MARTIN FACKLER and NORIMITSU ONISHI “In Japan, a Culture That Promotes Nuclear Dependency” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/world/asia/31japan.html
Kashima’s reversal is a common story in Japan, and one that helps explain what is, so far, this nation’s unwavering pursuit of nuclear power: a lack of widespread grass-roots opposition in the communities around its 54 nuclear reactors. This has held true even after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami generated a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi station that has raised serious questions about whether this quake-prone nation has adequately ensured the safety of its plants. So far, it has spurred only muted public questioning in towns like this.
As Kashima’s story suggests, Tokyo has been able to essentially buy the support, or at least the silent acquiescence, of communities by showering them with generous subsidies, payouts and jobs. In 2009 alone, Tokyo gave $1.15 billion for public works projects to communities that have electric plants, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Experts say the majority of that money goes to communities near nuclear plants.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg, experts say, as the communities also receive a host of subsidies, property and income tax revenues, compensation to individuals and even “anonymous” donations to local treasuries that are widely believed to come from plant operators.
Unquestionably, the aid has enriched rural communities that were rapidly losing jobs and people to the cities. With no substantial reserves of oil or coal, Japan relies on nuclear power for the energy needed to drive its economic machine. But critics contend that the largess has also made communities dependent on central government spending ― and thus unwilling to rock the boat by pushing for robust safety measures.
In a process that critics have likened to drug addiction, the flow of easy money and higher-paying jobs quickly replaces the communities’ original economic basis, usually farming or fishing.
Nor did planners offer alternatives to public works projects like nuclear plants. Keeping the spending spigots open became the only way to maintain newly elevated living standards.
While few will say so in public, many residents also quietly express concern about how their town gave up its once-busy fishing industry. They also say that flashy projects like the sports park have brought little lasting economic benefit. The No. 3 reactor alone brought the town some $90 million in public works money, and the promise of another $690 million in property tax revenues spread over more than 15 years once the reactor becomes operational next year.
In the 1990s, property taxes from the No. 2 reactor supplied as much as three-quarters of town tax revenues. The fact that the revenues were going to decline eventually was one factor that drove the town to seek the No. 3 reactor, said the mayor at the time, Zentaro Aoyama.
Mr. Aoyama admitted that the Fukushima accident had frightened many people here. Even so, he said, the community had no regrets about accepting the Shimane plant, which he said had raised living standards and prevented the depopulation that has hollowed out much of rural Japan.
Much of this flow of cash was the product of the Three Power Source Development Laws, a sophisticated system of government subsidies created in 1974 by Kakuei Tanaka, the powerful prime minister who shaped Japan’s nuclear power landscape and used big public works projects to build postwar Japan’s most formidable political machine.
The law required all Japanese power consumers to pay, as part of their utility bills, a tax that was funneled to communities with nuclear plants. Officials at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which regulates the nuclear industry, and oversees the subsidies, refused to specify how much communities have come to rely on those subsidies.
“This is money to promote the locality’s acceptance of a nuclear plant,” said Tatsumi Nakano of the ministry’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy. A spokesman for Tohoku Electric Power Company, which operates a plant in Higashidori, said that the company is not involved in the subsidies, and that since Fukushima, it has focused on reassuring the public of the safety of nuclear plants.
Political experts say the subsidies encourage not only acceptance of a plant but also, over time, its expansion. That is because subsidies are designed to peak soon after a plant or reactor becomes operational, and then decline.
According to Professor Shimizu of Fukushima University*2, Fukushima Daiichi and the nearby Fukushima Daini plants directly or indirectly employed some 11,000 people in communities that include Futaba ― or about one person in every two households. Since 1974, communities in Fukushima Prefecture have received about $3.3 billion in subsidies for its electrical plants, most of it for the two nuclear power facilities, Mr. Shimizu said.
Despite these huge subsidies, most given in the 1970s, Futaba recently began to experience budget problems. As they did in Kashima, the subsidies dwindled along with other revenues related to the nuclear plant, including property taxes. By 2007, Futaba was one of the most fiscally troubled towns in Japan and nearly went bankrupt. Town officials blamed the upkeep costs of the public facilities built in the early days of flush subsidies and poor management stemming from the belief that the subsidies would remain generous.
Eisaku Sato*3, who served as the governor of Fukushima Prefecture from 1988 to 2006 and became a critic of the nuclear industry, said that 30 years after its first reactor started operating, the town of Futaba could no longer pay its mayor’s salary.
“With a nuclear reactor, in one generation, or about 30 years, it’s possible that you’ll become a community that won’t be able to survive,” Mr. Sato said.
Futaba’s solution to its fiscal crisis was to ask the government and Tokyo Electric, Fukushima Daiichi’s operator, to build two new reactors, which would have eventually increased the number of reactors at Fukushima Daiichi to eight. The request immediately earned Futaba new subsidies.
“Putting aside whether ‘drugs’ is the right expression,” Mr. Sato said, “if you take them one time, you’ll definitely want to take them again.”
DAVID McNEILL “Idyllic village on way to becoming nuclear ghost town” http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2011/0509/1224296491113.html
■”Shrinking planet”(Paul Theroux)
“The world was once stranger than it is today, much larger, even mysterious, great portion of it unknown, unrenowned, and full of hidden harmonies.”という（p.52）。そして、
People say that because of Google Earth and the net, travel is less of a priority. I would say the opposite is the case. The very fact of easy interconnection, and the illusion such contact creates of understanding, makes travel ever more necessary. The world is not what seems. (…) (ibid.)
There is a sniffy school of thought that promotes the idea that the age of travel is over, and that in 1946 when Evelyn Waugh published the juiciest selections from his travel books under the title When the Going Was Good, it was to be assumed that going wasn't good anymore. The book is very funny, nut the thesis is faulty. I disagreed with it when I set off to see the world in the early '60s, and I have felt over the years, and through a dozen of books of travel, that it is a complacent and disprovable view. (p. 53)
(…) The world has changed. It first began dramatically to shrink with the jumbo jet. I saw a Boeing 747 parked at singapore airport in 1970 and was rendered speechless by the size of it. I did not realize how this plane would change the face of travel-vastly increase the numbers of tourists, make travel cheaper, and turn to many people in the world into visitors and refugees and immigrants. These big planes made the world spin faster. (p.52)
このwww.project-syndicate.org配信の記事で、ピーター･シンガー氏は先ずGeoHazards InternationalというNGO*14がインドネシアのパダン島で展開しているTEREP(Tsunami Evacuation Raised Earth Park)というプロジェクトに言及している。パダン島では街場から高台は離れており、低地には狭い道が入り組んでいるので、津波が来た場合事前の警報があったとしても住民が安全に避難することは難しい。TEREPは低地に人口の小山を造り、平時は公園として住民が利用し、津波が襲来した時は手近な避難場所として利用するというもの。これは”a low-cost solution to the tsunami danger in low-lying coastal areas”なのだという。
One reason for this is that preventing disaster does not make good television. People give to identifiable victims. If we build raised parks, we will never see the people, who, but for our aid, would have died; no orphan in desperate need will appear on the nightly news. But isn't it much better to keep parents safe than to help orphans after their parents have been killed?
Another reason why we do not give to prevent disasters should be familiar to anyone who has ever delayed going to the dentist because the prospect of serious pain in the coming weeks or months just wasn't as motivating as the reluctance to face some more immediate slight discomfort.
We tell ourselves that maybe we won't get a toothache after all, even though we know that the odds are that we will.
Most of us are not very good at giving proper weight to future events, especially if they are uncertain. So we may tell ourselves that the geologists could be wrong, and perhaps no tsunami will hit Padang in the next 30 years, and by then perhaps we will have new and better technologies for predicting them, giving people more time to get higher ground.
*10：Mentioned in http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20101123/1290485341
*11：Mentioned in http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20110523/1306165053
*13：See also http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20070517/1179425510 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20070905/1188958789 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20080118/1200626709 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20080715/1216096436 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20081001/1222896363
*16：See also http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20051230/1135913094 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20080918/1221707711 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20090412/1239474058 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20090919/1253330016 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20100920/1284956778
*18：See also http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20101101/1288589849 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20060914/1158219171 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20060915/1158315986 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20060927/1159351210 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20070906/1189054106 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20090716/1247747305 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20090805/1249467184 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20091122/1258907391 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20091123/1258984734 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20091204/1259925249 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20091214/1260764583 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20091219/1261202341 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20100301/1267370521 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20100322/1269200009 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20100612/1276361557 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20100920/1284997983 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20110304/1299212006 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20110326/1301089033 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20110417/1303059278 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20110420/1303267821