politics

Anti-nuclear candidate loses Yamaguchi governor election

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By Yuri Kageyama

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[Kitano] stressed that ordinary Japanese usually don’t demonstrate, but were outraged over the restarting of nuclear power.

They said they planned to vote anti-nuclear candidates into office to effect change.

A candidate who ran on a rare anti-nuclear platform lost Sunday’s election

Voter turnout was 45%.

I'm confused.

[Nuclear power] is expensive, gets workers radiated and creates waste,” she said.

Replace "radiated" for "severe respiratory problems" and you can say the same about coal.

Mika Ohta vowed to vote for anti-nuclear candidates in the next election.

Yeah, those 45% weren't enough, sorry. More and more it seems that the real anti-nuclear coal-heads are a noisy minority. The majority doesn't care as long as they can have their A/C on 24/7.

3 ( +14 / -11 )

Nuclear power is not expensive. Nuclear power plants cost a lot to get started, but once they start generating electricity, they require minimal maintenance costs and the fuel costs little as so few of it is needed. In normal conditions, they also produce very little radiation around them and workers aren't radiated. Unfortunate events may happen if care is not taking to safety, but with a good watchdog, these don't happen. See the case of France, no significant accident in decades, most of the energy is produced by nuclear power and the cost of electricity is amongst the lowest in Europe (half the price of Germany and Denmark, two countries that have chosen to develop renewables as much as possible).

France proves that cheap, safe nuclear power can be done... which I guess is why anti-nuclear activists prefer to ignore it. If the anti-nuclear activists really cared about safety and the health of Japan, society and economy, instead of calling for the end of nuclear power, they would call for the Japanese government to copy the French policies on nuclear power. The fact that they outright call for plants to be shut down proves that their opposition is emotional, not rational, dogmatic, not practical.

4 ( +17 / -13 )

See the majority want atomic power. Most of the anti atomic power people do not live in Japan. It is sad you can not vote!

3 ( +16 / -13 )

Could it be that all those who were protesting in Tokyo didn't vote on Sunday in Yamaguchi, because they were in Tokyo?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

See the majority want atomic power. Most of the anti atomic power people do not live in Japan. It is sad you can not vote!

This is hardly the "majority". Most polls show that 70%+ are against nuclear.

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

The problem is that Tetsunari Iida is not exactly popular, even if he is anti-nuclear.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

I doubt he lost solely because he is anti-nuclear.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

France proves that cheap, safe nuclear power can be done...

I agree. Unfortunately Japan has proven that expensive, unsafe nuclear power in the hands of 12 year-old children can't be done.

3 ( +15 / -12 )

As I repeated many times, these anti-nuclear demonstrations are mobilized by left-wing activists. It looks like Japantoday is also polluted by the anti-nuclear sentiment.

-3 ( +15 / -18 )

YuriOtani - I think the majority of Japanese are against nuclear power, however the populace is so scared to demand change from the government (their masters) that they won't take any concrete action

0 ( +10 / -10 )

As I repeated many times, these anti-nuclear demonstrations are mobilized by left-wing activists. It looks like Japantoday is also polluted by the anti-nuclear sentiment.

Gee, I wonder why people are protesting against nuclear... Could it be because of this thing called "Fukushima" that happened in Japan?

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

@horse

nuclear power in the hands of 12 year-old children can't be done.

What 12 year-old children are you referring to? Please explain.

4 ( +14 / -10 )

A+B: His name's 'hoser', not 'horse', and he's referring to the government and electric companies that are in charge of operations (and collusion). They are not literally 12 years old, of course -- they just run things like they are 12 years old.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

@smith

they just run things like they are 12 years old.

This is such a ridiculous statement. It makes no sense. Name calling doesn't make good reasoning. Do you know how a 12 year-old run a nuclear facility? No.

1 ( +15 / -14 )

As I repeated many times, these anti-nuclear demonstrations are mobilized by left-wing activists. It looks like Japantoday is also polluted by the anti-nuclear sentiment.

