Protest against the Construction of the Ohma Nuclear Power Plant – the meeting with the vice minister

A group of people from civil society and some like-minded MPs including the members from the Women for No Nukes and Atsuko Ogasawara (see the earlier post, “A Woman who resists alone the nuclear power plant”) visited the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on Oct 10 to protest against the resumed construction of the Ohma nuclear power plant. The group met the vice minister and demanded to reverse the approval given by the minister for resuming the construction.

The group pointed out: The Ohma plant would have to be shut down soon after its completion of the construction according to the Strategy for Energy and Environment released this September by the Government which says there will be zero nuclear power plants by 2040; The government would be demanded higher compensation for the cancellation of the construction at the later stage by the company (the company demands around 8000 oku yen (approx. 10 billion USD) for the cancellation at the current stage – 38% built); The construction should follow the new safety guidelines which will be issued early next year; etc.

(Photos provided by the Women for No Nukes)

“You should stop the construction before the nuclear fuel rods are loaded.  The nuclear power generation is not the option for Japan which is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons. Please think about the safety in people’s lives,” Atsuko appealed.

The vice-minister mentioned nothing about people’s safety: There is no legal ground to reverse the decision on the resuming of the construction; The idea of zero nuclear power plants in the 30s presented in the “Strategy” is not 100% confirmed (?!), which depends on securing the supply of the new energy sources; The constructing company will have to follow the new guidelines but that is under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Environment.

The protest was followed by the meeting where the response from the Ministry was reported to 180 participants. Atsuko called for support in developing the idea of her mother to create the space where children can mingle with animals on the land which Atsuko and her mother have defended against the plant construction.

Another meeting was organised a week after with the representative from J-Power, the company constructing the plant. The company representative said the nuclear power generation is necessary. The negotiations and protests have to be continued.

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How does the “Options for Japan’s Post-2012 Global Warming Countermeasures” look like?

The report on the “Options for Japan’s Post-2012 Global Warming Countermeasures” (the report hereafter) was presented by the committee set up in the Ministry of Environment in this June. The post-2012 policy on global warming will be produced by end of this year by the Government of Japan (GOJ).

The GOJ is part of the collective pledge of the 80% emission cut by 2050 and submitted to the UNFCCC its target of the 25% cut by 2020.

However, according to the Strategy on Energy and Environment released this September by the government, Japan will only aim at the 20% domestic cut at 2030 and 5-9% at 2020 (against 1990 level). Those are even the targets in its ambitious scenario of the growth rate 1.1% in the 2010s and 0.8 % in the 2020s. It also set the business-as-usual targets: 10% at 2030; and 2-5% at 2020 under the “growth scenario” of the 1.8% growth rate in the 2010s and 1.2% in the 2020s .

The “options” presented in the report largely rely on the technological fix for more energy efficiency. Unsurprisingly, the report suggested no drastic change scenarios to transform the existing system of production-consumption. It is more about “making the existing manufacturing industry smart” and “cultivating the green growth market”.

“compact city”; “mordal shift”; eco-car; smart house; mobility management; investing in the public transport LRT, BRT; “smart grid”;  “energy saving fish boats”; “super eco-ship”; “energy saving airplane”; “expanding the use of energy saving goods and renewable energy”; “technology to control the gastrointestinal fermentation of the ruminant livestock”(!)

Instead of undertaking the transformation of the systems and society itself, the strategy focuses more on the efforts to be made at the individual level: companies, homes and individuals through upgrading their equipments to be more energy efficient.

 “Steady implementation of voluntary energy saving action”; “incentives or subsidies for medium-small companies for green investment”; “encouraging individual companies to set the reduction targets”; “encouraging individual consumption of the local, seasonal products”; “charging the disposal of waste to reduce the emissions from incineration and landfill”, etc.

The point of the strategy is to produce low carbon goods more.

“Eco-premium”; “top standard system”; “introducing best availability technology (BAT) in the world to lower the emissions”; “developing energy saving goods manufacturing”; “cultivating the new market of  50,000,000 mill yen in the environment related industry and generate jobs for 1.4 mill people by 2020”; “increasing the number of the new-generation car ahead of schedule”.

In the next post, the strategy presented by the report will be checked more in terms of the issues pointed out by Ulrich Hoffmann in his “SOME REFLECTIONS ON CLIMATE CHANGE, GREEN GROWTH ILLUSIONS AND DEVELOPMENT SPACE”, 2011, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which demonstrated the “green growth myth”.

(The report on the “Options…” is available in Japanese on http://www.env.go.jp/earth/report/h24-03/main.pdf#search=%27%E5%9C%B0%E7%90%83%E6%B8%A9%E6%9A%96%E5%8C%96%E5%AF%BE%E7%AD%96+%E9%81%B8%E6%8A%9E%E8%82%A2%E3%81%AE%E5%8E%9F%E6%A1%88%27)

Protest against Resuming the Ohma Nuke Plant Construction

The Government of Japan hammered out in “the energy-environmental strategy” this September: zero nuke in the 30’s; shutting down the plants at work at the end of their 40 years life; building no new plants (apparently the strategy is inconsistent). However it gave its go-ahead to the plants in the pipeline.

The half-built (38%) Ohma plant which has been stopped since the quakes and disaster in the Northeast Japan is one of them to resume its construction. Anti-nuke activists in Japan pointed out there will be no point to continue the Ohma plant which has only completed its framework, and furthermore, designed to fully run by MOX fuel which Japan has no precedent and so no tested technology for safety.

The emergency session inviting Ms. Ogasawara from Asako House (see the post A Woman who resists alone the nuclear power plant) will be organised at the office building of the upper house members on Oct 10 by Women for No Nukes. It will lodge a protest with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

(8 October 2012)