Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Attention, a second Fukushima is possible

This is my quick, summary translation of highlights of "Attention, un deuxième Fukushima n'est pas exclu" by Miho Matsunuma, LeMonde, 2011-04-27.  She was a professor of Western History and French Language at Fukuoka Women's University and is now a senior lecturer at the University of Gunma in Maebashi, Japan.

Although the Japanese media is now criticizing the government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), they have long colluded with them on the benefits of nuclear energy.  First, they too often accept the pronouncements of the government and TEPCO about the safety.  Second, the operators of the power stations are big advertisers.

There is no excuse for the Japanese not knowing of the dangers.  Japan is neither a soviet regime nor a dictatorship, but a country with democratic institutions, elections, and a free press.  Fukushima is not the first nuclear accident.  Citizens and scientists have sounded the alarm many times without being heard.  In this country where order and conformism reign, the minorities have difficulty making themselves heard.  The Japanese, in their majority, have voluntary believed the official speeches on the necessity and the advantage of nuclear energy perfectly mastered.

What do we do with the power stations operating in the country?  Japan is situated at the juncture of three great tectonic plates and, given the lack of competence and credibility of the Japanese nuclear authorities, the probability of a second and a third Fukushima is not unthinkable.  And the problem is not only Japanese: our planet lives with time bombs.

She goes on that Japanese democracy is not going to solve these problems.  It is necessary that the international community puts pressure on Japan to not drag humanity into a collective suicide.

The political authorities and international industrialists, who are involved in nuclear energy, have good reasons to support the power stations and admire the Japanese "dignity".  The citizens of the world must, themselves, draw lessons from this shameful accident.