A Nuclear History in Japan
It started with the post-WWII relationship between Japan and the US.
Key players got nuclear ball rolling
Cash paved the way even amid safety doubts on high, ineptitude
By ERIC JOHNSTON
The saga begins in summer 1953. Future Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone was then a young politician studying at Harvard University. He learned from politically connected professors that the United States was about to allow the knowledge and technology that built atomic bombs to be exported for the peaceful use of nuclear power.
In December 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his "Atoms for Peace" initiative that provided U.S. nuclear technology to allies like resource-poor Japan that wanted to harness the atom.
Nakasone reacted immediately, leading efforts in the Diet in late 1953 and early 1954 to draw up Japan's first-ever budget for nuclear power research. He assembled a group of like-minded allies in and out of government to help convince the public of the necessity to invest in this new technology.
One of the most influential was Matsutaro Shoriki, head of the Yomiuri Shimbun and head of the newly created Nippon TV. Shoriki was jailed after World War II as a suspected Class-A war criminal and sent to Sugamo Prison in Tokyo. But he was released a couple of years later without being charged and allegedly became a CIA informant. Shoriki was, like his friend Nakasone, a strong supporter of nuclear power.
So, it is very interesting that the nuclear policy of Japan after WWII was promoted by some influential politicians and businessmen in the Media sector that had a linkage with the US through CIA, etc.
"After the world war, the CIA worked closely with Mr. Shoriki to advance the campaign for nuclear energy in Japan. It did so because this man had not only the necessary connections to politics and economics, but also the power to mobilise his newspaper and television empire".
During years of research in the United States National Archives and Records Administration, Arima discovered 474 pages of CIA files, documenting in detail the progress of the introduction of nuclear technology to Japan. From one of these, he quotes the following:"Relations with Podam have now progressed to the stage where outright cooperation can be initiated".
"Podam" was the code name for the member of parliament and CIA asset, Matsutaro Shoriki, who would later become president of the atomic energy authority he founded, as well as minister for science and technology. Shoriki is today regarded as father of Japan's nuclear power.
But Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) was not innocent in this trend.
It was into this environment of government-led nuclear development that Kikawada stepped when he became president of Tepco in 1961. The company had begun research into atomic energy and was already looking for potential sites for a reactor in the late 1950s, according to its official history.
"It was inevitable that we would rely more on nuclear for future power supply as nuclear fuel needs less foreign currency than oil," the official history said.
It was a period of rapid economic expansion in Japan and employees at the country's power utilities were under intense pressure to feed the growth.
Fukushima prefecture began working to attract a utility to build a nuclear plant in the region in 1958, according to Tepco. Shortly after Kikawada took over, the towns of Okuma and Futaba agreed to host a nuclear station.
Kikawada, who appears balding in spectacles wearing a western-style suit and tie in black and white photos, still had a decision to make.
"Kikawada once said that building a nuclear plant is like doing a deal with the devil," Soichiro Tahara, author of "Documentary, Tokyo Electric," said in an interview in August. He changed his mind in part because he didn’t want the government to control atomic energy after it had led Japan into a disastrous war, Tahara said.
"If Kikawada had decided to go against nuclear power, the government would have taken it over," he said.
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-10-21/tepco-deal-with-devil-signals-end-to-japan-s-postwar-era.htmlBut, there are of course some types of Japanese who have played some role in the unique or opposite direction in the Japanese culture in terms of public awareness of nuclear energy.
Reflecting on the experience of World War II, Yoko Ono's peace art series is deeply connected to the two atomic bombs that fell on Japan. She even awarded peace grants to Mordechai Vanunu, a former Israeli nuclear technician who exposed Israel's acquisition of nuclear weapons. (In 2010, Yoko Ono herself won the Hiroshima Art Prize). The contemporary artist Yasumasa Morimura also addressed the haunted legacy of Japan with "A Requiem: Mishima," and appealed to young Japanese artists to think about the post-war Japanese history, and their own artistic expression.
After success in the United States, Japanese artist Yukinori Yanagi made the artwork "Forbidden Box" about the atomic bomb, in collaboration with American institutions. He then moved to Hiroshima, and started the Hiroshima Art Project. His life work, "Seirensho" in Inujima Island, exists in an abandoned copper refinery, and is a walk-in collage dedicated to the life of Yukio Mishima, a nationalist author who criticized the cost that modernization was taking on Japan and advocated for full independence and the abolition of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.
The younger generation of Japanese artists has been less aware of the dark side of the postwar legacy. But in the wake of this new disaster, Japan is in a position to rethink itself in a way it could not in its past. This is not just about changing energy policy. The Japanese people need to think about the bigger picture, a way for the nation to move beyond the Post-War regime towards something new and more human. The most important role of the artist in society is not about building infrastructure, but about promoting ideals that open up new perspectives.
(to be continued...)
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Act 4:14 And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.
Act 4:15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,
Act 4:16 Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.