It may have been largely forgotten by the global media, but the nuclear catastrophe in Japan has not been concluded. This editorial from Japan’s Niigata-Nippo Shimbun, packaged with video on the latest assessments on the disaster from both in and out of Japan, offers a glimpse of the ongoing nuclear turmoil confronted by the Japanese people.
The Niigata-Nippo Shimbun editorial says in part:
‘If Fukushima doesn’t call for an end to nuclear energy, what will? The whole world is watching … we must clarify our position on nuclear power before we can embark on our plans for reconstruction,’ the Reconstruction Planning Committee is reported to have strongly argued.
After the accident at Fukushima Daiichi reactor No. 1, a panel of experts was appointed by the Reconstruction Planning Committee to propose ideas for rebuilding Fukushima prefecture. The committee compiled a draft of fundamental principles and made their central tenet a nuclear opt-out. It is a declaration of intent that all 10 reactors in the prefecture should be scrapped, including Daiichi plant reactors 5 and 6 – and the Daini plant. Daiichi plant reactors 1-4 are already scheduled for decommissioning. The draft proposal appeals to Fukushima residents, all local governments with nuclear plants in their jurisdictions – and the world. In the event of a large-scale nuclear accident, the resulting radioactive contamination is not limited to any locality, but impacts nationally and globally as well.
The fundamental principle of denuclearization must be sincerely considered, not just by Fukushima residents, but by the whole of Japan. A global debate about whether energy policies that rely on nuclear plants are appropriate is needed now. Japan has a responsibility to begin that discussion.
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