Let me quote a suspicious message I am unable to forget that came to light during the match-fixing scandal that rocked professional sumo last year: “Please push hard at the initial charge and move with the tide.”
It is a cellphone text message that a wrestler, who bought a win, sent to his opponent. Apparently, he wanted to remind his opponent to make sure the outcome of the fixed bout would appear natural.
The Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture, operated by Kansai Electric Power Co., is about to be put back online--moving with “the tide.” At the request of the Fukui governor, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda expressed his gratitude to the local community that hosts the plant and indicated his resolve to restart it. In response, the local community is set to give its consent. I feel uneasy that a review on safety is perfunctorily being carried out like a ceremony.
Fukui Governor Issei Nishikawa must want to show his mettle as the host of the plant, but the situation reminds me of the following reply to the aforementioned message: “I will hold my ground to a certain extent.”
In a "dohyo ring" to decide Japan’s future energy policy, players seem to be giving a weak performance, resembling more a social dance instead of a serious bout.
The prime minister proudly declared his determination to preserve Japan's daily way of life. After all, no one wants power failures and an increase in electricity rates. But how can the government say the Oi plant can withstand natural disasters comparable to the one that hit the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant last year when the cause of the accident has yet to be determined? It appears what the government really wants to protect is the electric power industry, which is struggling with increased costs.
The Diet investigative committee looking into the Fukushima disaster has harshly criticized the way the government dealt with the accident in the days and weeks after its onset. Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who was made the bad guy during his tenure in office, is still at the forefront of the movement to break with nuclear power generation.
Will the nuclear village regain lost ground or are things moving forward in accordance with a script written by the economy ministry, which serves as “the village office?” Either way, with the approach of hot and humid summer weather, moves to return to the safety myth are rapidly gaining momentum.
It has been slightly more than a year since the disaster at Fukushima deprived many people of their land and livelihoods, and soiled their beautiful hometowns. But the case may be closed with the collaboration of a giant tsunami that raged beyond expectations and shallow-minded rulers who go with “the tide” without learning anything.
--The Asahi Shimbun, June 13
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Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.
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