Monday, February 13, 2012

Japan Subject to Hit and Run

Today the Wall Street Journal has 2 articles on Japan's post-Fukushima energy situation. 

The articles, "Japan Nuclear Crisis Pushes Plants to Limit" and "Crisis in Japan Transforms Global Natural Gas Market" examine how Japan will meet its energy needs given that all but 3 of its nuclear reactors have been shut down. The remaining three reactors will be shut down in April or May.

The article addressing the natural gas market observes that Japan will no doubt draw on natural gas for substitute power.

However, it is important to recognize that Japan's nuclear reactors only produced as much as 30% of Japan's energy supplies. 

According to the articles, Japan has not yet suffered adverse consequences from the lack of power, although rolling blackouts occurred for several weeks immediately after the disaster.

The article implies that energy demand has met availability since then.

However, the "Japan Nuclear Crisis Pushes Plants to Limit" article writes that while voluntary reductions in consumption "helps avoid any widespread brownouts or blackouts, it is yet another reason for corporations to look further at moving production offshore, a phenomenon already well under way because of the strong yen and the sluggish domestic market"

I have written previously about the escalated offshoring of Japanese corporations in the post-Fukushima environment.

Acceleration of offshoring will further collapse Japan's economy, which has not recovered from the earthquake, tsunami and ongoing nuclear disaster.

Offshoring demonstrates how the drive for ever-increasing shareholder value and corporate profits are prioritized over a nation's economic prosperity and human well-being.

Imagine instead a scenario where Japanese corporations and government cooperate to develop and promote renewables such as wind, solar, and tidal energy in Japan in order to build a sustainable economic and environmental future for Japan's economy and people.

In contrast, imagine a scenario where Japan's people are left under-employed and unemployed as their corporations flee, rather than re-invest in recovery and renewal of the nation.

Perhaps the ongoing Fukushima crisis has sealed the inevitability of this second scenario.

Other nations and other people should watch closely; an economic exodus from Japan will demonstrate quite clearly how disposable people and nations are in the contemporary era.

Have the Japanese people been subject to a catastrophic hit and run by their very own corporations?

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