Prior to departing for a two-day 21-member energy ministerial meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in St. Petersburg, Russia, Japanese Industry Minister Yukio Edano said he planned to explain new developments regarding nuclear power and was quoted by Kyodo News as saying, “In our country, we plan to reduce our dependency on nuclear power generation. In the international society…we plan to play a role in contributing to ensuring the safety of nuclear power.”
However, according to Japanese officials at the meeting of energy ministers, Edano instead said that Japan’s goal of ending its reliance on nuclear energy is not immediately achievable, and referred to the Fukushima nuclear disaster as a “tragic accident”.
Edano further added that Japan will continue to use nuclear energy, considering its importance, alternative power supplies, costs, as well as energy security.
Draft Joint Declaration
A draft of the joint declaration from the energy ministers was obtained by Kyodo News, it concluded, “The APEC region recognizes the importance of the safe and secure uses of peaceful nuclear energy, and its potential in diversifying our energy mix, meeting the growing energy demand, and in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the region despite the tragic accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station” triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the draft of the “St. Petersburg Declaration.”
The APEC ministers showed their expectations that Japan will share its knowledge and experience from the Fukushima accident with the international community.
Playing the Political Game
In May, Edano told a parliamentary investigative panel that the government did not fully understand the damage at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant, and admitted that they might have misinformed the public about its consequences.
The trade and industry minister spoke fervently of his distrust of TEPCO and the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency saying, “We called NISA and TEPCO officials to come to the Prime Minister’s Office for explanations, but the situation remained unclear. Information from TEPCO kept changing. So we came to the conclusion that someone in a position higher than the senior vice minister of the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry needed to visit the plant.”
Edano even gave his opinion on whether or not he had thought that TEPCO had ever planned to withdraw all of the workers at the Fukushima plant, “I believe [Shimizu’s remarks at the time] meant the company [TEPCO] did not intend to leave some workers” at the plant, an observation that TEPCO has vehemently denied.
Edano argued that Shimizu gave up withdrawing all workers because the idea was rejected by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Government agencies and officials have gone to great efforts to purport that various “scientific process” take control over their decisions, yet it is all too often sadly clear to see that a political process is used instead. The central government and TEPCO put too much trust in the technology of nuclear plant without a sense of responsibility.
Nuclear power companies are businesses, and have industrial interests, which rarely are similar to public interests. The decisions to make the plants as cheap as possible are an integral part of any business endeavor. The damage has been done, the horse already having escaped the barn, the Japanese people will have to live with the consequences, and pay for the clean up through higher utility bills and higher taxes.
The standards are “very high”, the costs are “very low”, and the benefits are “assured”, but what is the definition of these inadequate terms? That is the answer, which despite its desperate need for satisfaction, is unable to be provided, for as Socrates observed in a world not so unlike our own, “Definition is the hardest work in the world.”
How then can we be so assured by their rhetoric and radical claims of safety and responsibility of such materials which contain properties that we cannot even fathom? Do they have some sort of time-machine or magical mirror that speaks the future into their intelligent ears?
If everyone is expected to lie, in whom can you place your trust?
Source: Kyodo News
Source: JiJi Press
Source: The Yomiuri
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