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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 July 18 - 24  > Gov’t should hold thorough public debate on future energy policy
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2012 July 18 - 24 [NUCLEAR CRISIS]
editorial 

Gov’t should hold thorough public debate on future energy policy

July 20, 2012
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

It has become a concern that power company officials made remarks in support of nuclear power generation at government-sponsored nationwide public hearings on Japan’s future energy policy, including citing the rate of dependence on nuclear energy. The hearings are a key feature in the government’s energy policymaking process.

At the hearing in Sendai City (July 15, Miyagi Pref.), an executive of Tohoku Electric Power Company expressed the company’s view in support of the promotion of nuclear energy. At the Nagoya City session (July 16, Aichi Pref.), a Chubu Electric Power Company official said that no one has died from radiation, while saying that this was his personal opinion. Both received harsh criticism from the audience.

At these energy-related hearings, the government presents three options on reducing electricity generated by nuclear power by 2030 to 0%, 15%, or 20-25% of the total electrical supply, and selects nine speakers to deliver opinions in support of their choice. The government rule of selecting the same number of speakers for each option inaccurately reflects public opinion. In fact, the total number of people who wanted to but could not speak up in the hearings to express their support for each option at the hearing sessions held in three cities, including Sendai and Nagoya, was 311 for 0% option, 62 for 15%, and 90 for 20-25%. It is hard to believe that the government can properly reflect public opinion on energy policy by neglecting public demand.

The government is criticized for ostensibly providing the 0% option and using the public hearings to mislead the general public into accepting a minor decrease in reliance on nuclear energy.

Facing the ongoing nuclear crisis in Fukushima, many people are looking for ways to totally break away from nuclear power generation. The need is for the government to decide to withdraw from the use of nuclear power and conduct an honest and thoroughgoing public debate.
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