- [ 翻譯這個網頁 ]中曽根 康弘（なかそね やすひろ、1918年（大正7年）5月27日 - ）は、日本の政治家。
INTERVIEW/ Yasuhiro Nakasone: Learn lessons from Fukushima crisis and continue to promote nuclear energy
BY TAKAFUMI YOSHIDA STAFF WRITER
"People of my generation know what it's like to have their country ravaged by war and then rise from the ashes," noted Yasuhiro Nakasone. "But many people today haven't had that sort of experience." (Yoshiyuki Suzuki)
Former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone was one of the first Japanese politicians to promote nuclear energy shortly after World War II, believing Japan's postwar recovery hinged on it.
Today, how does Nakasone feel about the severe damage caused by the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant? The Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11 triggered a huge tsunami that crippled the Fukushima plant. How should the Japanese people deal with this catastrophe that is said to be comparable in magnitude to the 1945 defeat in the war?
Following are excerpts of his recent interview with the vernacular Asahi Shimbun.
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Question: The Great East Japan Earthquake caused tremendous damage to the Tohoku region. What are your thoughts?
Answer: I was here (in my Tokyo office) when the quake struck. It was quite a jolt. But the quake itself caused less damage than the tsunami it triggered. Tsunami damage is usually more dire than earthquake damage.
Q: What do you think of the disaster response by the administration of Prime Minister Naoto Kan?
A: Faced with a crisis of this nature, the administration must first act to contain immediate damage. Then it starts the task of preparing a policy for post-disaster reconstruction. At this stage, I wouldn't go so far as to expect the administration to come up with specific plans that might raise survivors' hopes. Still, the administration must live up to its responsibility and indicate a general direction of its reconstruction policy. But the Kan administration has neglected to do so. All it has done was to conduct government business as usual.
It is the job of politicians to give encouragement and hope to the people of the Tohoku region by showing them an overall blueprint of how they can get their jobs and day-to-day lives back and what will become of other regional issues. All the politicians need to do is to let the survivors see a specific direction. It's for bureaucrats to fill in the details over time.
Q: The public has been rather harsh with Prime Minister Kan. How do you feel about this?
A: Kan is a former civic movement leader from Tokyo. Because his dealings have been mostly with Tokyoites, he isn't attuned to, and doesn't quite understand, the real needs of the people of Tohoku. The regional prefectures differ from the capital in many ways, including history, social culture and lifestyle.
Q: The accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has exposed Tohoku to the dangers of radiation.
A: The quake alone wouldn't have inflicted all that damage. It was the tsunami that did it. In the future, location will be the most critical factor in building a nuclear power plant.
Q: A massive amount of water is needed to cool nuclear reactors. Isn't that why nuclear power plants are usually built near the sea?
A: An inland site is also a possibility if there is a lake nearby. However, in the event of an accident, there's the possibility of radioactive substances contaminating the lake. The same goes for plants built on riverbanks. People living downriver wouldn't want that. That leaves coastal locations as the only viable option. The question, then, is how to protect the plants from tsunami. The answer is to build them on high ground that's safe from tsunami.
Q: Since the end of World War II, you have consistently promoted nuclear energy, haven't you?
A: Energy was the most critical issue in postwar Japan. We had no oil, no gas, and our coal reserves were dwindling. To recover from the defeat in the war and be back on our feet again, securing energy was our country's most urgent task. That's why I concluded nuclear energy had to be the answer. I believed its utilization could go hand-in-hand with our policy of promoting science and technology.
And when I learned that U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was switching to a policy of peaceful utilization of nuclear power, I said to myself: "Japan must not lag behind the United States. Nuclear energy is going to define the next era."
Q: So you believed energy security and the advancement of science and technology would help our country's development?
A: Yes, that was my foresight telling me so. I believed, and also told everyone, that without energy security and science and technology, Japan would remain a fourth-class nation that depends on farming only. I had serious concerns then about our country's future.
Q: You were involved in the planning of Japan's first nuclear-related budget and legislation, weren't you?
A: Yes. Together with a handful of like-minded legislators, I began exploring the possibility of including a nuclear-specific budget in the fiscal 1954 budget bill. After I consulted party executives in strict confidence, I took the Lower House Budget Committee by total surprise by proposing a 235-million-yen nuclear budget. The rest is history: The bill became law.
I had made sure the public didn't catch on to what I was up to. I feared people could block my proposal out of ignorance. Sure enough, after the bill became law, certain members of the press made a huge issue of what I had done. "Nakasone has created a budget for building an A-bomb," they claimed.
Shigeyoshi Matsumae, a Socialist Party of Japan legislator and a scientist who founded Tokai University, tried hard to make the Socialists understand what my nuclear policy was really about.
Later, I collaborated with Matsumae to establish a supra-partisan nuclear energy committee. I was with the Japan Democratic Party at the time and I headed this committee. We worked on nuclear legislation on which all our country's future nuclear policies would be based. What I want to stress is that we made it quite clear then that nuclear energy was to be used only for peaceful purposes.
