Cozy relations continue between politicians, nuclear industry

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

  • 7

    mitoguitarman

    Truly disgusting.

  • 5

    minello7

    A well written article, just proving once again, nothing is changing.

  • 9

    zichi

    Basically, Japanese Big Nuke was given a free hand by decades of LDP governments which also wrote the nuclear energy policy and established the so called atomic safety agencies. The power companies were given subsidies and tax breaks to build their atomic plants.

    The scandal dates back to the mid 1950's when America pressed the country into having a nuclear energy policy, and suggested the government of the day hide the real truth of the dangers of nuclear energy from the people. No consideration was given to the fact that the country experiences more than 20% of the worlds most powerful earthquakes and has a history of powerful tsunamis. The nuclear energy policy was further spurred along with the oil crisis of the '60s and '70s.

    The LDP governments became willing bed fellows with Big Nuke and in return received large political donations. In return, the nuclear industry also receives nearly ¥500 billion every year for R&D.

    The power companies selected areas with poor people who were earning a living from seasonal farming and fishing and offered them employment and also billions in payments to buy their support. Big Nuke also gave grants to the best brains and universities.

    For the power companies everything was very rosy and earned billions of profit from nuclear energy. TEPCO grew into the largest power company in Asia and the fourth largest in the world.

    The nuclear reactors are no safer today than one year ago, except they are safer in cold shut down than when operating. On safety violations, TEPCO has been the worse and was fined several times. The atomic safety agencies could have done much more to ensure the highest levels of safety were being maintained.

    Recently, the current government even agreed to the request from the power companies to increase the life span of the reactors up to 60 years. This would triple the huge profits power companies make.

    The power companies were also allowed to have a monopoly on power supply. The cake was divided into nice slices on the mainland and a tenth in Okinawa. There should be a separation between commpanies generating power and others selling it. This would benefit the customer with lower power charges.

  • 5

    Cricky

    An industry pressure group overrides public concern and a week corrupt Government allows this, it's a disgace, the release of information has confirmed the pathetic nature of Governance of this industry. For any sovrein state to be bent by an industry dispays the immaturity of said state. Japan is a joke and can not be taken seriousy by other nation. It no longer matters who is PM or what party is in charge, business holds the power and the pretense of Democracy is shown to be a myth.

  • 7

    sillygirl

    THIS HAS GOT TO STOP!!

  • 1

    Ivan Coughanoffalot

    ** Japan is a joke and can not be taken seriousy by other nation. It no longer matters who is PM or what party is in charge, business holds the power and the pretense of Democracy is shown to be a myth.**

    Cricky - hear, hear.

  • 4

    smithinjapan

    Cricky: " Japan is a joke and can not be taken seriousy by other nation. It no longer matters who is PM or what party is in charge, business holds the power and the pretense of Democracy is shown to be a myth."

    Agree 100%. Today is the one-year anniversary of the quake/tsunami and naturally it's a day of sadness and mourning. But it's also a day for reflection, and I simply can't believe how so many failed to have learned anything from the nuclear disaster.

  • 4

    gaijinTechie

    These amakudari are doing worse damage to Japan than any terrorist act could.

  • 3

    electric2004

    Reading the book Dogs and Demons (tales from the dark side of Japan) from Alex Kerr, and one gets an idea where the problems come from.

  • 1

    oginome

    Reading the book Dogs and Demons (tales from the dark side of Japan) from Alex Kerr, and one gets an idea where the problems come from.

    The Emptiness of Japanese Affluence by Gavin McCormack is another very good book which deals with the collusion of politicans, bureucrats and business, even though I didn't agree with all his assertions and conclusion. His chapter on Japan's construction state was eye opening.

  • 4

    noriyosan73

    Exactly as predicted on March 12, 2011. Now, it is the voters turn. Do not vote for anyone who was part of the cover-up or in office more than two years at the time of the quake. New leadership is needed, and the voters have to take the first step.

