The relationship between money and nuclear power in Japan

I’m sorry, I was a little nervous because of the heating reactor2.

I wonder if you could help me understand the relationship between money and nuclear power. Did the Japanese people get bribed by the nuclear industry in order to approve the power plants? Do they keep the power plants for the sake of jobs and profits? Are the politicians bought and corrupted by money? Can you shed some light on the relationship between money and nuclear power in Japan?

In 1954, a fisher’s boat called Daigo Fukuryu maru was exposed because US had a nuclear test just beside the boat in Bikini.
Massive demonstration was held in Japan against nuclear power, but politician couldn’t resist the temptation of “nuclear power/weapon” and imported nuclear plants from America. Nuclear power plant is the plutonium factory. Having nuclear facility means you are always ready to have nuclear weapons. It’s not that you need nuclear weapon because you have enemy. It’s that you need enemy because you have nuclear weapon to justify yourself. Educational instituions like Tokyo university, mass media, TV, Newspaper were all used for propaganda. Textbook, movies, TV shows, everything was designed to brainwash people though Japan had nuclear attack twice even apart from the poor fisher’s boar. That was in 1960. Japanese economy was rapidly rising by the strong centralization. Manufacture, education, media, everything was optimized for mass production so it was very easy to propaganda, unlike now everyone has the internet. Still old school are brainwashed and being pro-nuke in Japan.

Centralization caused rural areas poverty. so poor local governments wanted nuclear power plants for lots of corruption money. It produced more job opportunities like nuclear worker or service industries for those workers. They were all paid from tax and electricity bill which is totally out of market rule. so the local governments were more and more addicted to the nuclear economy.

  1. I read and interesting article on the current Iran/US conflict from one of the website links I found in your blog (Enews maybe? I will search for it later.)

    The author stated that the real reason behind the Western Powers’ objection to Iran developing nuclear energy was because of their intention to become major players i the production of fuel rods. This coupled with their cooperation with the Russians, who are big players in the construction of Nuclear power plants, threatens the big profits made by the Western based mega-corporations involved.

    This wouldn’t be the first time that US forein policy was tailored, not for ‘national’ security interests, but for corporate profit.

    Keep up the good fight, Iori.

  2. A simplistic offering: the race between at least Germany and USA to develop this atomic bomb first. Military interests and two world wars plus two others in first part of 20th century, gave birth to a ‘military-industrial-complex’. Pres Eisenhower even briefly mentions ‘congressional’ which is the body of law makers. The idea of having might to AVOID war. Problem with all things nuclear is that it is harmful to all life.

    This kind of thinking was also transferred to how European and Asian nations were treated.

    There is also a youtube film of a Japanese doctor who in the last year spoke of how Japan was pressured by USA military to squelch the news of the harm of nuclear radiation.

    The military used ‘national security’ interests in hiding the facts of damage of DNA, health, deaths, and nuclear power is an excuse to have ‘good’ use of nuclear, while using it to also have the weapons. This also includes the United Nations empowering the IAEA (Intl military interests) to have veto power over the interests of WHO (health, World Health Organization).

  3. Al-Jazeera blasts the nuclear industry’s use of power and money to exert their influence over corrupt politicians and academics to cover up the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

    A featured article now on Al-Jazeera details the history of nuclear industry funded cover ups going back to World War 2 including the events surrounding the Chernobyl disaster and the current ongoing Fukushima nuclear meltdown.

    The article touches bases on pressing issues from the Japan’s current censorship of bad Fukushima news to past instances of First Amendment Violations of the Freedom of Press and the Freedom of Speech invoked by the U.S. government in the name of national security.

    Al-Jazeera also details the frustration being experienced by independent scientists who have experience a blackout of accurate and reliable information due to the corrupt influence the nuclear industry exerts over our politicians and academics with their seemingly endless supply of power and money.

    Al-Jazeera reports:

    Nuclear safety: A dangerous veil of secrecy

    Who can the public trust on nuclear safety – the anti-nuclear camp, the nuclear lobby or academics funded by the latter?

    August 11, 2011

    Anti-nuclear rallies marking the attack on Hiroshima don’t distinguish between nuclear energy and weapons [Reuters]

    There are battles being fought on two fronts in the five months since a massive earthquake and tsunami damaged the Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan.

    On one front, there is the fight to repair the plant, operated by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and to contain the extent of contamination caused by the damage. On the other is the public’s fight to extract information from the Japanese government, TEPCO and nuclear experts worldwide.

    The latter battle has yielded serious official humiliation, resulting high-profile resignations, scandals, and promises of reform in Japan’s energy industry whereas the latter has so far resulted in a storm of anger and mistrust.

