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Typhoon Hagibis floods carry away Fukushima nuclear waste bags in their thousands

2,667 Radioactive Bags From Fukushima Swept Away By Typhoon Hagibis   https://newspunch.com/1667-radioactive-bags-fukushima-swept-away-typhoon-hagibis/, October 14, 2019 Baxter Dmitry   As Typhoon Hagibis hammered Japan on Saturday, thousands of bags containing radioactive waste at Fukushima were reportedly carried into a local stream by floodwaters.Experts warn the radioactive bags could have a devastating environmental impact across the entire Pacific region, reports Taiwan News.

According to Asahi Shimbun, a temporary storage facility containing 2,667 bags storing radioactive contaminants from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster were “unexpectedly inundated by floodwaters brought by Typhoon Hagibis.

Torrential rain flooded the storage facility and released the bags into a waterway 100 meters from the site.

Officials from Tamara City in Fukushima Prefecture said that each bag is approximately one cubic meter in size.

Authorities were only able to recover six of the bags by 9 p.m. on Oct. 12 and it is uncertain how many remain unrecovered while the potential environmental fallout is being assessed.

The radioactive waste swept away by Typhoon Hagibis represents the latest setback for Fukushima officials who have struggled to adequately quarantine the radiation.

StatesmanJournal reports: Seaborne radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster has been detected on the West Coast of the United States.

Cesium-134, the so-called fingerprint of Fukushima, was measured in seawater samples taken from Tillamook Bay and Gold Beach in Oregon, researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are reporting.

Because of its short half-life, cesium-134 can only have come from Fukushima.

Also for the first time, cesium-134 has been detected in a Canadian salmon, the Fukushima InFORM project, led by University of Victoria chemical oceanographer Jay Cullen, is reporting.

In both cases, levels are extremely low, the researchers said, and don’t pose a danger to humans or the environment.

Massive amounts of contaminated water were released from the crippled nuclear plant following a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. More radiation was released to the air, then fell to the sea.

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October 15, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, wastes | Leave a comment

Climate and nuclear threats join in Japan’s multibillion-dollar typhoon disaster.

October 15, 2019 Posted by | climate change, Japan | Leave a comment

Bags of debris from Fukushima disaster swept away in typhoon

October 15, 2019 Posted by | climate change, environment, Japan, wastes | Leave a comment

Ex-trade minister Hiroshige Seko involved in nuclear gifts scandal

October 14, 2019 Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

A million tonnes of radioactive water and nowhere to go – Fukushima

At Fukushima plant, a million-tonne headache: Radioactive water,  https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/at-fukushima-plant-a-million-tonne-headache-radioactive-water-11972442 FUKUSHIMA, 11 Oct 19, : In the grounds of the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant sits a million-tonne headache for the plant’s operators and Japan’s government: Tank after tank of water contaminated with radioactive elements.

What to do with the enormous amount of water, which grows by around 150 tonnes a day, is a thorny question, with controversy surrounding a long-standing proposal to discharge it into the sea, after extensive decontamination.

The water comes from several different sources: Some is used for cooling at the plant, which suffered a meltdown after it was hit by a tsunami triggered by a massive earthquake in March 2011.

Groundwater that seeps into the plant daily, along with rainwater, add to the problem.

A thousand, towering tanks have now replaced many of the cherry trees that once dotted the plant’s ground.

Each can hold 1,200 tonnes, and most of them are already full.

“We will build more on the site until the end of 2020, and we think all the tanks will be full by around the summer of 2022,” said Junichi Matsumoto, an official with the unit of plant operator TEPCO in charge of dismantling the site.

TEPCO has been struggling with the problem for years, taking various measures to limit the amount of groundwater entering the site.

There is also an extensive pumping and filtration system, that each day brings up tonnes of newly contaminated water and filters out as many of the radioactive elements as possible.

HIGHLY RADIOACTIVE

The hangar where the decontamination system runs is designated “Zone Y” – a danger zone requiring special protections.

All those entering must wear elaborate protection: a full body suit, three layers of socks, three layers of gloves, a double cap topped by a helmet, a vest with a pocket carrying a dosimeter, a full-face respirator mask and special shoes.

Most of the outfit has to burned after use.

“The machinery filters contain radionuclides, so you have to be very protected here, just like with the buildings where the reactors are,” explained TEPCO risk communicator Katsutoshi Oyama.

TEPCO has been filtering newly contaminated water for years, but much of it needs to go through the process again because early versions of the filtration process did not fully remove some dangerous radioactive elements, including strontium 90.

The current process is more effective, removing or reducing around 60 radionuclides to levels accepted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for water being discharged.

