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2014年1月19日 (日)

東京都知事選 五輪返上論はどこまで本気か

The Yomiuri Shimbun January 18, 2014
Is Hosokawa serious about his call for Tokyo to decline hosting Olympics?
東京都知事選 五輪返上論はどこまで本気か(1月18日付・読売社説)

It is meaningful to discuss the issue of nuclear energy in Tokyo, which consumes a massive amount of electricity, but it is unreasonable to exploit an election for the denuclearization movement.

Former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa, who has expressed his intention to run in the upcoming Tokyo gubernatorial election, is drawing public attention.

Hosokawa has made an antinuclear agenda his main campaign pledge, saying, “I’m concerned that the issue of nuclear power determines the nation’s fate.” He is backed by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who advocates immediately breaking with nuclear power.

Both Hosokawa and Koizumi enjoyed high cabinet approval ratings as prime minister. They are adopting election tactics that seek to make the most of the wide public popularity they once enjoyed.

The Tokyo metropolitan government is certainly a major shareholder of Tokyo Electric Power Co. Yet, 50.1 percent of TEPCO shares are owned by the government’s Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund, which aims to resume operation of the nation’s unclear power stations. It would be irresponsible of Hosokawa to argue that he would be able to stop the restart of nuclear reactors.

What must not be overlooked is how Koizumi has positioned the gubernatorial election. He said the election will be a “war between the group that says Japan can grow with zero nuclear power plants and the group that says it cannot.”

He should not simplify the issue of nuclear energy into a choice between two options—zero nuclear power and nuclear promotion—making light of such complicated factors as the possible effect on industries and household finances, measures to cope with global warming and energy security.

Simplistic ideas not enough

Hosokawa has postponed his official press conference on his candidacy twice already, apparently because he has been unable to prepare his election pledges. This illustrates the fact that simplistic ideas do not prepare a person to cope with the variety of problems the Tokyo metropolitan government is facing.

When Tokyo won its bid for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics last year, Hosokawa called for Tokyo to renounce its selection as host, saying, “Tokyo should have declined to accept the decision because we still have the nuclear problem.” We wonder how serious he is.

The upcoming gubernatorial election will be held because former Gov. Naoki Inose resigned over his suspicious borrowing of ¥50 million in cash from hospital operator Tokushukai. Therefore, we believe Hosokawa should explain his borrowing of ¥100 million from the Tokyo Sagawa Kyubin parcel company, which led to his resignation as prime minister.

Meanwhile, former Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yoichi Masuzoe, another leading candidate, expressed his determination to pursue the “best Olympics in history,” antidisaster measures, improved medical and nursing care services, and employment measures. We would like Masuzoe to clearly state during the election campaign what concrete measures he plans.

As for nuclear energy, Masuzoe said he will aim to create a society that does not depend on nuclear power generation, instead of immediately reducing nuclear energy use to zero. He also said he would promote energy-saving measures in Tokyo, making efforts to expand the use of renewable energy.

The main question in the race to choose the face of the metropolis is which candidate has a clear vision of Tokyo’s future. Candidates must deepen their discussions through debate and other opportunities.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 18, 2014)
(2014年1月18日01時27分  読売新聞)


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