Friday, August 5, 2011

What we can see from the catastrophe at the Fukushima nuclear power plant (Addendum)

(From a lecture recording)

Is the CO2 global warming theory correct?

As another basis for promoting nuclear energy, it is often said, "Nuclear power does not emit carbon dioxide, CO2, which is a cause of global warming". However, as described earlier, nuclear power definitely does not save on petroleum. Consequently, one cannot say, "Nuclear power does not emit CO2".

In fact, especially recently, various people are saying, "The CO2 global warming theory is incorrect". If it is true that the CO2 global warming theory is incorrect, it is a major problem. It could become a historical scandal.

If the CO2 global warming theory is truly mistaken, it would mean the energy measures of the various countries are fundamentally incorrect. Further, it would mean the numerous international meetings with the main theme of CO2 reduction are irrelevant. In other words, apart from future shortages and depletion of resources, if it is true that CO2 is not a cause of global warming, then global warming would not occur even if we use petroleum fuels such as oil, coal, or natural gas as much as we desire.

To be honest, in fact, several decades ago, I also learned about the opinion, "The CO2 warming theory is incorrect", and the thought had crossed my mind, "Perhaps, it is true".

Even so, throughout the world after all, since it has been said, "CO2 is causing global warming", until now, I had thought that the CO2 warming theory was probably correct.

Recently, several books have been published saying, "The CO2 warming theory is incorrect". Therefore, I read these books, gathered information on the Internet, and considered the matter anew.

The result is that I learned there are a few facts that cannot be overlooked regarding this matter. What I will write now is only a summary of the points that are the easiest to understand for us from those facts. For details, I hope you will read relevant books.

How did the theory of CO2 warming spread?

Until the first half of the 1980s, the established theory of the academic society was, "The earth is cooling". However, in 1988, Dr. James E. Hansen, a researcher at NASA in the U.S., gave the following testimony at a public hearing in the U.S. Senate, and that was effectively the beginning of the "CO2 global warming theory".

Hansen made the following statements. “(2) the global warming is now large enough that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause an effect relationship to the greenhouse effect, and (3) in our computer climate simulations the greenhouse effect is already large enough to begin to effect the probability of extreme events such as summer heat waves.” “So, with 99% confidence we can state that the warming during this time period is a real warming trend.” But, this assertion was considered as simply one hypothesis and not given much attention by scientists and others in the beginning.

France leaped at this hypothesis. At that time, France was promoting nuclear power as a national policy. But, the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, and then the Chernobyl nuclear accident occurred, and nuclear power was severely criticized by the public. As a result, the situation was that it became difficult to continue as is with nuclear power. At that point, the CO2 warming theory was announced.

The government of France and electric power companies united to mount a large-scale campaign and put forth the nation’s efforts to promote strongly nuclear power. They said, "Nuclear power does not emit CO2. (I have repeatedly mentioned that the truth is nuclear power definitely does not save on petroleum, and it cannot be said that CO2 is not emitted, ...). Consequently, the earth will not be warmed. Therefore, nuclear power is the most desirable for protecting the environment of the earth". Why do they want to promote nuclear power? As I described earlier, it is because enormous interests are involved.

This spread to the countries of Europe and the U.S. With Germany centrally, it developed into an international political issue. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) of the United Nations played a central role.

This movement spread throughout the world, and not only in Europe and the U.S. Japan was not an exception. The Environment Agency in Japan of that time had settled to some extent the issue of pollution by various domestic companies, and the budget for the Environment Agency was about to be drastically reduced. Further, it is said that the significance of existence of the Environment Agency was in question.

At that point, the theory of CO2 warming was passed along from the Western countries. I do not know to what extent it is true, but there is a story that a person in the upper levels of the Environment Agency of that time said, "We can do it with this. The Environment Agency can continue from now with this CO2 warming theory". This story sounds likely to have happened.

In any case, it can be inferred that this CO2 warming theory was thought of highly throughout the world based on similar motives. Regarding this situation, a person related to the present Ministry of the Environment said that in the beginning, the CO2 warming theory was just one hypothesis and no more than that, but before anyone realized it, it had become considered as a fact.

Until that time, the theory of the earth cooling had been the established theory. It seems that many people, not only scientists, were puzzled when suddenly, it was said the earth is warming. Even now, I remember that I also had felt something was wrong at that time.

Nevertheless, it is a fact that it was possible to think the following theory was reasonable. "Ever since the Industrial Revolution, we have come to consume large quantities of coal, oil and other petroleum fuels. For that reason, every year, CO2, which has a heat retention effect, has continued to increase, and global warming is advancing as a result".

Along with that explanation, looking at the “graph of recorded changes in CO2 concentration and changes in temperature”, indeed, the temperature appeared to have increased drastically in the latter half of the twentieth century. In addition, the temperature rise appeared to correspond with the increase in CO2 concentration, so many people including scientists came to accept the CO2 warming theory. At present, it has reached the point where the CO2 warming theory has become nearly an established theory.

