Richard Wilcox, Ph.D.
*Critical editorial assistance and commentaries provided to this article by Tony Boys
Our dysfunctional political system is paving the way to our Nuclear Armageddon. OK, it is not “our” political system, it’s “theirs,” and it functions perfectly well for the top 0.01 percent of oligarchs who really run things. But even the filthy rich have children and grandchildren whose DNA may be harmed by the Environmental Armageddon humanity is leaping toward. Nominally, we the people are represented by our governments, but this is not always the case. Governments are really Corporations and Corporations are run by Banks, and their Sinister Financial Formulae put Profits before Sheeple.
If we had democracy there could be no doubt that public pressure would have already forced the phase out of nuclear power and a program of renewable energy to be adopted as quickly as possible. In fact, our problems are not technical but political, and relate to a maldistribution of power and wealth in the world. The existing economic system does not prioritize human welfare and environmental preservation, but Ponzi scam financial swindles based on derivatives, high frequency computerized trading and naked short selling of stocks. The new movie The Wolf of Wall Street described as “nauseating, pornographic and soul-crushing” tells it all (Duke, 2014).
Things are getting worse, much worse and fast. Anti-nuclear hero Harvey Wasserman coined the slogan “No Nukes” back in the heyday. Wasserman’s encyclopedic knowledge of nuclear coverups and criminality displayed in a recent article is unparalleled, and profoundly disturbing in its detail (Wasserman, 2014). The Fukushima nuclear disaster was just one of many potential nuclear disasters that is on our not so distant horizon.
Nuclear power is ideal as a technology that is opposed to democratic transparency. Compared to solar power which average people can learn to operate safely on the rooftops of their homes, nuclear power is incompatible with democracy and a potential source of the ultimate state terrorist weapon, a nuclear one. In addition, the complexity of running a nuclear plant with all the engineering and safety requirements versus other forms of energy production (ie., campfire) is mind boggling (Wilcox, 2013).
As Wasserman often points out, the reason we don’t have safe and renewable forms of energy now is because the power companies and the shadowy interests behind them enjoy a monopoly on electrical, and by extension, economic and political power. They are very happy to make a lot of money and screw the Planet. The social system based on economic incentives and political favors controlled by the nuclear industry has created a veritable “iron nuclear triangle” between the nuclear industry, bureaucrats/politicians and business circles in Japan (Kingston, 2012), virtually assuring that progressive change is impossible within the current paradigm (Meyer, 2011).
That is why Tony Boys, who has been part of the anti nuclear movement in Japan for many years declared:
As I have said before (however unrealistic it may be) there’s only one way to stop nuclear power here – MASSIVE CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE. But since the sheeple are happy to elect airheads like Masuzoe, then they are basically naive fools who deserve whatever they get, but pull down the house of cards for the rest of us (personal communication, February, 2014).
One of the main reasons Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who was in office at the time of the Tohoku Disaster, was forced from office was due to pressure from the Nuclear Lobby specifically because of Kan’s strong anti-nuclear/pro-renewable energy stance (Tabuchi, 2011).
Just over a year after the nuclear disaster had occurred, a petition signed by 320,000 Tokyoites was submitted calling for a referendum on the future of nuclear power plants (“Tokyo assembly,” 2012). The fact that such a huge number of people signed it clearly indicated that if a referendum were to have been held, the citizenry would have voted to phase out nuclear power, as has happened in German and Italian referendums.
However, “[a]ssembly members voted 2-1 … to reject a draft ordinance calling for the referendum, which had been forced onto the agenda by the signature petition from the Tokyo public.” This is clear proof that elected representatives do not actually represent the will of their constituencies.
‘I feel frustrated and empty,’ said Saori Kano, 45, a homemaker from Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward who helped collect signatures in the Tokyo drive. ‘My goal is to change the nuclear power policies that have been left to the central government to decide.’ ”
Three Years Of Fukushima Radiation
As Japan’s Kobe University seismologist, Katsuhiko Ishibashi, noted to a government panel in 2005, “[a]n earthquake and its seismic thrust can hit multiple parts” of a nuclear plant and result in a “severe accident” (Hongo, 2011). Gee– no kidding! At the time of Ishibashi’s testimony to a government panel (ironically his name means “stone bridge” in Japanese), the heavy industry pressured the government to ignore his advice regarding nuclear safety standards.
And what of the people who’s lives have been shattered and displaced by the triple meltdowns that occurred in Fukushima in March of 2011? Tens of thousands of people have been forgotten, cast aside like so much Disposable Human Garbage (Gundersen, 2014).
That the nuclear crisis remains largely technically unresolved to date– and that the melted reactor fuel is probably burrowed into the ground beneath the plants where it has become a scary and uncontrollable Frankenstein’s Monster to contaminate the environment for centuries– is also evidence that our political system is undemocratic.
