【PART 2】 The Mystery of Fukushima: Why Japan Cannot Stop Nuclear Power Plants？
【25】 Why “zero nuclear policy” was turned down
In fact, the Noda administration tried to adopt an energy strategy of “zero nuclear operation by the 2030s” at a Cabinet meeting in September 2012. Japanese media raised questions like “Why not end it now?” Or criticism such as “The proposal is just a tactical deception, since at first it was supposed to be zero nuclear operation by 2030, but now it is put off till ‘the 2030s,’ nine years away.” But such discussion proved to be meaningless anyway. When Ichiro Fujisaki, Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. from MOFA, explained this governmental policy to Daniel Poneman, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, on September 5, and to Michael Froman from the National Security Council on the 6th, they expressed “strong concern.” As a result, this motion was tabled on September 19.
This handling of the NPP issue exhibits exactly the same structure as the issue of relocating the U.S. base to Henoko during the Hatoyama administration. If Prime Minister Noda had said “I will have the Cabinet approve this zero nuclear policy, staking my political career,” as Hatoyama did for the Henoko issue, he would have been swept out of power by Japanese bureaucrats backed by the U.S.
Even if the Japanese people or the popularly elected prime minister chose to “stop the NPPs,” this decision would be overthrown if MOFA officials and high level officials of the U.S. concluded that they were not to be allowed to. A mere two days of “rituals”(*) (September 5 and 6 of 2012) were able to reverse the prime minister’s decision. According to the Japan-U.S. Atomic Agreement, which is “superior to the Constitution of Japan,” the U.S. government and MOFA have the ability to control the Japanese government.
At the beginning of this chapter, I declined to look for the culprit “trying to resume operation” of NPPs, but the culprit that is “preventing the stopping” of NPP is certainly this legal structure.
* ・・・ The U.S. Department of Energy, which was formed by separating off the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from the Atomic Energy Commission, is a stronghold of nuclear weapons and NPP. Therefore, it goes without saying that it shows “strong concern” over the “zero nuclear operation policy,” since it is as if you give the “zero U.S. base policy” to the U.S. military. It is natural to think that it just followed a plot from the beginning, and that’s why I refer to this affair as composed of “rituals.”
In fact, exactly one week after Ambassador Fujisaki’s visit, Hiroshi Ohgushi, Parliamentary Secretary of Cabinet Office, and others (lower house members) visited Poneman in the U.S. on behalf of Prime Minister Noda. They could not, however, gain the US side’s support for the “zero nuclear operation policy by the 2030s.” Instead, they were forced to conclude a secret agreement on “resuming plutonium-thermal power generation,” which is very dangerous. (Mainichi Shimbun on June 25, 2013)
The plutonium-thermal power generation is a very dangerous power generation method using mixed plutonium-uranium oxide fuels (MOX fuels). There has been a high risk of restarting plutonium-thermal reactors one by one in Tomari (Hokkaido Electric Power Co.), Sendai and Genkai (Kyushu Electric Power Co.), Ikata (Shikoku Electric Power Co.) and Takahama (KEPCO), following this secret agreement with the U.S. concluded in September 2012.