No nuclear power, no Japan—at least according to the country's own prime minister. In a televised broadcast to the nation last Friday, Yoshihiko Noda said that if the reactors that previously fed the country's energy grid continued to idle, then "Japanese society cannot survive."
Yet the country's nuclear opponents and activists, gaining increasing influence even within Noda's own Democratic Party of Japan, respond that Japanese society cannot survive by continuing to live with nuclear power.
That divergence has resulted in a major political upheaval in Japan, with different visions for the country's future.
The grim warning from Noda underscored the country's increasingly difficult energy conundrum.
More than a year after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, all of Japan's 50 nuclear reactors are now offline. The 30% gap in national electricity supply is currently being met by greater purchases of fossil fuels from abroad. For a country long worried about an indigenous absence of natural resources and with an ingrained concern over foreign reliance, this has created a dilemma. The choice would be to once again live under the shadow of nuclear power, even when memories of 2011 events are still fresh, or to turn to dirtier fossil fuels that need to be purchased in great volumes abroad. . .View Full Article