Note that when Tokyo mayor, Mr. Inose, publicly contradicted statements made by Prime Minister Abe, Inose suddenly found himself embroiled in a “scandal” and removed from office (“Tokyo governor,” 2013). Abe fibbed to the Olympic Committee that the Fukushima nuclear crisis was “under control,” and Inose naively refuted Abe’s obvious lies, thus causing embarrassment to Prime Malefactor Abe. This precedent was not allowed to stand especially given Abe’s plans to kickstart Japan’s nuclear program:
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Inose refuted Abe’s claim, telling reporters that the water leaks at the plant were “not necessarily under control,” Fuji TV reported Saturday. Hours before the IOC declared Tokyo the host city for the 2020 Games, Abe flew to Buenos Aries from the G20 summit in St Petersburg, Russia, to give an emphatic speech in English declaring that radiation from the leakage would not impact waters outside the immediate vicinity of the plant. Inose said, ‘The government must acknowledge this as a national problem so that we can head toward a real solution.’
According to the Japan Communist Party (JCP) newspaper, unless the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) candidates promote nuclear power they are threatened by the Electric power companies with removal of campaign support (“Electric companies,” 2014). LDP politicians are sock puppets who say what the nuclear industry wants them to. According to Boys:
Why does the political power structure in Japan want nuclear power so much that they are willing to lie, subvert the democratic process and endanger the current population (including themselves, but with little likelihood they will ever be “compensated”) and future generations (including their own descendants)?
1) Money/power and livelihoods for the inhabitants of the Nuclear Village (Meyer, 2011);
2) For the sake of the Japanese economy – (since fossil fuels are now expensive [roughly 10x what they were in 1998] and their import for thermal power generation is dragging Japan’s trade balance into deep red ink– but this is only a fairly recent, if easily predictable, change) (Mogi & Ujikane, 2014).
3) The US (and to some extent UK and France) do not wish to see Japan abandon civil nuclear power because they do not wish to see a hole punctured in the notion of the “peaceful atom” (Favole & Tennille, 2011). Japan abandoning nuclear power for “safety reasons” frightens all conventional power holders in the countries with nuclear weapons’ capabilities since it robs them of their only rational ground for maintaining the production of fissile materials. Without this (they fear), overwhelming public pressure to be finally rid of all nuclear applications (civil and military, but perhaps not medical) would force power holders to relinquish the very bedrock of their power – their nuclear arsenal. Thus Japan, with its civil nuclear capability but apparently no military capability, acts as the keystone maintaining the rigidity of the mythic “peaceful atom” structure.
4) These three together make it simply “impossible” for Japan to abandon nuclear power, despite the national suicidal role it plays.” (Tony Boys, personal communication).
The Tokyo Election Circus: Nuclear Power Wins – People Lose
Come one, come all to witness the clowns, acrobatic rhetoric and genetically mutated freak show of all form of chimera, creature and species, in the battle for the National Soul.
The morning after the recent mayoral election the Japan Times headline screamed “Masuzoe scores landslide victory in Tokyo gubernatorial race” (“Masuzoe scores,” 2014). “It was more than the combined votes for Utsunomiya, 67, former head of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, who was a distant second and Hosokawa, 76, who came third.” Now we have a new mayor that is an Abe stalwart that will help give support to his militaristic political agenda and plans to restart idle nuclear reactors.
Is it possible the Hosokawa/Koizumi team, the ex prime ministers, were sent out by the LDP to siphon votes off from the only strong principled candidate, a Mr. Utsunomiya? Perhaps their intentions were pure but their approach was overall destructive. Utsunomiya is a Ralph Nader type lawyer who fights for the average people and worker, and is anti-nuke. It seems that the establishment candidate Hosokawa, with Koizumi (who famously helped to destroy Japan’s middle class by “restructuring the economy” in the 2000 decade) jumped into the race for the purpose of spoiling Mr. Utsunomiya’s chances (Kameda, 2014). Or maybe it was a genuine internal conflict within Japan’s ruling hierarchy of Tokyo University graduates, the men who go on to rule the country and become LDP stalwarts. It is hard to imagine the hard core and uncompromising ideologues of the JCP joining hands with such a coalition in the first place, and with justifiable skepticism on their part. The JCP coalition would have ruined the credibility they are gaining by compromising with politicians cut from the same cloth as the Abe crowd.
Utsunomiya received 982,594 votes in the Tokyo election which is an admirable number given the poor overall voter turnout, nearly half what the corporate shill Masuzoe received, and is evidence of growing dissatisfaction among Tokyoites with the LDP/Komeito coalition (“Utsunomiya vote total,” 2014). It is possible, setting aside the likelihood that foul play, vote fraud or other tactics could have been used against Utsunomiya, that had Hosokawa not entered the race Utsunomiya could have won.