But there is one that remains, which cannot be removed with the current technology: Tritium.

Tritium is naturally present in the environment, and has also been discharged in its artificial form into the environment by the nuclear industry around the world.

There is little evidence that it causes harm to humans except in very high concentrations and the IAEA argues that properly filtered Fukushima water could be diluted with seawater and then safely released into the ocean without causing environmental problems.

“ABSOLUTELY AGAINST IT”

But those assurances are of little comfort to many in the region, particularly Fukushima’s fishing industry which, like local farmers, has suffered from the outside perception that food from the region is unsafe.

Kyoichi Kamiyama, director of the radioactivity research department at the regional government’s Fisheries and Marine Science Research Centre, points out that local fishermen are still struggling eight years after the disaster.

“Discharging into the ocean? I’m absolutely against it,” he told AFP.

At the national government level, the view is more sanguine.

“We want to study how to minimise the damage (from a potential discharge) to the region’s reputation and Fukushima products,” an Industry Ministry official said.

The government is sensitive to fears that people inside Japan and further afield will view any discharge as sending radioactive waste into the sea.

No decisions are likely in the near-term, with the country sensitive to the international spotlight that will fall on Japan as it hosts the Olympic Games next year.

Environmentalists are also resolutely opposed to any discharge into the sea, and Greenpeace argues that TEPCO cannot trusted to properly decontaminate the water.

The solution, said Greenpeace senior nuclear specialist Shaun Burnie, “ultimately can only be long-term storage and processing.”

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Appeal against acquittal of Tepco executives over Fukushima nuclear disaster

With appeal of Tepco acquittal, thousands hit by Fukushima nuclear disaster seek closure, KAHOKU SHIMPO, JAPAN TIMES, OCT 11, 2019

Plaintiffs have appealed a ruling handed down by the Tokyo District Court in mid-September that found three former Tokyo Electric Power Co. executives not guilty of professional negligence. A class action lawsuit against the executives claimed they had failed to apply the proper safety measures to prevent the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, despite being aware of the devastating effect tsunami would have.

Ruiko Muto, the 66-year-old leader of the class action lawsuit against former Tepco executives, has tirelessly conducted talks around the country since the nuclear disaster in 2011, which saw three of the six core reactors of the Fukushima No. 1 power plant go into meltdown after massive tsunami struck the facility.

“Grassroots efforts are what pushes forward the social change we need to see,” she said, adding, “awareness spreads only when each individual starts to think about the issue at hand.”

Muto has campaigned for the end of nuclear power for over 30 years. Seeing the devastating effects of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident in the former Soviet Union catapulted her into the anti-nuclear movement…..

The disaster upended daily life as local residents knew it and tore apart the social fabric of societies and communities around the area. Eight and a half years on, the victims are still grappling with the loss of their homes, and are turning to the courts for answers and closure….https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/10/11/national/tepco-acquittal-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-closure/#.XaDi30YzbIU

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

A-bomb survivor Toshiki Fujimori urges nuclear haves and have-nots to join hands on abolition  

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/10/11/national/atomic-bomb-toshiki-fujimori-nuclear-haves-have-nots/#.XaDl-0YzbIUJIJI  NEW YORK – Hibakusha Toshiki Fujimori called for nuclear states and non-nuclear states to cooperate on abolishing atomic weapons as a meeting on the subject was held at U.N. headquarters in New York on Thursday.

Fujimori, 75, assistant secretary-general at the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo), urged both sides to join forces to bring about a peaceful world.

Fujimori was exposed to radiation from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, while his mother was carrying him on her back to a hospital. After the bombing, six of his 12 family members died, Fujimori said.

Three days after, the second U.S. atomic bomb devastated Nagasaki.

NEW YORK – Hibakusha Toshiki Fujimori called for nuclear states and non-nuclear states to cooperate on abolishing atomic weapons as a meeting on the subject was held at U.N. headquarters in New York on Thursday.

Fujimori, 75, assistant secretary-general at the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo), urged both sides to join forces to bring about a peaceful world.

Fujimori was exposed to radiation from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, while his mother was carrying him on her back to a hospital. After the bombing, six of his 12 family members died, Fujimori said.

Three days after, the second U.S. atomic bomb devastated Nagasaki.

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry in Japan – as corrupt as ever?

Hidden gold, ‘murky’ payoffs threaten Japan nuclear revival,  Straits Times,  TOKYO (BLOOMBERG) 9 Oct 19, – A payoff scandal has struck Japan’s nuclear world, threatening to delay the restart of idled reactors in what’s becoming the industry’s biggest crisis since the Fukushima meltdown of 2011.The issue, which emerged at the end of last month, centres around how an influential municipal official in a town that hosts a nuclear plant spent years doling out large gifts to executives of its operator, one of the country’s biggest power producers.