The majority of people protesting and demonstrating are older people. Some of those are also organising protests. Not young left-wing activists.

People who speak out about the nuclear disaster or the future of nuclear energy are speaking out because they are concerned about the future for the country and the people.

Japan should never have built atomic reactors in the first place, with a long history of powerful earthquakes, mega tsunami's, volcano's. Located on the Pacifif Ring of Fire and a meeting place for three powerful tetonic plates.

The next general election will be won or lost on the future of nuclear energy.

1 ( +16 / -15 )

France proves that cheap, safe nuclear power can be done... which I guess is why anti-nuclear activists prefer to ignore it. If the anti-nuclear activists really cared about safety and the health of Japan, society and economy, instead of calling for the end of nuclear power, they would call for the Japanese government to copy the French policies on nuclear power.> The case in France can not be compared with Japan's case. Because the risk is not in the different policies about nuclear power, the risk is in the seismology of Japan and it's geomorphology. Japanese soils are full of faults, and in some cases this faults have not being activated yet, so even if they place reactors wherever, it is possible there is a non discovered fault near.. in France they doesn't have these problems. So Japaneses are being optimistic on thinking they can predict the seismic behaviour on construction sites, but thats not true, they now about the small possibilities of an earthquake that surpass the considered earthquake at the moment of the design of the reactor's structures. Even like that they continue.. I am civil engineer studying about isolation in Japan, so Iam concerned about the risks the are not considering in that decision.. isolation is thought as a solution but there is always the worst case of faults activation.. so Nuclear power should not being used in Japan.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

I am glad about the result of Yamaguchi prefectual governor race. Fearmongers lost. Japan is not a banana republic where demonstrations (mobs) topple the government.

-2 ( +14 / -16 )

"Although Mr. Iida lost, the results were encouraging for the antinuclear camp, with a strong showing in a region considered to be a conservative stronghold."

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/world/asia/nuclear-energy-opponent-loses-election-in-japan.html

Mr. Iida’s strong showing in opinion polls had even forced Mr. Yamamoto to backtrack on the pro-nuclear position long held by his supporters, the Liberal Democratic Party, the architects of Japan’s postwar civilian nuclear program.

Mr. Yamamoto said during the campaign that he would freeze plans to build a reactor on the prefecture’s coast. Many of Mr. Yamamoto’s supporters said they were against the reactor plans.

Speaking to supporters in Yamaguchi after his defeat, Mr. Iida was upbeat. “This is not the end, but the beginning,” he said. “There is a surge of antinuclear opinion, and that surely can’t be stopped.”

0 ( +9 / -9 )

So Yamamoto back-tracked on his pro-nuclear stance after the appearance of Iida, and many of Yamamoto's supporters are also anti-nuclear, anyway.

Yamaguchi is a very conservative prefecture, and IIda is a newcomer with no political background. I'd say he did pretty well.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Schopenhauer

I am glad about the result of Yamaguchi prefectual governor race. Fearmongers lost. Japan is not a banana republic where demonstrations (mobs) topple the government.

Guess what? Many of his supporters are also anti-nuclear. Yamamoto has even backtracked on his pro-nuclear stance. And Iida is a newcomer with no political background.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Japan should never have built atomic reactors in the first place, with a long history of powerful earthquakes, mega tsunami's, volcano's. Located on the Pacifif Ring of Fire and a meeting place for three powerful tetonic plates.

From what's been known Fukushima had problems because the 12yos who built it didn't do it according to spec (thinner walls, generators bellow sea level, etc) and preferred to take shortcuts and "save" money instead of lives. Military tanks probably can withstand an earthquake and a tsunami - build NPPs like one. Build them underground.

Last i heard Tokyo still stands. If anyone can live and build in the buzzwordy PRF it's the japanese.