The younger vote did not turn out due to Tokyo’s worst blizzard in 45 years happening just the day before the election. Komeito who share power with the LDP, force their voters to vote along party lines and use cult-like mind control tactics among their church members in the “Sokka Gakkai.” In reality, I doubt the young vote would have helped Utsunomiya much as younger voters would tend to believe the mainstream media, and the MSM was telling everyone to “vote for Masuzoe.” Most voters in their 20s are disaffected with the political process (“Voters in their 20s,” 2014 ). Witness the at once nihilistic yet brutally honest comments from this young man:
Do you think the nuclear issue should be the focus of the Tokyo election?
Student, 20 (Japanese) I don’t think nuclear power should play a role, because in reality the issues will never be solved.
At the other end of the spectrum is a stubborn old man who gives no reason for his answer:
Electrical engineer, 65 (Japanese) I don’t think the nuclear issue should feature as part of the debate surrounding the upcoming election (Buckton, 2014).
This confirms my theory that Men really did evolve from Outer Space Lizards. But seriously, the winner of the election, Mr. Masuzoe, did cleverly put the nuclear issue on the back burner and focussed on more immediate concerns to voters (“Coalition shuns,” 2014). An understandable and winning strategy. This also underlines the philosophical problem of environmental issues which are large and long term, biogeographical and intergenerational in their implications and beyond the understanding of the average person who is deliberately taught to not think critically and unquestioningly accept guidance from “the experts” on TV.
Personally, as someone who lives in Tokyo and does feel that nuclear issues affect me (Tony Boys lives just south of Fukushima prefecture so they certainly affect him), I would have supported any of the anti nuclear candidates if they had a chance to win. In theory, Hosokawa would have had the best chance (had he been genuine in his run), given the poker game is rigged by the “old boys club” of which he was once a somewhat progressive member (eg., his attempts to make peace with Japan’s neighbors in the 1990s). Note the case of Ron Paul in his strongly reformist role as presidential candidate in the 2012 US election. Paul called for the closing of the global US military base empire and was roundly laughed at and ignored by the media for his principled positions.
A Man Of Integrity
The Nuclear Lobby would never allow a progressive lawyer like Utsunomiya into such office. If he did manage to win, they could find a million ways to derail his program, ranging from using the media to carry out negative coverage to the creation of fake scandals to good old bureaucratic intransigence in order to block his reforms. Not to mention threats of violence given the construction/nuclear industry and LDP ties to organized crime.
Utsunomiya ran for Tokyo mayor in 2012 on an anti nuclear platform but lost, and then reentered the race again for the 2014 election. Utsunomiya has his own party but cooperates with the JCP on overlapping issues. He is supported by young mothers in Tokyo due to his concern for their economic struggles. This was evident by the number of baby stroller mothers who turned out for Utsunomiya’s speeches during the last election. The right wing reactionary and former health minister, Masuzoe, on the other hand, who has never spoken out against radiation dangers and is just a shill for big business, has cut old age pensions in favor of giving subsidies to Tepco.
The former president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, Kenji Utsunomiya…. His main political platform is to abolish nuclear power in the country, beginning with Tokyo…. Utsunomiya said that he is willing to work with other municipalities so that they can pressure the central government to finally and fully abolish nuclear power. He is also working to provide support to the victims of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, like providing housing for them in Tokyo. He also said that since Tokyo is the biggest consumer of electricity in Japan and is the biggest shareholder in Tokyo Electric Power Co, it is their responsibility to help and support the victims of the nuclear disaster. Utsunomiya…. has made it his life’s mission to fight poverty and has also vowed to expand employment opportunities for the lower classes and improve their welfare and medical care (Torres, 2012).
Boys warns that even if Utsunomiya won there would be problems:
Utsunomiya is a whole different game. He’s a lawyer, as far as I know basically non-politico (in the conventional sense) and very clean, with his heart in the right place. BUT, if he won the election, could he get the Tokyo council to work with him? My feeling is that the council would have been very obstructionist – this has happened in the past. Now we have Masuzoe and the council will cooperate, but what will he do? Either way, ordinary people LOSE. Note nearly 1,000,000 people voted for Utsunomiya. A pretty good showing – some of the Sheeple are waking up. But too little, too late and with totally insufficient organization.