Inspect the CO2 global warming theory

Recently, in particular, people have emerged who clearly question the CO2 warming theory that was considered an established theory and that many people had completely believed. I also read books and information written by these people. Here, I will only explain a few facts from these books that are easy for anyone to understand.

1. Climate scientist, Dr. C. D. Keeling, measured CO2 concentrations in Hawaii and the Antarctic over 30 years and is one of the people who provided evidence for the CO2 global warming theory. However, he later presented facts to overturn the CO2 global warming theory.

Over many years, he graphed the relationship between temperature changes and CO2 concentration changes. Looking at this overall and roughly, at first sight, it appears that changes in temperature and changes in CO2 concentration correspond well, and appears to support the CO2 warming theory.

However, looking at the graph in detail, one can understand clearly, "temperature changes occur first, and afterwards, the CO2 concentration changes". In fact, I also realized this 4 to 5 years ago and thought something was odd.

In short, speaking from the hard-and-fast rule of this world, "Everything first has a cause and the cause brings about the result", this means, “changes in temperature bring about changes in CO2 concentration”.

In summary, according to Keeling's graph, "First, the temperature rises, and as a result, the CO2 concentration increases." From this, we can say that clearly, “The increase in CO2 concentration did not bring about the rise in temperature”.

"First, the temperature rises, and as a result, the CO2 concentration increases." The following explanation can be made regarding this statement.

By an increase in the amount of incoming sunlight, (for example, by the sun becoming active, or from other causes), first, the temperature increases. As a result, the temperature of seawater increases, and the CO2 in the seawater evaporates. Then, the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere increases.

Indeed, at the present stage, there is no mistake that this is also a hypothesis. However, isn't it strongly persuasive if you temporarily put aside the fixed notion, "the CO2 global warming theory is absolutely correct"?

2. CO2 emissions are increasing each year because industrial activities and daily life activities of humans are increasing each year. Despite this, globally in 1992 and 1993, the atmospheric CO2 concentration did not increase. It is thought the reason is because of the great volcanic eruption of Mt. Pinatuba in the Philippines in 1991. The sunlight was obstructed and the temperature decreased globally. In summary, "the CO2 concentration decreased because of the decrease in temperature".

3. El Nino is a phenomenon in which the ocean surface temperature rises near the equator of the Pacific Ocean. By examining the occurrence of El Nino and changes in CO2 concentration, it has been found that the CO2 concentration increases one year after the occurrence of El Nino. In short, the increase in ocean temperature is the cause of the increase in CO2 concentration.

4. In the 30 years from 1940 to 1970, CO2 emissions from human activities increased sharply. However, during that time, the average temperature of the Earth decreased.

If items 1 through 4 are true, they lead to the conclusion, "the CO2 concentration increases or decreases according to the rises and falls in the temperature". he CO2 warming theory cannot explain these facts satisfactorily. Doesn't this mean that the truth is, "temperature is the cause and CO2 concentration is the result", and not "CO2 concentration is the cause and temperature is the effect"?

5. Let us consider this theoretically a bit. The CO2 in the atmosphere is approximately 0.04% at most. Further, the CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing 1 to 1.4 ppm annually. So, the increase is at most, 1.4 ppm. Averaging the past 100 years, the CO2 concentration is increasing 1 ppm per year.

1 ppm is a unit meaning one part in one million. So, taking an annual average, the CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing by only one part in one million. Let me explain this a little more clearly. If the atmosphere is one million parts, of that amount, 0.04%, or 400 parts are CO2. This amount is increasing by only one each year.

To make it clearer, let us take money for an example. The parent has one million yen, and the child only has 400 yen. Then, each year, the child's money increases by only one part of the one million the parent possesses. Nothing can be done with that.

Let us return to CO2. By calculating, if the CO2 is increasing annually by 1 ppm, it would appear that the result would be an increase in the average temperature of the earth of only 0.004. From this, it would be very difficult to explain, “CO2 emitted from human activities is the cause of global warming”.

Climategate incident

There are central members of the IPCC of the United Nations, and many scholars from around the world share their data. Therefore, the IPCC data was considered to be reliable.

However, in November 2009, the email and communications of central IPPC researchers were disclosed. These hundreds and thousands of emails can be read on the Internet.

This disclosure incident is called Climategate, similar to Watergate. The name includes the meaning that this is a major scandal regarding the climate.

Until the present, the IPCC had asserted, "During the past 1000 years, with the exception of the latter half of the 20th century, the temperature has never become extremely high". In short, the Earth's temperature has become extremely high since the latter half of the 20th century. That was the basis for the CO2 global warming theory.