Ok the tank analogy might've been silly but those with enough IQ and EQ and an opinion based on logic instead of emotions got the picture, regardless of their agreeing with it.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

Readers, please focus your comments on the Yamaguchi election result and no more nonsense about 12-year-olds.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

kchose - Nuclear power is not expensive. Nuclear power plants cost a lot to get started, but once they start generating electricity, they require minimal maintenance costs and the fuel costs little as so few of it is needed. In normal conditions, they also produce very little radiation around them and workers aren't radiated.

Oh, boy! Have you missed the events of the last 16 months? Not expensive? How much will the compensation end up costing TEPCO? How much has the J-Gov given to TEPCO as bail-out funds? And, how much is the price of electricity going to increase in September to pay for this clean, safe and cheap electricity? France does have a good track record and strict legislation governing nuclear power, but this is minimalist and corrupt Japan. the French nuclear agency also offered a cleanup crew to come in and shut down the Fukushima site within 4-5 years, but Japan said no. TEPCO has a plan of ten years to shut down Dai-Ichi.

I think horesfella said it best, "Unfortunately Japan has proven that expensive, unsafe nuclear power in the hands of 12 year-old children can't be done."

Moderator: Sorry, we asked readers to stay on topic. No reference to the Yamaguchi election here, so this post goes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Readers, no more references to 12-year-olds please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Could it be that all those who were protesting in Tokyo didn't vote on Sunday in Yamaguchi, because they were in Tokyo?

Could it be that the majority of anti-nuclear folks live in Tokyo? Considering the economies of the areas where the reactors are it's pretty easy to understand why the local populations support the reactors in their communities.

It's easy to protest about something that isn't in a manner of speaking, in your own backyard, and feeding your family as well.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Regardless of the outcome of this election, the majority of people no longer trust the gov't, the atomic safety agencies, the nuclear experts and scientists, the atomic power companies, in fact all those who are part of the nuclear decision making chain.

People living near an atomic power plant might fear for the loss of jobs, but they no longer sleep easy at night. The people living near the Oi plant have expressed concerns because they have not been informed of any evacuation plan.

If a Green Party appears by the time of next general election, they may not win it, but they would make in roads to the number of Diet seats held by all the other parties.

2 ( +15 / -13 )

Just shows that the opinion of the hippies...err...demonstrators without any feasible ideas (both foreign and locals) never count. Waving balloons/banners and banging drum doesn't bring solution to the table.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

Several governor's of prefectures with atomic plants have expressed concern over the safety of the plants. The governor of Niigata stated he was opposed to TEPCO restarting its seven reactor plant located there.

Whatever the future of nuclear energy will be, it will be different than before the nuclear disaster with the gov't stating future generation of power by nuclear energy will be limited to 15%.

1 ( +13 / -12 )

I wonder if the pro nuke tag team even lives in Japan?

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

It's easy to protest about something that isn't in a manner of speaking, in your own backyard, and feeding your family as well.

Yubaru, your words must sound slightly off the track to the tens of thousands who had Fukushima in their backyard and who are now struggling to feed their families.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Its the people of Tokyo and Kanto who use TEPCO power, not the people in Fukushima who suffered the most from the nuclear disaster?

0 ( +12 / -12 )

I guess the pro nuke tag team don't need facts, just the fantasy that nuclear energy is,

clean, cheap and safe.

But that myth is well and truly busted!

TAG away!

0 ( +12 / -12 )

VespertoJul. 30, 2012 - 12:39PM JST

Replace "radiated" for "severe respiratory problems" and you can say the same about coal.

Don't bother, you don't need to swap out irradiated (radiated is NOT the word they wanted to use, that means to put off radiation, not absorb it) , since coal workers are exposed to more radiation than nuclear plant workers on average.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

kchozeJul. 30, 2012 - 12:48PM JST

see the case of France, no significant accident in decades,

Well, there was one, but it was due to weapons manufacturing and not civil power systems.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Thomas AndersonJul. 30, 2012 - 01:05PM JST

This is hardly the "majority". Most polls show that 70%+ are against nuclear.

