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Toward a Peaceful Society Without Nuclear Energy: Understanding the Power Structures Behind the 3.11 Fukushima Nuclear Disaster 原子力発電抜きの平和な社会へ向けて−−3.11福島原子力発電所事故の背後にある権力構造を理解する 

December 25, 2011
Volume 9 | Issue 52 | Number 2
Article ID 3669

Toward a Peaceful Society Without Nuclear Energy: Understanding the Power Structures Behind the 3.11 Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

Nishioka Nobuyuki

Translated by John Junkerman

I: Fukushima and Okinawa

At midnight on April 22, 2011, the Japanese government designated the zone within a 20-kilometer radius of the Fukushima nuclear power plant a controlled area under the Basic Law for Disaster Countermeasures. As a result, all entry into the zone was prohibited without special government permission. Some 78,000 people were separated from their homes, without knowing when they might return.

Explosion at No.3 Reactor of Fukushima Daiichi, March 14, 2011

The government set the maximum exposure limit for children in Fukushima Prefecture at 20 millisieverts. The results of an analysis showing that the No. 1 reactor suffered a core meltdown the day after the earthquake were not released until more than two months had passed. Core meltdowns occurred in the No. 2 and 3 reactors as well. For a long stretch of time, data from the SPEEDI (System for the Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information) network was not made public. Looking at this pattern, one gets the sense that the government had written off the people of Fukushima as if it were inevitable for some to die from radiation-caused diseases.

In Okinawa as well, we learned from the WikiLeaks site that the government was already telling the US at the end of 2009 that it had reverted to the plan to move Futenma airbase to Henoko. Turning a deaf ear to the consensus of the Okinawa people, from the governor on down, against relocating the base within the prefecture, the Japanese government’s pledge to “carefully explain” matters amounts to telling Okinawa to renounce its demands for a reduction in the burden of US military bases on the island.

The government has turned its back on Fukushima since the accident, just as it has deserted Okinawa on the issue of US bases. The dictionary defines kimin (abandoned people) as those “who have been removed from the protection of a state.” Have the residents of Fukushima and Okinawa become “abandoned people”?

Nuclear power plants and US military bases are made possible by the discriminatory policies of the central government. The depopulation of the Japanese countryside, combined with deteriorating economic and financial conditions exacerbated by the wave of town and village government mergers (the “Heisei consolidation”), has put local governments in a stranglehold. In this stressed condition, generous subsidies, municipal construction projects, and promises of jobs have been dangled before localities in exchange for agreeing to host nuclear power plants or military bases. During the Battle of Okinawa, Japanese military authorities did not trust the Okinawan people. Having failed to completely indoctrinate Okinawans as imperial subjects, the military began to adopt policies of abandonment that included forced mass suicides. This has continued for 66 years since the war. Connecting the Fukushima nuclear accident with the problem of the Battle of Okinawa and postwar US and SDF bases should give some clues regarding the future direction of a movement that aims for a society without war.

In the two months since the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima nuclear accident, the damage from radioactive contamination has grown increasingly severe. The earthquake and the massive tsunami were natural disasters, but the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant was clearly a man-made disaster caused by the Tokyo Electric Power Company and the Japanese government.  The responsibility for compounding the losses from an unprecedented natural disaster with one of the worst nuclear accidents in history is not something that can be absolved through public apologies and compensation. Rather, it is necessary to thoroughly examine and demand accountability for the mistakes committed by political and business circles, as well as the

nuclear academy, during the sixty years that this nation has hurtled down the road of nuclear power development.

I hope to shed light on the sullied structure of “nuclear power state monopoly capitalism,” which becomes visible when one investigates the government’s pro-nuclear power policies and the reasons an unprecedented accident like the Fukushima meltdown occurred. Without reforming and dispensing with this retrograde system of control, we will never break the chain of structural violence in Japan nor create a peaceful society.

II: The Corrupt Network that Sustains TEPCO

The Politicians Who Brought Nuclear Power to Japan

The 54 nuclear power plants that now exist in Japan have a 57-year history as national policy. When one examines the support and promotion, with full state backing, of the development of nuclear power by such companies as Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), one begins to glimpse a dark structure of corrupt money power that spans the realms of politics, government bureaucracy, business, labor, academia, and the media.

