Thursday, October 20, 2011

Kyushu Electric Problem

While this reactor is in Saga Prefecture, any major problems would affect Miyazaki Prefecture, especially the northern areas around Nobeoka and Takachiho.

From the Asahi News website:

What if someone asked you for advice and then ignored it? And what if that person then pretended that they had listened to your advice?
Such behavior would be enough to infuriate anyone. It would imply that the person was only asking your advice in the first place to associate your name with their actions. It could only be called rude and disrespectful.
I am referring to the final report released by Kyushu Electric Power Co. concerning the "staged e-mail messages" about Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture. The company ignored the results of the investigation by a third-party panel and did not acknowledge Saga Governor Yasushi Furakawa's active role in the scandal. The panel's assessment was that his remark had "a crucial impact."
Kyushu Electric President Toshio Manabe, who has also retracted his promise to resign, said: "I cannot falsely accuse someone who is innocent." The comment is tantamount to saying: "In order to promptly restart the nuclear reactors, I cannot criticize the head of the local government with jurisdiction over them." The panel chairman, lawyer Nobuo Gohara, whose name was used, was indignant and called the report "phony." Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano also expressed his displeasure, saying: "What nerve!"
Be that as it may, users cannot simply unplug all electrical appliances in their homes saying: "We won't buy electricity from such a company anymore." The self-righteous attitude seen in the report stems from the company's regional monopoly.
The accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant caused the public to cast a more severe eye on electric power companies. The right thing to do for a public-interest corporation is to repent and make a fresh start. Nurturing a cozy relationship with local governments which have jurisdiction over nuclear power plants is nothing but anachronistic. I find it hard to believe that the power company still wants to maintain the "murky relationship" criticized by the panel.
Having seen the proud faces of the senior Kyushu Electric officials, I want to ask whether they understand the crisis they are in. The company cannot oppose the ministry under whose jurisdiction it operates. Apparently, Edano's angry comment moved the company to consider rewriting the report. For better or worse, Kyushu Electric is "Kyushu's TEPCO."
In light of the weight it carries in the local community, perhaps the malady is even more deeply rooted.
--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 16