It’s an example of how big business and small towns work together, sometimes at the expense of corporate governance.

The payments to senior management at Kansai Electric Power Co included hundreds of millions of yen, US currency, vouchers for tailored suits and even gold coins hidden in a box of candy.

To make matters worse, the official in question was close to – and received money from – a company that won construction work from the utility.

The news is a blow to an already deeply unpopular industry as it seeks to resume operations at plants that were shuttered after Fukushima. It’s likely to have an impact beyond Kansai Electric, with the government’s top spokesman, who called the payoffs “murky,” vowing to investigate whether there are similar cases at other companies.

It’s also a headache for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has set his stall as a proponent of nuclear power, a cheaper source of energy than imported fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas. And questions in Parliament about the scandal may delay Mr Abe’s efforts to pass a US trade deal and proceed towards changing the country’s pacifist Constitution.

…….The scandal is the latest exposure of governance issues at Japanese companies, which include the arrest last year of Nissan Motor Co’s chairman for concealing more than US$140 million (S$193 million) in compensation and Kobe Steel’s indictment in 2018 for falsifying quality data.

Kansai Electric chairman Makoto Yagi and president Shigeki Iwane bowed in apology at a three-hour public briefing last week as they detailed how they and 18 other executives received almost 320 million yen (S$4.12 million) in cash and presents from 2006 to 2018 from Mr Eiji Moriyama, the former deputy mayor of Takahama town, where a nuclear power plant is located. Mr Moriyama died at the age of 90 in March……..

The immediate risk for Kansai Electric is that the issue may delay the restart of three of its reactors, including two in the town in question, Takahama. Every month a reactor stays offline saddles the utility with extra fuel costs of 3.6 billion yen ……….

Kansai Electric’s investigation will leave no stone unturned to determine the cause and events surrounding the payments, the company said in an e-mailed response. The utility will also make efforts to ensure that this type of incident doesn’t happen again, it said.

In a sense, the goings-on at Kansai Electric suggest things haven’t changed in the nuclear industry. They mirror what independent investigators said in a 2012 report led to the scale of the Fukushima meltdown: collusion between government officials and a power company.

“This is the nuclear village at its worst,” Temple University’s Mr Kingston said, referring to the nexus of companies, politicians, bureaucrats and others that promote atomic power. “The cosy and collusive ties are a hotbed of corruption and raise questions about other plants.” https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/hidden-gold-murky-payoffs-threaten-japan-nuclear-revival

October 10, 2019 Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

KEPCO execs’ acceptance of huge gifts angers local consumers, Fukushima evacuees

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Kansai Electric Power Co. Chairman Makoto Yagi, left, and President Shigeki Iwane, center, head to a news conference in Osaka’s Fukushima Ward on Oct. 2, 2019.
 
October 3, 2019
OSAKA — The finding that Kansai Electric Power Co. (KEPCO) executives accepted a huge amount of gifts from a former senior official of a town hosting one of its nuclear plants has sparked anger among local consumers and people who evacuated to the Kansai region in western Japan in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
It has also come to light that the late senior official, Eiji Moriyama, former deputy mayor of the Fukui Prefecture town of Takahama, himself received 300 million yen in commission from a local construction company that was hired for projects at a nuclear complex. This has raised suspicions that money paid by KEPCO to the construction company was returned to the utility in the form of gifts from the top local government official, who had influence on nuclear power projects.
“The electricity bills we paid ended up being pocketed by executives of KEPCO,” lamented a 78-year-old man from Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, west of Osaka. He also criticized the company’s in-house punishments — including two-month pay cuts and severe reprimands — as being “too lenient.” “They should gracefully step down,” he said.
Hideo Iida, secretary-general of the liaison council of Osaka consumers affairs organizations, described the executives’ acceptance of the huge gifts as “outrageous.” He said the money and gifts that KEPCO executives accepted from Moriyama “can obviously be traced to money collected from consumers as electricity bills.”
“Specific reasons why KEPCO, which is a major company in the Kansai region and a contractee, were so afraid of Moriyama (that they say they couldn’t return the money and gifts to him) remain unclear. Further information disclosure is necessary,” he said.
A 44-year-old woman who voluntarily fled from the city of Fukushima to Osaka Prefecture with her three children following the outbreak of the nuclear crisis in March 2011, said the scandal has deepened her distrust in electric power companies.
“I thought, ‘Oh no, not again,'” she said. “While there are no prospects for restoration of the (nuclear) disaster-hit areas, a massive amount of money is being moved behind the scenes to restart idled nuclear plants. It’s so insincere,” she lamented.
At the latest news conference, KEPCO President Shigeki Iwane, who also heads the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, expressed enthusiasm about promoting the use of atomic power.
“KEPCO executives accepted cash and gifts from Moriyama apparently because the utility felt that it couldn’t win local residents’ understanding of restarting nuclear power plants if it went by an orthodox method. They should keep in mind that the nuclear disaster threatened people’s livelihoods,” said the woman.