Three leaders in political and business circles were the chief promoters of research and development of nuclear power and its launch as a public undertaking in Japan. One was Shoriki Matsutaro, owner of the Yomiuri Shimbun and founder of Nippon Television (a prewar police bureaucrat, he was confined to Sugamo Prison as a Class-A war criminal during the postwar occupation).

Shoriki Matsutaro (1885 – 1969)

Shoriki began working with the CIA after the war and supported Japan’s possession of nuclear weapons as a member of the US Cold War alliance against the Soviet Union. To this end he promoted the “peaceful use of atomic energy,” utilizing his media companies to build support in Japan. Shoriki and others in the pro-military camp calculated that research in nuclear energy would lead, in the future, to Japan’s development and possession of nuclear weapons.1

Another figure was Nakasone Yasuhiro, the former prime minister who carried out the privatization of Japan’s national railways. Nakasone had shown interest in nuclear power when he was in the Japanese Navy during the war, and as soon as he became a politician after the war, he delivered a petition on nuclear energy research to the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, Gen. Douglas MacArthur. When Nakasone submitted a budget for nuclear energy development to the Diet in 1954, nuclear energy was launched in Japan.

Nakasone Yasuhiro (1918 - )

The nuclear energy project quickly accelerated the following year, as conservative forces merged to form the Liberal Democratic Party and an agreement on nuclear energy was signed with the US. Shoriki brought the American “Atoms for Peace” campaign to Japan and launched a nationwide series of lectures and exhibitions. His efforts led to movement on the political front, and he became the first minister in charge of nuclear energy and the first chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. The initial nuclear energy budget that Nakasone submitted was passed on March 4, 1954. The US hydrogen bomb test on Bikini Atoll that showered the fishermen of Lucky Dragon #5 with radioactive fallout took place three days earlier on March 1, but the incident had not yet come to light when Nakasone’s budget was approved. If it had been known, public opinion and the “nuclear allergy” resulting from the atomic bombs would have made passage of the nuclear energy budget impossible.2

The third figure, Tanaka Kakuei, the prime minister remembered for the bribery scandal involving the Lockheed Corporation, will be discussed below.

What is the Poli-Bureau-Busi-Labor-Academy-Media Nexus?

I have suggested there is a “poli-bureau-busi-labor-acade-media” hydra behind nuclear power in Japan. “Poli” is the political parties and politicians: the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) that dominated politics during most of the 66 years since the war, as well as the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). “Bureau” refers to the government offices involved with the industry—the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI), the Ministry of Education (MEXT), etc. In particular, TEPCO is under the jurisdiction of METI’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy. “Busi” indicates electronics makers such as Toshiba, Mitsubishi, and Hitachi who profit from manufacturing reactors, along with construction firms such as Kajima and Taisei who build the plants themselves. “Labor” refers to the TEPCO Labor Union and its membership of some 32,000 non-supervisory employees. “Academy” includes the nuclear scientists at academic institutions such as the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University who have promoted the development of nuclear power. And “media” refers to the circles in control of the information industry and major media.

First, the connection to the political world. Led by such figures as Nakasone and Shoriki, LDP-dominated governments have reaped tremendous benefit from the administration of nuclear power over the course of six decades. The government’s nuclear power-related budget has run about ¥500 billion (about $6.25 billion in 2011 dollars). Categorized separately are subsidies of more than ¥10 billion ($125 million) each to prefectures that host nuclear power plants.

