Today’s New York Times story about the nuke protestors says a bit about looking the other way.
People in America look the other way about things we rely on, or really like, all the time. (Cheap gas and car safety, white sugar, stand-alone housing.) In Japan, the stakes are a little different: abundant electricity generated by nuclear reactors whose safety is being called into question.
In the 1970’s, during the so-called Energy Crisis, a generation of men in positions of power decided to rely on nuclear energy. People who disagreed with the idea were marginalized, and have been marginalized.
Now that Fukushima Daiichi plant has become–as I said it would–a long-running Chernobyl-style situation, the lone voices who had been pointing out the dangers of just such a thing are getting much more air time.
What is surprising, though, is that the establishment created by nuclear energy is still trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube with regard to safety of these plants.
Kan shut one of the facilities outright, which got protests from the relevant ministry which allegedly works for him. (He is their boss.) The bottom line is simply that safety issues have not been considered with these plants.
The people who live in the localities that host these plants, miles and miles away from Tokyo and the Kantou region, feel like they are being sacrificed in the off-chance that one of plants melts down. This, so that people in some other part of Japan can have reasonably-priced electricity.
I am all for cheap electricity. There has to be, though, a dialogue about the true costs of that electric. Same as in America with our dependence on imported oil.