Current PM Shinzo Abe was his chosen successor, and now Junichiro Koizumi (prime minister 2001-2006) calls on Abe to end nukes in Japan. Why? “A large majority of the population now understands that nuclear energy is the most expensive form of power generation.” For sure here in Georgia, with Georgia Power charging through the nose for power customers aren’t even receiving while trying to hike the price of solar power, too. Let’s end Plant Vogtle and get on with renewable solar inland and wind off the coast.
Wolf Richter wrote for Zerohedge 4 October 2013, The End Of Nuclear Energy In Japan?
And on August 26, his words made it into the Mainichi Shimbun. If he were an active politician, he’d want “to convince lawmakers to move in the direction of zero nuclear plants,” he said. Now would be the ideal time to move that direction. All 50 nuclear reactors were off line. All opposition parties favored zero nuclear power. It could be done “as long as the prime minister made the decision” — putting the onus squarely on his former protégé. And nuclear politics in Japan haven’t been the same since.
The next blast came on September 24 at a forum in Tokyo. He talked about his trip to Finland in August. The purpose was to inspect the Onkalo spent-fuel repository. He was accompanied by engineers from the Japanese nuclear industry. They all went to look at this marvel, 400 meters underground. It was designed to hold and seal highly radioactive waste long enough for it to become harmless, namely 100,000 years.
“One cannot fathom a time of 100,000 years in the future,” he said.
It’s unknown if the facility can survive this long. How do you inform people this far in the future of the dangers that lurk beneath? And he wondered if such a facility, imperfect as it was, could ever be built in Japan, given the shifting ground and constant earthquakes. That lack of final repository was “the first reason,” he said, why Japan should have zero nuclear plants.
“Some people may say it is irresponsible to call for zero nuclear plants,” he said, “but I think it is even more irresponsible not to have a disposal site for the waste or even any prospect of constructing such a facility.”
This applies as much to the U.S. and every other country as to Japan:
“The Japanese have never knuckled under to natural disasters but have always overcome them to further develop the nation,” he said. “We are now at a major turning point for creating a recyclable society through energy sources based on natural resources. Opportunity lies in a pinch. That is how we should be looking at the situation.”
Abe is listening:
And now the Abe administration, according to the source, is trying to figure out if Koizumi’s zero-nuclear position is becoming a broader movement within the LDP.
“The message Koizumi is sending is that moving too strongly in that direction could hurt the administration, even though it may have high support ratings now,” a source in the LDP told the paper. “The comments by Koizumi can also serve as a coastal levee of sorts for Abe who faces pressure from lawmakers with close ties to the electric power industry. I believe Abe understands what is happening.”
Koizumi has an accomplice: Abe’s wife. She has been whispering into her husband’s ear at night — and making anti-nuclear speeches during the day.
So Abe responded. In September, he stunned reporters when he said that the country would “lower the ratio of nuclear energy” over the next three years and “make every effort to accelerate the spread of renewable energy sources and promote energy conservation.” For some, it was a sea change.
A few ripples, maybe. Here’s the real sea change, reported by Tsuyoshi Suzuki, Asahi Shimbun, 2 October 2013, Koizumi’s call for nuclear-free Japan raises speculation about his intent,
“If the government and LDP now came out with a policy of zero nuclear plants, the nation could come together in the creation of a recyclable society unseen in the world,” he said in a speech in Nagoya on Oct. 1. “A large majority of the population now understands that nuclear energy is the most expensive form of power generation.”
Go Koizumi! Go Japan!