Nuclear power plants in Japan

During an 11-year span beginning in the early 1980s, the LDP received political contributions of ¥6.5 billion (about $80 million) from the Federation of Electrical Power Companies, in the form of advertising fees for the party’s magazine. It is also known that substantial individual contributions have been made directly to LDP members of the Diet. In the case of TEPCO, the amounts for political contributions from top executives to the LDP are set in advance: the chairman and president, ¥300,000 each; vice-presidents, ¥240,000; directors, ¥120,000. In 2010, political contributions made in the name of the top executives to the LDP’s People’s Political Association totaled ¥35 million (about $450,000). The LDP, as the long-standing ruling party, and the electrical industry forged an unbreakable bond over the decades, by sharing the benefits of the easy money made in monopolized nuclear energy development projects. In passing, TEPCO has a 49-person executive structure that includes the chairman and president, six vice-presidents, and nine directors, along with 29 executive officers and three external directors and officers on assignment. Compensation for the chairman and president is said to be around ¥72 million ($900,000).3

Following in Shoriki and Nakasone’s footsteps as the standard bearer for nuclear power was former prime minister Tanaka Kakuei, famed for his Plan for Remodeling the Japanese Archipelago.

Tanaka Kakuei (1918-1993)

Tanaka is said to have reaped a ¥400 million profit from real estate transactions when the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant was sited in his home prefecture of Niigata. Tanaka also created the system of subsidies (in the so-called Dengen Sanpo, or three electrical power supply laws), under which residents near nuclear power plants are placated by large cash payments to their local governments. And after Tanaka, the torch was carried by former prime minister Takeshita Noboru, current DPJ supreme advisor Watanabe Kozo, and former DPJ president Ozawa Ichiro, among others.

Next, let’s look at the relationship between the nuclear industry and government bureaus. For some five decades, virtually without interruption, the director of the agency in charge of nuclear power, the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy within METI (formerly the Ministry of International Trade and Industry), has been hired as a vice president of TEPCO when he retired from government. This practice of amakudari (providing lucrative post-retirement jobs to bureaucrats) is widespread. In addition to the 146 companies that are associated with TEPCO’s operations, there are 25 semi- and extra-governmental agencies that deal with nuclear power, including the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and the Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization. Each year, dozens of retiring administrative vice-ministers and other high-ranking bureaucrats from METI and MEXT are rewarded with jobs in these companies and agencies. These bureaucrats are promised a comfortable passage through revolving doors: they receive hefty bonuses when they retire from government service, then are immediately re-employed by a related entity, where they receive high salaries and further bonuses when they retire again after a few years, often moving on to yet another sinecure.

These government bureaus issue permits and inspect and regulate the operations of TEPCO and the nine other regional power companies, so there are immeasurable benefits to placing the former directors of these agencies in corporate headquarters or related companies and agencies.4

Let us turn to the business world. The private sector took the lead in promoting the development of nuclear power in Japan. At the center was Yomiuri’s Shoriki, as described above. The electronics manufacturers Hitachi and Toshiba earned massive profits from building reactors for nuclear power. Even after the Fukushima accident, Toshiba president Sasaki Norio said at a press conference that his firm would secure a trillion yen ($12.5 billion) in business from the nuclear industry through 2015. Since electricity production is a monopoly enterprise, there is no risk of a downturn in business, and companies involved in building reactors are guaranteed high profits from lucrative contracts.5

Looking at labor, the TEPCO Labor Union is affiliated with Rengo, Japan’s largest labor union federation; the unions from all of the regional power companies comprise Denryoku Soren (the Federation of Electric Power Related Industry Workers Unions). Former Rengo chairman Sasamori Kiyoshi was also the former chairman of the TEPCO Labor Union and of Denryoku Soren; he was a special advisor to the Kan Naoto cabinet.6 The political action committee of Denryoku Soren makes an annual contribution of ¥30 million (about $375,000) to the DPJ, and it also mobilizes its membership in support of the Diet campaigns of such leading DPJ politicians as Ren Ho, Koshiishi Azuma, and Eda Satsuki. DPJ Diet members Komiyama Yoko and Kobayashi Masao are major shareholders in TEPCO, and Kobayashi actually came from the ranks of the TEPCO Labor Union. These unions, in concert with the management of the power companies, support and promote nuclear power, which is why the DPJ, which accepts large sums of political contributions from the unions, has been unable to oppose nuclear power policies.

