Yoshiko Kurita

Professor of Middle Eastern History, Chiba University, Japan.

Member, Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs.

She can be contacted at [email protected]

The present Japanese government ( the Abe administration ), in their efforts to resume the operation of the nuclear power plants in Japan and to promote their exportation overseas, is trying to “delete” the memories and lessons of Fukushima from their official records.

“The White Paper on Energy Policy”, endorsed by the Abe administration on 14 June, is a striking example of this attitude. Less that ten months ago, in September 2012, the Japanese government at that time ( the Noda Administration ) declared as its official policy that it aims to build “Japan without nuclear power plants” (
i.e. closing all the nuclear power plants in Japan ) by the 2030s. However, in the “White Paper on Energy Policy” just endorsed by the present regime, no mention is made of this decision.

Similarly, in the course of a series of public hearings organized by the Japanese government all over the country in order to hear the opinions of the general public on energy policy (July and August
2012), it turned out that 68 % of those who expressed their views at the meetings were for “Japan without nuclear power plants” by the 2030s. No mention is made of this fact in the “White Paper”, either.

in case of a nuclear accidentThis kind of attempt to “delete” inconvenient facts & policies concerning nuclear power policy is surprising. ( For more details, see “Asahi Newspaper, evening version, 14 June, 2013)

In the meantime, during his visit to the U.S. on 4 June, Mr. Kann, (the ex-prime minister of Japan at the time of disaster at Fukushima in 2011), declared :

“Before 11 March 2011 (i.e. the accident at Fukushima), I myself was imagining that the nulcear power plants are safe, and was promoting their export overseas, but now I am shamed of it”.

As for countries such as India, Turkey, and Vietnam (which are considering to import Japanese nuclear power plants), “it is better for their future, if they choose other sources of energy”, he remarked. (For more details, see “Asahi Newspaper”, evening version, 5 June, 2013.)