    Even most academic nuclear experts, seen by many as the middle ground between the anti-nuclear activists and nuclear lobby itself, were reluctant to say what was happening: That in Fukushima, a community of farms, schools and fishing ports, was experiencing a full-tilt meltdown, and that, as Al Jazeera reported in June, that the accident had most likely caused more radioactive contamination than Chernobyl.

    Read more of our coverage of Japan’s disasters

    As recently as early August, those seeking information on the real extent of the damage at the Daiichi plant and on the extent of radioactive contamination have mostly been reassured by the nuclear community that there’s no need to worry.

    This is worrying because while both anti-nuclear activists and the nuclear lobby both have openly stated biases, academics and researchers are seen as the middle ground – a place to get accurate, unbiased information.

    David Biello, the energy and climate editor at Scientific American Online, said that trying to get clear information on a scenario such as the Daiichi disaster is tough.

    “There’s a lot of secrecy that can surround nuclear power because some of the same processes can be involved in generating electricity that can also be involved in developing a weapon, so there’s a kind of a veil of secrecy that gets dropped over this stuff, that can also obscure the truth” said Biello.

    “So, for example in Fukushima, it was pretty apparent that a total meltdown had occurred just based on what they were experiencing there … but nobody in a position of authority was willing to say that.”

    A high-stakes game

    There’s no denying that there’s a lot of money – and power – riding on the nuclear industry.

    The money trail can be tough to follow – Westinghouse, Duke Energy and the Nuclear Energy Institute (a “policy organisation” for the nuclear industry with 350 companies, including TEPCO, on its roster) did not respond to requests for information on funding research and chairs at universities.

    But most of the funding for nuclear research does not come directly from the nuclear lobby, said M.V. Ramana, a researcher at Princeton University specialising in the nuclear industry and climate change. Most research is funded by governments, who get donations – from the lobby (via candidates, political parties or otherwise).

    The Center for Responsive Politics – a non-partisan, non-profit elections watchdog group – noted that even as many lobbying groups slowed their spending the first quarter of the year, the Nuclear industry “appears to be ratcheting up its lobbying” increasing its multi-million dollar spending.

    “In the United States, a lot of the money doesn’t come directly from the nuclear industry, but actually comes from the Department of Energy (DOE). And the DOE has a very close relationship with the industry, and they sort of try to advance the industry’s interest,” said Ramana. Indeed, nuclear engineering falls under the “Major Areas of Research” with the DOE, which also has nuclear weapons under its rubric.

    The DOE’s 2012 fiscal year budget request to the US Congress for nuclear energy program was $755 million.

    “So those people who get funding from that… it’s not like they (researchers) want to lie, but there’s a certain amount of, shall we say, ideological commitment to nuclear power, as well as a certain amount of self-censorship.” It comes down to worrying how their next application for funding might be viewed, he said.

    Kathleen Sullivan, an anti-nuclear specialist and disarmament education consultant with the United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs, said it’s not surprising that research critical of the nuclear energy and weapons isn’t coming out of universities and departments that participate in nuclear research and development.

    Naoto Kan, Japan’s prime minister, vowed to challenge the “myth of safety” of nuclear power [Reuters]

    “It (the influence) of the nuclear lobby could vary from institution to institution,” said Sullivan. “If you look at the history of nuclear weapons manufacturing in the United States, you can see that a lot of research was influenced perverted, construed in a certain direction.”

    Sullivan points to the DOE-managed Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California in Berkley (where some of the research for the first atomic bomb was done) as an example of how intertwined academia and government-funded nuclear science are.

    The situation really isn’t much different in the field of nuclear energy, said Sullivan.

    “It’s all part and parcel to itself.”

    Of course this isn’t unique to the nuclear industry – all energy lobbies fund research one way or another. But the consequences of self-censorship when it comes to the potential downsides of nuclear energy are far more dire, than, say, for wind power.

    “For nuclear physics to proceed, the only people interested in funding it are pro-nuclear folks, whether that be industry or government,” said Biello. “So if you’re involved in that area you’ve already got a bias in favour of that technology … if you study hammers, suddenly hammers seem to be the solution to everything.”

    And should they find results unfavourable to the industry, Ramana said they would “dress it up in various ways by saying ‘Oh, there’s a very slim chance of this, and here are some safety measure we recommend,’ and then the industry will say, ‘Yeah,yeah, we’re incorporating all of that.’”

    Ramana, for the record, said that while he’s against nuclear weapons, he doesn’t have a moral position on nuclear power except to say that as a cost-benefit issue, the costs outweigh the benefits, and that “in that sense, expanding nuclear power isn’t a good idea.”

    But generally speaking, he said that nuclear researchers have a stake in reassuring the pubic that nothing bad is happening.

    “‘How is this going to affect the future of nuclear power?’That’s the first thought that came into their heads,” said Ramana, adding, “They basically want to ensure that people will keep constructing nuclear power plants.”

