高指導者レベルでの協議の結果だ」としてゼロ方針を再考するよう要請。オバマ大統領以下、政権の総意との見解を伝えた。

According to the multiple government sources, as the Noda administration was moving in August toward explicitly putting down "zero nuke" in the official document, the US strongly requested that Japan reconsider the "zero nuke" policy, saying the request was "the result of discussion at the highest level of the government", indicating it was the Obama administration's consensus, from the president on down.

9月8日にはロシア・ウラジオストクでのアジア太平洋経済協力会議(APEC)首脳会議で野田佳彦首相がクリントン国務長官と会談。ここでも大統領を代理する形で同国務長官が懸念を表明した。表面上はあからさまな批判を控える一方、大統領と米議会を前面に押し出し日本への圧力を強めた。

On September 8, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda met with the US Secretary of State Clinton during the APEC meeting in Vladivostok in Russia. Here again, representing the US president, Secretary Clinton expressed concern. While avoiding the overt criticism of the Noda administration's policy, she further pressured Japan by stressing that it was President Obama and the US Congress who were concerned.

日本政府は12日、長島昭久首相補佐官らを米に緊急派遣し、日本の対応に業を煮やすホワイトハウス高官らと直接協議。戦略を参考文書扱いとし、米側の視点からは路線転換を見送ったと読めるようにする「玉虫色の決着」(日本当局)で決定的な対立を回避した。

The Noda administration sent its officials, including Special Advisor to Prime Minister Akihisa Nagashima, to the US on an urgent mission to directly discuss matters with the high-ranking White House officials who were frustrated with the Japanese response. By treating the new strategy as only a reference material, the Noda administration averted the confrontation with the US with the "equivocal" resolution (according to the Japanese government source) which allowed the US to interpret the Japanese action as shelving the zero nuke policy.

米政府は、日本の脱原発への方針転換で「米のエネルギー戦略が直接的な打撃を被る懸念が高まった」(エネルギー省元副長官のマーチン氏)とみている。日本の原発政策はオバマ政権の核不拡散や地球温暖化防止に向けた環境政策とも密接な関係にあるためだ。

(According to Former Deputy Energy Secretary Martin,) the US government thinks that "The US energy strategy would be more likely to suffer a direct damage" because of the Japan's policy change toward zero nuclear energy. It is because the Japanese nuclear policy is closely linked also to the nuclear non-proliferation and environmental policies aimed at preventing the global warming under the Obama administration.

日米は1988年発効した原子力協定で、青森県六ケ所村での核燃料サイクル施設ならば米の事前同意なく再処理を認める包括方式で合意。日本は核兵器を持たず、プルトニウムの平和利用を担保する最重要の役割を担っている。

In the Atomic Energy Agreement effective as of 1988, Japan and the US agreed to a blanket statement that as long as it is at the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant, reprocessing of the nuclear fuel is allowed without prior consent from the US. Japan's most important role [in the agreement] is to secure the peaceful use of plutonium without possessing nuclear weapons.

現行の日米協定の期限が切れる18年に向け、早ければ来年にも非公式な事前協議に着手する必要がある。なお猶予があるとはいえ日本が原発政策を不明瞭な形で放置すれば米が再処理許可の更新などに難色を示す恐れもある。「協定改定の先行きが読めなくなった」(日本政府関係者)との声が出ている。

The current Japan-US agreement will expire in 2018, and the government will need to start preliminary, unofficial discussions [with the US] as early as next year. There is some time before the expiration of the agreement, but if Japan leaves its nuclear policy in vague terms the US may object to renewal of permission for nuclear fuel reprocessing. Some (in the Japanese government) say "We are not sure any more what will happen to the renewal of the agreement."

(ワシントン=矢沢俊樹)

Never mind that Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant, after 19 years of building the facility, is still incomplete, and its operation remains a "trial run".

The US presidential election is on November 6. Why was the Noda administration in such a hurry to have its long-term nuclear policy shot down by the US administration which may or may not be there in a month? My personal conclusion is that Prime Minister Noda wanted to ditch the policy but needed the pretext of "gaiatsu" (external pressure).

