24th March Seminar@Kubrick

A Hypertrophic Nuclear Nation: How Japan became a self-inflicted nation of nuclear disaster

Date: 24th March 2013

Time: 15:30 - 17:30

Place: Broadway Cinematheque

Speaker: Yuki Tanaka

A Hypertrophic Nuclear Nation: How Japan became a self-inflicted nation of
nuclear disaster

A deep anxiety about the lack of natural energy resources in a nation that relies on imports for 100 percent of its oil and are the world’s largest importer of coal, led to Japan's embrace of nuclear energy. Particularly since the late 1960s, the Japanese government has wielded pork-barrel policies to
secure the approval of local communities in remote areas for the construction of nuclear-power plants in their backyards. Unsurprisingly, political corruption soon became part of the package promoting the Japanese nuclear industry. Increasingly, the government and power companies promoted the myth
that nuclear power is clean and safe in Japan, thereby marginalizing the anti-nuclear energy movement. Although for a short period following the Chernobyl accident of 1986, sending shock waves around the world, Japan's anti-nuclear power movement enjoyed nationwide popular support, it quickly
faded following campaigns by the government and the power companies. Despite the catastrophic nuclear accident at the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power plant in March 2011, which incited the sudden rise of nationwide powerful anti-nuclear power movements, the Japanese government is still reluctant to fundamentally change its nuclear policy.
My talk will explain how Japan started and expanded its nuclear power industry, and finally became one of the largest nuclear nations in the world. I will also discuss Japan’s hidden motivation for maintaining its capability to produce nuclear weapons by promoting the “peaceful use of nuclear power” policy. My talk will include a discussion on the current anti-nuclear power movements in Japan, including the People’s Tribunal on Nuclear Power, in which I am personally involved.