Regarding the Sept. 20 front-page article “Cabinet fails to OK new nuclear strategy“: Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has been criticized for backtracking on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and on the government’s recent pledge to aim for zero dependence on nuclear power by 2030. Backtracking on TPP was exactly the right thing to do; the Japanese government should not touch that with a 10,000-foot pole. But backtracking on the nuclear power promise recalls the old Peter Frampton song “It’s a Plain Shame.”
Pressure from the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) and Aomori and Fukui prefectures contributed heavily to Noda’s wavering. Keidanren’s stance is no surprise: Its unwavering narrow-minded focus on short-term profits at the cost of the country’s long-term welfare ensured from the start that it would resist any move to disengage from nuclear power, despite the very real problem of how to dispose of all the waste materials that are still piling up.
Aomori and Fukui, on the other hand, should know better. Like junkies, they have become addicted to money from the nuclear industry and fear painful withdrawal symptoms if the source dries up. Keidanren and its cohorts have them where they want them.
Yet, if a Fukushima-style accident occurs in either of these prefectures, they will wish they had had the foresight and determination to quit cold turkey. Tokyo needs to help these prefectures break the habit and get cleaned up. It should establish a rehab program for nuke-money addicts as soon as possible. There is no room for backtracking on the nuclear power issue.
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.