And why did Nikkei pull the article?

On the separate news, the Atomic Energy Commission of Japan has just said it will abandon the effort to draw up the Nuclear Energy General Principles. With the establishment of the government's new energy and environmental strategy which left out "zero nuke" policy, the Principles will be decided upon, from now on, by the ministers in charge in a given administration.

Japanese politicians deciding the Principles. (How much more oxymoronic can you get?)

22 comments:

  1. The "big debate" is just following the script designed to entertain the masses. Obama has plenty of time to help his buddies get richer.

    I'd read that General Electric was a very large contributor to his initial election campaign, so I'd imagine he wouldn't be able to keep their financial support if he wasn't quick to look out for their interests. It's the utmost priority of being a politician - keep the money flowing.

    Of course, this doesn't excuse those in the Japanese government from being part of this whole mess. If we're to have any hope of surviving the next few centuries, those people all need to go. Where? Somewhere they can destroy each other and stop screwing with the rest of us!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Did you see GE making a top 20 donors list of Romney, but nowhere to be seen in top 20 Obama donors? http://www.opensecrets.org/pres12/contrib.php?id=N00000286

    Top 5 donors to Romney are all Wall Street banks. They flipped from 2008 campaign.

    ReplyDelete
  3. To clarify my previous post:
    It's never just one side to blame, they are all part of the big picture. It doesn't surprise me that the Obama admin may be responsible for pressuring them, but we mustn't fall for their blame game. As far as I'm concerned, they are all guilty, and none of them are excusable. Humanity won't be able to go anywhere as long as any of those people are in charge.

    If I wasn't already clear, I was also suggesting that candidates must be quick to show they will take appropriate action to appease their financial backers, or else they could lose the support to another candidate. With this in mind, it makes perfect sense that Obama would go out of his way to quash any no-nuke policies.

    Contrary to popular belief, election candidates aren't trying to appeal to our interests. It's all about the interests of those holding the money. The entire campaign and election process revolves around big money. It boggles me how everyone is completely oblivious to that fact. They just want to believe we have a choice; that we have the power to decide... even if it's just an illusion.

    People can't even keep track of anything past the surface in their every day lives, and they seriously believe that something on such a large scale like an election could take place without interference from powerful interests? Not to mention that scammers and cheaters infest every pore of our society. How can people expect elections to be free from that?

    There are a billion ways to manipulate the "voting process", and none of us are able to validate all the results. It's become even easier to suppress any and all dissent now, because all anyone needs to do is say one of the many buzz-words, like "conspiracy theorist", "anti-American", "racist" or "sexist", and the masses instantly turn upon each other.

    I don't know if they even try to choose someone that the general populace will accept anymore. It's not like we can do anything about it.

    Remember when many people questioned the legitimacy of Bush Jr's election? They apparently said that even if he had cheated, we can't do anything, because he'd already been inaugurated. Nice system.

    Sigh. It'd be nice if human society didn't suck.

    ReplyDelete
  4. @Laprimavera
    Sorry. I got tired of following the corruption and stopped paying attention several months ago. Trying to be more productive with my time. But I'm still paying attention to what's happening in Japan.

    I think that even if they've switching sides, he could be trying to win them back by showing he supports their interests. I can't imagine why he would alienate them.

    By the way, I'm not trying to argue or force my beliefs onto others. I'm just trying to cover all sides, and I'd like to broaden general awareness and provoke deeper thought. If I'm incorrect on anything, please feel free to correct me.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sorry for yet another post. I was thinking about the switching sides - it could also be a reverse psychology tactic to get people to vote for Obama again. Who knows what they really have in mind? We're just the audience, after all.

    Ultimately, it probably doesn't matter who gets elected, because once they're elected they have the freedom to sway whichever way they like. It's not as if big money can't manipulate them after the election is over.

    I'll shut up now.

    ReplyDelete
  6. ”My personal conclusion is that Prime Minister Noda wanted to ditch the policy but needed the pretext of "gaiatsu" (external pressure).”

