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Each autumn, the world’s most influential scientists, engineers, business leaders and science policy experts gather in Kyoto for the Science and Technology in Society Forum. The STS Forum is the brainchild of Koji Omi, a former finance minister and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry bureaucrat and one of Japan’s most powerful behind-the-scenes politicians.

A regular STS theme over the years has been energy. Omi, as befitting a conservative Liberal Democratic Party politician and former METI bureaucrat, has long been aggressively pro-nuclear power. When Naoto Kan addressed the STS in 2009 as deputy prime minister, just after the Democratic Party of Japan took power from the LDP, he spoke of the need to pursue solar power and biomass energy. A few foreign attendees applauded, but guests from Keidanren, the utilities and the Japanese government sat stone-faced.

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