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Nuclear energy will be the wild card in next election

By Linda Sieg and Yuko Yoshikawa

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© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012.

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Albert Einstein the great thinker once said that the current global challenges are complex and cannot be solved by the same people and type of thinking that created them. Japan currently needs a new generation of innovative thinkers and leadership, not the that from people that promoted or benefit from nuke proriferation and currently in power or well connected to those in power. Nuclear electricity has no future. Can japan's great thinkers and leaders of this generation stand up to be counted?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Yeah, Zichi, but the bottom line is, the next election will be won by the party with the most convincing campaign lies. We had Ozawa claiming to make Japan nuclear free in ten years, which those of us in the real world know is physically impossible and just campaigning BS. I dare say we will have the democrats spouting they can do it in five years.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Supporting nuclear is political suicide.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

It doesn't matter who wins -- they are all exactly the same. The opposition of any party are dropouts from the opposition, or people who dropped out, formed lame new parties, and sought coalition. There are no valid options. Anyone playing the nuclear card -- for or against -- that garners any votes will start their new jobs by saying, "We will ganbarou to wean ourselves off of nuclear power, but for the time being we need it to avoid blackouts" etc., etc.

Then they will collude with the power companies not only to restart reactors but to build new plants on fault lines.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Next Prime Minister is a candidate who can offer solutions to energy crisis and economic growth.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

With no rolling blackouts and the nuclear not up yet, Japan has already won against nuclear. Reducing and being more efficient and being more innovative with renewables would only add to that and reduce fossil fuel usage. But everyone is in the pocket of the nuclear industries, so of course they will get them turned on.

Does no one cost these things? If the same X value going to nuclear went to insulating homes, solar, thermals, etc etc etc, on the same scale, there would never be a reason to consider nuclear.

When Ozawa is your only hope, and only then because even he can see that this is what the population wants, then it is a very sad day indeed.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Obviously for his own ends, not the population. But Ozawa want to get elected, and this is his ticket. Yikes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well people, it is sad most of you can not vote in Japan. I may not bother to vote myself. As China would say this is an internal matter for Japanese to decide. The sad truth is until the new plants are ready atomic power is important to Japan. Even Germany did not shut down all of their plants before new sources are available. So this election is about Japan becoming a 3rd world country.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

you equating the demise of nuclear with a 3rd world country? Nuclear and nuclear waste is no longer rational, especially in Japan. Equivalence fail

3 ( +3 / -0 )

For starters, those who think Japan can't be nuclear free in 10 years - Germany did it in 3 months. And we have gone nearly a year without nuclear power and without the crisis Noda and the pro-nuclear Keidanren told us it would be. It's not an empty promise. People here seem to be torn with their acceptance of anti-Ozawa propaganda, and the fact they agree with this, but just wish it was someone they liked better saying it.

Nuclear power will be no more decisive in the next national election than it was in the recent prefectural governor election in Yamaguchi. Anti-nuclear media and anti-nuclear citizens groups seem to be watching Japan expecting that after Fukushima, nuclear power should be the top of people's agendas. The problem is that Indies and western media got for more excited about that accident than people in Japan did. Nuclear power will be a significant issue in the next election, but it will not be decisive, and it will not get the SDP or the JCP more votes.

A more important factor in the next election - indeed the issue that has already ended the DPJ's hopes of reelection is the sales tax increase. The only problem here is that the other two most popular parties, and only seen credible alternatives supported the increase, just like they support Noda's pro-nuclear agenda. So there is really no one else to vote for, although if Ozawa's party and Hashimoto's Party pick up traction, it will be because of the sales tax more than nuclear power.

What SHOULD be the real issue, and what underpins both of these issues is the more fundamental issue that drives Ozawa: who should run Japan, elected lawmakers or unaccountable faceless bureaucrats? Noda and the LDP both share the same agenda of doing what bureaucrats tell them are the best policies - stable power supply with nuclear power, and increased public finances with increased sales tax, the latter against a promise made by the DPJ to win power.

Ozawa is stating policy positions not just because they are populist, but because they contradict the policy agenda of the unelected bureacracy that controls the manifestos of the DPJ, LDP and Komeito together. A vote for any one of those three parties is a vote to not trust democratic lawmaking.

I'd like to see any party not in those three somehow get elected, simply because it will mean the Japanese people choosing to be responsible for how they are misgoverned and not to give up and leave things simply for others to do for them. Japan needs more democracy, and it needs some populists to make it more democratic.

I'd love to see an election in Japan one day where the full spectrum of policies are actually debated for public choice - health, education, energy, defense, immigration, welfare, infrastructure, agriculture, trade... These elections based purely on personality and soundbyte oriented single policy slogans, like the nuclear debate, are moronic. Japan deserves better.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

zichiAug. 05, 2012 - 08:18AM JST

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

You yourself stated that people in the Yamaguchi electrion voted on more than just nuclear. Why the flip-flop now?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The next election will not be won on nuclear energy, it will be won on whatever the media chooses to focus on. Unfortunately, the media is so preoccupied with making Japan weak that they will ignore the social security and pension reform that MUST take place if Japan is ever to avoid defaulting on it's debt.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The sad truth is until the new plants are ready atomic power is important to Japan. Even Germany did not shut down all of their plants before new sources are available.

The sad truth is Japan is doing absolutely fine without nuclear, despite the hysteria and exaggerations from the pro-nuclear faction.

So this election is about Japan becoming a 3rd world country.

To be honest nuclear is not even the main problem... Japan is already about to become a 3rd world country anyway due to its debt and tons of other problems.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Thomas AndersonAug. 06, 2012 - 11:58AM JST

The sad truth is Japan is doing absolutely fine without nuclear, despite the hysteria and exaggerations from the pro-nuclear faction.

So electrical price increases four times larger than GDP growth is doing just fine? Or mandatory 15% cuts that are driving away manufacturing companies like Toyota and Sharp? If people have any sense in them they will weigh the risks AND benefits, as well as the politician's stance on other things like Kyoto protocol (if you get rid of nuclear but keep Kyoto, country goes bankrupt), corporate taxes (highest in the world, and even companies with large losses are forced to pay tax on top, driving away jobs), and social security/pensions (which will bankrupt the country now or 15 years later)

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

None of it matters, because the people have spoken. We are going with "zero" nuclear it seems. No amount of pro-nuclear scaremongering and rhetoric will change that fact.

Let's face it, even GE, one of the leaders of nuclear, is saying that nuclear is "difficult to justify" due to its high costs, and it's a "LNG, wind and solar" world.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is!

In all practicality the engineering to get nuclear to work and work safely never ends and has stretched the bounds of reality for too long. These engineers and experts should be spending more of their time dealing with reality and what can be done safely, not hoping everyday through hard effort that the whole thing doesn't come crashing down. Time to move on to energy sources that are not in of themselves lethal nor long term pollutants. That would be a more interesting endeavour, rather than always picking the basis of any system first upon the worst element/process they can find and pretend they can make it safe. Nutty.

There is plenty of work that needs to be done to make renewable systems more practical. If we take 1/10 of what was used to fund nuclear and needed for nuclear to run everyday we'd all be tickled pink at the results. That's where the hope and future lies.

Nuclear had its time. That time is over, as over as the legacy inflicted upon us as the generations now and beyond have to deal with nuclear waste.

Let nuclear go. It's time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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