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(Japan) Prime Minister Noda, tear down this 'nuclear village'

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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-18-11 12:08 PM
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(Japan) Prime Minister Noda, tear down this 'nuclear village'
This could be about nuclear power everywhere in the world...

Noda, tear down this 'nuclear village'

Dear Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, <snip>

The following is a brief list of reasons why nuclear power plants cannot be operated safely in Japan.
Amakudari: Japan's system of amakudari (descent from heaven), in which bureaucrats retire from their ministries to take up lucrative positions in the companies they formerly "regulated," means that there is no real distinction between regulator and regulated in Japan. Indeed, it's fair to say that certain powerful industries actually regulate the ministries that are tasked with regulating them. Remember: The retired bureaucrats who have become industry executives remain senpai to the younger bureaucrats who remain in the ministries (their former kōhai). It is unthinkable that these kōhai could effectively regulate their former senpai for it would involve an inversion of one of the most fundamental relationships in Japanese life.

Capitalist-development state structure: On its face, amakudari seems like a perversion of the proper relationship between ministries and industries, but it's important to realize that Japan's ministries were never intended to regulate industry. Rather, they were intended to promote it. This is a form of government known as the "capitalist development state," in which the state actively fosters the growth of selected industries through a partnership between industry and bureaucracy (ministries).


Campaign cash from the electric power industry: Between 2007 and 2009, the Democratic Party of Japan received at least 91 million from electric power plant worker unions. Likewise, in 2009 the Liberal Democratic Party received almost 28 million from executives in electric power companies. Given the strong pronuclear bias of Japan's electric power companies, this effectively guarantees Japanese government support for nuclear power.

Corrupted academics: The Japanese nuclear industry provides generous support to academic institutions and individual professors in order to influence their views on nuclear power. Tokyo University (Todai) has benefited more than any other institution from the nuclear industry's largess: An astonishing number of Todai professors and administrators leave the university to take up positions at Tepco (a form of academic amakudari), including the former president of Todai, Hiroshi Komiyama, who now holds the position of auditor at Tepco. The result is that the elite of Japan receives an education that is decidedly pronuclear, while research into the dangers of nuclear power is actively discouraged.


Chris Rowthorn is a freelance writer based in Kyoto. This is a reworked version of an article that originally appeared in Kansai Scene ( ).
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lbrtbell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-18-11 12:30 PM
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1. Excellent article
One thing that might help other DU'ers understand your post better would be to explain what terms like senpai mean. Those of us who love anime understand these relationships, but the average DU'er might not. :)
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