It’s been 70 years, but still…

When I was a junior high school student, I liked listening to radio programs. One day, I was listening to my favourite live program in bed, but something was different. From time to time during the program, they provided small pieces of information about a big incident. It was when a domestic JAL flight crashed into Osutaka mountain on August 12, 1985.

I frequently check Japanese internet news, and the 30th anniversary of the JAL crash was one of the hot topics in last few days, like this news site. Another hot topic was broadcast even in Canada: restart of first nuclear plant after the Fukushima disaster. As mentioned in this internet article, the majority of Japanese today oppose using nuclear energy. The reason is obvious; they don’t want to repeat an incident like Fukushima Dai-ichi. In other words, they think that nuclear energy is dangerous as proven in the Fukushima disaster. But is it really that dangerous? A fact that most people outside Japan don’t know is that there are three nuclear plants in the disaster area. “Dai-ichi” means “No.1”, which means there is “Fukushima No. 2” nuclear plant. There is another one in the area, and some facilities in those two nuclear plants ware used as shelters right after the disaster.

What makes Fukushima Dai-ichi different from the other two? The answer is not widely known. Fukushima Dai-ichi was designed and built by an American company, and believe or not, they simply copied their nuclear plants in U.S. which were designed based on the risk factors in U.S. One of the major risk factors in U.S. is hurricane or tornado. To protect important properties from tornadoes, whether it is in a house or in a nuclear plant, people in U.S. keep them underground. Based on this concept, the emergency generator of Fukushima Dai-ichi was installed underground where one of the major risk factors is tsunami. As a result, the emergency generator was severely damaged by the tsunami which triggered the incident, while emergency generators of the other two plants safely shut down the nuclear reactors. Those emergency generators are installed upper floor to protect them from tsunami. It seems obvious who has the responsibility for the incident. However, for some reasons, the U.S. company is not accused.

Recently I read a Japanese internet article about the JAL crash, and I found it connects the JAL crash and the Fukushima disaster. The cause of the JAL crash was revealed a while after. The airplane had experienced a minor incident and the rear part was damaged, then it was repaired and used again. But it was not repaired properly, and it caused the crash. One thing I had not known and the Japanese internet article told is that the airplane was repaired by a U.S. company that built the airplane, and it was not accused. It’s a power game.

Today, August 15, is the anniversary of Japan’s World War II surrender. It’s been 70 years since the end of WWII. After the war, Japan had been occupied by U.S. for some years. (yes, for “some years”. We do not celebrate our independence day for some reasons and honestly, I don’t know how many years it was.) However, Japan is still somehow forced to obey U.S. They defeated Japan 70 years ago, but it does not mean that they are still freed from accusation of causing death of hundreds of Japanese citizens. But sadly this seems a reality.

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