Japan’s political system may see a shakeup with a newly revived Greens Japan Party ready to field anti-nuclear candidates. Vowing to put the environment first, the new collation, of mostly regional politicians and activists, aim to turn anti-nuclear protests into a real political force. However, they have a huge uphill battle as both major parties support nuclear power — even after the corruption and extraordinary devastation resulting from the Fukushima meltdown.
Traditionally associated with pacifist and socialist groups, the new Greens Japan Party ’s environmental platform starts first with the clear mandate of abolishing nuclear power from the nation’s energy mix. Japan went nuclear free for a short time this spring, and with polls showing a wide majority of citizens supporting the ban on nuclear power, the two main parties are notably bucking the tide. The new party is also looking to Europe’s success with environmentally focused political movements, especially in Germany where their Green Party is a significant force that has led to the outright ban of nuclear usage in the country.
Japan’s energy supply is more complicated than in Europe or the US, as they need to create a significant amount of energy on a relatively small and isolated land mass. The CO2 emissions have spiked since the reduction in nuclear energy — which account for 1/3 of total energy use — as diesel and natural gas run generators have picked up the slack. If the Greens Japan Party is to make any headway, they will need to provide a strong alternative energy vision to move the nation towards a low carbon future.
In the mean time, the Greens Japan Party says they will have 10 candidates running for parliament next year. If Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda calls for an early election and deprives the new party a chance to register their candidates, it may be some time before Japanese voters can clearly voice their concerns about nuclear energy at the ballot box.
Via The Guardian