    For instance, a May report by MIT’s Center For Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems (where TEPCO funds a chair) points out that while the Daiichi disaster has resulted in “calls for cancellation of nuclear construction projects and reassessments of plant license extensions” which might “lead to a global slow-down of the nuclear enterprise,” that “the lessons to be drawn from the Fukushima accident are different.”

    Among the report’s closing thoughts are concerns that “Decision-making in the immediate aftermath of a major crisis is often influenced by emotion,” and whether”an accident like Fukushima, which is so far beyond design basis, really warrant a major overhaul of current nuclear safety regulations and practises?”

    “If so,” wonder the authors, “When is safe safe enough? Where do we draw the line?”

    The Japanese public, it seems, would like some answers to those very questions, albeit from a different perspective.

    Kazuo Hizumi, a Tokyo-based human rights lawyer, is among those pushing for openness. He is also an editor at News for the People in Japan, a news site advocating for transparency from the government and from TEPCO.

    With contradicting information and lack of clear coverage on safety and contamination issues, many have taken to measuring radiation levels with their own Geiger counters.

    “They do not know how to do it,” he said of some of the community groups and individuals who have taken to measure contamination levels in the air, soil and food.

    “But mothers are worried about their children so much and Japanese government has to consider their worries.”

    A report released in July by Human Rights Now highlights the need for immediately accessible information on health and safety in areas where people have been affected by the disaster, including Fukushima, especially on the issues of contaminated food and evacuation plans.

    A ‘nuclear priesthood’

    Biello describes the nuclear industry is a relatively small, exclusive club.

    “The interplay between academia and also the military and industry is very tight. It’s a small community…they have their little club and they can go about their business without anyone looking over their shoulder. ”

    This might explain how, as the Associated Press reported in June, that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission was “working closely with the nuclear power industry to keep the nationalise ageing reactors operating within standards or simply failing to enforce them.”

    However, with this exclusivity comes a culture of secrecy – “a nuclear priesthood,” said Biello, which makes it very difficult to parse out a straightforward answer in the very technical and highly politicised field.

    “You have the proponents, who believe that it is the technological salvation for our problems, whether that’s energy, poverty, climate change or whatever else. And then you have opponents who think that it’s literally the worst thing that ever happened and should be immediately shut back up in a box and buried somewhere,” said Biello, who includes “professors of nuclear engineering and Greenpeace activists” as passionate opponents on the nuclear subject.

    In fact, one is hard pressed to find a media report quoting a nuclear scientist at any major university sounding the alarms on the risks of contamination in Fukushima.

    Doing so has largely been the work of anti-nuclear activists (who have an admitted bias against the technology) and independent scientists employed by think tanks, few of whom responded to requests for interviews.

    Even anthropologists who study the behaviour of those working in the nuclear power industry, refused to comment on the culture of secrecy that surrounds it.

    The situation is much the same in Japan, said Hizumi, with “only a few who give people true information.”

    So, one’s best bet, said Biello, is to try and “triangulate the truth” – to take “a dose” from anti-nuclear activists, another from pro-nuclear lobbyists and throw that in with a little bit of engineering and that’ll get you closer to the truth.

    “Take what everybody is saying with a grain of salt.”

    Nobody likes bad news

    “Exciting Nuclear Land” is part of the Japanese school curriculum

    Since World War II, the process of secrecy – the readiness to invoke “national security” – has been a pillar of the nuclear establishment…that establishment, acting on the false assumption that “secrets” can be hidden from the curious and knowledgeable, has successfully insisted that there are answers which cannot be given and even questions which cannot be asked.

    The net effect is to stifle debate about the fundamental of nuclear policy. Concerned citizens dare not ask certain questions, and many begin to feel that these matters which only a few initiated experts are entitled to discuss.

    If the above sounds like a post-Fukushima statement, it is not. It was written by Howard Morland for the November 1979 issue of The Progressive magazine focusing on the hydrogen bomb as well as the risks of nuclear energy.

    The US government – citing national security concerns – took the magazine to court in order to prevent the issue from being published, but ultimately relented during the appeals process when it became clear that the information The Progressive wanted to publish was already public knowledge and that pursuing the ban might put the court in the position of deeming the Atomic Energy Act as counter to First Amendment rights (freedom of speech) and therefore unconstitutional in its use of prior restraint to censor the press.

    But, of course, that’s in the US, although a similar mechanism is at work in Japan, where a recently created task force aims to “cleanse” the media of reportage that casts an unfavourable light on the nuclear industry (they refer to this information as “inaccurate” or a result of “mischief.”

    The government has even gone so far as to accept bids from companies that specialise in scouring the Internet to monitor the Internet for reports, Tweets and blogs that are critical of its handling of the Daiichi disaster, which has presented a unique challenge to the lobby there.