  • 0

    ConservativeArtist

    Heads will only roll when we gain the courage to pick our swords. None will do it in our stead. So don't expect it.

  • -1

    Newsman

    Excellent story; AP is on the ball as usual.

  • 1

    DoLittleBeLate

    Nope, voters go "shouganai" and vote the same people because "they don't want to vote differently from onoe's neighbour". It's not in the Japanese nature to take responsibility nor action. I feel so sorry for Japanese children.

  • 2

    ConservativeArtist

    Who would the voters vote for? Who is running for office on the platform of accountability for Fukushima? On the platform of nuclear safety or else? On any platform related to this issue where changes are promised come hell or high water, delivered with a shaking fist and angry raised voice.

    None that I know of. And its not like the people get to vote on policy in this so-called "democracy". Your choice is the old boss or the new boss, same as the old boss. You have no choice. Voting is a joke.

  • 1

    BernieK

    the government vowed to crack down on the cozy relations between the nuclear industry and its regulators

    I remembered watching this youtube live. After Naoto Kan and Masataka Shimizu finished responding to the questions from the Japanese parliament, both walked out of the chamber into a hallway farside. This part was not shown on the youtube video. Naoto Kan went first then Masataka Shimuza right behind him. I remember in slow motion Masataka putting his right hand on Naoto's left shoulder and patting on it. It was saying to me, 'Thanks for the favor'

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0CcK8f2g4U

  • 1

    Disillusioned

    “Their actions are not required by law and so we don’t have a way of checking,”

    And, there it is folks! Your kids' lives are in the hands of these no-hopers! The safety of millions of people depends on the how structurally sound and how disaster ready these plants are, but there are no laws to make sure they are kept at safe standards? WTF?!?!?! Meanwhile, the brown paper bags keep flowing under the tables and everyone is fed BS like the article the other day exclaiming how nuclear power is safe way to the future. Aaaaaargh!!!!

  • 3

    zichi

    Their actions are not required by law and so we don't have a way of checking.

    Any company which owns and operates a potential highly dangerous plant, whether it's a nuclear power plant, a heavy chemical plant or an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico should be constantly researching on plant safety, and maintaining their plants to the highest levels possible. They should not just wait to be ordered by law or advised by an agency. They should become the leading experts in their areas of business. It makes great business sense to be at the forefront of technology and in the end can save serious accidents or disasters which can cost the company more than always putting safety first.

    I have worked for a number of those kind of companies in Britain and when there's still an accident they will receive less criticism from the authorities. There would be less criticism of TEPCO had it built, updated and maintained its Fukushima plant at the highest levels. It's the industry which should be setting the standards for all others to follow, and the role of agencies to ensure no cowboy firms are operating.

  • 1

    JapanGal

    What an exciting time to be alive.

  • 0

    Tigerta9

    Is there anything that can be done to reform the system

  • 1

    DoLittleBeLate

    Tigerta9, the Japanese system has never been changed by Japanese. First change occurred from Perry's black ships, the next was doings of Tibbet's silver "Enola Gay". Japanese do not evolve as a society, they exist only to preserve their stasis.

  • 0

    TheBigPicture

    Yep, it first must be determined that "this crummy technology has to go".

  • -2

    tmarie

    Countries who allow their citizens to vote get the government they deserve. The government knows the public won't fight and is apathetic so they can do as they wish. Until the "shoganai" infestation is done away with, the snakes will continue to do what they wish. One year on what has Japan really learned?! Nothing from where I sit. Yes, a minority has taken to the streets but the rest sit on their butts and do nothing. Until this stops, Japan will continue to slide deeper and deeper into the very large hole it's dug for itself.

  • 2

    almostshat

    Cricky for PM

  • 0

    marcelito

    Yes, one can' t help to feel anything else than total disgust...

