Demonstration for the resumption of the Nuclear Power Plant Operations
(This article was published at the end of November)
Eliminating Nuclear Power is a “Homicidal” Act
“The Nuclear Power Plant Promotion Group consisting of the Northeastern People of Japan” held demonstrations and demanded the resumption of plant operations in front of the Prime Minister’s Office in Akasaka, Tokyo, last November. The event was a joint effort organized by the Fukushima, Miyagi, and Yamagata Prefectural headquarters of the Happiness Realization Party, and busloads full of people from all three prefectures participated in the rally. About 350 participants came together for the cause, including supporters from Tokyo metropolitan area.
The demonstrators argued that to rebuild Northeastern Japan it was absolutely necessary that nuclear power plants resumed operations (see photograph). They also expressed their anger that, even though not a single person died as a consequence of the radiation released after the Fukushima accident, people had been forced to move from their homes, resulting in several suicides and the further deterioration of some sick people’s health.
Four representatives from all of the three prefectures visited the Cabinet Office. They submitted a petition, addressed to then Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, which demanded the retraction of the plans to abolish nuclear energy. They asked for nuclear power plants to resume operations as soon as possible. After they handed over the petition to Prime Minister, the spokesperson for the Cabinet Office told the demonstrators: “It is truly unusual to have people from Fukushima come here, and ask us to allow the nuclear power plants to resume operations. I will be sure to pass your petition onto the Prime Minister.”
The Discontinuation of Nuclear Power Will Endanger Human Lives
If the power supply to cold areas of Japan like Tohoku and Hokkaido is interrupted this winter, human lives will be at stake. Many elderly people have already met their death in cold temperatures because they were unable to use heat due to the consequences of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Since Hokkaido Electric Power Co. has halted operations of its nuclear reactors, power shortages could occur if any of the power plants were to experience accidents or other kinds of trouble next February, the coldest time of the year, and people are fearful of the consequences. In an effort to reduce power outages, including scheduled interruptions of the power supply in certain areas, the government has asked Hokkaido to save over seven percent more energy this winter than last year. However, as electricity and heat needs to be used during the winter, saving energy is going to take its toll on the local businesses and people’s daily lives.
This summer alone, 28 people died of heat stroke in their homes in Tokyo. 23 of them had not been using air conditioning. If the discontinuation of nuclear power generation moves forward, every year we will see more and more heat stroke victims in the summer, while many more people will die of hypothermia in the cold Tohoku and Hokkaido regions in the winter.
Japanese Nuclear Power Plants are Extremely Safe! – Something the Media Has Failed to Mention
The Great East Japan Earthquake damaged five nuclear power plants. However, only Fukushima’s No 1 Reactor was severely damaged; the other four nuclear power plants outside Fukushima did not suffer any major damage. Tohoku Electric Power Co.‘s Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant in Miyagi Prefecture, which was closer to the epicenter of the quake than Fukushima No 1 Reactor, safely stopped operating when the thirteen-meter tsunami hit. After the disaster, the facilities directly attached to the plant served as a center for evacuation, and they housed over 360 people who had lost their homes. In August this year, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspected the Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant and commented that “the lack of damage after the disaster (was) astonishing.” However, this noteworthy fact has hardly received any mention in the media.
It is a fact that Japanese nuclear power technology is among the best in the world. If we challenge our fate, and we wait too long before we allow our reactors resume operations, then it will be impossible to rebuild Northeastern Japan. More than ever, Japan is in need of political party that actively promotes the resumption of operations at Japan’s excellent nuclear power plants.