Japan’s turbulent history of war and natural catastrophe has already given the world a terrifying vocabulary of death: tsunami, kamikaze, Hiroshima.
But the country now stands on the brink of unleashing its most chilling phrase yet: genpatsu-shinsai – the combination of an earthquake and nuclear meltdown capable of destroying millions of lives and bringing a nation to its knees.
Citizens’ groups, a handful of corporate leaders and former government officials are fighting for a review of Japan’s nuclear reliance. Mounting evidence of radiation leaks, unprepar-edness and deception over the dangers of the plant’s location mean that the problems at Kashiwazaki will reopen a court showdown over the plant at Hamaoka.
The Government has underplayed the risk of disaster. For this, Professor Ishibashi and others blame the “nuclear village” – corporate interests, politicians with links to the industry and academics who owe their salaries to power companies. All 55 of Japan’s nuclear reactors pose a genpatsu-shinsai risk, Professor Ishibashi said.