September 10, 2011
Structure of reliance on NPP money (Part 6)
The residents of Kashiwazaki Ciy in Niigata Prefecture have heard dark rumors about a Liberal Democratic Party politician linked to how the sand dunes along the Japan Sea coast in Kashiwazaki were turned into the world’s biggest nuclear power plant site with the output of 8.21 million kW.
Former assembly member’s testimony
The rumors are in reference to suspicions surrounding former Prime Minister Tanaka Kakuei, who was born in Kashiwazaki City, over land transactions related to a site for TEPCO’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant.
Akahata of January 15, 2001 reported on the suspicions by citing a testimony of Kimura Hiroyasu, a leader of Tanaka’s supporters’ association and former LDP Niigata Prefectural Assembly member. He revealed the fact that 500 million yen, the price for the sale of the land for the NPP, was transferred to Tanaka’s residence in Mejiro in Tokyo, and was poured into the LDP presidential election in July 1972.
Matsune Soichi, a TEPCO counselor whom Tanaka referred to extensively in his memoirs, used his influence to have the NPP built in the city. A local paper reported that Matsune in 1963 advised to then Kashiwazaki City Mayor Kobayashi Jisuke to invite TEPCO to build the nuclear power plant there.
In September 1966, Tanaka, using the name of a company called “Muromachi Sangyo”, bought about 520,000 square meters of dunes on which the NPP was constructed later.
In October that year, the Japanese Communist Party in the Diet questioned the buying up of the riverbed of the River Shinano and exposed Muromachi Sangyo as a ghost company. In January 1967, Tanaka had the name of Muromachi Sangyo deleted from the land register and registered Kimura as the owner of the land. Kimura testified that Tanaka, on his own, bid for the land when the land was sold to TEPCO in October 1971.
Public works graft one after another
Tanaka emphatically said to local residents that if Niigata Prefecture accepts two NPPs in Kashiwazaki-Kariwa and Maki, it would become a major supplier of electricity with increased tax revenues. In the end, subsidies amounting to 113.3 billion yen based on three NPP-related laws were granted to Kashiwazaki City, with a population of 90,000, in the last 32 years, resulting in the construction of libraries, museums, gymnasiums and other sports facilities one after another.
JCP Kashiwazaki City Assembly member Mochida Shigeyoshi said, “A baseball stadium was built by reclaiming a swamp which used to be a garbage dump site. The lighting system was impossible to install properly due to its heavy weight, and the outfield began to sink. In the initial period after construction, five to seven million yen had to be spent every year on measures against the sinking of the ground. Major repairs from the 2007 major earthquake off Chuetsu also required a lot of money.”
At present, only two out of the seven reactors are operating at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP. In the precinct, 12 emergency power source generators are waiting as a response after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi NPP, which shows TEPCO’s fear of another earthquake to come.
Mochida said, “The construction of the NPP convinced many people that the new public buildings were tangible signs of the city’s development. With the power of money, the NPP has trampled on the unity and self-government capability of local people.”
(To be continued)