What Japanese actor Taro Yamamoto — the subject of the Dec. 22 Kyodo article, “Actor uses lessons learned overseas to fight nuclear energy” — ignores is that, in Germany, children are indoctrinated to hate nuclear energy. German children don’t become interested in politics at a young age; they are indoctrinated by their teachers to follow the politically correct herd.
The protests against nuclear power in Germany after the March 11 Fukushima nuclear accidents prove this. Even as some 200,000 Germans protested against nuclear power, Geiger counters were selling out. I doubt that any of these protesters even remotely understands how a nuclear plant works and what radiation is.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel then broke the law by declaring that Germany would eliminate nuclear power eventually. There are now multibillion-euro lawsuits coming in from energy companies in Germany.
German politicians milked the catastrophe for political gain. The Green Party in Germany campaigned with the claim that Fukushima could happen in Germany tomorrow. It won with these outrageous claims.
Worse, a German company deployed on a post-quake search and rescue mission fled Japan, fearing an imaginary nuclear death cloud. All other search and rescue teams remained and worked. A German airline stopped flying into Tokyo because of irrational fears. By comparison Air France/KLM continued to fly into Tokyo. And, recently, German musicians refused to fly to Japan because of the same irrational fear of something they don’t understand.
The media in Germany made the most ridiculous claims about what was happening in Japan, including that Tokyo Electric Power Co. was pressing homeless people, foreigners and minors into service at Fukushima. They presented Japan as a feudal, inhumane system, thus invoking the old fear of the “yellow peril”.
So, if Yamamoto tries to take Germany as an example, he will simply be cherry-picking. As an actor, he displays the same old emotions. I doubt he knows much of value about nuclear physics.
Here’s my challenge: How else should we produce electrical power? Wind? That’s horrifyingly ineffective. Solar? Not cost-effective at all. And both are highly dependent on a nonlinear, chaotic system — the weather.
With wind and solar, the country would need a conventional backup power grid since wind and solar cannot react to fluctuations in demand at all. This would push up the already ridiculously high utility costs even more.
Japan would be ideal for exploiting geothermal energy, but until that works, nuclear power is the way to go. Then there is research into nuclear fusion and the thorium reactor.
What Yamamoto probably doesn’t know is that the Chernobyl disaster (April 1986) was caused not by the plant itself, but by operator failure. There was an experiment, run on a low-tech, low-quality Soviet reactor, which went out of control and caused the incident. In addition, the Chernobyl reactor had no containment. Anyone who compares Chernobyl with Fukushima proves that he knows nothing of the matter in question.
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.