Most polls show that the number of indifferent people are 80%+, and only the people who care enough to vote are at MOST high 60%, most polls show the number down in the 30-40% range.

This election clearly shows that people would rather see properly managed nuclear than CO2, soot, and higher electrical prices.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

The governor of Fukushima has stated he will never again give his permission to restart any reactors in the prefecture and probably has the backing of most of the people of the prefecture.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

The case in France can not be compared with Japan's case.

Very true! France is a lot less prone to either earthquakes and/or tsunami. They also have "professionals" - not money-hungry leeches - taking care of their nuclear plants.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Regardless of the outcome of this election, the majority of people no longer trust the gov't, the atomic safety agencies, the nuclear experts and scientists, the atomic power companies, in fact all those who are part of the nuclear decision making chain.

So when are these "majority of people" adding solar panels to their roofs and disconnecting from TEPCO? Why not do something to proof that they actually believe that there is an alternative!

By the way, if they are really the majority and all of them disconnects from TEPCO, we will not need that many reactors! :)

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

There are no atomic power plants in Yamaguchi. They have been trying to build on on reclaimed sea land but the local opposition is strong.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

@zichi Since yesterday there is a green party in Japan! I don't know, why there are so few reports about the founding.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The "pro-nukes" are on the warpath!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

from the post

Adding to protesters’ frustrations is the support nuclear power has received from regional governments where the plants are located. They said they planned to vote anti-nuclear candidates into office to effect change.

Several prefecture governors, including Niigata and Fukushima have expressed their concerns about restarting the reactors.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

252,461 voters out of a prefecture population of 1.5 million voted for the winner of the election. I don't know how many people in the prefecture are of voting age, but I wouldn't call this some kind of pro nuclear vote because the majority of the people in this very conservative prefecture don't want an atomic plant built there, especially following the LEVEL 7 nuclear disaster in Fukushima.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

DonMajo

thank you. That's good to know and very much needed at this time.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

even as thousands of people formed “a human chain” around Japan’s Diet building complex WHERE SINGING,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejEVczA8PLU

Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase

Hakuna Matata! Ain't no passing craze

It means no worries for the rest of your days

It's our problem-free philosophy

Hakuna Matata!

Hakuna Matata?

Yeah. It's our motto!

What's a motto?

Nothing. What's a-motto with you?

Those two words will solve all your problems

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I am glad about the result of Yamaguchi prefectual governor race. Fearmongers lost. Japan is not a banana republic where demonstrations (mobs) topple the government.

Schopenhauer, with respect I think you're letting your emotions cloud your judgement. MOBS? Really? I see no riots here, no violence, no stampedes. I see orderly processions and the very healthy exercise of democracy. You don't like democracy? The right to voice an opinion? You don't like demonstrations or protests no matter how orderly?

You would wish to stifle all of that, I presume. And you talk of banana republics! Your way or the highway....

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@zichi: You're welcome!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

on a global scale i'd say there's your proof of ageing population right there, the thousands in the streets are the ones still willing to act up and capable of undergoing and enduring changes. The others .. well, i need to stay polite

2 ( +3 / -1 )

mrmaliceJul. 30, 2012 - 10:03PM JST

the thousands in the streets are the ones still willing to act up and capable of undergoing and enduring changes

Yes, those out there are the folks who have no jobs and appointments that are far more important than some crazy rhetoric about powering the country through fossil fuels(retired, etc), who also tend to be the ones that vote most. And even that wasn't enough to sway a place that zichi declared to have long been an anti-nuclear area. If an anti-nuclear area chooses nuclear, that means anti-nuclear sentaments aren't anywhere near as strong as people claim.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

basroil

And even that wasn't enough to sway a place that zichi declared to have long been an anti-nuclear area. If an anti-nuclear area chooses nuclear, that means anti-nuclear sentaments aren't anywhere near as strong as people claim.