    I think you're right on!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anon, as you may know, Obama was extremely popular in Japan and China in 2008 election, adored as hero. Many of my twitter followers can't seem to comprehend that he even supports nuclear power.

    One of my followers tweeted the other day, "Japanese people thought it wouldn't matter who got elected, and all politicians were crooks, and they didn't bother to vote. As a punishment, God created DPJ."

    See my latest post on "swarming the net" tactics of the supporters of LDP's new leader.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Nuclear power is not a big deal, seen from the US of A.
    Nuclear weapons are, Japan is treated as a nuclear power (weapons) in diplomacy.
    I don't think the US gov. would like a non-nuclear (weapons and so : power) Japan. The US "umbrella" would then prove very risky and costly.
    So maybe the US are as a scapegoat here, but only to hide a Japan-US understanding of the game of power in Asia.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All of this in the face of democracy (Japanese people want nuclear weapons even less than nuclear power, I suspect) and at Japan expense: the land lost to nuclear power in Fukushima is worth more than the 200 million yen islets so loudly disputed with China.
      Beppe

      Delete
  9. Anyone want a lift to another planet?

    ReplyDelete
  10. The US political elite take pride in their mature understanding of the true science of nuclear energy. Thanks to college courses like "science for presidents," the nuclear industry has convinced many non-scientific minds like Clinton, Obama, and their twenty-something political staff that nuclear is a safe, clean solution to the very difficult problem of providing baseload electricity. This gives them just enough knowledge to allow them to dismiss anyone that disagrees with the basic lessons they learned in perhaps their only college-level science course.

    It should come as no surprise that they really believe this shit that they were taught by the charismatic college professor who made that science course so much fun all those years ago.

    I guess 250,000 year waste management, containment failures, and the human impact would be covered by a more advanced course that presidential minds can't be bothered with.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yeah, I know that everyone thinks Barackstar is the hottest thing since sliced bread. It's because politics = popularity + celebrity + fame + profits, etc.

    It's stupid as hell. It should be politics = governing + responsibility + intelligence + compassion, etc. That politics revolves so heavily around popularity is probably proof that my understanding of the voting system is correct.

    For the record, I never bought into Barackstar for even a split second. People constantly worshipped him for his "powerful speeches". I knew better - that they were written for him by others. He can't even speak properly on his own, like every other president we seem to end up with. I wonder if anyone's even noticed that yet.

    Obama supports nuclear power because it makes a shitload of money, and he gets a big slice of that delicious money pie. What's so hard to understand about that? Truth is, they don't want to understand, because they want to believe in their heroes and idols.

    If Justin Bieber or Rob Pattinson were proven to support beating, raping and murdering women, most women would probably still love them. It's the same kind of thing. "As long as it doesn't affect me directly, I'm high as a kite!"

    ReplyDelete
  12. Forgot to say... has anyone ever noticed how many politicians are ex-actors? It shows what kind of stupid criteria people use when they "vote".

    Those people are actors, for crying out loud. Their primary skill is to perform and recite, often with the intent of deceiving audiences into believing that they are something they are not. Why are they being elected to govern and manage society?

    Oh wait, I just described politics. I guess they are suited for the role after all! Herpa derp derp.

    ReplyDelete
  13. The Japanese probably get the impression Obama is anti-nuclear from Republican attacks against Obama during the first election and during his subsequent administration. Closing Yucca Mountain Waste repository didn't help Obama in the eyes of nuclear industry. I could see US nuclear interest pressuring the Obama administration to discourage a full nuclear pull out by Japan it would strengthen the calls to close similar BWR plants in the US. It isn't hard to find articles like the ones below.

    "At a town hall meeting Wednesday in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Sen. John McCain repeated a standard line from his stump speech in support of nuclear power, telling voters that it's "clean and it's safe and we can recycle - excuse me - reprocess and we can store. My opponent is against nuclear power. ... "

    This was Obama position at the time.

    "Sen. Barack Obama tells crowds that his policy "as president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology and find ways to safely harness nuclear power."

    After 4 years in office nuclear opponents are sure of Obama's position on the issue.