October 8, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Scandal-hit head of Japan’s Kansai Electric has no plans to resign

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October 2, 2019
Scandal highlights corporate governance challenges
* Executives admitted taking $3 million in cash and gifts
* Official had sought support for local economy -report
By Junko Fujita
TOKYO, Oct 2 (Reuters) – The president of Japan’s Kansai Electric Power Co has no intention of resigning, he said on Wednesday, after admitting that he and 19 company employees had received payments and gifts worth 320 million yen ($3 million).
The scandal, at a time when the Japanese public’s trust in nuclear power companies is already at rock-bottom, suggests that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for better corporate governance still has a long way to go in the world’s third-largest economy.
Shigeki Iwane, who admitted last week to receiving payments, told a news conference he wanted to stay in his position and regain the public’s confidence.
“I want to fulfil my responsibilities by taking leadership in finding the cause of what happened and taking preventive measures,” Iwane told a news conference broadcast live on NHK.
Kansai Electric earlier announced that its internal investigation found that 20 executives, including Iwane, had received cash, gift certificates and business suits from Eiji Moriyama, the now deceased deputy mayor of Takahama, where the company has a nuclear power station.
The report did not give an overall total of how much had been paid, but Iwane has previously said he and the others received 320 million yen in cash and gifts over a seven-year period.
Moriyama exerted influence over local government officials, the internal report said, and sought to influence them to support the local economy and use local businesses as suppliers.
The payments raise governance concerns because they were disclosed only after the matter was raised by the local tax bureau, said Moody’s analyst Yukiko Asanuma.
“The cash payments … add to existing negative public sentiment around nuclear power generation,” Asanuma said.

October 8, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan utility execs received payments from town official

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By MARI YAMAGUCHI
September 27, 2019
TOKYO (AP) – A Japanese public utility admitted Friday that 20 of its executives, including its president, received $3 million in cash and gifts over seven years from a former town official in western Japan where it has a nuclear power plant.
The admission underscores the continuing collusion between officials and Japan’s nuclear industry.
Kansai Electric Power Co. President Shigeki Iwane acknowledged that he and the executives received the gifts from the former deputy mayor of Takahama town in 2011-2018. Former Kansai Electric Chairman Makoto Yagi, who also was chairman of the powerful industry group Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan in 2011-2016, was also a recipient.
The case surfaced during a tax inspection.
Iwane apologized and said the money was mostly returned.
He said he first met the man soon after becoming Kansai Electric president in 2016 and was given a congratulatory gift.
Iwane said he resisted but accepted it because he was afraid that hurting the influential man’s feelings would harm the company’s business. Public trust in nuclear safety had been shattered in Japan following the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
“I was afraid that insisting on returning the gifts would strain our relations and may cause an adverse impact on our nuclear business in the region,” he said. He refused to say what the gift was, but said he kept it in a safe and was planning to return it to the man later.
Trade and industry minister Isshu Sugawara called the scandal “outrageous.” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that “As public utility operators, public trust is indispensable. It’s a serious problem that they accepted money and gifts in such a murky way.”
No criminal charges have been filed, but legal experts said Kansai Electric officials may be guilty of bribery if the flow of the money was premeditated.
Media reports said the money had been received by the Takahama official as a “handling fee” from a contractor at the nuclear plant.
Iwane said the contract between the utility and the contractor was appropriate and that he and other executives were not aware that the money was coming from an alleged kickback.
Such payments are illegal and if Kansai Electric executives were aware of where the money came from, they could be held liable for breach of trust, said lawyer and former prosecutor Yasuyuki Takai.
“As top executives of a public utility that serves as the foundation of Japan’s energy industry, they should not have done that, regardless of the criminality of the case,” he said in an interview with NHK public television.
Local officials said the former deputy mayor was a powerful fixer who brought two nuclear reactors to the town.
“Traditionally, nuclear plants and host communities tend to be closely bound by money,” Kenichi Oshima, an economics professor at Ryukoku University in Kyoto and an expert on nuclear energy costs and finance, told NHK.

