Former Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan, during whose administration Japan suffered the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, is scheduled to make a four-day visit to Taiwan beginning on Thursday next week to weigh in on the nation’s ongoing movement against nuclear energy.
Kan is due to participate in an anti-nuclear event the following day by film directors under the banner of the “No Fourth Nuclear Plant, Five Six Movement” at Liberty Square in Taipei, said Lee Cho-han (李卓翰), convener of the Papa Promise Future, which is hosting the former Japanese prime minister.
Initiated on March 15, the anti-nuclear campaign gathers together people who oppose nuclear energy every Friday night at the square to raise public awareness of the underlying dangers of nuclear power.
“On the afternoon of Sept. 14, Kan is scheduled to give a speech at the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park in Taipei’s Xinyi District (信義) about Japan’s experiences of disaster relief in the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear catastrophe,” Lee said.
Lee said Kan also plans to visit the dry-cask storage facilities of Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Shimen District (石門) and the Feitsui Reservoir, which supplies drinking water to 5 million people in the Greater Taipei area, before leaving the nation on Sept. 15.
Yilan Charlie Chen Foundation consultant He Li-wei (賀立維), a nuclear expert who met with Kan when visiting areas affected by the Fukushima disaster in July, said Kan warned him that Taiwan’s emergency planning zones of 8km radius around each nuclear power plant were “absolutely not large enough in the event of a nuclear accident.”
“Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster, radiation was detected as far as 20km from the plant. A simulated nuclear disaster by Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority also found that radioactive fallout from such an accident could spread to a radius of as much as 250km,” He quoted Kan as saying at the time.
“Only nuclear accidents can cause such long-lasting turmoil in a country, other than wars,” He quoted Kan as saying.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Anna Kao (高安) said the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan was in close contact with Kan’s office and would provide the former prime minister with any assistance he needed.
Kan has recently teamed up with several members of the Japanese Parliament to form a “Zero Nuclear Parliamentary Alliance,” with the aim of turning Japan into a nuclear-free country by 2025.