Will Fukushima report impact Japan’s nuke policy?

RESTORING TRUST: As reactors are restarted, Japan’s Parliament and the government should take the findings seriously

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Read more: Will Fukushima report impact Japan’s nuke policy? – Columnist – New Straits Timeshttp://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnist/will-fukushima-report-impact-japan-s-nuke-policy-1.113751#ixzz21tWv2itt

 

JAPAN faced its largest earthquake and a tsunami with waves of up to 11.5m on March 11 last year, causing an unprecedented accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The triple tragedy shocked Japan and the world. Mismanagement by the Japanese government after the disaster had made people in Japan lose trust in the authorities, even though the Japanese were highly admired for their bravery and stoicism in facing that catastrophic event.

In order to recover this trust, the National Diet (House of Representatives) of Japan created its Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC).

NAIIC submitted its final report to the Diet on July 5, some six months after the appointment of the chairman and members in December last year by an Act of the Diet.

NAIIC is the first independent commission in the history of Japan’s Constitution. That is why its activities and report (http://www.naiic.jp/en) are politically very significant.

Furthermore, it is important that the report is utilised not only by the Japanese but by the rest of the world, since it deals with the unprecedented accident which influenced the present and future of Japan and the world. After the submission, the final report received a lot of media attention, domestically and internationally, discussing the pros and cons.

Some foreign media criticised the NAIIC’s report because it named Japanese culture as the main cause of the accident. This was mentioned, for foreigners, in the English version of the NAIIC’s final report to explain the background of the accident. However, the accident should also be dealt with as a policy matter to prevent such an accident happening again. The report took the view that people in charge of affairs related to the accident should not necessarily be blamed as individuals for it.

When we look at our human history, someone must take responsibility for accidents so that the system or organisation can change. This is also true of the Fukushima accident. But the task of apportioning blame should be done not by NAIIC but by the Diet, based on the NAIIC report. The policymaking system is bureaucracy-centred in Japan. The Diet doesn’t necessarily work without the bureaucracy.

NAIIC was the first trial system in the Diet which functioned independently from and beyond the bureaucracy. This means that, for the first time, Japan could have another policy information resource besides the bureaucracy. This is an epoch-making event and may be a beginning of a new policy-making system in Japan.

However, the bureaucracy does not seem to take the NAIIC report seriously, although concerned ministers mentioned that they would consider the report in administering nuclear power policy.

All 50 nuclear power plants were stopped for periodical inspections by May 5. The Japanese government decided to let the Kansai Electric Power Company restart at the Oi nuclear power plant last month, before the report was submitted by NAIIC. The company started two reactors this month.

People have started demonstrations against the restart every Friday in front of the prime minister’s office and at other events all over Japan.

Many articles have also spoken against the restart of the reactors. But there has been no serious debate in the National Diet and Japanese government about the NAIIC report so far.

In this situation, what is to be asked is whether the Japanese government, the National Diet and all Japanese people can make use of the report in considering nuclear power policy in Japan in order to restore trust, both within Japan and around the world.

The Fukushima accident is still not over. And many people are suffering even now. We should all we should do in order not to repeat the same kind of cataclysmic event — for a better world.

Read more: Will Fukushima report impact Japan’s nuke policy? – Columnist – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnist/will-fukushima-report-impact-japan-s-nuke-policy-1.113751#ixzz21tX3J3UG

http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnist/will-fukushima-report-impact-japan-s-nuke-policy-1.113751

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