Here’s the latest of our news bulletins from the ongoing crisis at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
State of Nuclear Politics in Japan
Over 70% of 1,253 people who attended eight town hall meetings say that nuclear power should be completely eradicated; in Fukushima Prefecture, that number rose to 90%. And 80% of respondents to an internet poll support getting rid of nuclear power entirely. The government is trying to determine how much Japan should depend on nuclear power by 2030: 0%, 15%, or 20-25%. Two more meetings will be held this week. Tensions were particularly high at the Fukushima meeting, where Nuclear Crisis Minister Goshi Hosono noted, “Of all the hearings, this is the most important. I’ll listen to all participants sincerely.” The meeting there ran four and a half hours, an hour longer than originally scheduled. Comments from attendees were particularly poignant, and opposition to nuclear power was almost universal. One woman said, “I’m scared. I’m really scared. I’d like the government to think about why people have gathered in front of the prime minister’s residence every Friday since April. That’s not a fad. That’s not a temporary fever. That’s a heartfelt scream from the public.” Another pointed out residents’ ongoing health concerns: “Many people are now aware that the government’s talking of ‘no immediate risk to health’ is tantamount to ‘long-term health risk.’” Her comments were met with applause from the audience. An attendee questioned whether or not nuclear power was even necessary, asking, “Although all nuclear reactors, except for the [two Oi reactors] have been suspected, we are managing to weather the situation this summer.”
Originally, the Noda administration planned to establish the new policy by the end of this month, but increased public opposition to nuclear power, including wide-spread weekly protests, may delay that effort until September or even the end of the year. In addition, opinion is now split in the Diet, where “many in the party are seeking a zero-nuclear policy,” according to a member of the Noda’s Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) who was interviewed by the Mainichi Daily News.
Continue reading at Fukushima Nuclear Crisis Update for July 31st – August 2nd, 2012