The Fukushima disaster caused an even more intense spotlight on the problems in the Japanese political system. The public has come out clearly against nuclear power in polls, huge protests and other forms of resistance. The current government had hinted at restarting reactors and much of the old status quo. There was a 70% agreement with Nato Kan’s stance to become nuclear free. The new administration has ignored this.
A very telling sign of the public unhappiness is the number of people looking for a way to stop using TEPCO as their power utility. Since TEPCO has a monopoly on the region it has been hard for people to switch from using the private for profit company. People cut their power consumption by 18 percent over the summer and small power utility Ennet said they have more requests from new customers than they have capacity. Ennet can provide power 15% cheaper even without the economies of scale of a big company like TEPCO. An executive of Ennet said it was because they don’t waste money on advertising and political donations.
“Asahi Shimbun recently revealed that Tepco spends hundreds of thousands of dollars a year buying tickets for its employees to attend political fundraisers. An unnamed Tepco official quoted in the article was blunt about the intent. “It is important to keep friendly relations with politicians, particularly those in power, on a regular basis to maintain the general trend of promoting nuclear power policy.”
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