June 13(Monday)

"The next era" (3): A surge toward natural energies


Yesterday (on June 12, 2011), I embarked on a new endeavor toward "the next era."  This was the first "Prime Minister-Experts Open Forum on Natural Energy," which discussed the future of "natural energy."  Mr. Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank Corp., Mr.Takeshi Okada, former head coach of the Japanese national football team, Mr. Takeshi Kobayashi, Representative Director of ap bank, and Ms. Junko Edahiro, environmental journalist, visited the Prime Minister's Office, with Mr. Ryuichi Sakamoto also participating by means of a video message from overseas.  As the proceedings of the discussions were relayed on the Internet, while the Forum was taking place, opinions and questions flooded in continually from all around the country via "tweets."  It is impossible to count just how many participants there were in all in this Open Forum.  (See note below)


I myself also had the opportunity to convey my involvement and thoughts regarding natural energy in two of my capacities.  Speaking in my capacity as the "chief executive of national politics" is invariably most common, but on this occasion I also interwove comments from the standpoint of an "individual".  It was perhaps for that reason that I was able to speak more naturally than usual and I also received a considerable amount of favorable reactions to what I had said.


What I felt as a result of yesterday's Open Forum was that there exists a major groundswell to promote natural energy.  I have been hearing about various efforts undertaken individually since quite some time ago Dr. Hiroshi Komiyama, former President of the University of Tokyo, whose house features solar energy and is a model house for energy conservation, as I wrote in my previous blog entry here; also, a friend who sent me a New Year's greeting card several years ago saying, "My household is over 90% self-sufficient in electricity!" I feel that these individual "points" are now beginning to expand out into a "plane" that as a result of the current nuclear accident, we, the Japanese people have begun to think as individuals about "what we should do."


At yesterday's meeting I felt very keenly that the tool of the Internet is finally beginning to exercise the power of those thoughts held by each individual, which the government and the mass media have not been able to take in adequately (which I mention after some self-examination). Unlike in North Africa, where political upheaval has been underway in ongoing succession, it is often said that in Japan the influence of the Internet is still far short of that of the mass media. And yet now, that desire to participate, of "I myself would like to get involved in making use of natural energy," is most certainly spreading by means of the Internet.


It is only when the public becomes involved in natural energy and energy conservation that these themes of "the next era" can advance. As for the government, "what we should do" is to develop the "mechanism" by which we can support such participation by the public. As one concrete means of doing that, we have submitted to the current Diet session the "Bill to Promote Renewable Energies," which will push forward the system for feed-in tariffs for the purchase of electricity generated by natural energy. I very much hope to bring this bill to be enacted.


Note from the Cabinet Public Relations Office: The entirety of the proceedings of the "Prime Minister-Experts Open Forum on Natural Energy" is available online still now at Japanese Government Internet TV (in Japanese).

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