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Tetsunari Iida: Can Japan Achieve a Sustainable Future without Nuclear Energy?
In the aftermath of the 3.11 Fukushima nuclear crisis, the long-term viability of the nuclear industry in Japan has been called into question, with a dynamic anti-nuclear social movement challenging the Japanese government's response to the crisis. While this movement initially enlisted tens of thousands of people, many of whom had not previously engaged in political activism, as time has passed, the anti-nuclear movement has failed to gain ground against the entrenched forces of conservative politics, even while anti-nuclear sentiment remains strong. A central moment in this process was the recent elections, which returned the Liberal Democratic party to power on a nationalist agenda that included plans to restart all of Japan's reactors, and even build new ones.
In contrast to the back-to-the-future politics of the LDP, the anti-nuclear candidate Tetsunari Iida, who ran for governor of Yamaguchi Prefecture, has called for a fundamental rethinking of Japan's energy policy away from nuclear energy to renewable forms that are more environmentally friendly. Although Mr. Iida experienced a setback in the 2012 elections, losing to a conservative candidate who was backed by the LDP, his campaign raised a number of issues for consideration that had not been previously addressed, invigorating the anti-nuclear movement throughout Japan.
For this presentation, Mr. Iida will discuss the political dysfunction that contributed to the nuclear crisis, and offer an alternate vision that has raised widespread support among a public alienated from mainstream politics, offering hope for a safer and more ecologically sustainable future.