Abe vows to restart Japan nuclear reactors in policy speech

The catastrophic damage caused by the nuclear fallout in Fukushima in March 2011 has not yet been resolved. Even now, it holds 160,000 refugees out of homes and 300,000 children stuck in the high radiation areas. What has changed was the party in power. Yet, the party that originary built and operated all the nuclear power stations across the country was Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which currently holds the reins of the House of Representatives. Without any apologies or reflections on their policies, the new LDP-led government is seeking to develop or even more prone to the nuclear policies than the last government.   

 

On February 28, Mainich Shibun News reported that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave the first governmental policy speech of his second administration before the House of Representatives, declaring his intention to restart Japan's nuclear reactors as soon as they were judged safe. "We will create a new culture of safety under the aegis of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), and restart reactors confirmed safe," Abe told the regular Diet session.

In Japan, 2 out of 54 power plants are operating at the moment. However, the supply-demand balance of electricity in summer 2012 made the pro-nuclear arguments on the necessary source of electricity appear fairly implausible. The government data showed that difference between the electricity supply and demand in the Summer 2012 exceeded by the greater rate than the amount of electricity generated by those 2 nuclear power plants. This result provided the Japanese citizens with no reason to choose the inefficient and undoubtedly high risk source of electricity than any other sources.  

 

Also with regard to the security issue, it has been pointed out that the regulatory body is under the huge influence of the nuclear industry lobby as most of the members are the former workers of nuclear-related businesses. Despite the emphasis attempted by Prime Minister on the "independent" decision makings, the legitimacy of the decisions made by this regulatory body is highly in question.

Bringing the people back to Fukushima

What is more staggering is the fact that Prime Minister is trying to bring the people back to Fukushima. Although the number of people are demanding the "evacuation" of children from the contaminated areas, the focus of the government policies for reconstruction has been solely on "decontamination". According to the report on Mainichi Shinbun News, Abe stated, "We will expend every effort on decontamination, halting economically harmful fears, and bringing the people displaced by the disaster home." Meanwhile, the conditions of the children in Fukushima are highly critical than the optimistic outlook maintained by the government. 3 Fukushima children were confirmed to have thyroid cancer by now, that is, at the higher growth rates than the cases seen after the Chernobyl disaster. To save those children from farther radioactive exposure, the government is required to take a significant step to direct their policies more prone to evacuation and preservation of the basic human rights in Fukushima. The citizens' involvement will undoubtedly play an important role to push the government towards this path.

 

Taka Honda  World Network for Saving Children from Radiation

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