Majority at public hearings want nuclear-free Japan

July 30, 2012


Citizens who wanted to voice their opinions on energy policy at eight public hearings overwhelmingly called for Japan to give up nuclear energy by 2030.

The government held the meetings to solicit views on its three proposed options for the ratio of nuclear energy in Japan’s overall power generation in 2030--zero percent, 15 percent and 20-25 percent.

Seventy percent of those who applied to speak at the hearings supported the zero-percent option. Eleven percent supported the 15-percent option, and 17 percent backed the option of 20-25 percent. Two percent gave opinions different from the three options.

Of those wanting to voice their opinions, only those chosen through a drawing are allowed to speak at the hearings. Participants at the first five hearings were not allowed to state opinions other than the government's three options.

The eight hearings were held between July 14 and July 29, and three more are scheduled for Aug. 1 and 4.

At the hearing in Hiroshima on July 29, 62 percent of people who applied to speak supported the zero-percent option.

“We want to say ‘no’ to nuclear power generation from Hiroshima, where an atomic bomb was dropped,” said one woman in Hiroshima who works part-time.

A man in Hiroshima who was exposed to radiation from the atomic bomb and lost a relative in the bombing supported 20-25 percent nuclear energy.

“I think we have to increase renewable energy, but nuclear power must be recognized as a necessary evil in view of economic activities,” he said.

Because only nine people wanted to state their opinions at the hearing in Naha on July 29, all were able to speak, with eight supporting the zero-percent option.

One man, a resident of Naha, said, “Why don't we use Okinawa, which has no nuclear power plant, as a model to expand the use of renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, and tackle the environmental issue?”

Okinawa Electric Power Co. is the only regional electric utility in Japan that does not operate a nuclear power plant.

The only opinion other than the zero-percent option came from a woman from Nanjo, Okinawa Prefecture. She called on the government to end use of nuclear energy as soon as possible, saying zero reliance in 2030 is too late.

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A public hearing held in Hiroshima on July 29 (The Asahi Shimbun)

A public hearing held in Hiroshima on July 29 (The Asahi Shimbun)

  • A public hearing held in Hiroshima on July 29 (The Asahi Shimbun)

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