In the last blog, I have made a comment on the matter of responsibilities regarding a recent accident of nuclear power plants based on Act on Compensation for Nuclear Damages. The accident in Fukushima’s nuclear power plants was caused by unexpected tsunami over 30 meters high, not by the earthquake. Since this applies to an abnormally huge natural disaster, my opinion has not changed. Nuclear power plants have been conducted under the national policy and the accident was caused by natural disaster, so Tokyo Electric Power is not liable for damaged local areas but the government is. However, I would like to focus on the liability in general laws this time.
Nuclear power generation has been a national project for about 50 years. There are three valid reasons. First reason is, as in the cause of last war, to secure energy sources. The recognition of the World War II for Japan was that there was a notion of an energy crisis in the government. This was clear to see the sanction enforced by Europe and U.S. to Japan before the war, the ABCD encirclement. This was to stop oil coming to Japan so that it lost the function of national defense. Post-war reconstruction also required energy, and this was the second reason of nation’s nuclear policies. Thirdly, it was necessary as a link to the future technology which might be able to control nuclear fusion.
To sum up, the nuclear policy relates to national defense, economy, and technological development. Any major countries have similar problems like Japan. Regarding the third reason, as you may know, European organization for nuclear research laboratory: CERN is a famous organization in Europe. Japan’s policy was decided half a century ago, so the Democrats are not fully responsible for the nuclear policies. The Liberal Democrats are more likely to be blamed. The government gave the rights to nine electric power companies as national entities with monopolizing electricity regionally. The number is very small compared to those of other countries which are responsible for nuclear power plants. Ever since Chernobyl accident, many countries as a corporate pulled out from the industry and a few of them left: TOSHIBA, HITACHI from Japan, and AREVA from France are the only majors in the world.
By the way, Tokyo Electric Power is definitely liable for the accident as an operator. Nuclear power plants must be operated safely. The investigation of its location and the construction for power plants had not been done properly. As for a land acquisition, a sort of deceiving technique was used for local governments and inhabitants, so they are guilty for that. Without reading the book, “The danger zone of nuclear power plants in Japan”, written by a journalist Satoshi Kamata, there are lots of people to blame Tokyo Electric Power. The government made the TEPCO do dirty works to prevent the movement against nuclear energy. It also made the local government pay the money and then conducted the economy.
It is becoming clearer afterward, as a supervising agency is irresponsible, that the accident was taken as human disaster. Despite the safety net regarding the power plants has been pointed since the accident of Kashiwazaki nuclear plant in 2007 at the latest, there was no improvement. In terms of disclosure of information or reconstruction plans, Kan administration did not show us its leadership, far away from it, and they were just incompetent as a government. At the time of the great Kanto earthquake in 1923, Gonbei Yamamoto’s administration established the Imperial Capital Reconstruction Department just 26 days after. On the contrary, Kan administration took a year to establish Reconstruction Ministry; an action taken very slowly. After all, the government we have was chosen by us, so it could be said that we deserve it. However, asking whether the media have been educating the people for 50 years with pointing out problems appropriately and continuously, it is more likely that they have took part in a secret.
Even if you say exactly the right thing, the media do not write it for having cozy relationship with the government at the time. Therefore, the media are guilty as well, and it hinders us from making a right decision: refer to the book of Kunihiko Takeda, “a danger of residual contamination in nuclear accidents.” Of course, the phrase of “the people” is an abstract concept, and in reality it is the gathering of people with diverse ways of thinking. To be specific, political organizations and the election system obviously have some problems. On the other, the policy concerning nuclear power needs to be cared even in Japan with the viewpoint of “What will we do for the future of mankind in the end?” When analyzing national defense, economy, and development of technology, everything has contradiction. As we need nuclear energy at this moment, we have to face the reality and contradiction, and choose the future of mankind.