Since March 11, 2011, there has been a backlash against nuclear power among the public. Many people now equate nuclear power with danger. I, however, feel that the Fukushima nuclear accident was more of a human/managerial problem than a nuclear one.
The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant was never constructed to withstand an earthquake in the first place. This was actually written in the original construction plans. It was very old — running well past its suggested life span — and too many nuclear fuel rods were being stored together in a single place. This was human error.
At a time when the United States and Israel are threatening to bomb Iran, when oil prices are $130 a barrel, and when large developing countries like China, India and Brazil are more competitive than ever in trying to secure new oil supplies, Japan cannot afford to abandon nuclear power altogether.
What Japan needs are newly made, state-of-the-art safe nuclear power-plants run by responsible, articulate scientists. The social aspects must be as well calculated as the science behind the generation of power. Salarymen should not be allowed to apply to work in these places! Compromising protocol for selfish interests, no matter how “well intended” individuals may be, must be stamped out in the name of national interest and security. Nuclear power stations should be managed by the military and by scientists, and regularly checked by people of the highest character.
Japan’s foreign energy dependency, combined with the precarious situation concerning the Strait of Hormuz off Iran, could soon lead to bad relations with China and Russia, as well as a pronounced dependency on the United States to keep Japan afloat. Special interest must be paid to how the Japanese media portray this situation and its players, and what will happen if the Strait of Hormuz is blocked even for a single month.
If Israel attacks Iran, the Japanese economy and financial system will be in for a large shock. A return to the regular flow of oil to save Japan from sliding into a deep depression will be out of the hands of the Japanese people, military or government.
How will the Japanese people deal with this? Who will they blame? How will they view the world, especially China, whose media will portray the Israelis and Americans as the culprits — even as NHK and other Japanese media, more likely than not, say it is Iran’s fault? What will happen when Asia is divided? People may disagree, but Japan’s future cannot be secured without the most modern, well-built, best-run nuclear power plants in the world.
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.
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