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Japan

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Index
  1. Japan Main Page
  2. Japan Expands Its Empire
  3. Japan Tests Its Military Might
  4. Economic Recovery Is Followed by Deep Recession
  5. Succession of Prime Ministers Meet Only Fleeting Popularity
  6. Scandals Taint Leadership
  7. Liberal Democratic Party Ousted from Power
  8. Tsunami Devastates Japan
  9. Sixth Prime Minister Named in Five Years
  10. Study Finds Nuclear Reactor Damaged by Tsunami, Not Earthquake
  11. U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Japanese Organized-Crime Syndicate
  12. Japan One Year after the Tsunami, Earthquake, and Nuclear Disaster
  13. Japanese Still Divided Over Nuclear Issue
  14. Tension Increases with Asian Neighbors Over Islands
  15. Noda Wins Party Leadership Vote, but Faces Strong Opposition
  16. Shinzo Abe Becomes Prime Minister Again in Late 2012
  17. Ongoing Fukushima Leak Declared an Emergency
  18. Japan Lifts Decades Old Arms Ban
Japanese Still Divided Over Nuclear Issue

In early July 2012, an independent parliamentary commission released a report stating that the 2011 nuclear crisis was a preventable disaster. The report also concluded that the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant could have been damaged first by the March 2011 earthquake, before the tsunami hit. The fact that the earthquake could have damaged the plant was particularly unsettling because earthquakes occur frequently in Japan. It was also a cause for concern because, during the summer of 2012, Japan was removing its temporary freeze on nuclear power and restarting the Ohi nuclear plant. All fifty of Japan's nuclear reactors have been idle since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in March 2011.

During the summer of 2012, the Japanese were still divided on the issue of nuclear power. Polls in Japan showed that more people opposed restarting the Ohi nuclear power plant than supported it. The division over the issue remained despite Prime Minister Noda vow to make the Ohi plant strong enough to hold up during a strong earthquake and tsunami like the one that devastated the country in March 2011.

In Aug. 2012, TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) released recordings of teleconferences between its Tokyo headquarters and the Fukushima plant's managers during the early days of the March 2011 nuclear accident. The teleconference recordings were firsthand accounts of the unsuccessful attempts to avoid multiple meltdowns at the plant. TEPCO released the recordings in an effort to quiet growing criticism from the public and local media that a full account of the March 2011 events had never been released.

In Sept. 2012, Japan announced it would work to phase out nuclear power by 2040. The announcement, a dramatic shift in the nation's policy, came after its first energy review since the nuclear disaster at Fukushima. The plan would give the nation time to prepare for a future without nuclear power and power companies years to earn a return on their investments. The new plan, which would limit construction of nuclear plants, was called off just days after it was announced due to protests from businesses and areas in Japan where the nuclear power plants are located. The protests caused Prime Minister Noda and his cabinet to backtrack. In response to the protests, Noda said the 2040 goal would be taken "into consideration" by the government.

Next: Tension Increases with Asian Neighbors Over Islands
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