According to the IPCC, the temperature was low for the past 1000 years, but suddenly, the Earth's temperature rose after the Industrial Revolution. The reason is because the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased from human activities since the Industrial Revolution. The temperatures from the past were examined and shown in a graph. Up to a certain point, this kind of graph was also presented in the annual reports.

In fact, from various research results, it was said that the temperature was very high during the Middle Ages. However, the IPCC asserted, "The temperature rose for the first time after the Industrial Revolution. Especially, since the latter half of the 20th century, the temperature has risen sharply". The graphs of the IPCC also showed the same information.

The IPCC had manipulated the data

An enormous quantity of email was disclosed and consequently, it was found that IPCC members had fabricated the temperature data. It is said that in email addressed to research colleagues, there were some that had the following content, "The trick to manipulate the warming period data of the Middle Ages has been completed". In addition, the person who wrote the email admitted to this fact.

So, according to the above information, it is not true, "In the past 1000 years, the temperature rose only in the 20th century", and it became clear that the data was manipulated.

That is not all. In addition, it was found that ocean surface temperatures for the Arctic Sea were also manipulated.

One more thing that became clear is that rather than manipulate, the way of taking the temperature data was very sloppy depending on the country. For example, thermometers were set about one meter away from buildings that received much sunlight. I do not think the temperature is measured in this way in Japan, but apparently, in the U.S. and other places, the measurement methods were rather inaccurate. Besides this, it has become clear that measurements such as ocean surface temperature measurements were fairly sloppy.

There is no point in discussing manipulated data, but in any case, this kind of sloppy data certainly cannot lead to correct conclusions. Therefore, it means that the IPCC report itself is completely unreliable.

Despite this, why was data falsified to deny the fact, "The temperature was high in the Middle Ages"? No doubt, there was a clear intention. In other words, it was probably necessary to make people throughout the world believe, "Increase in atmospheric CO2 is the cause of global warming". This means perhaps there were people or groups that would make a lot of profit, or maintain or gain power by doing so. I do not think anyone would do such a foolish thing if this were not the case, but what is the truth?

Is global warming occurring?

With just the explanation thus far, perhaps it can be said there are points in "the CO2 global warming theory" that are rather questionable. This is based not only the facts presented so far, but it is said there is additional evidence to support these facts. Next, we will question anew, "Is global warming occurring even if CO2 is not the cause"?

Regarding this, among the people who question the CO2 global warming theory, there are three ways of thinking at present.

The first idea is as follows. "The temperature is rising in the northern hemisphere, but in the southern hemisphere, the temperature is decreasing. Furthermore, it cannot be said that the temperature of the Earth overall is increasing. According to the results of measurements taken from satellites in outer space, the atmospheric temperature has not risen. From this kind of information, the Earth is not warming".

The second idea is the following. "Maybe CO2 is not the cause, but in any case, global warming is occurring as a result of human activities of some kind, for example, because of increases in methane and other global warming gases".

The third idea is as follows. "Speaking from the results of many measurements and what people actually feel, it is a fact that in recent years, the temperature of the Earth has increased. However, even if we say the temperature has risen, it is absolutely a result of natural phenomena. Therefore, it must be differentiated from warming resulting from human activities".

I myself feel that compared to the past, the temperature has risen significantly in the winters and summers. It might be taking a short cut, but from this, I have a feeling that the average temperature of the Earth overall is rising. However, to be honest, I strongly doubt the theory that CO2 is the cause.

In other words, at the present stage regarding this issue, perhaps it is not possible to clearly determine, "This is the truth". The Earth's climate is formed from the combination of various factors. Therefore, perhaps it can be said that clear conclusions still have not emerged regarding whether greenhouse gases including CO2 cause global warming. Therefore, at the present stage, it can neither be stated with absolute certainty that the CO2 global warming theory is mistaken nor correct. Perhaps it is too early to reach a conclusion.

In any case, at present, and for our human society from now, the issue of whether the CO2 global warming theory is correct or not is in a sense a major issue comparable to “the Ptolemaic system (the earth is the center of the universe) versus the Copernican system (the earth and other planets move around the sun)”. This is because from now in Japan and throughout the world, whether fundamental policies for energy including the nuclear power issue, and whether all activities of human society run correctly, depend on that result.

Considering the importance of this issue, no matter which is the truth, I think that from now, it is absolutely necessary for us to clearly ascertain the truth by examining the facts thoroughly anew.

(End of Addendum)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

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 conserving electricity.

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 electricity.

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 electricity

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 petroleum.

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 generation equipment.

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 electricity rate.

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 power generation

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 be provided.

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 overseas.

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 them.

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 brought nearby.

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 overseas.

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 certainty.

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 action.

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 closely intertwined. 

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.

Abandoning Egoism

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 from egoism.

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 intensifies.

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.