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2014年8月21日 (木)

社説:原子力小委 動画非公開は教訓軽視

August 20, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: Nuclear policy committee shows disregard for Fukushima lessons
社説:原子力小委 動画非公開は教訓軽視

One of the most important lessons we've learned from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster is that the closed nature of the nuclear power industry led us to underestimate the dangers of nuclear reactors.

The industry tuned out sound criticism from outside sources, largely influencing the government's policy and risk assessment.

We must put this lesson to good use by making the policymaking and risk assessment process public and raising information transparency.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) -- established after the onset of the Fukushima disaster -- streams video of its meetings and press conferences live, and the footage is also available for viewing online after the events take place.

A Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) deliberative council that reviewed the government's basic energy policy does the same.

Such arrangements not only allow debate to extend to outside experts, it also serves to raise awareness and interest among the general public.

However, the Nuclear Energy Subcommittee of METI's Advisory Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, which has been holding meetings since June, accepts silent observers but does not publicly broadcast its meetings.

Some subcommittee members have demanded that the meetings be broadcast, but as of the fourth meeting held Aug. 7, no video had been made available.

The subcommittee was established for the purpose of deliberating specific policies in the nuclear energy field based on the Basic Energy Plan approved by the Cabinet in April.

Topics under discussion include reconstruction and revival in Fukushima, reduced dependence on nuclear energy, human resource development and nuclear fuel cycle policy.

Such discussions will have a great bearing on what the country decides for its energy mix.

With the subcommittee debating topics that will dictate Japan's nuclear policy, transparency of its discussions is crucial.

Some may argue that allowing silent observers to watch from the visitors' gallery and the release of the minutes are sufficient.

But those who can actually attend the meetings comprise a tiny percentage of the general public.

Overviews of the meetings are released within a week or so of each meeting, but they do not indicate who said what. 1週間程度で議事要旨は公開されるが、発言者が誰かわからない。

It takes about a month before the minutes are released, by which time the next meeting has already taken place.

This state of affairs prevents the public from closely following the deliberation process.

Some have proposed a compromise of providing audio broadcasts of the meetings, but such broadcasts fail to provide a complete picture, since it's difficult to identify who has the floor at any given time.

The subcommittee chair, Itaru Yasui, has cited the uneasiness some members would feel in voicing their views if the meetings were to be broadcast via video.

However, nuclear energy policy is an important matter bearing on Japan's post-Fukushima energy policy.

It's a matter of great interest to the public.

If indeed the subcommittee's members feel they can't be honest if their meetings are broadcast, then perhaps there's a lack of understanding about the significance of the meetings and the importance of their transparency.

At its fourth meeting, the subcommittee recognized the importance of making its meetings public, saying that it would "discuss how to improve the situation."

We hope the subcommittee will modify its policy and move ahead with video broadcasts of their meetings.

毎日新聞 2014年08月20日 02時40分


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