The sentiment of not wanting an atomic power plant in the prefecture is much stronger than the outcome of this election which, at least in the minds of the voters was also about other issues and not just the nuclear one.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

zichiJul. 30, 2012 - 10:24PM JST

The sentiment of not wanting an atomic power plant in the prefecture is much stronger than the outcome of this election which, at least in the minds of the voters was also about other issues and not just the nuclear one.

So in other words, they do not consider nuclear power to be more dangerous to them than "petty" local issues. Their sentiment is being overestimated in strength.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Basroil,

I think the sentiment of not wanting an atomic plant in their prefecture is a very clear anti nuclear one.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

With an estimated cost of between 60 and 250 billion dollars for the Fukushima cleanup, which is conisdered as a "man-made disaster" according to the parliamentary investigation, nuclear power is obviously cheap and safe except for mankind. Let's remove the people to ensure the safety and cheapness of nuclear plants... SARCASM MODE off.

It cannot be expected that progressive political forces (renewable energy policy counts in fact progressice policy as it is about new technology and improved efficiency instead of absolute growth) can overturn the establishment, which is based on the opinions and vested interests of mostly rather uneducated people, in just one blow. Even in Germany, the country with the most extensive anti-nuclear movement, it took more than 15 years for the green anti-nuclear party to enter government, about 30 years to reach a general consensus of society (except a minority with vested interests) that a nuclear exit is the cheaper and safer solution on the long-term. Why on earth should notoriously conservative Japan find itslf on an lighter track? Ganbatte, IIDAsan.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Johannes WeberJul. 30, 2012 - 11:08PM JS

And what did their political shift bring? Higher electricity prices AND more deaths due to coal. Japan should be smarter and not go the same stupid route

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Since the Noda gov't gave permission for starting the Oi reactors the disproval rate for the gov't has increased to 63% making it one of the most unpopular in recent times.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

If the nuclear power folks are standing strong based on this one election, more power to them for believing in a snap-shot in a motion picture. FYI - one theme on HBO's "Newsroom" series last night was an interview where a TEPCO official claimed it Fukushima was a level 5 in public, but in private (off the record) he noted it was a level 7. Not many Americans caught the drift of that segment, but the show indicated that TEPCO and the government have something to hide. I keep telling my friends - This story is not going away! I'm also curious if the anti-nuclear candidate appeared too rabid for most conservatives?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Truly, looking at the bare statistical data in Germany and other developed countries (with a serious safety first paradigm), the statistical number of fatalities and diseases due to fossile fuel burning thermal plants exceeds the figure for nuclear plants. However, all of these numbers are in the margin of statistical uncertainty compatible with zero (for all sources). Furthermore, old thermal plants (before nations became aware of the corresponding health issues) enter the statistics. I wouldn't give too much on such statistics.

The higher electricity prices are not necessarily due to renewable energy, but also due to the increase of the prices for fossile fuels. Or to the necessity of safety improvement of existing nuclear plants. Which are considered unacceptably high if it costs more than half a billion euro for improved safety of one plants. If you can't afford operating a nuclear plants at modern standards (but shouldn't it be cheap?) then leave it in cold shutdown (or better don't start building it). Conservatives in Germany blame the high cost of nuclear waste disposal and the demolition of nuclear plants already on the energy shift towards renewables. How much more insance and detached from reality can conservatives ever become?

Furthermore, the main reason why consumer prices (for electricity) are so much on the rise in Germany is because the neo-cons in the government protect their buddies in the heavy industry from having to pay their share. The entirety of the increased cost has to be born by consumers and smaller companies, but not by those who have the highest consumption rates. If the market is manipulated, than there is no surprise that the outcome is disadvantageous to folks without a strong lobby.

The energy shift brings Germany a technological advantage, plenty of domestic jobs (even though the production cost cannot compete with cheap chinese manufacturing of PV cells anymore) and a reduced dependence on imports of primary energy. I'd call all three significant economic (and even geostrategical) advantages.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

The story here is the public protest not the minor election defeat.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The candidate lost because poor farmers in those regions are won over by government officials who promise jobs; the same happens in the USA.