The atomic energy basic law, which was enacted in 1955, spelled out that the research, development and utilization of nuclear power must be for peaceful ends only. Aside from power generation, the law also saw to the extensive application of nuclear energy and radiation to medicine and industry.
Q: Dealing with nuclear power always entails risks of major accidents. Didn't that worry you?
A: In promoting our nuclear policy, we enforced strict plant management standards to protect all facilities from earthquakes and other natural disasters. I personally believe everything was done with great prudence, including the enactment of various related laws. Minor accidents have occurred over the years, but there never was such a serious crisis as experienced at Fukushima, where radiation leaked from its reactors.
Q: Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the Fukushima plant, came under fire for saying the March event was beyond anything they could ever have foreseen.
A: That's the sort of mentality TEPCO and all other nuclear power plant operators must outgrow.
Q: The radiation leak from the Fukushima plant forced nearby residents to evacuate, contaminated the seawater, and gave rise to harmful rumors that caused economic damages. As a long-time advocate of nuclear power generation, how do you feel about this unwanted outcome?
A: The Fukushima accident has caused tremendous hardships to the nearby residents. It is truly regrettable that it is affecting not only their lives and jobs, but also the future of their children.
Q: Do you still believe Japan needs nuclear power generation?
A: Yes. Even though the Fukushima accident has done tremendous damage, I believe we must thoroughly examine what happened and learn lessons from it in order to maintain and advance our nuclear policy. Considering the global trend, the future of our country, our energy needs and our scientific and technological capabilities, we must move forward bravely and overcome this crisis and the hardships it has brought. We Japanese are not quitters. The majority of the world is not against peaceful utilization of nuclear energy.
Q: But the ripples from the Fukushima crisis have spread around the world. French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited Japan and appealed for the implementation of global safety standards. And German Chancellor Angela Merkel has switched course to end her country's reliance on nuclear power generation.
A: President Sarkozy had been scheduled to visit Japan anyway. The March disaster turned his trip into a sympathy visit, and he offered his advice as the leader of an advanced nuclear nation. As for the German decision, that was only to be expected, given the Merkel administration's character. The reactions of the world are bound to vary from country to country.
Q: There was widespread suspicion that the Japanese authorities were withholding information concerning the accident at the Fukushima plant.
A: Japan must disclose every detail to the world. Nuclear energy is "global public property." If we are to benefit from it, we must reciprocate. It is Japan's responsibility to disclose information.
Q: Don't you think the Fukushima crisis has made it more difficult for Japan to build new nuclear power plants?
A: It is become more difficult, yes, but we must make efforts.
Q: What do you think Japan's energy policy should be like in the future?
A: I imagine there will be more talk about renewable energy sources, such as solar energy. But the power supply we can expect from those sources is still negligible. For instance, solar and wind combined won't even meet 10 percent of our needs. Our country's energy policy has to move forward along with the people. Until the people become fully able to understand the present situation, the government must proceed very carefully, and should avoid making a rash decision.
Q: The ruling Democratic Party of Japan and the opposition Liberal Democratic Party are exploring the possibility of forming a "grand coalition" to deal with the daunting task of post-disaster reconstruction. What are your thoughts on this?
A: Everybody thinks a grand coalition will be a good thing. But it shouldn't happen unless this becomes necessary for policy reasons and the parties concerned know exactly what they are getting into. Personally, I don't necessarily think a grand coalition is a good idea. The Cabinet of the sole party in power can do its job with greater flexibility and act more boldly, like a lone horseman charging forward. But if another party offers to collaborate and the partners can fully agree on policy, then it makes every sense to form a coalition. In fact, that would be ideal.
Q: What do you think the LDP should do?
A: It should stay put for now as an opposition party. Its job is to keep an eye on the administration and point out its failings. The March disaster has put everything on hold, but depending on how post-disaster reconstruction proceeds, the LDP could revive its demand for the dissolution of the Lower House and call a snap election. The party that wins the election becomes that lone horseman.
Q: How do you think post-disaster reconstruction should proceed?
A: The most important thing is to respect the historical, social background of the Tohoku region and the lives of the people who are rooted there. Being treated with due respect is always a great morale booster. In the old days, Tohoku was derided as a worthless backwater.
There is this old saying to the effect that the mountains north of Shirakawa (in current Fukushima Prefecture) can be bought for a song. But after World War II, the locals developed their economy with their typical tenacity and diligence. Now it's time to consider the March disaster as an opportunity to turn Tohoku into a new center of culture and civilization.
As for how exactly to go about this, people in Tohoku could discuss it with Diet members, business leaders, academics and so on.
Q: Do you think Japan will be able to recover from the disaster?
A: The Japanese people overcame the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and the defeat in World War II, and did amazing jobs of rebuilding their nation. The Japanese people today are just as capable. The question is whether the people's elected representatives can galvanize the entire nation into action, but they must try anyway like their predecessors did. They owe it to their people and to the history of Japan.
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Yasuhiro Nakasone is a former prime minister. Born in 1918, he was first elected to the Lower House in 1947. After taking posts as director-general of the former Science and Technology Agency, minister of transport, minister of trade and industry and others, he served as prime minister from 1982 to 1987. He retired as a Lower House lawmaker in 2003.