Hope For Sane Energy In Japan
By Brian Small at May 01, 2011
I translated this March 18th conversation with Yu Tanaka(Japanese 1 and Ja 2) to help deal with the ominous and depressing news from the Nuclear Disaster in Fukushima. Yu Tanaka has been talking with grass roots groups at locally organized events all over Japan for over ten years, combined with his local activities (solar panel installation on buddhist temple roof, fluron recycling, Aluminum recycling..) and books over the years it's hard not to be impressed. He has good proposals and historical grounds for breaking up Electric Company monopolies and has not lost sight of the global warming/climate crisis issues with an exclusive focus on the dangers of nuclear power. I first came into contactYu through the Fukuoka chapter of the Jubilee 2000 movement, trying to pressure the Kyushu/Okiawa G-8 Summit to drop illegitimate debts weighing down the Global South. I was able to meet him in person around the same time thanks to a local hosting of the grassroots National Symposium on Pump Storage Dams.
Douglas Lummis has made Takashi Hirose's work available in English over at Counterpunch. Takashi Hirose is a powerful speaker on Nuclear Power. Takashi Hirose is very helpful for understanding nuclear power, but I didn't find his views on the economy or global warming to be as constructive. A strong critic of the irresponsibility and 'stupidity' of the bureaucrats in the government (METI, Ministry of the Economy, Trade and Industry) and Electric Monopolies, at the end of one of his speeches I was surprised to hear him deny global warming as a problem arising from human fossil fuel consumption. I'm impressed by his dedication on the nuclear issue, but an attempt to have a discussion about the economy at a grass roots meal afterwards brought up some kind of Rothberg(?) Conspiracy talk that was disappointing for me. On the other hand, conversations with Yu Tanaka always felt constructive, he's clear about the dangers of environmental catastrophe but he also points out where we can find hope, and encourages local initiatives - starting your own NPO bank to invest in local people meeting local needs....
Another Counterpunch article by Nirmal Gosh out of Thailand mentions a meeting with Yu Tanaka.
Just over two weeks after the deadly tsunami, I met with Yu Tanaka, one of Japan’s lonely breed of anti-nuclear activists, in a Tokyo cafe. I put to him the proposition of the pro-nuclear lobby that coal was more dangerous because more people die in coal mines every year, millions suffer from respiratory problems because of fossil fuel emissions, and CO2 drives global warming. Coal and nuclear are false choices, he said. In the case of Japan, neither is needed. A study by Tokyo University has shown that Japan with its extensive coastline and technological skills, can develop a smart grid and exist on only renewable energy – if it devotes as much resources to developing renewables as it does to the nuclear industry or to energy imports.
Douglas Lummis mentions Takashi Hirose as one of a 'rare breed' of anti-nuke activists in Japan, but you can find a lot in the pages of the sponsor-free national weekly Syukan Kinyobi, and I've had the opportunity to meet local organizers in Miyazaki and neighboring prefectures. Bloomberg did a good article on the whistleblower from Hitachi, Mitsuhiko Tanaka while the The Guardian covered Earthquake specialist Katsuhiko Ishibashi, both well grounded critics of nuclear power ignored by the Japanese media. The Japanese media gets more funds from the corporations that monopolize electricity (for 3.5% of all costs incurred - including the costs of propagandizing the public about nuclear power) than they get from Toyota. Assuming that Toyota spends exorbitant amounts of money on advertising to convince people to buy their products instead of rival Honda or Nissan cars why does a monopoly need to shoulder advertising expenses? Of course Toyota also buys a influence over filtering decisions with editors but what kind of excuse do power companies have?
Another nuclear activist that should probably be better known is Aileen Mioko Smith. As "executive director of Green Action, a Japanese environmental NGo based in Kyoto, Japan" she's been involved with providing news from Fukushima in Englihs at fukushima.green-action-japan.org. Her 1989 work in Pennsylvania, Three Mile Island: The People's Testamanet, is well worth reading again in light of the Fukushima disaster.
Just to end the long lead-up to the actual conversation translation - of all the exciting development in energy sources that won't kill everything - this 'Magnus Effect' wind turbine is impressive. In this conversation Yu Tanaka mentions Kobe University work on electricity generations from ocean waves. A quick internet search on the topic revealed examples of private investor interest in various schemes for selling electricity generated from wave action. Not that I want private investors making policy decision about infrastructure but it's a sign that claims for the 'cheapness' and reliability of nuclear power are not reliable. Even Time Magazine let Michael Grunwald make points about the high costs of nuclear power.
A Conversation Needed in a Time of Crisis (Part 1)
Emergency Meeting “It is at a time like now that this conversation is really necessary”
Yu Tanaka and Takeshi Kobayashi
data : 2011.03.18
Category: Emergency Program “LOVE CHECK/energy – Now is the time to discuss energy
This is the second Emergency Dialogue between Takeshi Kobayashi and Yu Tanaka. For years Yu Tanaka has emphasized “Datsu Genpatsu”, the need to shift energy policy away from reliance on nuclear power. What are his thoughts now? Takeshi Kobayashi and Yu Tanakahave shared many dialogues in the past, they sat down to reassess the situation in which the Japan finds itself and todiscuss the directions in which we should move.
Earthquake damage has opened a crack in the impregnable fortress of the country's power structure.
Now that what we feared was possible has actually happened. ?
Tanaka: But, it's unbelievable, I didn't think it would be this bad.
Kobayashi: Really. I think it's been about ten years since the time we started working to create the NPO 'ap bank', and now everything you were telling us about problems with the power companies has been exposed.
Tanaka: Yes, it's all come to be exposed.
Kobayashi: Compared to the many people that are now getting hysterical about the crisis, your writing and speaking over the past few days has seemed calm and collected. It must be because the occurrence was something that could have been predicted, right? You started getting active in the area of energy as a result of the Chernobyl accident, how do you feel now?
Tanaka: Well, to start with, as far as the fact that the accident happened at all, I want hold to account the irresponsible people that let it happen. You know, for years we repeatedly told them “This can happen, this is possible” and the nuclear disaster unfolding now is the result of them ignoring us. On the other hand, many people are completely unaware that this argument over nuclear safety was going on. That's why they are becoming hysterical in the dire situation we are presented with now. To be honest, it's frightening. People are about to fall into a panic. Today for every e-mail I managed to send I received ten more. I thought I'd never be able to keep up with it so I just responded as quickly as possible to suspect data and arguments that were tending to fan the flames, I replied with “That's not right.” I spent the whole day trying to nip at the bud any tendency to start moving off into crazy, ineffective directions
Arrangements that handicap new energy sources.
Kobayashi: This time the accident happened with Tokyo Electric(TEPCO) but the argument that “Japan's nukes are reliable so the damage is limited,” and already in America there is this argument “We will learn from this accident and build even better nuke plants, you can still trust us” shows that people are already arguing for nuclear power. I think this must be the opinions of those in positions where people think that nuke plants are great because they provide a cornerstone of 'the economy.' But, if these views are allowed to prevail, regardless of what anyone says, these kinds of accidents will be repeated. You can't have a big explosion and then say, “How lucky that we only had one explosion, That was dangerous,” we can't afford to have this attitude towards nuclear plants.
Tanaka: Yes, that is where the fight will happen. It is that point that will decide if energy policy moves in the direction we hope it will, the issue is if this disaster will prove to be a turning point for energy. I think now is a crucial time. This problem is way beyond being a problem for only Japan. Did you know that the German airline Lufthansa won't serve Narita airport in Tokyo anymore?
Kobayahi: Really! Is that right?
Tanaka: They'll only land in Nagoya or Osaka. In Germany the people returning from Japan are all subject to radiation tests.?
Kobayashi: And all the foreign companies are telling their people to get away from Japan right? It is the foreigners that are able to say that today's Japan is 'terrible. '
Tanaka: That's the scale of the disaster, foreign countries are paying attention andthe disaster's influence is reaching them. I think it's very important whether or not these conditions can be turned into an opportunity.
Kobayashi: Right. For me, I see Japan, as far as energy is concerned as being at only the most basic level of democracy, I think the level is that of a small child. ?
Tanaka: Yeah. For this area you could say it's at the level of a dictatorship, a fascist system.
Kobayashi: Once an area is connected to receive electricity they think “The country is providing for us” and babble with gratitude. You may say that nuclear power is scarybut people think there is no alternative and this unaccountable system continues.
Kobayashi: In order to take the next step, we don't have to change everything right away, but we have to show a place to start from. Right now I imagine TEPCOis in shock too.
Tanaka: They must be in shock, and I think they are very vulnerable too, damaged.
Kobayashi: Under these conditions, when people might really cooperate I think it's important to say “Can we sit down and talk together?” I think, I'm just guessing, when I look at your actions over the past few daysin this situation you're not saying “Look! I told you!” that you must feel the same way.
Tanaka: Actually you're right. This might be a slight change of topic but I want to talk a bit about the near future. Nuclear power plants actually have insurance under the “Nuclear Insurance Program” they are covered for 12 billion yen. They are covered by Lloyd's Reinsurance and using it merely inconveniences England's aristocracy.
Kobayashi: That's the setup...
Tanaka: But, no matter how you look at it, it's not enough money. For costs beyond the insurance, the government and power company shoulder the burden. The national government's finances are not good. And TEPCO was wealthy before but no longer with the scale of this disaster. This setupis our chance. The government will have to pay out a lot of money, but then they will have to demand something in return right? They should take TEPCO's transmission lines as collateral. The power line transmission infrastructure should be like roads, open to free use the way it used to be. With access to power lines everyone will be able distribute power from non-nuclear sources and people that want to avoid nuclear power can buy it. With this, we will have suddenly implemented an electricity system like the Europeanone.
Kobayashi: Ok! Now, finally there is some light(laughs). What you're saying is that, until now, the power lines were owned by the power companies so that if someone produced energy by another means it was hard for them to distributeit. Now there is a way to solve this problem. Like you said, 12 billion yen is not enough for this accident. They injected salt water, so it will be incredibly expensive to start up the plants again right?
Tanaka: I think the plants are beyond repair already. Until now, when there was a nuclear accident, the insurance covered the repairs. Lloyd's paid to repair all the broken parts from the Kashiwasaki nukeplant accident. On the other hand, when disaster victims can't return to their homes and must move out of Fukushima and remake their lives those costs are either covered by the local government or go without compensation. But this time, we should create a system where those costs are shoulderedby the power company.
Kobayashi: Of course, this time we should be able to say pretty clearly that the responsibility lies with Tokyo Power, and with the government.
Tanaka: Actually, right now in Osaka they are preparing billsfor the costs of evacuation. In the situation now, these costs are be paid by charitable people with noble intentions. But, in this case there is an entity at fault, Tokyo Electric created the cause of this evacuation. I don't think it's right that citizens pay for the damage. This accident's damage far exceeds 12 billion yen, so the government will end up paying. But, in return the government should get the electricity transmission lines.
For an Energy Industry of Open Participation
Kobayashi: I see. But then the government has to manage the power lines...
Tanaka: Before World War II there were more than 600 power companies. They were all over, one at each train station. But when the war started the governments went and decided to put all of utilities into one power company called “Nippon Hassou Electric Corporation.” Once the war ended they had to split it up, the divided the utilities into nine areas and that's why we have nine electric companies now. Actually, before the war much of the electricity was produced by local municipalities. Those prefecture governments said “No way, give back our infrastructure” and there was a movement to oppose giving this infrastructure over to corporations. They struggled until 1965 but lost in the end. What happened then was that, although the facilities were taken from them the local governments received electric company stock instead. That's why the third largest stock holder in Tokyo Electric is the government of Tokyo and the leading stockholder in Chubu Electric is Yamaguchi prefecture.
Kobayashi: I see.
Tanaka: This is the framework we have now, the nine electric companies control all the power transmission lines in a system that was created during the war, until then participation was open. Back then Tokyo Electric was called “Tokyo Dento(Electric Light) “ and was the equivalent of a local gas supplier for areas in and around Tokyo. That local supplier became one of the biggest companiesin the world. Maintaining a huge corporationrequires a huge structures right? So they build huge nuke plants, and went on to build a huge hierarchy to distribute the electricity from these centralized sources. Now it is necessary to decentralize all this, devolve the facilities back to the localities. This makes for cheaper costs. Tokyo Electric was trying to build a new nuclear plant in Aomori, just the power lines connecting the Higashidori reactor to Tokyo cost about 3 trillion yen. The biggest costs for electric companies are not power plants but the transmission lines for delivery. The country should have the power lines returned, we need to get them back.
Kobayashi: That would be better.
Tanaka: Europe already has this kind of framework in place. There are three functions generation, transmission and delivery. Electricity generation is open to everybody, anybody can produce electricity. The transmission lines are like roads, the highway, so the country has them. The final delivery linescan be done by private companies.
Kobayashi: Delivery lines, they are what distribute electricity to houses and things right?
Tanaka: Yes. Of the three areas, only the middle function, the transmission lines are held and maintained by the government, other than than participation is open.
Kobayashi: And, the government can exert influence on a crucial part, bringing the country's collective opinion to bear on the process. This is clear enough that a child could understand it. Until now, for some reason something was weird. So that was the problem, because the electric companies controlled all of the transmission lines, even if you generated electricity from wind and solar the monopolies handled all of the distribution.
Tanaka: It's been very unfortunate that until now if you said “We generate electricity with small scale hydropower please buy it from us” the would simply refuse. Since no one would buy this electricity you couldn't use the generators regardless of the benefits for mitigating carbon dioxide production.
Kobayashi: I feel a lot better. With the information laid out like this the real problems become clear. Nobody wanted the dire situation we find now, but maybe with this punishing blow a crack was opened in the thick iron wall protecting the unaccountable power structure we've had since WWII. This may be our chance to improve things. Yu, we have spoken of all this many times in the past, but it is at a time like this that this conversation is really necessary.
Emergency Meeting (2) “The Future of New Energy” Continued
Administrative Director of Mirai Bank Partnership. Beginning with local movements for Datsu Genpatsu(Shifting from Nuclear Power) and recycling he has participated in a variety of NGO activities in the areas of the environment, economics and peace. He is also the administrative director of “The Japan International Volunteer Center” and “Sokuon(footwarmer) Net”, the supervisor of “ap bank” and a joint representative of “Tennen Jutaku” a natural housing enterprise. He teaches inthe graduate programs at Rikkyo University and Wakodo University. His books include (some co-authored) _Mechanism of Environmental Destruction_ from Hokuto Shuppan, _Making a New Society to Stop War and Environmental Destruction_ and _30 Ways to Abolish Poverty from the World_ from Godo Shuppan, and _Buy Your Electric Car from Yamada Electronics_ from Random House and many other works. His newest publication is _Volunteer Work that Delivers Happiness, Volunteer Work that Invites Misery_ from Gashutsu Shobo Shinsha. His blog, “The Will to Sustain” can be found at http://tanakayu.blogspot.com/
Yu Tanaka and Takeshi Kobayashi's Emergency Meeting, part 2
The Future of New Energy
Now that the present system is in disarray, what is needed in not a 'return to normal' but a better framework. Actually Japan has been producing a lot of new technologies. What road shall we take towards a brighter future?
Let's put in place a convincing mechanism for a safe, clean energy system
We can't have a country closed to information
Tanaka: Actually electricity rates for homes are set to promoteenergy conservation, the more electricity used the higher the unit cost. On the other hand, large scale enterprise electricity rates are set so that unit costs go down with greater use. Enterprises don't profit from energy conservation. Setting the same rates for enterprises as for homes would motivate corporations to conserve energy in a variety of ways. We would certainly see a 30% difference in consumption. Three fourths of the electricity in Japan is used by corporations, a decrease of thirty percent in corporate consumption would allow us to immediately stop one fourth of our power plants. There would be no problem with halting nuclear plants which make up 22% of the entire capacity.
Kobayashi: I see.
Tanaka: But, the reason we don't have a good rate system is that the power companies wanted to build their impregnable 'iron-walled' system. Each locality in Japan has a representative of the Keidanren(the Japanese Federation of Economic Organizations), and they are all electric company representatives. Why is this? Because if an Electric Company comes and says “let's build a power plant here” 500 billion yen starts to move around the area. Also, the lucky major general contractor giant asked to build the plant profits tremendously. The power company can lay out all that money and then add 3.5% to it and charge that much for everyone's electricity rates. That's why the energy system now is set up so that the more money spent the greater the profit.
They call it Public Acceptance (PA) but through TV commercials and other ads whenever the utilities engage in the PR that “nuke plants are a good thing” they also take a 3.5% profit from those costs. As a result, all the media is afraid of the power companies, they can't say anything that that opposes electric company policy. That's how we ended up with a country closed to information, you have to look back to the times before Admiral Perry opened up Japan to find a parallel situation . This system passes as common sense only in Japan. Although the cheapest form of energy in the world is “natural,” renewable energy it is only in Japanthat we are taught that these energy sources are expensive. This mechanism was created by the flow of money.
Kobayashi: For a long time the national policy has been to boost the economy, this tendency probably came to dominate during the post-war era of high-speed economic growth. But now this spiral of mass production and mass consumption itself is starting to break down, I feel like at this time when each of us as individual human beings are starting to think and question what happiness really is the system in placeis not looking at individuals. We have to change this. And that is why we are here now talking in the second part of our emergency meeting. (laughs)
If we could store electricity, we would not have to rely on power companies and the government so much in order to create and share energy right? Is that kind of future possible?
Tanaka: First of all, there is the smart grid. The smart grid is like that video game Tetris, where you fit the long rows of squares into the proper slot and they disappear once you've lined them up the right way. The smart grid is basically the same concept, from one side electricity from renewablesources enters the picture, and on the other side are the people with energy needs. Internet connections allow for instant matching of production and consumption.
Doing this, allows for energyto be consolidated on a small scale. That's the smart grid framework, it's being pushed along in America and Europe. But in Japan, the smart grid pushed by Tokyo Electric only collects data once every 30 minutes.
The energy must be used upinstantly, what can you do with data once every 30 minutes? If a smart grid is implemented what will happen is that there will be enough energy in each local area. Why is that? Let's consider a family of four living together. How much power generation do they need? After replacing appliances with energy efficient models, the family's energy needs will be met with solar panels, one panel the size of 8 tatami mats. The problem is thatsolar panels produce energy during the day and not at night, while families don't use much energy during the daytime compared to nighttime. This time mismatch can be overcome with a battery, by pooling energy for use at night. Now, that so much progress has been made on the electric car, those batteries can be used for homes.
Kobayashi: I went with you to see some products using that great electricity storage technology, the super capacitor.
Tanaka: That was about ten years ago right? The super capacitor uses incredibly low tech components - charcoal, water and aluminum. There are no harmful materials involved, and with mass production the costs will come down a great deal. Aluminum is the fourth most common material on the planet, it's everywhere. And some of products using this technology are already available. The problem is that in today's Japan, the sudden appearance of a much-improved technology leads to decreased profits.
Kobayashi: Gradual development is better for producing profits for companies right?
Tanaka: Some time ago, a certain corporation came up with an outlier of a digital camera. When all the others were producing cameras with picture quality measured in thousands of pixels they had a camera that took pictures equivalent to those measured in millions of pixels. But it was quickly disappeared.(laughs) The sudden appearance of an outlier of a technology drives down the profits of the entire industry which has to place it's typical products along side the superior offering. The superior technology is beaten down, and the industry agrees that they should all share in the profits. In this case there are battery manufacturers, once super capacitors are available they will suffer losses from consumers having no need for batteries.
Shifting the Economic Framework
Kobayashi: The economic system has another face besides basic market strategies, there is an aspect where markets are created with deception. I think everyone must know this. Although we already have more advanced products, please buy this for now.. In a capitalist structure it's better to buy the best thing available at the time but, without excess consumption the economy won't function smoothly, we all have this implicit understanding of how things work right?
Tanaka: Yes but, this isincredibly wasteful.
Kobayashi: There was a movie called Who Killed the Electric Car right? It was a documentary about the electric care built by GM and how it was buried. Oil companies with support from the state of California did it. They bought up all this wonderful technology. Everyone watches the movie thinking “Why did they do this?”, that car has been hidden away out of sight.
Tanaka: It was actually, literally crushed.
Kobayashi: But, the tendency to pursue economic efficiency is still not completely disappeared.
Tanaka: As far as efficiency, the electric car runs for one kilometer at a cost of one yen. Right now gasoline is 130 yen a liter, the electric car runs for 130 kilometers at that price. An acquaintance of mine decided to buy an electric car when he moved back to Yakushima. He applied for financing through our NPO bank(Mirai Bank) and when we did he calculations, we found that the savings on gasoline would quickly pay off the loan. In the rural areas there is very little public transportation, people are virtually forced to use cars. Electric cars are more expense at the first point of purchase, but the running costs of powering them are cheaper so the loan for the cost difference can be paid off with savings from gasoline.
Kobayashi: Even though electric cars are available, they are not making much headway.
Tanaka: Vested interestswould suffer with more electric cars, so they just kept the engine and came up with the hybrid car.
Kobayashi: Of course, there are a lot of people work in the automotive industry, if you think of unemployment issues you can't really hope for a sudden shift but....
Tanaka: Yeah but Germany pushed forward with renewable energyand created 270 thousand jobs. It also implemented a carbon tax. That tax is used not just for renewable energy but also half is used for pension burdens that were mostly falling on corporations. It's distributed in grants. Corporation can't get the subsidies if they hire part-time worker but do if they hire full time employees. With this the corporations switched to full time employees. That led to an increase of 250 thousand jobs. Germany has two thirds the population of Japan, so adapting the figures for Japan means an increase of 780 thousand jobs, the equivalent of three times as many jobs as there are in the Toyota automotive group of corporations. That's why, with a change in existing policy, since renewable energy is still so small now, employment will rise. And, it doesn't cost much to do it.
Japan's smart grid is advanced.
Kobayashi: Recently people have been pretty negative about wind power right?
Tanaka: Yes, That's because of damage to people from low-frequency waves, and to birds from striking the blades.
Kobayashi: Also, laying aside the issue that there is the problem of irresponsible, provocative statements to the effect that people are in it for national subsidies and not concerned with actually producing energy, there are also serious, thinking people that find reasons to oppose wind power.
Tanaka: There is something interesting to bring up here. There is a little company called Mecaro in Akita prefecture that makes a spiral finMagnus wind turbine. Instead of the usual 3 blades it has 5. Each blade is a round pole with cylindrical fins, when the wind blows each blade spins and, like a throwing a curve ball, the entire turbine rotates. The rotation is slow making the turbine quieter and less likely to strike birds.Also, the Magnus turbine is resilient in strong winds. In a NASA experiment the wind turbine withstood winds of 50m/s. 
Kobayashi: That's the first I've heard of it.
Tanaka: Since it's such a small company, they're not set up for mass production so the cost may be a bit high. But, the turbines aren't overly expensive. The concept originally came from Germany but it was first successfully applied in Japan. Right now the turbines are mid-sized, making larger models will permit existing wind turbines to be replaced. This will solve many of the problems with existing wind farms. And one more thing bears mentioning, the best place to use wind turbines is on the ocean. The wind is strong and there's no resistance. But, around Japan the ocean gets too deep to close to shore so you can't build wind turbines along the coast.
Kobayashi: I guess you can't just float them on the water right?
Tanaka: Kyushu University is already doing that. Extremely light carbon fiber material floats on water, lining it up on the water allows for a set up where you can just produce and transmit electricity on top of the ocean. Japan doesn't cover much land area, but if you add in ocean area we have 12 times as much area to work with. Including territory over area covered by ocean makes for a big country.
Kobayashi: Will it effect the fishing industry?
Tanaka: You don't need all that many wind turbines to supply today's electricity needs. Tokyo Electric asked Tokyo University to do a study on how much electricity could be produced by wind turbines at Cape Inubosaki (The Tokoy, Kanto regions easternmost point). The data came out that “All the electricity provided by Tokyo Electric could be produced” there. And that is just offshore of Cape Inubosaki.
Tanaka: Tokyo Electric asked that they “please to do not publicize the data,” but somebody quietly published it on the internet and I found it during a search.
Tanaka: There is another amazing development. A professor at Kobe University made it but there is a way to produce electricity from wave action. There had been previous models but they were incredibly complicated and involved. But this Kobe Graduate School teacher made a small generator that is 9 by 15 meters. You just float it on the ocean and let it work, each installation produces 45 kilowatts. They're called gyros. This type is the simplest in the world, it's low cost and produces a lot of electricity.
Kobayashi: That's the kind of technology right, for example – in this area let's try this, in this other area let's try something else, and that would be good to try a variety of approaches right? If some of these alternatives come closer to large scale application, the developers will have greater motivation and still better technology will be created. But, even if wind power technology keeps getting better, there's the problem of the transmission lines. They'll still have trouble finding a way to get their electricity to the point of use. That's why you're saying the government should buy up the power lines and make them freely available right?
Tanaka: That's right. First we we need progress on the smart grid for renewableenergy viability. Japan actually has the best technical prowess in the world in this area. After that, batteries. Japan leads the world with battery technology too. Next is the electric car. Here too, the car being developed in Japan is said to be the most efficient in the world. Next is IT. Japan is also good in this area. Another area of importance is energy savings, conservation. Here too Japan is actually number one. The power companies got in the way and prevented it from taking off to a larger extent than it did, if we can get the power companies out of the way, the country most able to lead the world with the smart gird is actually Japan.
Kobayashi: With this incidentthe system has probably developed a crack for a new wind to blow through. I didn't write the singer Salyu's song, but it's time to shift our choices in this day and age like her lyric goes, we need a “Atarashii(New) Yes.” We're not just rejecting all at once the way things have been done until now. What we can do is help get close to something that everyone can accept with an “I see,” something convincing. We should get other people together too. Yu Tanaka, I'm hope to move forward with you.
--- After the dialogue ---
Since I think that it is Tokyo Electric people working to restore the Fukushima plant, I came to think that it may seem abrupt to talk about payment for damages and collateral at this time.
However, although I think that it is the State and the people of the country permitted these current circumstances to come about, first and foremost I think it is the electric companies. My desire that the transmission lines are returned to the public sphere(the country's government) has gotten stronger since we had this dialogue.
If the lines are not returned, I want to delve into the reasons.