You have to remember that Hosokawa and Koizumi (H/K) all come out of the same chicken coop as Abe et al. I’m not 100% sure of the details, but I think there’s no real anger or contradiction between Abe and H/K – they are doing it for Abe and they all know it. There’s really very little to tell between them, which is why the election turned out as it did. Since the two of them do not effectively have (significant) future political lives, they are making a kind of sacrifice of themselves for the good of the future of the LPD. I.e. for Abe they become much-appreciated martyrs to the cause and are allowed to drift into comfortable retirement for the service they have done for Abe and his crew in this election and anything they may yet do along the same lines to confuse voters about the nuke issue. They are all laughing in the voters’ faces as they kow-tow to global money/nuclear interests. H/K will die with their little secret. I think it’s unlikely that we will ever really know (if I’m right) because they are intelligent enough to know that the global money/nuclear interests don’t want them revealing what is really going on. Perhaps Abe even doesn’t ‘know’. He doesn’t need to ‘know’. He just reads the newspapers and ‘knows’ what they are doing. And chuckles to himself while sipping his green tea. But it keeps the Sheeple right where they are supposed to be” (personal communication).
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By contrast to Utsunomiya, there is evidence that Hosokawa and Koizumi are not as committed to true reform. Where have H-K been for the last three years with their anti-nuclear platform? Behind the learning curve or just out to play the spoiler on behalf of Abe? Hosokawa’s rhetoric sounds well and good:
In order to realize a Tokyo that is not dependent on nuclear energy, I would prompt the public and private sectors to generate renewable energy as well as to ask for cooperation from the residents of Tokyo to conserve energy (Kameda & Yoshida, 2014).
But Hosokawa waffled and contradicted himself on the issues to make himself more appealing to pro-nuke voters, originally saying, correctly in my opinion, that Japan should not have attempted to host the Olympics, but later taming his rhetoric with vapid slogans about creating a “new Tokyo and Japan” by 2020. Hosokawa, a late comer to the campaign who had not made his pledges public, found support from some anti-nuclear activists who “urged Utsunomiya, an opponent of nuclear power, not to run and thus avoid a split in the no-nukes vote.” But Utsunomiya did not want to drop out without more clearly stated goals from Hosokawa. Utsunomiya noted it was an “abnormal election” given that the candidates had already decided to run but were not able to have a policy debate.
The Winter Of Mal-Dissent
The anti nuke movement offered hope to Japan during the summer of 2012 (Hayashi et. al., 2012) but a year later had exhausted itself (Samuels, 2013). The Tokyo election is an example of failed democracy in the context of nuclear power. The Masuzoe victory was due to a fractured opposition vote and LDP power over the media (“Masuzoe scores,” 2014; “NHK governors,” 2014).
Why did the street movement and ballot box method fail? Cooptation and infiltration is a tried and true tactic of governments to defang dissident groups by fragmenting and discrediting their agendas. The most famous example in the US was “Co-intel-pro” (ie., the FBI’s counter intelligence program). (“Cointelpro,” 2014).
In Japan the police and the army spy on protestors and keep records just in case they need to intimidate them. But usually it is much easier to buy off protestors by offering them trinkets and grant money to take their campaigns in other directions. NGOs and non profits know the limits of what they are allowed to do. Furthermore, the anti democratic “State Secrets” law that passed in 2013 has further clamped down on the activities of anti nuclear activists and due-diligence writing journalists (Mie, 2013).
What does that leave for people who are still extremely worried about nuclear power restarts under the Abe government? How can they show opposition to this and perhaps do something concrete about preventing restarts, however tiny each person’s (family’s) contribution might be?
Perhaps the only answer is to carry out stealth, non violent pro-active protest by “going off the grid” and starting local, micro-electricity grids that rely on solar power.
The nuclear issue is a political and not a technical problem. There is plenty of data and studies to suggest that not only could Japan meet 100 percent of its electricity demands by 2050 (Johnston, et. al., 2013), but that the key issue is how to create proper incentives for investment (“12 Insights,” 2013). As one foreign professor who is teaching and residing in Japan points out, a broad subset of German social groups chose to abandon nuclear power and it is a decision that would surely be shared by a majority of Japanese were they allowed to make it:
One country that many people have looked to is Germany and its decision to embark on an ‘energy revolution’ (Energiewende). For anti-nuclear supporters, Germany is an example of what Japan should be doing. But the lesson that should be taken from Germany is not the decision itself, but the process by which it was reached…[A]n Ethics Commission on Safe Energy Supply, composed of a cross section of German society with representatives from politics, industry, academia and religion [which] collectively reflected on what was best for the country and its future (Hobson, 2014).
This Ethics Process must be made in defiance of the deeply embedded oligarchy that has, in reality, sternly ruled the country for centuries.
How beautiful life is and how sad! How fleeting, with no past and no future, only a limitless now (Clavell, 1980).
Richard Wilcox is a Tokyo-based teacher and writer who holds a Ph.D. in environmental studies and is a regular contributor to the world’s leading website exposing the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Rense.com. He is also a contributor to Activist Post and The Daily Sheeple. His radio interviews and articles are archived at http://wilcoxrb99.wordpress.com and he can be reached by email for radio or internet podcast interviews to discuss the Fukushima crisis at [email protected]
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