While people commemorated solemnly the third anniversary of the 2011 triple disaster, one legislator took the stand to oppose the use of nuclear energy. Lower House Speaker Bunmei Ibuki, took the pulpit at the National Theater on Tuesday to speak his mind regarding the nation’s nuclear power use.
The memorial was held to remember the almost 16,000 people who died and 2,500 still missing from the biggest earthquake and tsunami to hit the nation in recent years, and spawned one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters. Three-decade veteran legislator Ibuki said, “It seems as if we have reaped the benefits of electricity… while letting the people of Fukushima bear the cost.” In his speech, he mourned his nation’s high regard of science and technology that “gave rise to a sense of arrogance, that humans can control nature” while ending it in a call to have a “view toward nuclear phaseout in the future.” While Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has repeatedly urged for decreasing dependence on nuclear energy, he has also stressed its importance and pushed for the restarting of offline reactors. In his own speech, Abe mentioned the plight of nuclear evacuees but refrained from speaking about energy policy.
Ibuki, who was once secretary-general of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, is not the only LDP-member to oppose the use of nuclear energy. Former mentor of Abe, ex-premier Junichiro Koizumi, is also a staunch advocate of ending its use in the nation. He has even supported and campaigned for a former Tokyo gubernatorial candidate, who is anti-nuclear power. However, when his candidate lost, so did some of the traction they earned in pushing for nuclear energy phaseout. An adviser to Ibuki described the lawmaker’s speech as the first public statement regarding nuclear energy he has ever made.