Stay tuned for the next disaster

Chikushino, Fukuoka

Regarding the March 12 Japan Times article, which was reprinted from Sentaku Magazine, “Power reform now or never“: It’s doubtful whether another Fukushima can ever be avoided given the deep-seated corruption and collusion between Japan’s bureaucracy and big business, which has effectively ruled the country for decades, combined with a culture that euphemizes scandals and the truth in general. It was rather shocking that just recently Japan’s only public broadcast company NHK should spill the beans.

On March 8, the enormous amounts of money that Tokyo Electric Power Co. and its bureaucratic cohorts have dished out to mayors in Fukushima Prefecture and their cronies over the decades to allow the construction of nuclear plants were revealed. The terrible secret flaws that these plants contained were let out for the world to see after the earthquake-tsunami struck March 11, 2011.

Responsibility for the terrible risk that the plants still pose cannot be determined until there is 100 percent transparency and accountability; in other words, never. The only thing that is guaranteed is a continuation of the coverups aimed at hiding the culture of bribery and near-disasters. Nobody trusts power companies in Japan anymore, yet their monopolies remain intact.

The Fukushima nuclear accident was predictable even as earthquake-tsunami risk data pertaining to the reactors were doctored. Recent predictions that Japan is likely to have another major earthquake in a matter of years, if not months, are equally disturbing. Given a public that is not used to hearing the truth, let alone responding to it objectively, nothing could have been done to prevent the Fukushima tragedy, and nothing will be done to avoid another tragedy in the future.

In the meantime, Tepco will hike its rates, adding insult to injury, and continue to pull the government’s strings in whatever direction they please to cut their own losses and secure themselves a profitable future at the expense of the ordinary Japanese citizen.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

david john