    "the presidential race offers little hope for nuclear energy opponents. He noted Obama has a strong relationship with Exelon, a Chicago-based utility that owns the nation’s largest nuclear fleet. He added that Romney also supports nuclear power."

    http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/251033-anti-nuclear-group-finds-little-hope-in-nrc-presidential-race

    Obama wasn't always a nuclear proponent but you have to play ball with the rich and powerful if you want the money to run for political office. If Obama doesn't get GE nuclear money he can just dip from Exelon's fountain of money.

    "Barack Obama on Tuesday told reporters that his recent embrace of nuclear power is part of an effort to adopt some Republican ideas on energy, noting that he remains an "eternal optimist" about bipartisanship. But Obama's attempt to woo Republicans with nuclear power has met predictably bad reviews from the Party of No, which maintains that this is "an anti-nuclear administration."

    http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2010/02/think-obamas-got-big-nuke-plans-check-out-gop

    ReplyDelete
  14. I still don't understand it.
    If Japan stops nuclear usage, about 150 GW of nuclear energy has to be replaced with fossil fuels, The increased demand would of course increase the price of gas worldwide. But what justifies the American demand of supporting each citizen to use a SUV using 20 times the fuel that is needed by a motorcycle?

    So, I think it's only another measure of the US cartels who first finished off the railway service by buying the railway lines and then let them rot into oblivion to ensure the profits will go to the gas sellers instead of the (willfully neglected) railroads.

    I really hope (no matter how realistic this is) the oil producing countries will embargo the US of their petrol. If all countries from Venezuela to Saudi would embargo the US, there won't be a chance that the US imperialist military could overthrow all these governments at once.

    ReplyDelete
  15. @ anon 5:19

    I also am amazed how many politicains in the US are ex-actors.
    Actors are masters of lying and pretending things they don't believe themself.

    So, it's very sad that people like Schwarzenegger get elected instead of simply being shot, as traitors deserve.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Atomfritz, if the government (particularly this one under O'Bummer) stops interfering, there will be probably more than enough oil and gas extracted from the US soil. Enough to probably export.

    Besides, a motorcycle cannot carry 5 kids on the way to their soccer (or any after-school activities) practice.

    Looking at the political scenes in Europe, the leaders there are natural-born actors when it comes to laying and pretending. Look Italy, for the prime examples, but by no means Italy is alone. So, your accusation about the US is rather lame.

    ReplyDelete
  17. (I meant lying.)

    ReplyDelete
  18. US population uses a multiple of the energy used in Europe or Japan, per capita. There is obviously a lot of room for savings.

    My car, one of the most popular in Japan, travels 40 mpg on the highway. It can carry 5 people, two large suitcases, several smaller bags and a foldable stroller when fully loaded.

    Having said so, nuclear energy is more about stockpiling plutonium than producing energy.

    Beppe

    ReplyDelete
  19. According to Jiji press (Oct 2nd, 14:25) going forward nuclear energy policy in Japan will be decided by the Energy and Environment Council, a panel composed of industry representatives and government ministers.

    As if Fukushima did not happen.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Bah, wrote a large reply and lost it. Quick rewrite:

    If Schwarzenegger was shot, the bullet would probably bounce off. Ha.

    In reply to the comment about motorcycling 5 people... have you seen the photos of Chinese commuters? They love doing that kind of thing.

    U.S. aside, the widespread use of ex-actors as politicians shows that the side of politics we are shown is little more than a farce. Even if they aren't ex-actors, the others often seem to be racist, ignorant and shouldn't be governing *cough*Ishihara*cough*.

    By the way, I'm not saying that there aren't actors who might also be good at governing. I'm sure there are a few.

    If politicians had to keep their word, they'd all be long gone. I don't understand why people elect flip-floppers. It goes to show that they aren't even elected for their policies.

    ReplyDelete
  21. nonymous, on October 1, 2012 10:34 PM , who said :
    ”My personal conclusion is that Prime Minister Noda wanted to ditch the policy but needed the pretext of "gaiatsu" (external pressure).”

    I think you're right on!"

    ...If I may add my opinion : I also think you're right on !

    ReplyDelete