The article explores the controversy surrounding the construction of the Kaminoseki nuclear power plant in Yamaguchi prefecture. While briefly introducing opposition activism against the plant, I introduce the voices of proponents of the plant. By doing so, I highlight the harsh economic realities facing this and other rural communities and divisions within the construction site community.
The Atomic Age and Ashes to Honey
In the midst of the catastrophe of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant that began on March 11, a long-planned symposium, “The Atomic Age: From Hiroshima to the Present” was held on May 21 at the University of Chicago. 1 An important goal of the event from its earliest planning stages was to highlight the connection between atomic weapons and atomic energy by showing two films on the theme, to be followed by panel discussions. The catastrophe at Fukushima and throughout Japan’s Northeast has had an extraordinary impact on life in the immediate vicinity and caused major disruptions and danger to people and the natural environment far beyond. Among the consequences of the multiple earthquakes, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown have been a rethinking of Japan’s nuclear power agenda and the future of the nation’s energy policies. The Fukushima disaster has highlighted the culture of secrecy surrounding nuclear weapons and nuclear energy that has long crippled public discussion of the issues, and raised questions about rural/urban power differentials, which have been amplified by the catastrophe. The process used to determine where nuclear plants are built is of particular concern and has caused significant community divisions.
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