Nuclear power is not cheap or safe. The amount of radioactive waste they produce is an increasing problem in the USA. In Japan, it's even worse. The area in Japan designated for that waste has already reached full capacity. Therefore, nuclear power plants are having to store the waste right at their own facilities. Where will they store it once those areas reach full capacity? And, incidentally, those plants were never designed to hold radioactive waste, so how safe can this be? Nuclear power is horrible. We had three major warnings: Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. If something happens again, we've only ourselves to blame. And, someone commented that the "occasional incident" etc., is unfortunate, but not the norm. That "occasional incident" has resulted in an entire region of an advanced, developed nation being rendered uninhabitable. It's a high price to pay. Too high.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

@FightingViking

"not money-hungry leeches"

Your comment is insulting to the engineers who operate Japan's nuclear plants. I've worked with a number of them in Kansai and Shimane. All show more intelligence in their little fingers than you appear to have in your head. At one of the most outdated nuclear plants in Japan, nobody has yet died as a result of an event that elsewhere killed 20,000 people. To me, that's testimony to their skill.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

So the protests don't reflect the attitudes of the "silent majority?" I guess I'm not surprised. Good that the issue was put to a vote though. That's the way democracy is supposed to work.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

So funny to see that so few people voted after all, and so little figures judgements are based on : how many died because of radiations? Because of lack of A/C? Be rational everyone. Think of quality/price approach, not your idea nor personal interest.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Like I said, many of Yamamoto's supporters are anti-nuclear, Yamamoto has backtracked on his pro-nuclear stance and Iida is a newcomer and he has already gotten a lot of votes. This is actually encouraging for the anti-nuclear camp.

basroil

This election clearly shows that people would rather see properly managed nuclear than CO2, soot, and higher electrical prices. Jonathan Prin Think of quality/price approach, not your idea nor personal interest.

Except that the price of coal/fossil fuels have plummeted. And TEPCO is the only company that is hiking up the price of electricity.

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/atmoney/news/20120730-OYT1T01241.htm

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Nuclear power is neither cheap or safe. The trouble is, people believe what the government tells them. Japan is waking up. Why can't we? Nuclear power stations are not cheap to run or to maintain, or to decommission at the end of their lives, and the waste remains active and lethal for thousands of years. Have you ever wondered why there is so much cancer about these days? Why do you want more?

Pro-nuclear is very similar to pro-gun. Gun sales have rocketed in America since the cinema shooting. Totally mystifying. Is it a death wish? Or just insanity?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Nuclear power is so expensive compared with other forms of energy that it has become “really hard” to justify, according to the chief executive of General Electric, one of the world’s largest suppliers of atomic equipment. “It’s really a gas and wind world today,” said Jeff Immelt, referring to two sources of electricity he said most countries are shifting towards as natural gas becomes “permanently cheap”. At the same time, a 75 per cent fall in solar panel market prices in the past three years has made solar power competitive with daytime retail electricity prices in some countries, according to a recent report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, while offshore wind turbine prices have steadily declined.

Financial Times 30th July 2012

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Judith Kelman Aug. 01, 2012 - 03:51AM JST. Nuclear power is so expensive compared with other forms of energy that it has become “really hard” to justify,

First quarter 2012 U.S. Energy Information Administration stats: Some facts: 1)Wind was 17 times higher than the cost of nuclear power 2)Wind was 5 times higher than the cost of coal power 3)Solar was 31 times higher than the cost of nuclear power 4)Solar was 9 times higher than the cost of coal power As March 2012, Nuclear power generated 13.5% of all world electricity and solar a mere 0.6%.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This is actually encouraging for the anti-nuclear camp.

No it's not. With the entire media on his side with free exposure, he got a mere 35%. It's almost the exact same result as the one recently held for Kagoshima.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

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