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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 April 4 - 10  > Gov’t officials urge energy expert not to talk about negative aspects of nuclear power to high school students
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2018 April 4 - 10 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Gov’t officials urge energy expert not to talk about negative aspects of nuclear power to high school students

April 7, 2018
High-ranking officials of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry urged an energy expert not to explain the negative aspects of nuclear power generation in a lecture to senior high school students, Akahata learned on April 5.

The lecture in question took place at a municipal-run senior high school in Hokkaido’s Niseko Town which is located within the 30-km immediate radius of Hokkaido Electric Power Company’s Tomari nuclear power plant. The town-run Niseko high school is certified as an energy education model school by a METI agency-funded organization.

On October 16, 2017, Yamagata Sadamu, an assistant professor of environmental engineering at Hokkaido University’s faculty of engineering, delivered a lecture titled, “Think about the energy and environment in Niseko”. The lecture was part of the school’s energy education project.

According to Yamagata, a few days before his lecture, high-ranking officials of METI’s local bureau in Hokkaido visited him at his office at Hokkaido University in regard to the contents of his lecture which he sent to the school in advance.

Pointing to a document showing the high cost of nuclear power generation, the METI officials said, “There is a different point of view.” Furthermore, regarding a photograph of hydrogen-explosions at the No.3 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, they labeled as “impression control” and demanded the removal of the photo.

Yamagata said, “In response to the METI officials’ argument that accidents at other types of power generation facilities should be introduced, I added a photo showing an accident at a wind power plant. However, I refused to remove the photo of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. In my lecture, I explained to Niseko high students that consequences of a nuclear power plant accident take on a totally different dimension from other types of non-nuclear power plants.”

Criticizing the METI officials’ demand as outrageous, Yamagata said that the removal of the photo in question would have provided inaccurate information regarding nuclear accidents to high school students.

Japanese Communist Party member of the Niseko Town Assembly Mitani Norihisa said, “The METI bureaucrats exerted pressure on Yamagata for the purpose of preventing high school students from learning about the true nature of nuclear power generation. Such an act not only violates freedom of teaching by academics but also infringes on students’ right to learn.” He also condemned the METI officials’ act as state interference in local level school education.

Past related article:
> Education Ministry exerts pressure on public junior high school in Nagoya [March 17, 2018]

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