Japan Press Weekly
[Advanced search]
Past issues
Special issues
Fact Box
Feature Articles
Mail to editor
Mail magazine
HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 October 28 - November 3  > Koike in Diet interpellation presses PM Suga to depart from support for coal-fired power generation
> List of Past issues
Bookmark and Share
2020 October 28 - November 3 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Koike in Diet interpellation presses PM Suga to depart from support for coal-fired power generation

October 31, 2020

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira on October 30 at a House of Councilors plenary meeting took the rostrum on behalf of the JCP to question Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide regarding his stance on various matters including cuts in GHG emissions and Japan’s negative attitude toward the UN treaty banning nuclear weapons.

Depart from coal- and nuclear-generated power and promote use of renewable sources of energy

PM Suga in his policy speech promised to reduce the total amount of emissions of greenhouse gasses to net zero by 2050. Koike said, “What the government needs to do now in order to achieve this is the point at issue.”

Koike referred to the fact that the government plans to construct 17 more coal power plants. He pointed out that if they are still in operation in 2050, PM Suga’s net-zero pledge will end up an empty promise. He said to PM Suga, “If you really seek to revise the government policy in regard to coal-fired power generation as you stated in your policy speech, you should decide to cancel all new coal-fired plant projects and shut down existing coal-fired plants systematically.”

In addition, pointing out that Japan lags behind other nations in the use of renewables, Koike stressed the need for a total commitment to renewable energy. He demanded that the government increase the share of renewables in total electricity generation to at least 40% by 2030 as called for by the Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai) and the Renewable Energy Council consisting of 34 prefectures.

In reply, PM Suga just said that he will increase the use of renewable energy sources as much as possible and expressed his hope for a technical innovation in coal-fired power generation. He added, “The government will conduct intensive discussions regarding a future vision.”

Koike took up the government move to release radioactive water from the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean. He pointed out, “Along with Fukushima fishermen who are angry at the government plan, 70% of local assemblies in Fukushima are opposed to the ocean release and are calling on the central government to not jump to a hasty conclusion.” Noting that PM Suga includes nuclear power generation in measures to achieve the zero GHG emissions, Koike said, “It is absolutely unacceptable and anachronistic for PM Suga to depend on nuclear energy which endangers people’s lives.”

PM Suga insisted that the issue of how to dispose of radioactive water should be solved without procrastination, showing his stance to turn his back on Fukushima people’s demands and continue to rely on nuclear power.

As the only A-bombed country, Japan should sign and ratify UN N-ban treaty

With 50 ratifications, the UN treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons will come into effect early next year. Koike said that the treaty criminalizes nuclear weapons from their development, experiment, production, and possession to their use and the threat to use, and that it is an epoch-making international pact which brands nuclear weapons as inhumane and unethical. Koike added, "Our party wholeheartedly welcomes this giant step forward toward 'a world without nuclear weapons' as long called for by the international community as well as atomic-bomb survivors."

He, on the other hand, criticized the Japanese government for refusing to participate in the treaty. He said, "It is extremely shameful for the only atomic-bombed country in the world to behave like this." He quoted Beatrice Fihn, secretary general of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 who said, "Japan's participation will have a tremendous impact on the world. The decision will serve as a trigger for other countries supportive of the position of nuclear-weapons states to move on to a rejection of nuclear weapons." Koike asked, "Are you willing to respond to this call?"

PM Suga in response said that the treaty "lacks support" from both nuclear-weapons states and non-nuclear-weapons states while insisting on the necessity of "nuclear deterrence", and added, "The government will not consider signing the treaty."

Koike said that if Japan wants to keep its promise that "Japan will take a lead in international efforts" to eliminate nuclear weapons, it should immediately sign and ratify the treaty.
> List of Past issues
  Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved