Regarding Chubu Electric Power Co.’s decision to suspend operations of its Hamaoka nuclear plant in Shizuoka Prefecture in response to Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s call to do so for safety reasons: What we need now are the right decisions and it is time to review and think.

Until the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station crisis occurred, a lot of people had thought nuclear power stations were safe and clean. The current crisis (following the March 11 earthquake-tsunami) completely destroyed that myth and now we have a lot of questions about nuclear plant safety amid electric power companies’ past negligence in taking anti-disaster measures in order to cut costs.

After the quake, I got tired of the government’s slowness in decision-making, but I appreciate the suspension of Hamaoka’s operations. Hamaoka’s situation is completely different from that of other nuclear power stations. If a crisis occurred at Hamaoka, the impact would be much more disastrous than in Fukushima’s case. What we really need is the government’s prompt and right decision to protect people, putting priority first on people’s safety, even if it lacks a so-called legal basis.

Yet, at the same time, we should not forget that we owe much of our current lifestyle to nuclear energy and this suspension will affect lots of people and the Chubu area’s economy. As Albert Einstein said: “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

It is time we review the safety of nuclear power stations and seriously think about alternative natural energy sources such as solar or wind for our future.

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.

yoshihiro akabane

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