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VOX POPULI: Nuclear power in Japan may be a mistake we are doomed to repeat

A huge tsunami is seen approaching the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on March 11, 2011. (Provided by Tokyo Electric Power Co.)

July 7, 2022

The Supreme Court was extremely lenient with the government in its June 17 verdict concerning the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe of 2011.

Multiple high courts had already ruled that the government was liable for damages for failing to order Tokyo Electric Power Co. to take sufficient preventive measures against a potentially disastrous tsunami.

The top court, however, overturned all these rulings.

Explaining the reason, the presiding justice noted to the effect that the tsunami turned out to be “simply too massive.”

The gist of his argument was that since the accident would have occurred anyway even if the government had ordered TEPCO to install a seawall, his court could not hold the government responsible as a nuclear safety regulator.

What an utterly magnanimous ruling for a government that failed to do its part. This is akin to giving someone a pass because they are too inexperienced or immature to be treated seriously.

I could not possibly support this ruling. However, trying to go along with the court’s reasoning just for the sake of argument, the conclusion to be drawn is the government was never capable of regulating a nuclear power plant at all.

Ultimately, any discussion of nuclear power boils down to whether humans are ever capable of being a party to handling it.

Radioactive nuclear waste must be kept isolated for an utterly mind-boggling period of 100,000 years. We have also learned that once a nuclear accident occurs, we cannot even go near the accident site, let alone control it.

For some years after the Fukushima disaster, the idea of ending nuclear power generation was a major issue in national elections.

A decade has elapsed, however, and the issue is hardly “hot” in the July 10 Upper House election. In fact, the recent rise in energy prices has given a boost to advocates for a greater reliance on nuclear energy.

If radioactive nuclear waste could talk, it must be scoffing at our forgetfulness and taunting us: “You will never be able to measure us by your yardstick.”


July 10, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment