Japan Q&A: The need for a comprehensive Asian energy security framework

(From KWR Advisor)

The Need for a Comprehensive Asian Energy Security Framework: Interview with Nobuo Tanaka, President, Sasakawa Peace Foundation

Interview by Keith W. Rabin

Hello Tanaka-san. It is good to speak with you again. Recently you assumed a new position as President of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF). Can you tell us about your work and the mission of SPF, and what you hope to achieve?

The SPF merged together with the Ocean Policy Research Foundation on April 1, 2015, and I was invited to serve as its President. It is now the largest foundation in Japan and it has become more focused on global security and geopolitics. Energy is a large part of this and one of my goals is to initiate more work on energy security including the issue of nuclear power in Japan.

Since the Fukushima disaster, there have been no nuclear reactors running in Japan and we were spending up to an extra $40 billion a year on importing oil, gas and coal, which also has important environmental consequences. Recent price declines have helped though the extra cost is still large. Relying more heavily on imports also makes us very dependent on supply from the Middle East – a region that is troubled with political tension and security problems. This is not a stable and sustainable situation or an effective way to manage our energy supply in a safe and secure manner.

It is, however, simply not possible in the current environment to restart our current nuclear reactors and declare them safe. This is clear given the consequences of the Fukushima disaster including the mistakes made, problems concerning waste disposal and the ramifications of how the cleanup was managed. Quite simply we have lost the public trust and that must be regained. Read more

Categories: Asia Times News & Features, Japan

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