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Muto Ichiyo Selected

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'54 was a very, very important year in many senses, but one important thing that happened was that on March 1st there was the Bikini incident. the explosion of the American hydrogen bomb for experimental purposes on Bikini atol in the Pacific. and it was known as the infliction on the Japanese fishing boat Lucky Dragon #5, 23 fishing people were inflicted with the ash of death. It was fallout and that triggered a tremendous movement, and that movement was one of the two or three major, mass movements and the first of them in the post-war Japanese history. Out of it came a sort of permanent movement that from the beginning addressed the world public opinion as well as the governments of the world. It became an international movement and the first world conference was held under the initiative of that movement, in Hiroshima in 1955. And I was employed by that movement as a staff member in charge of the international section. So I enjoyed the work it was very vivid, sort of active and high-spirited movement. And I was young and so I did not fight it and went to Hiroshima for the first time in my life. and visited, of course, the Peace Museum. And then I went through the route, at the end--it wasn't the end--there was another door. Another door that opened and stepped into the annex. Which was a brightly lit place, not very large, but yellowish as I remember. A great contrast from the darkish image of the main hall. It was such a nice, but strange, place. smelling of the occupation forces. The occupation forces had a certain soapy smell. Not that smell exactly, but the yellowish, bright place gave that impression to me. And anyway, what was it? It was the special room for the exhibit of the peaceful use of atomic energy. The future of humanity, the bright future of humanity, is there. And that is all thanks to the great achievement of scientists of modern civilization, [the great achievement] that is nuclear power. Actually I was stunned and I couldn't say anything. I went through it [this exhibit], but couldn't understand why it is there. But at that time I didn't go further into that issue. I was working for the anti-nuclear bomb movement, and bombs were my focus, they were not the peaceful use [of nuclear technology]. And so I set that aside and I buried that memory... until the catastrophe in Fukushima. Because this exhibition, which was an international project, was brought into Japan to de-root the so-called "nuclear allergy." And specifically that should be held in Hiroshima as a remedy, in order to overwhelm the anti-bomb feeling and the image of nuclear as a bomb, in order to replace it with the image of a good guy. So nuclear is not merely evil--not that it was admitted as evil--but if you think that it is an evil, it really has only an angel nature. Then Futsi said, according to Moritaki, we will overwhelm Hiroshima with the peaceful use [of the atom]. and he repeated it, according to Moritaki. So that is a very clear indication that it reflected the will of the American government, or of the Americans. It was the American's desire to overwhelm the popular opinion. And there is already some ridiculous documentation of this. Documentation done by scholars, and not only scholars, but even NHK, the Japanese semi-state broadcasting station. Ten years ago already, they made a very interesting documentary about it. How the CIA was involved, secret agents were at work, and ambitious pre-war or wartime Japanese intelligence police were involved. These last came to establish Japan's largest newspaper: Yomiuri. So it was acidental, but very ironic, that the day after the Bikini incident, March the 2nd, 1954, the first budget on nuclear power was presented to the Japanese Diet by Nakasone and his friends from different parties. And in presenting that budget, the person in charge of presenting it explained why Japan should have nuclear power development. why they should study nuclear power generation. The reason cited at the time was amazing, because it was a military reason. He started with an explanation of how the military technology is developing. He said that the military technology is developing so fast that we [Japan] will fall behind unless we train the young generation to cope with the situation, that is, in order to enable them to handle such weaponry. Otherwise we would have to be satisfied with old, used-up weapons provided by the U.S. under the Military Security Agreement (MSA) which had just been signed. So it was so explicit at the beginning. But people stopped saying that after the budget was passed. So it was only once, at the beginning, that the military implication was stressed. And instead there was another sort of channel that was openned, that was a legal channel. While the nuclear power development itself was a material basis, the other was a legal basis. This was laid by Kishi, Kishi Nobusuke, who was fresh from Sugamo prison [as a war criminal]. And already in '57 he became Prime Minister of Japan. And he was the first one to tell the Parliament that keeping nuclear weapons illegal was not good. He didn't say that having such weapons is good, but he said that having certain such weapons is not against the Constitution. And that concept was repeated after that by various conservative governments. So it is still the official interpretation of the Constitution. In that process the core, the political-industrial core, of the Japanese nuclear industry emerged. This is often called the "nuclear village" or something. It is equivalent to the military-industrial complex in America. In Japan the military-industrial complex is not so strong as it is in America. You shouldn't under-estimate it but the size is far smaller. But the nuclear village complex has a very special position in the Japanese economy and society and politics. It encompasses beauracracies, electric power companies, reactor makers, scholars, and media. It was fully formed during the Sato government period. This was between '65 and '72. Yes, Sato was Kishi's brother. And he's a Nobel Peace Prize winner. He's the one who actually seriously studied and pursued nuclearization, nuclear armament. And it was a very crucial period in many senses: it was the period of the Vietnam War. And it ended with the U.S.-China rapproachment. America doesn't want Japan to go nuclear. So Sato says "Okay, we can build, but we don't build. So please continue to place us under your nuclear umbrella. And return Okinawa without nuclear weapons. And so on." So it's a sort of a deal that he wanted to make. But that deal did not work at all because America wanted Japan to sign a secret agreement. This agreement is now exposed and said that in case of emergency America can bring in nuclear weapons [to Japan]. Sato's deal didn't work. But that nuclear card was used by America, by Kissenger, in dealing with China. In 1971 there was the Kissenger-Zhou Enlai discussion, the full text of which is available. They started the discussion with Vietnam and Korea and so forth. But in '69 there was the Sato-Nixon joint agreement which related to Okinawa's reversion, and also Japan's increased military commitment to the security of Korea and Taiwan. This was a very harsh anti-China commitment. And China, Zhou Enlai, did not like this. And so of course wanted a nuclear Japan and said that the majority of the Japanese people wanted that. And Kissenger said "Okay Japan can go nuclear. But that would mean that Japan would be a nuclear power. Are you ready to accept that?" He used Sato's card to justify America's presence. And that's the beginning of the "cap of the bottle" theory. So the Japanese nuclear industry, the "nuclear village," is not just an economic or energy industry. It's a security matter, in the core of the national security consideration of the Japanese state.

Video Details

Duration: 17 minutes and 55 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 172
Posted by: cornell_eap on Mar 12, 2012

A short selection from the interview of People's Plan Mr. Ichiyo Mutō by Naoki Sakai on January 4, 2012. Concerning the history of the nuclear power industry and state policy in Japan.

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