Another important problem concerns the workers at the nuclear power plants. Most of these workers are irregular employees of TEPCO subsidiaries, referred to as “cooperating companies.” Performing jobs with high risk of radiation exposure and other severe working conditions, these workers are not members of Denryoku Soren. Many of them are temporary workers who come from Okinawa, or are drawn from former day laborers from Osaka’s Kamagasaki and Tokyo’s Sanya districts. Risking their lives to earn even slightly higher wages, these workers engaged in dangerous tasks form the lower stratum in a structure of discrimination, with the pro-company unions stationed above and turning a blind eye to the situation.7

Nuclear Ginza (Channel 4, 1995. LINK to view video)

As for academia, immediately after the Fukushima accident occurred, Madarame Haruki, the chairman of the Nuclear Safety Commission and a former engineering professor at the University of Tokyo, reassured prime minister Kan Naoto, “A nuclear power plant will never explode.” There are many scholars and researchers in the “nuclear village,” coming from the prestigious Tokyo and Kyoto universities on down. For those laboratories and professors that promote nuclear power and certify its safety, TEPCO and other members of the Federation of Electric Power Companies provide generous research funding. In addition, many posts are made available to academics in nuclear power-related government agencies like the Nuclear Safety Commission and METI’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, as well as directors’ seats at nuclear-related institutes. Negishi Eiichi, the Purdue University professor who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010, has said, “Professors at the University of Tokyo have been bought out by TEPCO. As a result, they cannot speak impartially.”

It is these “kept scholars”, who have drunk the sweet nectar of nuclear power and chosen the path of power and money, who have been making daily appearances since the Fukushima accident occurred on TV and in other media, where they continue to sell the myth of nuclear reactor safety. On the other hand, scholars like Assoc. Prof. Koide Hiroaki of the Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute, who harbor doubts about the safety of nuclear energy and publicly call for the reexamination of nuclear policy, are snubbed and shunted to the margins of their universities. They receive no subsidies for their research expenses. Within Kyoto University, Koide and his colleagues are called the “Kumatori 6,” a reference to the location of their research facility in the remote town of Kumatori in southern Osaka Prefecture, which symbolizes their treatment as heretics.8

Yamashita Shunichi, a pro-nuclear researcher and Vice President of Fukushima Medical University (LINK to view video)

Finally, the media. The mass media are also fully incorporated into the nuclear power monopoly capital nexus. After the earthquake, public service announcements of the Advertising Council filled the airwaves, hour after hour. Of course, TEPCO is one of the thousand-plus corporations that make up the council, and the chairman of the Japan Academy of Advertising, which is the supreme authority in mass media in Japan, was the president of TEPCO, Shimizu Masataka.9 The Federation of Electric Power Companies channels millions of dollars in funds to media-related companies and journalists; at a time when the spread of the Internet and the economic slump have cut into advertising revenues, the electric power companies have become ever more important partners for the media. Electric power is controlled by regional monopolies throughout Japan, so there is essentially no need for the power companies to advertise. However, five electric power companies appeared in a list of the top 100 corporate advertising budgets for 2010 (compiled by the Nikkei Advertising Research Institute). The various electric power companies’ annual expenditure for advertising and promotion is on the order of ¥100 billion ($1.25 billion).10

III: Using the Nuclear Accident as a Pretext for Increased Information Control

Immediately after the March 11 earthquake, the mass media changed dramatically. Television programming was cancelled entirely, replaced by special programs reporting on the earthquake and tsunami damage, while all commercial advertisements disappeared. For about one month, these were replaced by an endlessly repeated series of Advertising Council (AC) public service announcements.

The Context for Information Control

I remember quite clearly the live broadcast from the Diet on the morning of March 11. It had come to light that Prime Minister Kan had received a political donation from a Korean resident of Japan (technically a foreigner, from whom political donations cannot be accepted under Japanese law). The opposition parties were pressing Kan to resign, just as his foreign minister, Maehara Seiji, had resigned under similar circumstances that same week. The pressure continued in the afternoon session, and just when it seemed the prime minister had his back to the wall, the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred.

