Fukushima Watch: Confessions of an Unlikely Anti-Nuclear Convert
By Mari Iwata
Among the ranks of Japanese who’ve turned against nuclear power recently, one of the unlikeliest converts is Yoshinori Kobayashi, a comic-book artist famous for his right-wing views on Japan’s imperialist wars in Asia.
In late August, however, Mr. Kobayashi deviated from the ranks of most Japanese conservatives with the publication of a manga titled “Datsu Genpatsu Ron,” or “Exit Nuclear Power.” The book is unlikely to be popular with Mr. Kobayashi’s typical readers. The majority of right-leaning opinion leaders in Japan have maintained support of nuclear power even after last year’s accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, including the always-controversial Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara.
Even in the wake of the Fukushima accident, Mr. Kobayashi thought the situation couldn’t have been all that serious. But he said that after a few weeks he decided he should reconsider his views, as explanation after explanation by the authorities turned out to be inconsistent or false.
Mr. Kobayashi started reading numerous books on nuclear power and visited areas around the Fukushima Daiichi plant. He said it was particularly painful to see the suffering of Iitate, a town northwest of the Fukushima plant that was bathed with large amount of nuclear radiation carried by the wind. “They had never received nuclear subsidies. But the town was killed. There is nothing worse than that,” Mr. Kobayashi said.
Yoshinori Kobayashi’s manga Datsu Genpatsu Ron, or Exit Nuclear Power” which was published in late August.]
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