“But the Daiichi plant didn’t fail just because of a natural catastrophe. It also failed due to the self interest of Japan’s power elites. Upon investigation, it is clear that regulation was lax by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA). The owner,TEPCO, ignored safety reports, falsified records, and called in political favors from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to avoid remediation. Lax regulation was also due to NISA’s conflict of interest – being a branch of the Trade Ministry, charged with promoting nuclear power.
All 50 reactors nationally had to be shut down and now there is a municipal campaign to prevent their reopening. A national petition has been signed by 7.5 million people to this effect. Yet the current government, the Democratic Party, has restarted two reactors in Ohi, western Japan while promising a more autonomous regulatory approach in the future.
As Japan’s power elites define the nation’s economic interests, an energy economy that carries catastrophic risk trumps basic human security.”