Nuclear energy in Japan in post-Fukushima era

May 25, 2011

Download Story
(Getty Images/Athit Perawongmetha)
A dog wanders the abandoned streets of Futaba, a town within the exclusion zone near the Fukushima power plant.

This week, the Tokyo Electric Power Company admitted that three reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant suffered meltdowns shortly after the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in March.

From the somber legacy of World War II to this latest crisis, nuclear energy in Japan has a complicated history. Now, as bad news continues to emerge out of the Fukushima catastrophe, Japan is forced to do some soul searching about nuclear power, which supplies thirty percent of the nation’s energy.

Norma Field is a professor of Japanese studies at the University of Chicago. Field recently had a conference on nuclear energy in Japan. She dropped by with a longtime critic of Japan’s nuclear energy policies, filmmaker Hitomi Kamanaka. Kamanaka was screening her latest documentary, Ashes to Honey: Toward a Sustainable Future, when the earthquake and tsunami struck in Tokyo.