  4. Wake up Japan and accept that Radioactive Pollution is becoming an ever greater presence in your future!

    Since 3/11, you have been told “not to worry” while TEPCO and your Gov’t. have covered up this Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster, which is STILL ongoing! It is time to demand that your Leaders reveal the truth and allow everyone in Japan and World Wide to understand the true scale of this debacle…

    If not for the Web, this would have been “swept under the rug” long ago by traditional Main Stream Media (MSM) and then the People of Japan would be in an even worse position since they would not be aware of the excessive amount os radiation that have and continue to escape from Fukushima!

    Every day that the Japanese people allow TEPCO and their Government to continue this coverup is a win for their Nuclear Industry, which is desperate to retain its control over the Energy that Japan uses and the money it generates…
    “Stop nuclear power plants! Fukushima No more!” Shouted the demonstrators gathered near the Meiji Shrine in the center of the capital, under a blazing sun. Now the Nobel Prize for Literature Kenzaburo Oe told the crowd: “Some say it is impossible to do without nuclear energy, but it’s a lie. Nuclear power is always accompanied by destruction and sacrifices “.

  5. To: Mr Kenzaburo Oe

    I too have been watching since 3/11 and Japans Trillion Dollar Eco-Disast­er has also affected many of us globally!

    I have considered myself a supporter of Japan and Japanese products for a very long time but 3/11 has fundamenta­lly changed my opinion of the Japanese Gov’t !

    I never considered that the Japanese Gov’t. would allow global radioactiv­e pollution to “be made in Japan” yet after 11 months it still continues, PLUS the ongoing radioactiv­e pollution continues to be covered up and or SPUN by TEPCO, with the Gov’t.’s approval!

    What I now understand is that the Japanese culture is lacking something very basic, which is the ability to just say NO! By not being able to say NO, the Japanese people have no way to guide their Leaders or change their Countries Policy! Japan is doomed to additional suffering because Man cannot control Nature, despite what all nuclear engineers say… Nature can destroy any land based nuclear reactor, any place anytime 24/7/365!

    Please Respect Nature

    It’s OK to just say N☢

    The World is watching

  6. Thank you for the history and explanation of nuclear power in Japan.

    There are two cultural landmarks that are emblematic of this complicated subject: Godzilla — the cartoonish beast created by atomic radiation, serving as a metaphor of US nuclear capabilities that Japan could not match at that time. People forget that this is Godzilla’s origins.

    The more visceral and important cultural landmark for Europeans is the 1959 film Hiroshima Mon Amour by Alain Resnais, which circumnavigates the memories of the traumatic experiences of people in Hiroshima along with a passionate love affair between a Japanese man and French woman as a metaphor for East and West (in a sense). It must be seen. It is like a Kurosawa masterpiece — too layered to describe.

    Then there is Kurasawa’s Dreams with one segment in which he portrays a barren post-nuclear apocalyptic world that has groaning Japanese demons in constant pain and giagantic mutated sunflowers. This is a message to the world from one of the greatest cinematic communicators of all time.

    1. Remember please post a link so others can “enjoy” what you are talking about!
      Thank you in advance!

  7. We now are ALL being ruled by those in Nuclear Denial*; instead of by Leaders that demand an end to the Trillion Dollar Eco-Disast­er RISK that each Nuclear Complex poses to mankind! The nuclear industry is fighting tooth and nail to maintain it’s market share; yet NOW Solar (of all flavors) is far less costly to construct, faster to construct and carries with it N☢ Nuclear radioactiv­e baggage that can kill a Countries economy and or those living nearby!

    The Japanese “STILL” a;re getting “Censored” information from their own Gov’t. and that is often suspect considering the news releases from other Japanese Professionals that are saying that what the Gov’t. and TEPCO are saying is just so much Nuclear Baloney (NB), especially about Low, Low dosages of radiation!

    *Nuclear Denial
    The illogical belief that Nature cannot destroy any land based nuclear reactor, any place anytime 24/7/365!

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About this site

This website updates the latest news about the Fukushima nuclear plant and also archives the past news from 2011. Because it's always updated and added live, articles, categories and the tags are not necessarily fitted in the latest format.
I am the writer of this website. About page remains in 2014. This is because my memory about 311 was clearer than now, 2023, and I think it can have a historical value. Now I'm living in Romania with 3 cats as an independent data scientist.
Actually, nothing has progressed in the plant since 2011. We still don't even know what is going on inside. They must keep cooling the crippled reactors by water, but additionally groundwater keeps flowing into the reactor buildings from the broken parts. This is why highly contaminated water is always produced more than it can circulate. Tepco is planning to officially discharge this water to the Pacific but Tritium is still remaining in it. They dilute this with seawater so that it is legally safe, but scientifically the same amount of radioactive tritium is contained. They say it is safe to discharge, but none of them have drunk it.


February 2012