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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 April 23 - May 6  >  ‘Nuclear power-interest community’ is going on offensive
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2014 April 23 - May 6 [NUCLEAR CRISIS]

‘Nuclear power-interest community’ is going on offensive

April 30, 2014
Following the Abe Cabinet’s approval of the nation’s basic energy plan which designates nuclear power as a “key base-load power source”, Japan’s “community of interest” profiting from nuclear power generation has been revived.

Shortly after the Cabinet decided on the energy plan, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF) held its annual convention in Tokyo on April 15 and 16, attended by about 1,000 people from 31 countries. At the meeting, speakers one after another showed so-what attitudes in regard to the meltdown accident at the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power station.

JAIF director Tanaka Nobuo, former executive officer of the International Energy Agency (IEA), mentioned the Fukushima No.2 nuclear plant which once entered into a crisis following the March 2011 massive disaster. He claimed that the reactors at the station should be reactivated, saying, “The nuclear plant proved its safety by holding out against the great earthquake and tsunami which are said to occur once in a millennium.”

Yasui Itaru, chairing an atomic power-related working group at the Industry Ministry, insisted that the probability of a nuclear accident is much lower than that of an airplane crash.

Malcolm C. Grimston from the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority asserted that almost all the areas designated as no-entry zones after the Fukushima disaster are “already safe”. He even claimed that the air in Fukushima is much better for people’s health compared to that of Tokyo.

Japan’s business circles are stepping up pressure on the government to restart offline nuclear reactors. In mid-April, economic federations in Kansai, Kyushu, and Shikoku sent to the administration and ruling parties written demands to place idled atomic reactors online as soon as possible.

On the night of April 3, the day the governing parties endorsed the draft energy program, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo dined with successive chairmen of the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) at a Japanese restaurant near the prime minister’s office. Abe reportedly promised those business leaders to “definitely help” resume operations of the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant in Kyushu, whose safety the Nuclear Regulation Authority is preferentially examining.

Past related article:
> Environmental NGOs raise protest against Abe’s basic energy plan [April 12, 2014]
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