The mysterious author of the controversial anti-nuclear novel Genpatsu Whiteout (“Nuclear power plant whiteout”) may be using a pseudonym right now, but for those who have read the book, it seems like someone who knows the ins and outs of the nuclear industry in Japan. The fictional story exposes the mutually beneficial relationship between regulators and the government, which many believe contributed to the eventual nuclear accident in Fukushima in 2011 during the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
Retsu Wakasugi is the pseudonym used by the author of the book, published by Kodansha Ltd in September 2013. It is a fictional story, but it may sound familiar to most Japanese people: it’s about the rush to restart the country’s nuclear facilities and how the “monster system” of collusion between the government and other sectors to keep nuclear power alive has led to vulnerability of the power plants to terrorist attacks.
Many suspect that Wakasugi is someone who works inside that system, as the details he includes in the book can only be known by an insider. The Asahi Shimbun newspaper managed to get an interview with the author late last year on the condition that his identity would still be protected. He describes a “nuclear village,” which includes the utilities, politicians, government bureaucrats, academics and others with vested interests, that are involved in the prototype Monju fast-breed reactor project in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture. This site has been mothballed due to various safety issues, but continues to be a main pillar of the nuclear recycling system of Japan. Government officials call it a “doodlebug,” meaning it is a money pit.
In the book, an official from the Nuclear Regulation Authority was quoted as saying, “If we continue to operate conventional nuclear power plants, the byproduct will be nuclear waste that will emit radiation for 100,000 years. That is why Monju is so important.” The official admits that maintaining the illusion of the importance of the need for the Monju reactor is essential to keeping the “nuclear myth” alive. In an interview, Wakasugi said that a lot of the former and current politicians benefited from the money-collecting system they got from the electric industry, and so they will never move against them. They hold a power over the government when it comes to vetoing or approving nuclear-related policies.
[ via Asahi Shimbun ]
Comments Off on JDP Startup Corner: Pros & Cons of Working with a Partner in Japan