[Nuclear Regulatory Agency] Briefing of LDP-Komeito Counterproposal by Yasuhisa Shiozaki
2012/4/24 an interview with Yasuhisa Shiozaki, a member of the House of Representatives (Liberal Democratic Party) on the counterproposal by the opposition parties to the government’s bill on Nuclear Regulatory Agency @ Lower House Member’s Hall (interviewer: Tomoyuki Isoyama, economic journalist).
Isoyama: Although the government had planned to start the new Nuclear Regulatory Agency on April 1 by the bill it submitted to the Diet, the opposition parties suspended Diet discussions on the bill and proposed a counterproposal. In the first place, what’s the difference between the government’s plan and the opposition’s?
Shiozaki: To begin with, there are problematic points with the existing nuclear regulatory structure. One is that there are contradicting interests between the nuclear-propeller and the safety-controller within the same organization, leading to that the controller considers the feelings of the propeller. This is how the community has been widely known as the “nuclear village”. This is the first problem.
I: The same Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) have the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE), Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), and the bureau having jurisdiction over the power industry.
S: ANRE is the nuclear-propeller, and as its counterpart there has been NISA as the controller. However, the logic of ANRE tended to be predominant and hindered the safety because both the agencies are affiliated with the same organization. It caused the sloppy supervision over the industry.
I: You mean that NISA, the safety-controller, and the METI’s concerned bureau and ANRE, the nuclear-propeller, have worked as one despite their differences in appearance. Is there a specific case that the propellers took the initiative and hindered the safety as a result?
S: Around 2005-6, there was the incident that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recommended the Japanese government to prepare disaster measures. Probably it was not a good time for ANRE because it had been a while since the JCO accident at Tokai-village (1999) when public excitement over the accident was about to calm down. As a result, NISA decided not to draft disaster measures voluntarily for some reason. I suspect that ANRE requested NISA behind the scene to let sleeping dogs lie. Perhaps it is an example that the propeller and the controller worked jointly to reject the IAEA’s proposal, resulting to the absence of disaster measures after the nuclear accident this time. Therefore, the nuclear-propeller and safety-controller must not be put together.
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