A long-time host of a radio program on public broadcaster NHK quit his job after he was asked to drop the subject of nuclear power while the campaign for the Tokyo gubernatorial election is ongoing. Toru Nakakita, a professor of economics at Toyo University and a former Foreign Ministry official, was the host of the “Business Outlook” portion of the “Radio Asa Ichiban” for the past 20 years.
He said that when his manuscript for the January 30 show was supposed to tackle how restarting the nuclear reactor operations can actually raise costs and that the “damages to be paid in the wake of a nuclear plant accident are extraordinarily high.” When he showed it to a program director, he was told to change the topic and to stop talking about nuclear energy while the campaign is ongoing. Nakakita believes that during this period, the public should be exposed to substantial debates about various issues. “NHK reacted with excessive voluntary restraint, which shows a lack of awareness of the issue,” he said, leading to his decision to quit.
But an official from NHK said that their intention for asking him to drop the subject was not to stop an anti-nuclear debate. They said that since nuclear energy is a huge issue, both sides should be presented to “secure impartiality.” They believe that “a business outlook presented by one person would not meet this goal.” The gubernatorial election is set for February 9 and is seen as a crucial choice for Tokyo voters, especially since the city is to host the Summer Olympics in 2020.
[ via Asahi Shimbun ]
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