  • 2

    Frank Rizzo

    If you ever needed a reason to leave Japan, this article gives it to you. This is proof that Japan cannot and will not change itself. I used to think that a big enough external shock might force Japan to change (the way the coming of the Westerners did in the mid 19th century and the way the American occupation did starting in 1945), but the fact that Japan has not changed in any substantial way since 311 has proved that Japan simply will not change. The present selfish bastards who run the show will sail the ship of state right onto the rocks, and they don't care how many lives they waste in the process. They might imagine themselves to be patriots, but they are the worst form of traitors: they are thinking only of their wallets and their own personal comfort at the expense of the entire nation of Japan and all the young people who live there.

    Few people fully realize the fact that Japan is not a democracy. The ministries make 90% of the laws in Japan. They send the budget up to the Diet, which rubber stamps it. So, how do you like living in a country that is run by unelected lifetime bureaucrats who have decades to make dirty backroom deals with industry?

    We forget that Fukushima was not the first nuclear accident in Japan that was the result of human error and lack of true regulation. Does anyone remember Monju and Tokaimura? It's only a matter of time before another accident happens. This is madness. Japan has rendered a vast swath of its agricultural heartland radioactive and allowed the capital to be covered with fallout and they still can't even make the most cosmetic changes to the nuclear industry. And don't think for a second that the fact that most plants are now offline portends any great change. The nuke industry and their ministry bitches are just biding their time before they ram nuclear power down the throat of the nation.

    Why put up with this? Why allow your life to be endangered so you can milk the country for a few more years of easy paychecks? The very best Japan can hope for is a long slow decline into xenophobic stagnation. The more likely trajectory is one of economic collapse punctuated with nationalist uprisings and regular nuclear accidents. Get out while the getting's good. Sure, most other countries have some form of corruption, but none have the insidious blend of passive population, lapdog media and the complete lack of means for change that curse Japan.

  • 0

    Ranger_Miffy2

    Oh, Great and Dandy. We're doomed...............

  • 2

    saru_au

    sadly I predict at least 1 more "fukushima" scale disaster will be required for anything to change in the JP nuke industry.

  • 0

    edbardoe

    All industries in Japan and any partially capitalist country, are "close" to their regulators. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. And what is the alternative? Government ownership of industry means the regulators and the industry are the same people! The Soviet nuclear disaster (far worse than the current crisis) needed no earthquake or tsunami, just the certainty of socialist/Communist incompetence to kill thousands. Be careful what you propose to "fix" an industry.

  • -2

    Nicky Washida

    @frank rizzo - how I wish I could disagree with you, but that was quite the most candid succinct analysis I have yet read. Sad, isn't it? As many have said the apathy comes from many being "ok" for now. What will happen when these suited leeches really do run the country into the ground? Not sure I want to stick around to see that.

  • 0

    Hikozaemon

    Wow, the title says that this is about cozy ties between politiicans and nuclear industry, and yet politicians aren't mentioned once anywhere in it.

    I'm sure there are cozy ties with politicians, but as the article correctly identifies, the only important relationhips for the industry are with regulators - and indeed, this is why the entire nuclear system is broken in Japan.

    At a more fundamental level, the fact that bureaucrats are so easily confused with politicians is also a fantastically succinct summary of what is wrong with Japanese politics at the same time.

  • 0

    Hikozaemon

    I venture to speculate the title was a mistake on the part of JT?

  • 2

    zichi

    To be fair, the cozy relationship for decades was actually between the LDP and the nuke industry

  • 2

    SquidBert

    To be fair, the cozy relationship for decades was actually between the LDP and the nuke industry

    And not to glorify Kan here or anything. But from what I hear, the major reason he was so unpopular with the bureaucrats was that they felt he threatened this setup. Not only for nuclear, but for a number of industries with similar cozy setups.But from what I heard this was particularly pronounced in the governmental agencies regulating the Nuclear Industry.

Login to leave a comment

OR

More in Politics

View all

View all