US slams Japanese cabinet panel’s decision of “0% nuclear power by the 2030s”, suggesting to ‘leave space for future changes’

September 21- Tokyo Shimbun Newspaper reveals that US high officials have demanded the Japanese government to postpone the cabinet decision to “phase-out its nuclear power plants by the 2030s”. The US high officials, at a press conference organized by the Japanese government, said they are ‘concerned with regulations, such as laws and cabinet decisions, that will limit the scope for future revising of the nuclear policy’. Since the Japanese government came close to its conclusion of the “Innovative Strategy for Energy and the Environment” in early September, Hiroshi Ogushi, the Parliamentary Secretary and Akihisa Nagashima, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister have visited America to explain the policy framework.

At the meeting held on the 14th, Michael Froman, deputy national security adviser at National Security Counci (NSC), said he is ‘concerned with’ the adoption of the new policy, while Ogushi emphasized the importance of the Innovative Strategy to be approved by the cabinet. Moreover, the US officials questioned the target for phasing out “by the 2030s”. Patric Cronin, senior director at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), who is highly influential in American Democratic Party, stated that ‘to indicate a target without giving a road map involves a risk’. In a response, Nagashima explained the cabinet’s situation by answering ‘the Japanese people would consider the restart of nuclear power plants without showing a target for the outphasing as a sign that the government will return to the old nuclear policies’. The US also expressed its concern with the weakening “security treaty” in decline of Japan’s nuclear technology.

 

Prime Minister Noda’s cabinet, although convened on the 14th for addressing the Innovative Strategy, saw the intention of the US officials and only approved the line ‘the policy for energy and the environment will be exercised with ceaseless revisions and verification’. However, the adoption of Innovative Strategy itself, which includes the principle of “0% nuclear power”, was postponed.

 

Both Ogushi and Nagashima visited the Prime Minister’s office and reported about their visit to the US. An employee of the Japanese government confessed ‘the US did not accept the cabinet panel’s decision, because if Japan gives up nuclear power and nuclear fuel cycle, it will enfeeble the course of cooperation between Japan and the US’.

 

‘We changed our decision, but it was not because of the US’

Parliamentary secretary Ogushi told Tokyo Shimbun newspaper on the 21st. He added ‘I cannot tell the details of our conversations, but we acknowledge numerous suggestions from the US officials. However, they did not alter our policy’.

 

Pressure from the US behind the emasculation of the policy

<Comment> It was revealed the Japanese government neglected the voices of the majority of people and gave way to the US suggestion to ‘avoid the cabinet decision that will fix the 0% nuclear policy in the long term’. The Noda’s cabinet’s intention to castrate the new policy targeting 0% nuclear power is inexcusable. It completely disregards the discussions which Japanese people have built since the Fukushima nuclear disaster on March 2011. In the mutual exchange of opinions, the US ‘respected the Japan’s sovereignty’, but showed their requests based on the arguments ‘the decline in nuclear technology will affect the US nuclear industry’ ‘spent fuel processing without operating nuclear power will allow Japan to accumulate stockpiles of plutonium available for conversion to military use’. During the visit of Japanese high officials, the US government forcefully emphasized the disadvantage of giving up Japanese nuclear policy. Although the Noda’s cabinet sought to explain to the US about the increasing public opinion for “0% nuclear power”, the US officials maintained ‘the Japanese cabinet should not restrict the policy and should leave the space for the future politicians to alter the target’.

 

The radioactive contamination has created 160,000 refugees and huge damage to the sales of agriculture and fishing industry. The Japanese government must explain the reason why they postponed the important cabinet decision and did not consider the public voices as an issue when making their decision.

 

Tokyo Shimbun Newspaper, Sep 22, 2012

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Comments: 2
  • #1

    Nick Thabit (Monday, 01 October 2012 11:32)

    The US interests are nuclear interests and they see a way to make money in Japan; they don't care how the Japanese get their energy otherwise.

    What kind of leverage can be applied to Japan politicians to make them honor their word to the people? It seems a goal of 0% nuclear by 2030 is too late; it must be much earlier!

    As one activist said, "You can never trust the government. Never!" They will say what people want to hear, and then change it. It seems to me that the only sure way to end nuclear power is to blockade the plants. But there must be many more people involved than there were at Oi. Thousands not hundreds. We have to force the government to stop nukes, not ask them. Gentle force. Peaceful force.

  • #2

    Steven Athearn (Thursday, 04 October 2012 12:55)

    _Waiting_ much longer to end nuclear power will undoubtedly "limit the scope for future revising of the nuclear policy". All these official policies assume that society will maintain its current ability to mange nuclear power, and even improve its capacity to handle the waste, far into the future. The reality is that nuclear power is not a "stand-alone" entity, and the fundamental basis for current levels of technological complexity is fossil fuels. The era of cheap and readily available fossil fuels is rapidly coming to an end. Therefore it is most likely that the ability to manage complex systems like nuclear power will become diminished within the time period of current planning (i.e. the next few decades).

    Of course, to achieve anything close to a full clean-up or restoration of the situation prior to the meltdowns at Fukushima-Daichi is beyond the means of even a rich country _already_.

    If we wait too long, we may _never_ be able to dismantle the nuclear plants. And there is a real risk, not pleasant to think about, that limits to complexity may express themselves in a sudden global collapse: see David Korowicz's paper Trade Off: Financial System Supply Chain Cross-Contagion - a Study in Global Systemic Collapse" (2012). If that happens, a probable consequence would unstoppable meltdowns at active nuclear power plants worldwide.

    We'd better decide now, while we still have some room to make choices!