After the earthquake, there was nonstop reporting on the disaster on TV. There were no advertisements whatsoever, until the AC public service announcements began to appear. These appeals to human conscience, about the importance of kindness and understanding, and the need to greet and connect to others were repeated hundreds and thousands of times. Overlaid as they were on the overwhelming reports of the scale of destruction caused by the earthquake and tsunami, and the extreme conditions facing survivors who were still searching for loved ones, the AC announcements may well have led many viewers to reconsider their own lifestyles and attitudes. The day after the earthquake, when the hydrogen explosion occurred in the No. 1 reactor and it became clear that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was in critical condition, was the day that the AC announcements began to run.

TEPCO’s slipshod maintenance and operation of the power plant would later come to light, but already five years before the accident, a Japan Communist Party member of the Diet had warned, in a Diet proceeding, “If a tsunami hits like one did after the Great Chilean Earthquake, the chances of losing emergency power and suffering a meltdown are high.” But TEPCO ignored all such warnings. TEPCO created the critical conditions at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, but it is attempting to escape responsibility by arbitrarily arguing that the earthquake and tsunami were “beyond estimation.” But, while the earthquake and tsunami were natural disasters, the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant was clearly a man-made accident caused by TEPCO.

After the explosions at the Fukushima power plant, we began to see unfamiliar analysts, university professors and researchers with great frequency on TV, reassuring viewers that these were “simply hydrogen explosions and nothing to worry about,” and declaring, “there is no immediate danger to your health.” We would later learn that these were kept scholars, who had long ago discarded their consciences as scientists.

And when journalists and cultural figures began to challenge this “safe and secure” deceit and warn of the dangers, controls on speech and the flow of information were quickly tightened. Immediately after the journalist Uesugi Takashi criticized TEPCO during a regular appearance on TBS Radio, he was called in by a producer and informed that he was being dropped from the program. A manga entitled “Hakuryu: Legend” (written by Tennoji Dai, drawn by Watanabe Michio) was running a sequence called “The Nuclear Power Mafia” in Nihon Bungeisha’s Weekly Manga Goraku; it was suspended after the issue dated March 18. The rock singer Saito Kazuyoshi rewrote his own hit song, “I Always Loved You” into an attack on the government and TEPCO called “They Were Always Lies”. When he put a live recording of the song on YouTube, it was immediately blocked and could not be seen on the Internet for some time.11

Saito Kazuyoshi’s song, with English subtitles (LINK to view video)

Then, on April 6, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications issued guidance to Internet providers and communications companies, directing them to use their independent judgment in blocking e-mail and text messages, postings on electronic bulletin boards, YouTube videos, etc. that contained terms related to nuclear power, on the grounds that “groundless rumors” and “unreliable information about the nuclear accident could needlessly incite fears among the people.” The circular was issued in the name of interior minister Katayama Yoshihiro.12

This was the first time in the 66 years since the war that the Japanese government directly intervened to exercise control over the flow of information. Further, on the morning of the day the earthquake hit, the Kan Cabinet approved the draft of a Computer Network Monitoring Law. This law, which modifies criminal statutes concerning conspiracies, requires Internet providers to maintain logs that police and prosecutors can access without a warrant, to monitor who accessed which websites, and the history and content of e-mail and text messages. Until now, in specific organized crime cases, limited seizures of Internet mail have been allowed. But the new law allows authorities to investigate an individual’s data, without a warrant, harkening back to the prewar and wartime Public Security Preservation Law.13

The government has clearly used the earthquake and the nuclear accident to remove from the public stage and suppress the voices of those who run afoul of ruling circles, and the private information of those who are deemed to be defiant can now legally be investigated by the authorities. This is nothing other than a system of emergency control over speech and the flow of information.

Controlling the Population, Creating a Unified Nation

“Japan is one team.” “Unity is Japan’s strength.” Famous athletes and celebrities began to appear in the AC public service announcements. Other celebrities made trips to the disaster zone, to help cook meals and put on charity concerts. During the late April-early May holidays, a surge of volunteers flooded the earthquake zone, overwhelming the volunteer coordinating centers.

