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HOME  > Past issues  > 2011 July 27 - August 2  > Business circles are in no position to complain of government request to reduce power consumption
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2011 July 27 - August 2 [NUCLEAR CRISIS]

Business circles are in no position to complain of government request to reduce power consumption

July 28, 2011
Editorial (excerpts)

A power-saving effort for firms using electricity provided by the Kansai Electric Power Co. (KEPCO) to reduce by at least 10% of their daytime weekday consumption started on July 25 at government request.

The business circles have increased opposition to the government request for the power saving measure in the KEPCO service area, in addition to Tokyo and Tohoku Electric Power companies’ areas, which were demanded by the 3/11 disaster, threatening that firms will move production abroad. They also demand that nuclear power plants, which have undergone regular checkups, resume operations as soon as possible.

Calling for “safety myth’ to be revived

Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) President Yonekura Hiromasa (president of Sumitomo Chemical Co.) at a press conference on July 25 said that Japanese corporations are already suffering from multiple burdens. “If a stable power supply is not possible in the Kansai region, an increasing number of corporations will be obliged to shift their production bases abroad,” he stated.

Electric power companies, followed by nuclear reactor makers, construction companies, and the major banks, the centerpiece of business circles, have formed a “community of interest” concerning nuclear power generation and have helped to spread the “safety myth” of NPPs.

The Kansai Economic Federation led by KEPCO president Mori Shosuke and four other economic organizations in Kansai on July 21 made an urgent request to the government for an early resumption of NPP operations. The five organizations in June asked KEPCO to resume operating its NPPs and even to revive the “nuclear safety myth.” Such supremacy given to quick corporate profits, in disregard of people’s safety, is the root cause of the worst nuclear accident on a world level.

The “multiple burdens” on corporations referred to by Nippon Keidanren are corporate taxes, anti-greenhouse gas measures, and labor regulations. However, thanks to the preferential tax systems favorable to large corporations, Japan’s big businesses shoulder virtually the same (or lower) rate of corporate tax as that in corporations in European countries. The corporate tax rate paid for seven years up to FY 2009 by Sumitomo Chemical, for example, was only 16.6%.

The big business lobby has urged the government to ease labor regulations in order to increase temporary jobs and has been rejecting compulsory cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Their list of “burdens” clearly shows the greedy nature of large corporations.

Stable supply of power

Trial calculations made by power companies are marked by an underestimate of supply and an overestimate of demand, with the intention of emphasizing possible power shortages. An estimate by a non-profit environmental organization indicates that power supply will surpass the maximum summertime demand even in the case of a halt to all NPPs.

The Fukushima NPP accident has clearly shown that the present NPP technology cannot exist in harmony with human societies. The essential need to stabilize the supply of power is to achieve an NPP-free Japan as early as possible and to make the greatest national effort to rapidly develop renewable energy sources.
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