July 31(Sunday)

"The next era" (7): The participation of 'the people' will decide our future course

 

I have just attended the first session of the "The People's Energy and Environment Council," which was held in the city of Chino, Nagano Prefecture today.  While this meeting shares the same name as the "government's" "Energy and Environment Council" that met the day before yesterday, this "people's" meeting enjoyed the participation of a wide variety of persons ranging from researchers to heads of local municipalities to politicians, among others.  Three of the four experts participating in the "Prime Minister-Experts Open Forum on Natural Energy" that was convened at the Prime Minister's Office last month are cited as the original promoters of this "People's" Council, with very thorough discussions taking place in a large lecture hall at a university.

 

I delivered a ten-minute address, during which I discussed such topics as:

  • the fact that my fundamental approach to nuclear power changed after experiencing the March 11 TEPCO nuclear accident in Fukushima;
  • the fact that under the government's "Energy and Environment Council," there has been an "interim report" oriented towards reducing the degree of dependence  on nuclear power, and that finally a first step has been taken towards forming a policy in concrete terms that is congruent with my thinking; and
  • the necessity of fundamental reform of our nuclear energy administration.

 

I stated that in particular, fundamental reform is necessary insofar as the current Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) within the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) is constituted in a way that it is possible for the interests of corporations to be given priority at times over the safety of the citizens, just as the Pharmaceutical Bureau of the Ministry of Health and Welfare at the time of the problem of AIDS contracted through contaminated blood products.

 

From a standpoint free of constraints from the past, moving forward with fundamental reforms to nuclear and electrical power administration will require thoroughgoing information disclosure as well as strict scrutiny conducted by 'each individual' citizen.  Moreover, for a transformation of Japan's energy structure, it is in fact critical to have participation in electricity generation and electricity conservation by 'each individual' household.  Just as the name of today's Council meeting says, what will determine the form of the energy of the next era is nothing other than the power of "the people."  Let's make headway on this together.

(Website linked from this post is provided in Japanese only)



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