October 7, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear Scandal Hangs Over Japan’s Abe as Parliament Opens

Nuclear Scandal Hangs Over Japan’s Abe as Parliament Opens, By 

Isabel Reynolds October 4, 2019,
  •  Abe seeks to pass U.S. trade pact, work to revise constitution
  •  Opposition want to use Kansai Electric scandal to derail plans

Questions in parliament about a nuclear payoff scandal threaten to delay Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s bid to pass a U.S. trade pact and make progress toward changing the country’s pacifist constitution.

Opposition lawmakers have pledged to hammer Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party as the new session opened Friday over revelations that executives at Kansai Electric Power Co. took millions of dollars in payments, including gold coins hidden in a box of sweets, from a former local official in a town that hosts a major nuclear plant. Minority parties want to summon the executives for questioning in parliament….. (subscribers only) https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-04/nuclear-scandal-hangs-over-japan-s-abe-as-parliament-opens

October 5, 2019 Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Bribery scandals in Japan’s nuclear power sector

Executives in Japan Nuclear Scandal Blame Dead Local Official. By Aaron Clark.  Stephen Stapczynski, and Shiho Takezawa  news,com,au October 3, 2019

  • Kansai Electric officials took $3 million in cash and gifts
  •  Payments came from deputy mayor of town hosting nuclear plant

Top Japanese utility executives who admitted to taking illicit payments related to their nuclear business sought to deflect blame onto a deceased local official and vowed to stay in their roles, potentially deepening the nation’s latest corporate governance scandal.

Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Chairman Makoto Yagi and President Shigeki Iwane spent more than three hours Wednesday detailing in a public briefing how they and 18 other executives received nearly 320 million yen ($3 million) in cash and gifts, including suits and gold, from a former deputy mayor in the western town Takahama, which hosts the company’s biggest nuclear plant. They didn’t return the payments because the official, who died in March at the age of 90, wielded influence and intimidated employees, they said.

The Kansai Electric payments are the latest-high profile exposure of corporate malfeasance in Japan, which include the arrest last year of Nissan Motor Co.’s chairman for concealing more than $140 million in compensation and Kobe Steel Ltd.’s indictment in 2018 for falsifying quality data. It also follows the acquittal last month of executives charged with negligence related to the Fukushima meltdown, which has loomed in the background of the nation’s worst nuclear scandal since the 2011 disaster…….

Nuclear Nerve

That the drama is playing out in the nuclear power industry touches a raw nerve in Japan, where the technology has been shunned since the trauma of Fukushima. Public opinion has consistently been opposed to restarting the nation’s reactor fleet, once the biggest source of atomic power in Asia, as trust in the both the industry and regulators hasn’t recovered………

Gold, Suits, Cash

The company also revealed new details Wednesday of the gifts and cash Moriyama gave to executives from 2006 to 2018. Satoshi Suzuki, director of the utility’s nuclear power division, received the most at 123.7 million yen, which included 500 grams of gold and 14 suits, as well as $35,000 in U.S. currency.

Kyodo News also reported that Yoshida Kaihatsu, a local company that paid Moriyama money that was funneled to officials, won contracts worth at least 2.5 billion yen for work at Kansai’s nuclear power plant. Moriyama was also a part-time adviser for a Kansai Electric unit from 1987 through December last year.  https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/climate-change/climate-action-summit-greta-thunberg-rips-into-leaders-over-mass-extinction/news-story/2c8d4aac13cb60507a41b48c2ef3d8f2

October 4, 2019 Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Dispute between Japan and South Korea, over radiation levels in Fukushima food exports

September 30, 2019 Posted by | Japan, radiation, South Korea | Leave a comment

Koizumi hopes son will push for abandonment of nuclear power

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Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi gives a speech in Hitachi, Ibaraki Prefecture, on Sept. 15.
September 16, 2019
HITACHI, Ibaraki Prefecture–Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said he hopes his son in his new position in the Cabinet will wean Japan from nuclear power and expand the use of natural energy.
In a speech here on Sept. 15, Koizumi said he was happy that his son, Shinjiro, 38, was appointed environment minister, his first Cabinet post, last week.
“He has studied things more than I did,” Koizumi said. “The environment is the most pressing issue. I want him to abandon nuclear power and turn Japan into a nation that can develop on natural energy.”
Koizumi also reiterated that he made a mistake when he promoted nuclear power when he was prime minister from 2001 to 2006.
Pro-nuclear advocates had said that nuclear power was safe, low-cost and clean, but Koizumi said the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in 2011 “proved all three ‘virtues’ false.”
He said Japan has abundant natural energy and should seek a path that does not rely on nuclear power.

September 26, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment