What we can see from the catastrophe at the Fukushima nuclear power plant (Part 2)
(From a lecture recording)
Adjust the demand to stay within the limits of the electricity supply capacity
In the first part of this article, I described how “Even without nuclear power,
there will not be a shortage of electrical power”. Indeed, it is a fact that
tentatively, there is sufficient electricity with the present thermal and
hydraulic power. In addition, in our homes and in the industrial sector, we
ought to try to effectively utilize Japan’s energy conservation technology that
is said to be the best in the world, and further, take measures such as
I myself am very skeptical about whether economic growth is necessary in the
future. I feel that from now, in our economic activities and daily activities,
we ought to be creative in areas such as conserving energy and electricity, and
adjust and bring the electrical power demand within the limits of the present
electrical power supply capacity as a fundamental measure.
Japan’s electrical power policy in the past was to continuously build new power
generation facilities and increase the supply capacity while limitlessly
increasing the electrical power demand. However, this electric power policy is a
main cause of the considerably high rates compared to other countries that have
an electricity price system like Japan. At the same time, it is also a cause of
environmental destruction and wasting energy resources.
To increase the electrical power supply capacity without nuclear power
In reality, there are many people, such as in the industrial world, who have the
opinion that more electricity will be necessary in the future in order to
continue economic growth. Then, if we assume that it is necessary to increase
electricity without nuclear power from now, what should be done? I would like to
consider this point in more detail.
I feel that if there is a need to increase electricity, to put it simply, we
should increase thermal power more. Decentralized, small-scale, high performance
thermal power generation can be developed in addition to the conventional forms
of petroleum and natural gas thermal power generation. Why is thermal power
generation good? It is because compared to other methods of power generation,
thermal power is overwhelmingly more efficient.
Of course, there is the idea of natural energy. However, with the present
technology, we cannot say that power generation with natural energy is
efficient. We have high expectations for technological innovations in the
future. I will discuss this later, but for now, I would like to discuss thermal
energy some more.
Problems of conventional large-scale thermal power generation
Most of the large-scale power generation plants until now using thermal,
nuclear, or hydraulic power were constructed in rural areas far from major
cities. Electricity is drawn to cities through transmission lines over a
distance of hundreds of kilometers. But, while the electricity is transmitted
over transmission lines from afar, there is a large amount of electrical power
loss. In addition, it incurs considerable costs such as expenses for
transmission of electricity, and further, expenses for distribution of
It is the same with nuclear power, but when generating electrical power at a
thermal power plant, most of the heat emitted is discarded. This precious heat
that could be used to heat things or used in heaters or air-conditioners as heat
energy is being discarded. In fact, it is wasteful.
If small-scale power generation plants were built in the suburbs of metropolitan
areas, in the middle of major cities, or inside of factories, that heat could be
used as is in heaters or air-conditioners in the form of heat energy. If this
were done, about 90% to 100% of the total energy of the consumed petroleum could
be effectively used as electricity and a source of heat.
Local production for local consumption form of demand-and-supply system for
Regarding energy overall, the method of using a decentralized or distributed
energy system is the most efficient. In this sense, it is hoped that the local
production for local consumption form of demand-and-supply system for
electricity spreads and expands.
In fact, a high-efficiency, small-scale power generation system using natural
gas with about 60% energy conversion rate has already been developed and is in
actual operation. In the Tokyo region, there is such a system in Kawasaki City.
This system alone has about the same electrical power generation capacity as one
nuclear reactor. If we increasingly build these kinds of systems in the suburbs
of major cities and medium-size cities, electrical power can be generated with
high-efficiency even though the land is small.
Fortunately, it is being discovered that there are large amounts of natural gas
located around Japan. The gas just needs to be drawn through pipes. It is said
that it will be possible to extract natural gas for the next 60 to 70 years.
At one point, there was a theory that petroleum would last only 20 or 30 more
years, but now, the dominant theory is that petroleum will last at least about
50 years. It is thought that by making effective use of petroleum and natural
gas, we should be able to meet the energy demands sufficiently.
Natural Energy Power Generation
Next, let us consider power generation by natural energy in detail. As methods
of power generation by natural energy, in addition to the conventional large-
scale hydraulic power generation, there are methods such as solar, wind,
geothermal, and small-scale hydraulic power generation. After the Fukushima
nuclear power plant accident, power generation by natural energy has been
garnering attention as a method of power generation to replace nuclear power.
When you say, "nuclear power" or "radiation", from the beginning, an image of
being dangerous accompanies these words. In comparison, when you say, "natural",
a safe and clean image comes to mind, and I feel that is "natural".
In addition, when you say "natural", we can almost envision a "free" or
"inexpensive" image. However, at least in the present technological standards,
power generation by natural energy is certainly not "free" nor "inexpensive". If
anything, it is rather expensive. Further, it also actually does not conserve on
The problems with solar power generation
At present, solar power generation is being highly-touted in Japan. Although the
technology has recently progressed much, a large amount of electricity is
required to make the silicon that is a material for solar batteries. Tracing
back, we find that the source of that electricity is petroleum.
Electricity cannot be generated at night with solar power generation. In
addition, since the solar panels remain outside, of course, dust accumulates and
blocks the sunlight. Furthermore, different from countries with a desert-like
climate that are blessed with sunlight and clear weather year-round, since there
are many cloudy or rainy days in Japan, the amount of solar radiation is very
small. Therefore, the rate of operation and efficiency falls significantly.
Considering these factors, solar power generation becomes fairly expensive. It
is said that it takes about 10 years to retrieve the installation cost, and from
there, finally, the balance becomes positive. Perhaps it can be said that solar
batteries are still at a stage requiring wide-scale technological developments.
There are problems with subsidies
There are several problems related to this issue. First, substantial subsidies
are provided by the government and local governmental entities when installing a
solar power generation system. With these subsidies, for example, people who
install solar panels may only need to bear half of the cost, so the subsidies
are a great help for these people.
However, those subsidies ultimately come from our taxes. At least at the present
stage, people who do not adopt solar power generation are subsidizing the people
who adopt solar power generation. Maybe this has meaning for promoting solar
power generation, but perhaps it can be said that it is a big contradiction.
Furthermore, these subsidies do not go to the people who adopt solar energy, but
ultimately go to the pockets of the producers and vendors of solar power
Problems with the legislative bill for renewable energy
At present, "the law for renewable energy" is garnering much attention. This is
a system to make the electric power companies buy renewable energy such as solar
energy for a fixed period at a fixed price that is higher than the regular
Already, purchasing of solar power generated electricity by electric power
companies has been implemented. At present, the household electricity rate is 23
yen per 1 kilowatt-hour. From April 2011, the electric power companies have been
buying at 42 yen per kilowatt-hour. They are buying at almost twice the price.
The electric power companies consequently charge the 19 yen difference to us
ordinary people on top of the electricity fee. Therefore, no matter how high the
rate for purchasing electricity, the electric power companies will not lose at
all. We, the many people who do not set up solar power generation equipment, are
the ones who lose.
Further, it is expected that the following type of problem will arise if people
are forced to buy electricity at high fixed prices during the fixed period. That
is, perhaps many people will emerge who plan to make money by setting up large
quantities of solar panels and having electric power companies buy the large
amounts of excess electricity generated.
By doing so, for example, if a wealthy person sets up a large quantity of solar
panels at one time, the person will automatically gain a large continuous
income. Then, poor people who cannot set up solar panels will have to continue
to pay that money.
Therefore, we must not just say, "Natural energy is wonderful" in a sort of
"mood". We must determine the policy for the future with full awareness that the
measures to spread natural energy have the potential to trigger a great
contradiction. I am repeating what I said before, but we are the ones who must
keep watch properly.
The potential and problems of wind power generation and small-scale hydraulic
Next, let us consider wind power generation. According to the April 22 Asahi
Newspaper, the Ministry of the Environment reported that after investigating
locations with suitable wind conditions throughout Japan, even taking into
consideration the low rate of operation of wind power generation, it will be
possible to build wind power generation facilities to supply the equivalent of 7
to 40 nuclear reactors.
However, solar power generation is still unstable, and the wind is not always
available for wind power generation. A system properly controlled with a
computer such as with a smart grid that can supply stable electric power is
necessary. In this aspect, Japan’s technology is considerably advanced.
Besides solar and wind power, a small-scale hydraulic power generation system is
an effective power generation method. Electric power is generated by turning
small-scale water wheels using water such as from agricultural water, industrial
water, tap water, final effluent from sewage treatment plants, and cooling water
used in air-conditioning equipment of office buildings and factories.
Even if we look only at agricultural waterways, there are several hundreds of
kilometers throughout the country. In various regions, including Kawasaki City
and Yokoyama City, the waterworks department is generating electricity by
installing small-scale hydraulic power generation systems in the water pipes of
the water supply.
When planning a solution for the energy problem, a major premise is to
transition to a system in which in the daily lives of individuals and production
system of businesses, wasteful use of energy resources is avoided as much as
possible. In addition, if natural energy is used whenever possible, even if on a
small scale, a large amount of electricity can be generated in Japan overall,
and compared to large-scale power generation systems, the burden on the
environment would become much smaller.
To spread natural energy power generation
In order to spread and promote natural energy, and make the various power
generation methods more efficient, technology needs to be developed even more.
However, until now, power generation methods with natural energy have not truly
been used effectively because fundamentally, the major electric power companies
have been monopolizing and at the same time, promotion of nuclear power has been
the national policy.
Therefore, as a direction for the future, I think that it is absolutely
necessary to liquidate the major electric power companies such as Tokyo Electric
Power Company, partition into transmission and generation parts, and allow
general private electric power companies to compete freely. If this were done,
electricity prices would decrease considerably, and more efficient service could
Regarding nuclear power, if all nuclear power plants are decommissioned as soon
as possible, and the money from the government that was being poured into
nuclear power is routed to fund research and development and technological
innovations in natural energy, in the near future, we should be able to grow
natural energy into a major pillar for electric power supply along with thermal
and hydraulic power.
Will electricity prices increase if nuclear power is abandoned?
In addition, many people in the financial circles have the following opinion. If
nuclear power is abandoned and natural energy is used as an alternative, Japan's
electricity prices will increase. If this is so, businesses that have production
based in Japan will be at a tremendous disadvantage in international pricing
competition. Therefore, it will become necessary to move production bases
This is certainly a major problem. However, I think that even if nuclear power
is abandoned, since thermal and hydraulic power can supply the necessary
electric power, fundamentally, electricity prices would not need to be raised.
Of course, in the initial adjustment period, there is the possibility of some
problems occurring, but I think it is necessary to be creative and overcome
Regarding this issue, the problem lies in the fact that compared to other
countries, electricity prices are far too expensive in Japan. The root cause is
that the major electric power companies have set the electricity prices
arbitrarily. In addition, if the electric power demand increased even a little,
a tremendous amount of money was invested and large-scale power generation
plants were built one after another. That tremendous amount of money was added
to the electricity prices.
In order to fundamentally solve this issue, as I described earlier, we can
introduce a new way of thinking, that is, to meet the demand within the supply
capacity at the national level. The power generation section and power
transmission section of the major electric power companies should be separated.
Further, promotion of free competition among the electric power companies, and
ideas in such directions are also conceivable.
In any case, perhaps it means the ways of the government and electric power
companies were very abnormal. After the nuclear plant accident at Fukushima, a
considerable amount of information surfaced about the electric power companies’
monopolizing everything, fabricating data, concealing nuclear power plant
accidents and giving instructions to fake events. However, there is probably
still much more information that has been concealed.
In the background of the accident this time, there is a structure in which
without mentioning names, media and scholars under the government’s thumb who
received research funding from organizations such as electric power companies,
the government, bureaucrats, politicians, and the financial world, swarmed to
the concessions and rights behind the electrical power, secretly joined forces
with conspirators, deceived the citizens and used them at will, gaining
concessions worth an enormous amount of money.
What is behind the support to continue nuclear power?
Let us dig more deeply and think about this issue. For example, in regions that
have nuclear power related facilities, of course there are people who say
nuclear plants should be stopped because they are dangerous. Nevertheless, of
the people who work in nuclear power related facilities, quite a large number of
people think that nuclear power is necessary for daily life, even if nuclear
plants are dangerous.
They have children and families. There is no other work. Their livelihood
depends on it. Perhaps even while knowing nuclear plants are dangerous, they
feel that there is no choice. This is the very sad reality.
However, considering another side of this issue, if for one’s livelihood, there
is truly no choice but to the support the continuation of nuclear power, and
this is connected to supporting nuclear power in the country overall, this is a
serious problem. It is possible that another major accident will occur. Is it
okay even if this is the case? What will happen to the other people?
By saying things like this, naturally, people will say I can say such things
because it is about other people, and not myself. I am fully aware of this.
However, we cannot be arguing at this point. You might be told there is no other
choice. This means there are people who say that nuclear power is necessary for
their livelihood, and they have no other alternative.
In a sense, this is at the limit. People do not have the leeway to consider
others because they need to make a living or because they need to ensure their
family's livelihood. Perhaps this is the way it is among people with each other.
You can understand well if you put yourself in that position. It is a truly
harsh and sad reality.
Even now, among the people who live in regions far away from nuclear power
related facilities, such as in Tokyo, Nagoya, or Osaka, there are many who
support nuclear power. If nuclear power plants were brought to Tokyo, would they
still support nuclear power? These people support nuclear power, but would they
still be in favor of nuclear power if a nuclear plant were built near where they
live? Probably, they would not.
Now, even among the people who say they support nuclear power, they probably
would support nuclear power if the nuclear power plants were far from where they
live, but honestly, the majority would be in a bind if the nuclear plants were
Similar to the Futenma Military Base relocation issue
This issue is similar to the Futenma Military Base relocation issue in some way.
The prime minister at the time said he would like to move the base outside of
Japan, and if that were not possible, at least move the base outside of Okinawa.
However, he was told "No" by the U.S. Then, even if you ask another prefecture
to accept the base, in the end, no one would accept it. The people in any
prefecture would be in a bind if a new military base were brought to their
prefecture. In this way, ultimately, we are pushing all of the military bases
onto the people of Okinawa.
Related to this issue, many people are speaking out, sympathizing with the
people of Okinawa. However, in that case, shouldn't we accept the base in our
own region? I think there were many people who did nothing but blame the former
prime minister's lack of power, without having any inclination or preparation to
share the suffering of the people of Okinawa.
Then, what should we have done? I think the citizens of Japan, ought to have
united, called on the government of Japan, and depending on the circumstances,
made a demand directly to the U.S. government to relocate the Futenma base
Considering the present international situation, I think we, ourselves, ought to
unite and clearly tell the U.S. government, "Japan does not need or want U.S.
bases". However, if the result of new thorough and sufficient discussions is,
"U.S. bases are necessary in Japan", instead of pushing the bases onto only
Okinawa, I think we ought to accept and allocate the bases throughout the entire
country of Japan.
Egoism is the root of the various problems
In any case, whether it be nuclear power plants or the Futenma base relocation
issue, the positions in which we have been placed differ, and although there are
delicate issues in the background, what we can see here is each person's
selfishness or egoism, "as long as it is in my interests".
I think we can say that, ultimately, the root of the various serious problems in
Japan and the world is "as long as it is in my interests", that is, egoism. I
feel that without eliminating egoism, the serious problems of Japan and the
world cannot be solved. Hasn't this become more and more clear through the
Fukushima nuclear plant catastrophe?
Regarding the Fukushima nuclear plant accident, a big problem is how to restore
to the original state from now. At the same time, I think that if we let this
opportunity slip away, we will not have a second chance to permanently abolish
nuclear power, nor truly change Japan to a good direction. In this sense, I
think that now is a big chance.
The future of Japan and the world is in the hands of each one of us
I think many of you probably already knew about the information related to
nuclear power in today's talk up to this point. In the end, the issue is what
can we do from now?
If we clarify the information to this extent, the only option we have is to
abolish all nuclear power. In order to abolish all nuclear power, each one of us
must verify this fact clearly with data and convey this to others with
In fact, we are by far the majority. We ordinary people constitute 99% of the
citizens. Even so, we have been completely led around by 1% of the people. It is
important that each one of us becomes smarter, increases in strength, and takes
When I say, "convey with certainty", what I mean is not only conveying the truth
about nuclear power with facts. In order to convey this message to all of us who
constitute the 99%, a chain reaction, where the people to whom this message was
conveyed further convey the message to others, must arise. The importance of
this must be conveyed properly from person to person.
I feel that if this chain reaction does not arise, we will never be able to
bring to reality permanent abolishment of nuclear power. Furthermore, we will
not be able to create a society of true peace where everyone is happy. I feel
this is the most important point as we take action.
It is not enough to try to change only nuclear power
Then, is it okay to consider only nuclear power? This society is not one in
which nuclear power is the only abnormal point. Issues including those related
to politics, economics, social welfare, education, and livelihood all are
Therefore, if you try to solve the problem of nuclear power only within the
framework nuclear power, in the end, it will be impossible. If you try to solve
this issue, another problem will surface elsewhere. If you try to solve that
problem, again, another problem will surface. In this way, I think it is like
"mogura tataki (whack-a-mole)", an arcade game where you try to hit moles as
they pop up from many different holes.
For example, even if you think that since there are various problems in the
educational system, we need to make changes, the bigger the problem, the more
difficult it will be to make changes within the framework of the educational
system. The reason is that this society overall has become this kind of system,
and everything is intertwined closely with each other.
This society overall is a competitive society. Within this competitive society,
it is extremely difficult to aspire toward truly human education instead of
competitive education. To change education, the way of industry and economics,
in particular, must change. Also, at the same time, politics must change.
It is important to consider the direction of the overall society
Since everything is closely related in this way in this society, I think that we
have come to a period where we must think about the direction in which this
overall society will head.
In other words, in which direction is our civilization headed? I would like to
talk about this point now.
For example, I said that this society is a competitive society now, but why has
it become a competitive society? Why did such a thing as nuclear power emerge in
this society? Why is economic growth said to be important? I would like to
consider these kinds of things from a different angle.
Egoism is the foundation of this society
Saying it another way, what is the most fundamental cause of this kind of
nuclear power plant accident occurring? This nuclear power problem cannot be
solved in the true sense without searching for and removing that fundamental
cause. Furthermore, other problems that accompany this will also not be solved.
Why did the nuclear plant accident occur? What is the fundamental cause? I
touched upon this earlier, but isn't egoism, that is, our selfishness, at the
base of this society? To put it simply, isn't this society itself formed with
ego at the base?
Egoism arises from the sense of separateness
I think this egoism arises ultimately from the idea that our existences are
separate from each other. Ordinarily, we do not have open confrontations or
fighting with each other, but ultimately, we are originally separate existences
from each other. After all, the most important is oneself or one’s family.
Fundamentally, hasn't the "sense of separateness", in which we are all
existences with conflicting interests, become the foundation of this society?
I think that from this sense of separateness, in the end, egoism, which is as
long it is in the best interests of myself, my family, my organization, and my
country, has resulted.
In this society of egoism, taking business for example, one's own business
prospering more than other businesses becomes more important than anything else.
Further, since one's livelihood is also at stake, it becomes as long as it is in
the best interests of my business even more so.
Egoism arises from the notion that we are separate from each other. In addition,
various things emerge from egoism such as an excessive sense of competition,
that is, the sense that one cannot feel stable unless one becomes more
materially prosperous, or achieves higher status or title. One always seeks
"more and more". Despite this, it is a way of life in which the heart is
unstable and anxious forever.
If opinions differ among people, anger, envy, and hatred arise. If a person is
alone, he or she feels a sense of loneliness and blames him- or herself. All of
these negative emotions fundamentally emerge from the way of thinking that
humans are separate existences.
In fact, we are members of one whole
However, humans are truly not separate from one another, and it is something you
can understand if you think about it a little. It is reasonable. We are living
one life. We were made from the same ancestors. According to a scientific
research, all people living on earth today are descendants of one woman who
lived in East Africa 150,000 years ago.
Even with just that fact, it means we are sharing "one life". In English, it is
"oneness", and in Japanese, it is "one indivisible body". Our reality is that we
are beings that cannot be cut off from each other even if we try to cut
ourselves apart from one another.
In the human body, the various tissues, cells, and organs are not separated from
one another and are cooperating and living one life. In the same way, we are all
in an inseparably close relationship as members of one body. I think this is the
true form of a human being's existence.
As evidence, by thinking a little calmly, anyone will realize that within us, we
have a desire to be friendly with others. When we fight with others, we do not
feel good. The desire to be friends and for everyone together to become happy is
an instinct inherent in everyone. This instinct of coexistence is inherently
provided within us. Along with the instinct of self-protection, we have an
inherent instinct of coexistence desiring that everyone together becomes happy.
This truth of being members of one body does not only pertain to humans. Each of
us, all animals, plants, nature and the universe are living the life that has
continued without any breaks. I think we instinctively feel at ease in nature
because we are basically one with nature.
In reality, we are all one, and it is a very superficial way of thinking to say
that humans are separate from each other. I think that when you stand from the
point of view that "we are all members of one body", various things change. To
put it simply, shedding off egoism begins.
Egoism is not only individual egoism, but also there is group egoism such as
family, organizations such as businesses, regions, and nations. In a sense, we
can say that egoism was the motivating force for the human civilization to
develop ? to the present state.
However, looking at the reality that human society is virtually at an impasse
because of the various serious problems, we can see that human society can no
longer develop with egoism. Rather, we can say that through egoism, we have
reached the point where we could destroy ourselves.
In other words, it means human society’s way of being and way of thinking up
until now based on egoism is fundamentally mistaken. It is probably not an
overstatement to say that egoism is the fundamental cause of individual and
societal suffering and strife of humans.
Including this nuclear power issue, in order to overcome this difficult
situation and bring to realization a peaceful society where everyone is happy,
now of all times, we must make up our mind to earnestly seek a way to break away
Individual egoism, group egoism, and national egoism
From long ago, shedding individual egoism or eliminating egoism has been the aim
of honest religions. Even if not related to religion, it has been a serious
challenge for sensible people who have devoted themselves with great pains.
Further, certainly, as a human being, it is an undeniable fact that there is
nothing more difficult than shedding or eliminating one's ego.
Incidentally, of the various egoisms, the biggest one that brought about the
impasse in human society is national egoism. The present international society
is operating with the nation as a unit, and the fundamental policy of the
various nations is based on egoism, which is, "as long as it is in the interests
of my own nation". Then, suspicion, distrust, competition, and conflicts arise
among the nations.
Adding to this, because of national egoism, the egoism of individuals living in
that nation and businesses and others conducting activities in that nation also
is also amplified. For that reason, as individuals also, materialistic desires
increase and we want more and more, and competition among businesses
The science and technology civilization develops even more rapidly because of
competition among businesses, conflicts among nations, and wars. As a result,
the scale of wars enlarges, and that in turn, advances scientific technology. In
addition, the result of the competition to acquire resources is that destruction
of the environment advances. The overall result of these kinds of factors is
that the present human society is facing an impasse in various aspects.
National egoism is the main culprit behind the various problems
In this way, conflict in national egoism is the culprit behind the various
serious problems internationally and domestically. At the same time, to
fundamentally solve the various serious problems, even if events such as
international environmental conferences and disarmament meetings are held, if
the meetings are based on conflicts in national egoism, maneuvering is done from
start to finish to bring things toward one’s own nation's advantage. National
egoism has become a major barrier such that agreements toward solutions cannot
be reached at all.
Until now also, the necessity of eliminating national egoism has been preached.
Regarding this, it is armchair theory at that all nations would discuss and give
up national egoism at the same time. This is clear even if you look at the
tactics at international meetings. In order to overcome the crisis facing human
society and the society of Japan, I think it is absolutely impossible to try to
solve from within the flow of the history of human society up to now. To solve
fundamentally, it is absolutely necessary to go outside the flow of the history
of human society up to now.
Japan leads and renounces national egoism
In the international society also, Japan should take the lead and unilaterally
renounce national egoism, which had been considered inherent until now. As I
described before, to shed or eliminate individual egoism completely is very
difficult. Therefore, entrusting this to the nation has significant meaning.
I think that something that is difficult for an individual to bring to reality
can be entrusted to the nation. If national egoism is encouraging the egoism of
individuals, groups, and others, then it is anticipated that by eliminating
national egoism, the level of individual and group egoism will decrease.
Let us raise an ideal for Japan that everyone can accept
This is my proposal, "Let us go beyond national egoism and raise an ideal in
Japan to shed national egoism". Concretely, it is for "Japan to aspire toward a
nation for international peace and the environment". At the base of this bright
ideal is that we devote ourselves and put forth the resources of the nation of
Japan toward the various difficult problems of the world using peaceful methods.
Fortunately, the present constitution of Japan is the first constitution in
human history that abandons national egoism. This means Japan is blessed with
the most advantageous condition among the nations of the world to raise an ideal
to aspire for abandoning national egoism.
Domestically, this wonderful ideal of abandoning national egoism would bring
about major changes in industry, education, social welfare, environmental
measures, and other areas. At the same time, by having our daily work and
studies or daily lives become directly connected to the happiness of the
citizens overall as well as the hopes of humanity for permanent world peace and
happiness of humanity, we would feel satisfaction and motivation in living every
day, and individually and organizationally, a society that abandons egoism would
be built rapidly.
If this were to happen, the many concerned people of the world who love peace
would accept and be satisfied anew that this indeed is the most realistic way
and right path to solve the problems of human society. By doing this, there is
no doubt that there would be a huge rise in momentum in the countries of the
world to renounce national egoism. If this were to happen, I think that in a
surprisingly short period, this world would be a world free of national egoism.
Let me repeat this once again. I think that in the vision or direction to try to
bring to reality a nation free of egoism or a society free of egoism, we will
head with certainty toward solving fundamentally the nuclear power problem and
the various serious problems of society such as education and environmental
problems. This is the point of the proposal in my book, “Beyond National Egoism
Finally, I would like to end this talk by saying that I would appreciate your
reading this book, “Beyond National Egoism”, in order to understand this
proposal more deeply.
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Wednesday, August 3, 2011
What we can see from the catastrophe at the Fukushima nuclear power plant (Part 1)
(From a lecture recording)
The Fukushima power plant accident and the impasse of human society
In 2007, I published the book, “A Country’s Ideal and the Constitution?The
Road to a Nation for International Peace and the Environment” (Japanese), and
in 2008, the English translation was published under the title, “Beyond
National Egoism”. At age 22, I encountered the concept that is presented in
this book. This book was a compilation of more than 40 years of contemplation
The present world is at an impasse because of various difficult problems such as
war, conflicts, terrorism, environmental problems, food supply shortage,
poverty, famine, and energy shortage. Human society is facing an unprecedented
Further, amidst this, in Japan there are not only environmental problems, but
also educational issues such as bullying, school absenteeism, and classroom
disruption and chaos. Considering the young people, many of them say that in
this society, they cannot find a worthy purpose or motivation in living. Of
course, there are many young people who are working hard and doing their best,
but overall, we can see a tendency of extremely weak will. I feel this is
something that should be very alarming regarding the future of Japan.
In addition, the direction toward strengthening the U.S.-Japan Alliance and
having Japan participate in wars along with the U.S., has gradually gained
strength. Through all this, it appears that Japan has reached an impasse because
of various factors, such as whether the Constitution, which is the key point of
Japan’s future, should be revised or not.
This unprecedented crisis of humankind did not begin recently. The survival of
humankind itself was endangered in the Cold War era in which the U.S. and Soviet
Union confronted each other over decades in a state of extreme tension with the
possibility of an all-out nuclear war because they held several tens of
thousands of nuclear arms that were said to have the potential to kill all
humankind many tens of times over.
Fortunately, the collapse of the Soviet Union signaled the end of the Cold War.
However, although the situation is no longer as tense as before, the U.S. and
Russia still have a large quantity of nuclear weapons. After the end of the Cold
War, besides the U.S. and Russia, there has been an increase in the number of
countries including China that possess and are strengthening their nuclear
weapons. Certainly, it is thought that there is no longer a threat of an all-out
nuclear war for now, but the risk of nuclear war has not necessarily gone away.
In addition, from 30 years ago, the problem of global-scale environmental
destruction has emerged in a big way. We have come to understand that if we
continue production and economic growth in the present form, the earth
environment itself will be destroyed and the survival of humans will be
threatened in the future.
In my youth, when I learned that we might end up destroying ourselves, I felt
greatly shocked, and thought, “Humans are so foolish.” At the same time, I
thought, “Humans absolutely cannot be such foolish beings. Humans will
unfailingly realize their mistakes, correct them with their own hands, and
should be able to bring to reality a world where everyone is happy and at peace
”. Since that time, as my life theme, I have been contemplating a solution for
the impasse faced by Japan and the world, and the realization of a happy and
The main theme of those contemplations is as follows. In order to resolve the
impasse faced by human society, find the most fundamental cause of the impasse
of human society and determine what can be done to remove the cause. The work
was complied together as the book, “Beyond National Egoism”.
The nuclear power plant catastrophe that was forewarned frequently
This book explains about the impasse condition of the entire human society,
including Japan, from various angles. The risks of a nuclear power plant
accident are described in considerable detail.
Already two months have passed since the accident occurred at the Fukushima
Daiichi Power Plant this year, on March 11. That day, at our house, we also felt
tremors with an intensity of a weak 6 on the Japanese seven-level seismic scale.
After a while, we heard news of this nuclear plant accident, and my first
thought was, “It happened, after all”. If I were to express my feelings of
that time, only the word “chagrin” comes to mind.
What I mean is that already 4 to 5 years ago, in this book, I had written that
the risk of a nuclear power plant accident is very great, and that if an
accident were to occur, undoubtedly, it would happen in the way that occurred
this time. Indeed, it happened exactly as described.
Actually, I felt perplexed that my prediction was accurate. What I mean is that
I am not an expert regarding nuclear power, nor am I an expert in social
So, when I was working on the book, “Beyond National Egoism”, I read books
from various related fields of study in order to examine what is actually
I looked over about 10 to 20 books related to nuclear power. What I learned from
reading those books is that already from several decades earlier, although their
numbers were not at all large, reliable researchers and concerned experts warned
based on scientific knowledge and research, “Nuclear power plants are extremely
Despite these warnings, finally, a large-scale nuclear power plant accident
occurred this time. I was stunned and appalled as I thought anew about what on
earth we had been doing until now.
Various people have been fervently warning about the risks of nuclear power. Of
course, there are many people who lent an ear to those warnings, and worked
hard, raising their voices and taking action to abandon nuclear power. But,
despite these efforts and activities, a large-scale nuclear plant accident
occurred this time.
This means that overall, still, only a small number of people seriously lent an
ear to the warnings of these people and assertively took action based on those
warnings. As a result, doesn’t this indicate that they could not become a
definitive force to change this country of Japan?
Search for the essence of the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident
A large-scale nuclear power plant accident already occurred in Fukushima, but to
avoid this kind of accident from ever happening again, I feel that now of all
times, we must address anew the importance of “thinking seriously and acting
As I mentioned before, I am not an expert regarding nuclear power. In this
aspect, I am a complete amateur. However, as of four years ago, since I read
various books and studied in order to write “Beyond National Egoism”, I was
better informed than the general level people regarding nuclear power.
But, after the nuclear plant accident in Fukushima, various people have spoken
out about nuclear power on television, in the newspapers, on the Internet, etc.
Even people whose voices were small until now have received great coverage.
Accordingly, many of you probably already know well about what I will discuss
So, even though this is the case, the main topic of today’s talk is to search
for the essence of the problem as we verify anew the information one more time.
The myth of the safety of nuclear power was disproved
First, the biggest thing that has become clear until now is that the electric
power companies and the government or Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
have been saying that nuclear power is absolutely safe, and that this myth of
the safety of nuclear power has been completely disproved.
Concomitantly, it became clear that until now, the electric power companies had
been saying lies upon lies. This means that from now, the situation has become
such that no matter what the electric power companies such as Tokyo Electric
Power Company, Chubu Electric Power Company, and Kansai Electric Power Company
try to say, we have reached the point where we will not be able to trust them
To put it simply, we were being deceived by the government and the electric
power companies. In other words, it means we were completely taken for fools. It
is something I had realized, but anew, I feel deeply chagrined.
Furthermore, in the announcements by the Tokyo Electric Power Company and the
government, the word, “unexpected” is used very frequently. Various things
have been said about this point, but with just a little studying, even an
amateur like myself could “expect” the possibility of this kind of accident
What on earth does it mean when a person who is said to be a specialist, uses
the word “unexpected” regarding something that an amateur like me can
Although I am an amateur regarding nuclear power, in the past, I was a
researcher in the sciences. From that perspective, I feel that it is extremely
disgraceful for an expert to overuse the word “unexpected”. Their intent to
want to evade the issue and continue nuclear power even now is obvious.
Is nuclear power cheap?
There is another point to consider. Until now, as one of the grounds for
supporting nuclear power, the government and electric power companies have been
saying that nuclear power generation is less expensive than thermal power and
other power generation methods.
For example, according to the “Energy White Paper” (2010 edition) of the
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the costs of power generation per
kilowatt hour are 7 to 8 yen for thermal generation using liquified natural gas,
8 to 13 yen for hydraulic power, 10 to 14 yen for wind power, and 49 yen for
solar power. In comparison, nuclear power is 5 to 6 yen per kWh.
However, until now, many experts have been saying that based on data, nuclear
power is certainly not cheap, and is also not less expensive than thermal power.
Recently, in the April 30 issue of the Tokyo Newspaper, Professor Kenichi Oshima
of Ritsumeikan University presented data comparing the costs until now of
nuclear power generation with other methods such as thermal and hydraulic
generation. These can be found through a search on the Internet. Starting from
the reports of the electric companies, Professor Oshima calculated the costs
more precisely by adding factors such as taxes to promote development of nuclear
power and expenses for reprocessing spent nuclear fuel that were not included in
the calculations of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
By doing so, the costs of power generation per kilowatt hour are 9.90 yen for
thermal power, 7.26 yen for hydraulic power, and 10.68 yen for nuclear power, so
nuclear power is the most expensive. Furthermore, this is approximately twice
the 5 to 6 yen calculated cost that the government used in the “Energy White
Paper” mentioned above.
In addition, for nuclear power generation, a pumping-up hydroelectric power
plant is necessary. In other words, the nuclear power plant and pumping-up
hydroelectric power plant are a set, and in this case, the cost becomes 12. 23
yen. So, nuclear power is certainly not cheap.
Does nuclear power save on petroleum?
Another grounds for the theory of promoting nuclear power is the assertion,
“Nuclear power saves on petroleum”. Is this really true?
To check this, we only need to calculate the electrical power productivity
ratio. For a power generation method, the electrical power productivity ratio is
the ratio of the amount of energy of all the petroleum input for generating
electricity to the electric power generated, converted into the amount of
This means that if the output energy is greater than the input energy (converted
into petroleum), that is, if the electrical power productivity ratio is greater
than 1, the energy balance is positive, and it would be meaningful to implement
that power generation method. Also, the larger the electrical power productivity
ratio, the more efficient the power generation method from the perspective of
energy balance. In short, it would mean that method is also profitable
economically and saves on petroleum.
In contrast, if the productivity ratio is less than 1, the energy balance would
be negative, and it would mean there is no point in implementing that power
generation method. Even worse, if the method were implemented, it would be a
loss economically and a wasteful use of petroleum.
For example, in the case of coal-fired power generation, the power created from
coal that was mined by using 1 unit of petroleum is said to be equivalent to
about 100 units of petroleum. That means the electrical power productivity ratio
is 100, and coal-fired power generation makes sense.
However, for petroleum-fired power generation, in which petroleum is used to
drill for petroleum that is burned to generate electricity, the electrical power
productivity ratio is much larger than 100. This means that from the energy
balance perspective, petroleum-fired power generation is much more efficient
than coal-fired power generation. For this reason, usage of coal-fired power
Now, how about nuclear power generation? According to the calculations by the
U.S. Bureau of Energy Development in 1976, the electrical productivity ratio was
3.8 for nuclear power in the U.S. The figure was 4.0 according to a report of
the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry in Japan in 1991,
although the details of the calculations were not made public. It is believed
that these figures are nearly the same because the calculations were based on
similar presumptions such as the model set-up and processes.
It is clear that when calculating energy balance, if there are oversights of
conditions that ought to be assumed in the calculations, that is, if some
elements are left out, it will not lead to accurate results.
First, to calculate the energy input, all of the energy input for generation of
electricity must be totaled. For example, everything must be incorporated, such
as mining and refining of uranium, expenditures for construction of the power
generation plant, costs of operating the power plant, and expenditures for
construction of the pumping-up hydroelectric power generation plant needed to
run the nuclear plant. From the output energy, it is necessary to subtract
factors such as expenditures for processing the nuclear waste materials, and
losses from factors such as transmission and nighttime electricity usage at the
pumping-up hydroelectric power generation plant.
Dr. Atsushi Tsuchida, a physicist, has pointed out that there were considerable
oversights in the calculations of the U.S. Bureau of Energy Development, and
correcting for these, he calculated the following results.
Regarding the “energy input”, construction of a pumping-up hydroelectric power
plant required for operating a nuclear power plant, construction of an electric
power plant and electricity used for operation, and construction of a long
distance electrical transmission facility were overlooked elements, so these
were added. In addition, regarding “energy output”, nighttime power loss in a
pumping-up hydroelectric power plant and losses in transmission were subtracted.
By doing so, it is said that the energy balance becomes almost 1.
From this alone, it means there is no meaning in implementing nuclear power.
Further, by adding the considerable amount of energy consumed over a long period
of time for such things as processing radioactive waste, no matter how
optimistically you look at it, the energy balance will become less than one.
Professor Takeshi Murota, a mathematical economist, also calculated nearly the
From these results, we can say that nuclear power generation makes no sense at
all for power generation. Rather, nuclear power generation does not save on
petroleum and is a big wasteful use of petroleum.
In short, the truth is that nuclear power is first of all, extremely dangerous,
incurs a high cost, and also does not save on petroleum.
Can we get by without nuclear power?
There is another point to consider. It is often questioned, “Can we get by
without nuclear power?” Certainly, if there is a shortage of electricity, it
would cause hindrances including in daily life, industrial and economic
activities, and all activities related to subsistence, so we can say it is a
very big issue. Accordingly, now, many people are saying, “Without nuclear
power, there will be an electricity shortage”, and they are using this as a
major grounds for continuing or promoting nuclear power.
Is this really true? Let us look at the actual figures. Dr. Hiroaki Koide of the
Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute has pointed out that in Japan
overall, thermal power generation is operating at 50% capacity, and hydraulic
power generation is at 19% capacity. Thus, if the operating rates of thermal and
hydraulic power generation were increased, there would be a sufficient surplus
in power generation capacity even without operating nuclear plants.
In fact, the total of thermal and hydraulic power generation capacity is 170
million KW. Except for the few hours in the afternoon in mid-summer, with the
sum of thermal power and hydraulic power, the electricity demand can be covered
even without nuclear power. The highest electricity consumption on record so far
in Japan is 182 million KW, and that exceeds the sum of thermal and hydraulic
power generation by 12 million KW.
There would be a slight electricity shortfall only in the period of a few hours
when air conditioners are used in summer and electricity consumption peaks.
Therefore, by taking effective measures to suppress the overall amount of
electricity used in this peak time, it is fully possible to abandon nuclear
To suppress the overall amount of electricity used during the peak time,
suppress the electricity consumed by air conditioners by setting the air
conditioner temperature just a little higher. As an alternative, to suppress the
electricity consumption during peak times in places such as factories,
production adjustments can be made such as staggering the operating times for
the various types of equipment. Furthermore, measures, such as setting the
electricity rates for peak times higher, as in France, are fully effective for
suppressing the overall amount of electricity used. In short, we can survive
sufficiently well without nuclear power.
Let us consider this by referring to a more concrete example.
At present, the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant has been suspended, that is,
operations have stopped. According to the “Electrical Power Supply Plan” for
the year 2011 in the Chubu Electric Power Company home page, the generation
reserve margin was 2.95 million KW for the year 2010. In mid-summer last year,
which was a heat wave, only reactors 3 and 4 at Hamaoka were operating, and they
had a total supply capacity of 2.237 million kW.
That means if reactors 3 and 4 at Hamaoka had not been operating, 2,950,000 -
2,237,000 = 713,000 kW would have been left in the generation reserve margin.
In addition, the generation reserve margin this year was 4,390,000 kW. Chubu
Electric Power Company itself has forecast that even if the Hamaoka nuclear
plant were completely stopped, which is a reduction of 3,617,000 kW, more than
773,000 kW would be left. Even without nuclear power, other types of power
generation such as thermal and hydraulic power generation will suffice.
In addition, the following article appeared in the June 12, 2011 Asahi Newspaper
with the title, “Summer electricity demand, and securing supply capacity. Tokyo
Electric Power Company moves toward restarting the Hirono Power Plant”.
“All five of the reactors (total output power 3.8 million kW) at the Hirono
Thermal Power Plant (Hirono Town, Fukushima Prefecture) of Tokyo Electric Power
Company that had stopped operations after being damaged by the tsunami in the
Great East Japan Earthquake, are expected to be able to restart operations in
the middle of July. Therefore, the probability has increased that Tokyo Electric
Power Company will be able to secure power supply exceeding the forecasted
highest demand this summer of 55 million kW. (omission of middle part)
If the Hirono Thermal Power Plant starts up, it will become possible to add more
power with the pumping-up hydroelectric power plant that draws up water with the
leftover electricity at night.”
In short, it is an article saying that even in the Tokyo Electric Power Company
district, they can likely manage without nuclear power this summer. Therefore,
for example, if everyone sets the air conditioner temperature about 1 degree
higher, it would easily save on about one nuclear reactor’s worth of
electricity. So including businesses, if we make a point to conserve electricity
in our work and daily life, it is fully possible to avoid a shortage of
electricity without forcing people to endure great hardship.
In other words, from now, we need to change and correct the way we had been
squandering electricity like water, and endeavor to conserve electricity as much
as possible. By doing so, and by using only thermal power, hydraulic power, or
natural energy sources, we can make do even without nuclear power. This can be
done without lowering the present level of our daily lives or work efficiency of
businesses, and without raising production costs.
These past several decades, the government has promoted nuclear power as a
national policy. For this reason, along with thermal power, nuclear power has
become one of the two large pillars for generating electricity. In other words,
even though we could have sufficiently met the electricity demands from the
beginning with methods other than nuclear power, such as thermal power, as the
main source for generating electricity, nuclear power has been firmly
incorporated into our daily electricity generation system as a national policy,
and this structure has left our lives, economic activities and other areas
dependent on nuclear power.
As a consequence, if we were to suddenly abolish all nuclear power now,
realistically, adjustments could not be made in time, and in some regions, there
may be temporary electricity shortages. In this sense, it is certain that how to
get by through periods of potential electricity shortages is a major issue, and
we must deal with this carefully.
The potential for a catastrophe from factors such as a terrorist attack
The accident this time arose from an earthquake and tsunami, but there is
something else we must consider.
It has not been mentioned often, but in fact, there is a very strong possibility
that if a nuclear power plant were struck in an airplane crash, missile attack
or terrorist attack, a catastrophe would occur.
Based on the principle or structure of a nuclear power plant, it would not be
possible to prevent a catastrophe if a nuclear plant were struck in an airplane
crash or military attack.
In short, nuclear power plants were not designed and built assuming a military
attack or plane crash. The structures were designed and built on the premise
that they would be operating during a so-called “era of peace” in which there
is no war or terrorism.
In the case of Japan, there are 54 nuclear reactors, and they are located along
the coastline almost all across the country. If there were a country that
planned to attack Japan, this would be exactly the same as setting nuclear bombs
throughout the country.
If a nuclear plant were struck by an airplane, missile, or another form of
terrorism, it would be the same as having dropped several nuclear bombs on
Japan. If so, Japan would virtually be annihilated, and there would be no longer
any place where humans could live in Japan. This would be an extremely terrible
In this sense, as long as Japan has nuclear power plants, no matter how much the
military power is strengthened, it would be impossible to prevent attacks from
other countries against nuclear plants. This may be black humor, but it means
that if Japan continues to maintain nuclear power plants from now also, there is
no way for Japan to survive except by completely abolishing all military forces
and aspiring toward becoming an absolutely peaceful, friendly country that would
never be attacked by other countries.
Incidentally, Western countries have conducted research and implemented training
assuming a terrorist attack on a nuclear plant. In 1981, a nuclear reactor in
Iraq was actually bombed by Israel.
(Supplementary note: According to the Asahi Newspaper of July 31, 2011, prompted
by the bombing incident of the nuclear reactor in Iraq, the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs started damage prediction research in absolute secrecy for the case of
an attack on a domestic nuclear plant. In 1984, findings were submitted stating
that an attack on a nuclear plant would cause enormous damage. Nevertheless, it
was not made public for fear of expanding the anti-nuclear power movement.)
We have been deceived about everything
Now, I would like to summarize the various things that we have considered up to
this point. In a word, perhaps we have been deceived about everything after all.
With the catastrophe at the Fukushima nuclear plant this time, not only has it
been proven by actual fact that nuclear plants, which the electric power
companies and government have been saying are absolutely safe until now, are
extremely dangerous, but also, all of the factors that have been considered as
advantages and grounds for promoting nuclear power were in fact disadvantages.
What does this mean? To put it simply, from the beginning, there was absolutely
no meaning in implementing nuclear power. With nuclear power, we, the general
public, only suffer major losses, and nuclear power is extremely dangerous.
Perhaps this has become clear to many people through the nuclear plant accident
As I mentioned earlier, one more very important point here is that from several
decades ago, concerned people have been warning repeatedly about these facts.
At the same time, it means there was the influence of electric power companies,
government, bureaucrats, politicians, the financial world, scholars who wanted
research funds, and media under the government’s thumb, that sealed off the
voices of these warnings. In addition, many of us have lived either believing
unconditionally the words of people in high positions, such as people in the
government and electric companies, or pretending not to see even while doubting,
or being completely apathetic to these matters. Perhaps it can be said that a
combination of these led to the catastrophe this time.
Ignorance, apathy, leaving matters to others, and giving up are the fundamental
In short, what I want to say is that, here and now, we ought to properly reflect
on our own attitude in life, and not try to settle this problem only by one-
sidedly criticizing the electric power companies or government.
For example, although it is pathetic, until the nuclear accident in Fukushima,
many people did not know that there are 54 reactors in Japan. In addition, we
can hear the voices of many people who say that because of this accident, for
the first time, they realized that nuclear power is dangerous.
Regarding nuclear power, it is clear that the government, electric power
companies, and others were to blame, but at the same time, we have been
deficient in many ways. Consequently, the outcome is that we have been
supporting these kinds of electric power companies, the government, and others.
If we do not properly reflect on this fact, we cannot create a peaceful and
happy Japan in the true sense from now. Taking the nuclear power issue as one
example, I feel that without proper self-reflection, the decisions may go awry
depending on the situation from now. Further, in other serious societal issues
besides nuclear power, such as the issue of revising the constitution of Japan,
the possibility of choosing the wrong path may result. So in this sense too, it
can be said that we are standing at a major crossroad or critical turning point
To put it another way, I feel that now of all times, we must make this an
opportunity to create a country of Japan that is truly peaceful and where
everyone is happy. We must put forth all our effort to recover from this
difficult situation as quickly as possible. At the same time, we must
investigate the fundamental cause that triggered this difficult situation, so
that not only the nuclear power accident, but this kind of tragedy never occurs
again, and implement a thorough fundamental treatment in our way of living as
individuals, in addition to the government and society’s way of being.
“O-kami-shinko” (blind faith in the government) is no good
Let us consider a little further about these matters. As a general trend,
Japanese people tend to have “o-kami-shinko” (blind faith in the government).
The Japanese people, for no reason at all, tend to accept without questioning
what people “above” say, such as people in high positions in the government,
university professors, or a president of a large company.
Of course, regarding politicians, for example, we hear conversations of
complaints about the present prime minister. However, overall, although it is
odd to say “above” when there is truly no above or below, the nature of
Japanese people is that there is a tendency to accept without questioning what
is told to them from “a person above”. Regarding the nuclear power problem,
perhaps this is one of the fundamental causes on our side.
From another perspective, we do not attempt to know the details, or rather, know
accurately. This is apathy, which is saying that the matter is something for
people in high positions to consider and is irrelevant to me. It is also leaving
matters to others to do, and saying it is not something I can do. Ignorance
comes from this apathy. I may sound like I am talking patronizingly, but this
time, I myself cannot say that I do not have this tendency.
Another point is “giving up”. Perhaps an extremely large number of people feel
somewhere in their heart, “ultimately, that kind of thing can’t be helped”.
It is a sense of giving up and saying, “even if each of us raises our voice,
ultimately, it can’t be helped”.
Ignorance, apathy, leaving matters to others, and giving up. These are the
biggest causes of the Fukushima nuclear accident. Would it be going too far to
say that before reproaching the attitude of the electric power companies or
government, we ourselves, each one of us, must reflect on ourselves?
After saying this now, I, myself do not think this statement is going too far,
but I feel deeply anew that this “ignorance, apathy, leaving matters to others,
and giving up” of all things are the fundamental causes of the catastrophe at
the Fukushima nuclear plant.
In other words, in general, each one of us is lacking the proper recognition
that “this society, this country and the world are ours”. For this reason, we
ourselves were lacking the awareness that “we are to create this society, this
country, and this world with our hands”. Regarding the country, does it not
mean, “a clear vision of what kind of Japan we are going to create in the
future, and a true ideal that anyone can accept, has not been set forth in the
country of Japan”?
There are still many who are in favor of nuclear power
From what I have discussed until now, I think you have understood that with a
little investigation, anyone can understand matters such as “nuclear power is
far from being cheap”.
There are people who think as follows. “Nuclear power and radiation are scary
for some reason. An accident actually occurred. Therefore, I am opposed to
nuclear power.” Nevertheless, by actually talking with people, I found that
there are many people around me who actually support and promote nuclear power.
I feel that there are still only a small number of people who absolutely oppose
nuclear power no matter the circumstances; that is, these people feel that we
will create a society free of nuclear power from now. In questionnaires by
newspapers and other sources, it seems that 70% oppose nuclear power now, but by
talking with people in actual daily life, it seems maybe about one quarter of
the people would abandon nuclear power no matter the circumstances.
It seems that the remaining three quarters now feel that it would be better not
to have nuclear power. However, it appears they think that if there would be an
electricity shortage without nuclear power, or if it would unfavorably influence
their work, or if economic growth could not be maintained, maybe continuing
nuclear power is unavoidable. In other words, I think there are a fair number of
people who feel strongly against nuclear power now, but would switch to
continuing or promoting nuclear power depending on the circumstances.
This means that assuming one quarter of the people say they absolutely oppose
nuclear power no matter the circumstances, if the remaining three quarters
support nuclear power depending on the situation, nuclear power will continue
Probably, there are electric power companies, government-related people and
bureaucrats who would gain by continuing or promoting nuclear power, and they
have united and promoted nuclear power, but I believe the number of these people
is about 1% of the total population or less.
The remaining 99% is the general population. So, if we, the general population,
just clearly understand that nuclear power truly makes no sense, has no
advantages, and of course, does not even save on petroleum, nor reduce carbon
dioxide emissions, and on top of that, is tremendously dangerous, it will be
possible to abolish nuclear power permanently.
Not even one advantage to nuclear power
This is an important topic, so I will go over it again. Many people think there
are advantages and disadvantages to nuclear power. In addition, they try to
decide whether to support or oppose nuclear power by weighing the advantages and
disadvantages on a balance, and seeing which is heavier.
Of the disadvantages, the biggest factor is the fact that nuclear power is
excessively dangerous. Assuming nuclear power has some advantages, even so, the
disadvantage of being excessively dangerous far outweighs all of the advantages
combined, and I, myself, feel that nuclear power should be abolished
Yet, here is a problem of a difference in sense of values. For example, some
people say as follows. Economic growth is more important than anything else.
Electricity is needed for economic growth. Even if nuclear power is dangerous,
it is necessary for supplying electricity.
In other words, it is the theory that nuclear power is necessary for the sake of
economic growth, even if there is a dangerous aspect of nuclear power. Perhaps
the words, “economic growth” could be replaced by, “maintaining the present
lifestyle”, “continuing the present work”, or “securing and maintaining the
It would mean that support or opposition to nuclear power would depend on each
person’s sense of values, and further, a person’s way of thinking would change
according to the social conditions of the time. Under such circumstances, it is
only natural that a clear conclusion could never be reached. Furthermore, even
if a conclusion were forcibly drawn, if the conclusion were mistaken, it would
mean leaving problems in the future.
However, what I have described so far is, “The fact is that there is absolutely
no advantage to nuclear power.” If you investigate the actual situation
regarding all of the factors that were said to be advantages, there is nothing
that can be called an advantage peculiar to nuclear power, and instead, they are
In this way, if it becomes clear that there are absolutely no advantages to
nuclear power, what remains is only the disadvantage that nuclear power is
excessively dangerous. That means, no matter what, nuclear power ought to be
abolished as soon as possible and permanently.
Just understanding is not enough
I think you have already agreed with what I have discussed so far. However, by
that only, nothing will change.
Some people comment as follows. “I read books on nuclear power. I also looked
at some websites. I went to listen to some lectures. I see now that nuclear
power is dangerous. There are no advantages to nuclear power. I understand very
well that there is no meaning in implementing nuclear power. Therefore, I oppose
nuclear power.” Perhaps, we can say this is some progress, but I think that
with this only, it will not be possible to immediately and permanently abolish
all nuclear power.
In other words, nothing will change if a person just says, "I oppose nuclear
power", and does nothing more. This has been proven by many examples in history.
To put it simply, it means, "Peace will not become reality by only praying".
Toward bringing to reality true peace, I feel that by boldly conveying one’s
thoughts to others through certain and concrete methods, we must increase the
number of people who agree. In short, perhaps the most important lesson we ought
to learn from the nuclear power plant accident is that unless each one of us
becomes "a person who truly takes action", nothing will change in this society.
Increase your ability to convey to others
For this purpose, first, each one of us must understand properly as a fact and
theoretically, "Why it is necessary to abolish all nuclear power immediately".
Next, it is necessary to develop the ability to properly explain this to others
with reliable theory and facts. In addition, I feel we must find opportunities
and boldly convey this truth to others.
For this, developing your abilities by assertively reading relevant books and
websites, and participating in lectures and study groups is very effective. In
addition, introducing good books and websites to acquaintances and inviting them
to lectures and study groups are effective methods.
For example, how would you reply to opinions such as the following? "Nuclear
power is necessary to continue economic growth". "With natural energy, power
generation is unstable and the efficiency is not good, so it will not substitute
for nuclear power that is stable and is efficient in power generation." "With
just one gram of uranium, nuclear power generation can produce the energy of two
tons of petroleum. Nuclear power is far more efficient".
Regarding the first opinion, "Nuclear power is necessary to continue economic
growth", as I already explained, you can present figures that have been reported
and say, "Even without nuclear power, thermal and hydraulic power generation are
Regarding the second opinion, ""With natural energy, power generation is
unstable, and the efficiency is not good, so it will not substitute for nuclear
power that is stable and is efficient in power generation", certainly, at the
present stage, it is a fact that power generation with natural energy is
unstable, and the efficiency is not high.
For spreading and expanding natural energy power generation, it is hoped that
from now, power generation efficiency will be increased by major technological
innovations, and at the same time, stability and control technology will improve
through computer technology such as "smart grid". By doing so, power generation
by natural energy will become increasingly important as a promising power
generation method in the future.
In addition, the efficiency of power generation with nuclear power is certainly
not high compared to thermal power and hydraulic power. From this aspect also,
thermal power, hydraulic power, and natural energy can sufficiently supply the
required electrical power.
Regarding the third opinion, "With just one gram of uranium, nuclear power
generation can produce the energy of two tons of petroleum. Nuclear power is far
more efficient", by thinking about this just a little, people might think,
"That's amazing". However, this is a numerical trick.
Indeed, it is amazing that with just one gram of uranium, the energy of two tons
of petroleum will be output. However, the refined one-gram of uranium does not
exist in that form from the beginning. By digging deep into the earth, soil- or
rock-containing uranium is extracted. Of this extracted soil or rock, only a
small portion contains uranium, and of that uranium, only 0.07% is uranium-235,
which is used in nuclear power.
This means that we are only saying that the final one-gram of uranium, which was
produced by repeatedly concentrating the uranium from the first stage where it
was contained in soil or rock, is equivalent to the energy of two tons of
petroleum. Therefore, from the initial condition of being in the soil or rock
deep underground, by no means does crude uranium have so much power compared to
There is no doubt that concentrated and refined uranium has tremendous energy.
However, to refine and concentrate uranium to that extent requires an enormous
amount petroleum or electricity produced from petroleum.
By verifying the facts one by one, as above, it is possible to disprove with
certainty the basis upon which various people say that nuclear power is
necessary and to persuade them.
Convey to others with certainty
In this way, each person conveys with certainty to others regarding the truth
about nuclear power. Convey with certainty to 5, 10 or even 100 people. Those
people to whom the information was conveyed also convey to 5, 10 or 100 people.
I feel that if this chain reaction does not reach the final goal, it will not be
possible to truly abolish nuclear power, of course, nor to bring to reality a
society of true peace where everyone is happy.
I feel that the fact that each one of us could not do so until now, is the
biggest cause of making Japan a country that would bring about the catastrophe
at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. In this sense, perhaps serious
consideration of "What is true happiness?" and "becoming a person who takes
action in earnest" are the things most needed from each one of us now.
(to be continued)
Monday, August 1, 2011
Are Humans the “Most Superior in All of Creation”?
Two life-shaping experiences
One day, after a certain occurrence at age 10, I was struck by the thought, “Why are there poor people in this world? There is definitely something wrong with this world.” Then, at age 14, I visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (Atomic Bomb Memorial) during a school field trip. The entire time while I looked at the many exhibits, I could not stop my body from shuddering. It was not from fear or anger, but simply from the strong feeling, “Humans are so foolish. There is definitely something wrong with this kind of world.”
The memory of these two life-shaping experiences continued to reside deep in my heart. Then, at age 22, I learned of the booklet, “With Everyone, Raise an Ideal for the Country” [“Minna de Kuni no Riso o”] by Shigemasa Wada, who originally made this proposal. After reading this booklet, I had a firm conviction, “This is the certain path where people will become happy and every country and the world will be saved.” I had found the answer to the questions that I had from childhood. I was truly moved from the depths of my heart.
In addition, I felt that my life mission was to convey this idea to the people all over the world. The fruit of 40 years of contemplation and actual practice was the book, “A Country’s Ideal and the Constitution?‘The Road to a Nation for International Peace and the Environment’” (in Japanese) [“Kuni no Riso to Kenpo?‘Kokusai Kankyo Heiwa Kokka e no Michi’”] and the English translation, “Beyond National Egoism? The Road to a Nation for International Peace and the Environment”.
Through an Infinite Relay of Life
In the 14 billion year history of the universe, the first primitive single-celled organisms appeared on the earth 3.5 billion years ago, and the evolution of living organisms began from here. Since then, evolution has continued and the various plants and animals emerged. Three million years ago, apes, or the first humans, appeared and the history of human evolution began. Then, 40,000 years ago, humans in our present form were born, and we arrive at the present-day humans, ourselves, of today.
From the first living organisms that emerged 3.5 billion years ago to each of us of living today, “life” has been passed on like a baton in a relay from one generation to the next. One can say this passing of the baton has occurred virtually an infinite number of times. This means that if even one link in this “chain of life” had been broken, you and I would not exist in this world. From this fact, it can be said that the life of each person and all living beings are irreplaceable.
In addition, in this sense, each one of us, and all living beings on the earth are standing at the forefront of the history of living beings. It is often said, “Humans are the most superior in all of creation.” Does this mean that among animals, humans are the most outstanding existences? Certainly, humans can make full use of a developed brain that other animals do not have, and humans have developed a shining technological civilization and material civilization. As a result, humans have overpowered other animals and are enjoying prosperity on this earth.
Are humans crazy apes?
However, at least since recorded history up until now, we humans have continued to massacre fellow humans on a large scale over and over again. In addition, we humans are discriminating against and abusing fellow humans. Furthermore, now, we put poison in our food and drinking water, pollute the air we breathe, and are destroying the world in which we live. In this kind of world, individually and as a society, many people bear a sense of insecurity and are suffering in life. There is definitely something wrong with this kind of world. With things as they are, it can hardly be said, “Humans are the most superior in all of creation.” Then, are humans “crazy apes”?
We can definitely bring to reality peace
Are humans originally such foolish and powerless existences? I do not think so. We humans have committed many mistakes and caused ourselves and others to suffer. However, with our power, we certainly ought to be able to correct the mistakes we have made. We humans can definitely attain not only our own happiness and peace in our hearts, but also resolve the many problems of society, and bring to reality world peace and the happiness of all humankind.
Perhaps the reasons why these have not been brought to reality until now are lack of interest, ignorance, and most of all, giving up. I am certain that if we firmly believe, “we can definitely bring this to reality,” and make clear the root cause of the mistaken ways, we definitely will be able to find the path to solving the problems. Isn’t that the point when we become existences that are worthy of the expression, “Humans are the most superior in all of creation”?
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Saturday, May 30, 2009
The Importance of Enlightenment
Transcript from a talk (Translated from Japanese)
Nothing is more important for us than “the importance of enlightenment.” This is because we ourselves are the ones who are living. What am I? What is this world in which I am living? Without truly knowing these, we are living only by our moods or thoughts.
Nothing is more foolish than not knowing truly about yourself, not knowing truly about life, and not living a true way of life, and it is a regrettable life. To grasp anew our true self and the true world, clearly and by experiencing (not with the head or intellect), is more important than all else. This is especially so in the present era in which our human society is rapidly headed toward a dead end.
Buddha became enlightened 2500 years ago. He keenly indicated that the source of all human suffering and chaos in society is ignorance, and that an absolute truth of existence is of being one and indivisible.
So, what is ignorance? Normally, we recognize, judge and think about things with our head (intellect). However, “thoughts” of our head are relative, separate things into “I” and “others,” and we mistakenly understand things as being separate existences.
Therefore, things we understand by our thoughts are only “false” things that we have interpreted in a way for our own convenience, and are not the “truth” as it is. Furthermore, the “self” we understand by “our relationship to others” through our thoughts is consequently merely the self that we have defined on our own, and is not the “true self” itself. By thoughts, we cannot grasp the true self and the absolute truth of existence of being one and indivisible.
In order to grasp the absolute truth of existence directly and not with the head, first, it is necessary to have a strong desire to attain this by experiencing, no matter what it takes. At the same time, it is vital to quiet down our thoughts of the head by proper meditation or “zazen” (sitting in silent meditation).
However, it is a fact that the wall of our thoughts is extremely thick and grasping the truth directly is very difficult. Speaking from experience, after running into a problem that cannot be solved with the head, struggling and struggling, and facing a complete dead end and desperate situation, suddenly, a consciousness beyond the head (thoughts) takes effect and you can grasp directly the absolute truth of existence of everything being one and indivisible.
The “Seminar of Life,” which I supervise, is based on this principle. So far, many participants have awakened to their true self and the true world in the short period of one week.
In any case, we must make this our top priority theme anew?
What am “I who exists” and not merely “I who lives daily life.”
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Striving toward creating a nation in an exciting way
Transcript from a talk (Translated from Japanese)
Striving toward creating a nation in an exciting way?
Let us raise an ideal for Japan together
Modern-day Japan is facing a serious dead end in areas such as politics, the economy, education and social welfare. Further, globally, due to factors such as environmental destruction and wars, our human society is facing history’s worst crisis. In order to overcome this crisis from the root level, we need to create a completely different flow from the ones of the past. I feel that the key is in the present Constitution of Japan.
Including Japan, the main cause or culprit of this worst dead end of human society is conflicts of national egoism that says, “As long as it is in my country’s best interests.” These conflicts of national egoism cause wars, promote development of science and technology, promote competition among businesses, and create problems such as with the environment, poverty, and famine.
According to the Preamble of the present Constitution of Japan, Japan will make all out efforts to contribute to solving the many serious problems of the world by peaceful means. It proclaims strongly that this is how the country will secure its survival. This means Japan renounces national egoism by its own will unilaterally. In addition, Article 9 calls for renouncing all types of war including war for self-defense and abolishment of military.
I published the book, “Kuni no Riso to Kenpo” (“A Country’s Ideal and the Constitution”, original in Japanese and published in English as “Beyond National Egoism?The Road to an Nation for International Peace and the Environment” last year. In this book, I presented the following proposal:
In the midst of the dead end situation of the world, let us truly revive Japan. Further, in order to take initiative toward overcoming the critical situation of the world from the root level, let us more assertively bring to life the spirit of peace of the present Constitution of Japan, and let us raise a new ideal in Japan, ‘to aspire for a nation for international peace and the environment.’
In recent years, Japan has seen political turmoil and fallen into its worst ever recession. During this time, people have gotten the impression that the issue of revising the constitution has disappeared. However, considering that on May 18, 2010, the National Referendum law will come into force, it can be anticipated that before long, the movement to revise the constitution will become very active again. Now, especially since we are in this kind of period, we must think about this very seriously.
“Beyond National Egoism?The Road to a Nation for International Peace and the Environment
Mamizu Shuppan Publishing
I. The Constitutional Debate That Will Determine Japan's Future
Chapter 1 Can We Protect the Peace Without Military Force?
Chapter 2 Arguments for and against Constitutional Revision
II. Know the Present State of the Global Environment and Human Society
Chapter 1 Know the Present State of the Environmental Problems
Chapter 2 Population, Food Supply, Water, Energy, and Nuclear Power Problems
Chapter 3 Considering Conflicts and Wars of the 21st Century
III. How Can We Overcome This Crisis?
Chapter 1 What Is the Fundamental Cause of the Crisis Situation?
Chapter 2 Considering the Future of This Nation
Chapter 3 Overcoming National Egoism
Proposal for the Japanese People
─Everyone, Let Us Raise an Ideal for the Nation
─Now, What Should I Do?
Proposal─For the People All Over the World
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