Nobuo Ikeda: “Idiots On Parade”

This translation of Nobuo Ikeda’s blog post is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license. I stole some of the text from Amptontan following the terms of this license.

Photo: A nuclear protester’s sign, “we know you have enough electricity, stop hiding it from us!”, reveals the secret conspiracy of by Japan’s electric companies to drive themselves to bankruptcy.

It seems like an anti-nuclear protest rose up in front of government offices last night. I had thought that these kinds of classical mass movements were already finished in Japan, but perhaps they were revitalized by social media in the manner of Occupy Wall Street in the United States. That in itself isn’t bad, but the objective of stopping the resumption of generation at the Oi plants is nonsense.

The authorization has been issued and restarting work has begun, so according to the Electric Industry Law, it can’t be stopped without an order for technical improvement. Protests won’t stop it. If the protest was to keep other nuclear plants off-line, the economic hit from their idling would continue to grow from the 5 trillion yen ($62 billion) already lost. In other words, the demonstration was held to make Japan even poorer.

The health risk of nuclear power is lower than that of steam power, so stopping plant operation doesn’t even increase safety. If the plants stay offline in this way, in a few years not only TEPCO but other electric companies will become insolvent. The only way to avoid that is to transfer costs to the consumer. If we imagine this as a consumption tax increase, it would be a 2% bump. Essentially, protesters have given themselves a totally different problem.

The most serious crisis facing Japan now is the threat of becoming poorer tomorrow than we are today. The working population declines by 1% every year, while government debt grows by 50 trillion yen at the same rate. Nominal GDP last year was the same as it was 20 years ago, and the growth rate may soon turn negative. So, the lifetime disposable income of an average child born today will be more than 100 million yen ($1.25 million) less than that of an aged person who retires today.

The manufacturing industry is rushing to move overseas to prepare for power outages this summer. Consumer electronics manufacturers and semiconductor makers are already drowning in debt. Talk to businessmen working in the manufacturing industry and the conversation turns to how long they will be able to stay in Japan. A protest clamoring, “stop our energy supply!” during such a time will likely be remembered as the final episode of stupidity in a once-prosperous Japan.

Top comment by Takashi Aoki:

The Communist Party has been putting up contradictory posters reading “Stop the nuclear plants, jobs for the youth.” This is ridiculous. If we keep the nuclear plants shut down, industries seeking cheap and reliable energy will be forced to move production overseas. I don’t see how  young people could find jobs at all in that situation.

Posted: July 1st, 2012 | Res pueriles 9 Comments »

9 Comments on “Nobuo Ikeda: “Idiots On Parade””

  1. 1 Shqiponja Eerës said at 12:00 am on July 2nd, 2012:

    “The health risk of nuclear power is lower than that of steam power, so stopping plant operation doesn’t even increase safety”
    – How safe it is when a “nuclear power” explodes?
    Please! An answer!’

  2. 2 Avery said at 1:18 am on July 2nd, 2012:

    The total number of radiation deaths from Fukushima is 0, so compared to a coal mine accident it is very safe.

  3. 3 polyglotsoftware said at 7:58 am on July 2nd, 2012:

    That protestor sign says something more like “Without nuclear energy there is enough electricity”

  4. 4 Oi Nuclear Plant Restarts, But Electricity Shortages Remain | Japan Probe said at 2:15 pm on July 2nd, 2012:

    […] For a good read on this story, check out Avery Morrow’s translation of Nobu Ikeda’s “Idiots On Parade” blog post. […]

  5. 5 James said at 2:25 pm on July 2nd, 2012:

    Together with the line underneath that, it seems to imply that the truth is being covered up. And since it is directed at the people who are supposedly hiding the truth (the power companies), I don’t think it is particularly wrong to translate it the way that Avery translated it.

  6. 6 John Eidswick said at 8:45 pm on July 2nd, 2012:

    More accurate: “Hiding the fact that there is enough electricity even without nuclear power is wrong.”

  7. 7 nescire said at 9:53 pm on July 2nd, 2012:

    A nuclear power plant cannot explode in the way a nuclear bomb does. They don’t use the same fission material and do not work the same way.

    The explosions that did occur are basically steam/gas explosions from built-up pressure. A nuclear power plant is essentially a steam turbine generator bolted onto a nuclear reactor which provides heat.

  8. 8 Mr. B said at 11:41 pm on July 2nd, 2012:

    Translation: Even without nuclear energy, we’ll have enough energy. Don’t be fooled.

  9. 9 Wilford Brimley said at 5:15 am on August 24th, 2012:

    Pedantic, I know, but nuclear power = steam power. The nuclear reaction is the heat source used to make steam, which spins turbines, which is where the actual electricity comes from.

    I know what you meant to say, though: “The health risk of properly-operating nuclear power plants is lower than that of properly-operating fossil fuel burning power plants”.