It is wonderful to go to the disaster zone and to assist the tens of thousands of victims in the Tohoku region. I myself have not yet gone, but during the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995, the apartment I was living in was damaged, and on my days off I would often go to shelters in Kobe and help cook meals for the evacuees. However, what I want to address here is how television and newspapers are issuing daily calls for us to support the disaster zone; I am concerned and opposed to the use of the public airwaves to carry an endless flow of appeals for the Japanese people to pull together as one.

The evacuation of those who are being exposed to radioactive contamination as a result of the nuclear accident should be the most urgent and pressing matter. The Ministry of Education raised the threshold for keeping schoolchildren indoors and the annual limit of exposure twenty-fold, to 20 millisieverts. The DPJ-led government pressed on with this policy despite protests from University of Tokyo professor Kosako Toshiso, who resigned from his post as special advisor to the cabinet. It is apparent that the government has discarded the people of Tohoku as an abandoned people. The decision amounts to locking children up to play in an X-Ray lab, and it is inexcusable to divert the public’s attention from this situation and draw back from the Fukushima power plant crisis by issuing appeals for volunteers to support residents of earthquake-damaged areas other than Fukushima.14

Meanwhile in Okinawa, influenced by the recent earthquake, there has been a boom in disaster preparedness campaigns. The prefecture’s two newspapers report almost daily that a training session took place somewhere. Survivors of the Hanshin earthquake talk about their experiences, and organizers stress the need for disaster prevention measures in our daily lives and the formation of “voluntary disaster management organizations.” I do not deny the necessity of disaster prevention measures. But I think it’s important to see this campaign in the context of the government’s moves toward information control and regulation of reporting on nuclear power, and the drumbeats for national unity. “Voluntary disaster management organizations” were stipulated under the Civil Protection Law that was passed in 2004, as part of legislation that set up emergency policies to deal with armed attacks on Japan. They are essentially intended for rearguard support during a military conflict, prescribed by the crisis management manuals drawn up by the Ministry of Defense and the Fire and Disaster Management Agency in the Ministry of the Interior. Likewise, the J-Alert disaster warning system, a satellite-based early warning system for local governments and fire departments is being adopted at an accelerated rate by towns and cities across Japan, but no mention is made of the fact that the system incorporates data and mechanisms to assist the Self Defense Forces to respond when a crisis arises.15

Since the earthquake, the government has made use of the disaster prevention campaign to expand the crisis management structure into areas where it was unable to reach in ordinary times. I want to sound a warning to those who, unaware of this background, get caught up in this campaign with good intentions.

The Anti-Nuclear Power Stance

In peace studies, we recognize that, in addition to the direct violence of militaries and war, there are forms of structural violence, such as poverty and hunger, discrimination, and environmental destruction that need to be confronted and eliminated. The meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, one of the worst nuclear accidents in history, must be considered a form of structural violence. Nay, nuclear power and radioactive contamination are now a form of direct violence.

Radiation and nukes are absolutely unnecessary for humanity and we must sever our ties to them forever. The “peaceful use of the atom” is nonsense, concocted by the sullied network of profiteers with vested interest in nuclear power. Now is certainly the time to shift toward natural, renewable energy. Germany has decided, as a nation, to essentially abolish nuclear power.

In the midst of these developments, it has become known that the Okinawa Electric Power Company (Okiden) has been exploring the possibility of building a small- to mid-sized nuclear reactor. To date, the company has relied primarily on conventional thermal power, but in 2009, it included an examination of nuclear power in its mid- to long-term plan. Okiden’s public affairs office has declared that the company will not introduce nuclear power, but it has budgeted funds for this purpose, and it has dispatched employees to nuclear power plants on the mainland for training purposes. And, it turns out, Okinawa Governor Nakaima Hirokazu was a ranking bureaucrat at MITI and a top official with the Okinawa General Bureau, who took an amakudari position at Okiden when he retired from the bureaucracy.

Okinawa is a small island. If a nuclear power plant were built somewhere on the island, and there happened to be an accident at the plant, all of Okinawa would be rendered uninhabitable by the radiation. This island experienced the pain of the Battle of Okinawa, as well as the immeasurable hardship caused by US bases since the war. The introduction of even a small reactor that could add a nuclear accident to this tragic history must be prevented at all costs.16

Japan has experienced more exposure to nuclear bombs and radiation than any country on earth. August 6, 1945—Hiroshima. August 9—Nagasaki. March 1, 1954—Lucky Dragon No. 5. And March 11, 2011—Fukushima. Japanese people have repeatedly been the victims of radioactive contamination. And each time, they have pledged their opposition to nukes. With 3.11 as a starting point, the world is attempting to pursue a new way of living.

We aim to create a society without war that has no use for armies, bases, soldiers, and weapons. That society is also a no nukes society, free of nuclear power.


This is a slightly revised version of a chapter from Ishihara Masaie, Arashiro Yoneko, Tonaki Morita, Nishioka Nobuyuki, Pisu Nau, eds., The Battle of Okinawa – Musen no tame no sai teii (Peace Now The Battle of Okinawa – Repositioning for No-War), Horitsu Bunkasha, November 2011. (『ピースナウ 沖縄戦無戦のための最定位』石原昌家編 法律文化社 2011年)

Nishioka Nobuyuki, born in Osaka in 1955, worked at Osaka City Office until 2001 before moving to Okinawa. He is an instructor at Okinawa International University.

John Junkerman is an American documentary filmmaker and Asia-Pacific Journal associate living in Tokyo. His film, “Japan’s Peace Constitution” (2005), won the Kinema Jumpo and Japan PEN Club best documentary awards. It is available in North America from Icarus Films.

Recommended citation: Nishioka Nobuyuki, 'Toward a Peaceful Society Without Nuclear Energy: Understanding the Power Structures Behind the 3.11 Fukushima Nuclear Disaster,' The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 52 No 2, December 26, 2011.

Articles on related subjects 

Satoko Oka Norimastu, Fukushima and Okinawa – the “Abandoned People,” and Civic Empowerment 

Hirose Takashi, A Farewell to Nuclear Power – a Lecture on Fukushima  

Koide Hiroaki, Philippe Pons, and Paul Jobin, Nuclear Irresponsibility: Koide Hiroaki Interviewed by Le Monde  

For a complete list of APJ articles on 3.11 and nuclear power see Nuclear Meltdown: Radiation and its consequences for People and Environment in Japan and the World


1 Arima Tetsuo, Gempatsu/Shoriki/CIA: Kimitsu Bunsho de Yomu Showa Rimenshi (Nuclear power, Shoriki, and the CIA: The Inside History of the Showa Era as Seen in Secret Documents) (Shincho Shinsho, 2008).

2 Miyako Mainichi Shimbun, April 28, 2011.

3 Asahi Shimbun, May 5, 2011; Nikkan Sports, April 29, 2011; Shukan Gendai, May 21, 2011.

4 Onda Katsunobu, Tokyo Denryoku: Teikoku no Ankoku (TEPCO: The Darkness of Empire) (Nanatsumori Shokan, 2007); TEPCO Securities Report, 2006; TEPCO, Kanto no Denki Jigyo to Tokyo Denryoky(Electricity Operation in Kanto and TEPCO) (2002).

5 Fuji Sankei Business I, April 14, 2011.

6 Editor’s note: Sasamori died in June 2011, after this preface was written.

7 Sunday Mainichi, April 17, 2011.

8 Shukan Gendai, April 23 and May 21, 2011.

9 Editor’s note: Shimizu resigned as TEPCO president in June 2011; he is no longer chairman of the academy.

10 Sunday Mainichi, April 24, 2011; Shukan Gendai, May 21, 2011.

12 The move was reported on the ministry’s website under the following heading: “Request Made to Associations of Electronic Communications Companies Regarding Appropriate Responses to Groundless Rumors on the Internet Regarding the Great East Japan.” Earthquake

13 Editor’s note: The law was later passed and came into effect on July 14, 2011.

14 Okinawa Times, April 30, 2011.

15 See the Fire and Disaster Management Agency website.

16 Okinawa Times, April 24, 2011.