Taro Yamamoto vs. Prime Minister Abe「On the Effects of Ballistic Missile Attack Against Nuclear Plants」
Taro Yamamoto vs. Prime Minister Abe
2015.7.29 On the Effects of Ballistic Missile Attack Against Nuclear Plants
Taro Yamamoto: This is Taro Yamamoto representing The People’s Life Party & Taro Yamamoto and Friends. The party name is long but the time is limited so please keep your answers short. Thank you.
Before I start, I would like to mention that there are six visitors from Okinawa who came to hear this deliberation today. They are from Henoko.
For the forth time, the latest vote decisively expressed the voice of Okinawans. There won’t be any US military base in Henoko, that’s the popular sentiment, that’s what they’ve decided. However, the Abe administration is determined to build it. I would like to ask what Mr. Abe’s thoughts are along with presenting what democracy and constitutionalism mean to us and visitors from Henoko. Thank you.
I would like to start with an overview. We the members of The People’s Life Party & Taro Yamamoto and Friends see the so-called Peace and Security Act, although for us it is clearly a war act, to be clearly unconstitutional, and, in addition, it puts the Self-Defense Force, along with the whole Japanese population, at risk. For these reasons, we oppose the act with all our might. As we have an opportunity to address at this special committee, we would like to proceed with our inquiries with four basic view points.
First, most importantly, the submitted act is a violation of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution and it is unconstitutional. There is no mention of self-defense in Article 9. It clearly states that it prohibits the use of force. But the government has been relying on an interpretation that in the case of military attacks from abroad or an invasion, without any alternatives, it is allowed to resist with the least amount of necessary force, that is the basis of having the Self-Defense Force. It is completely unacceptable that the Self-Defense Force would exert its military might in oversea operations without a military attack against Japan.
Second, kouhoushien (logistics support) is nothing less than actual military action. The government calls this military participation logistics, however, international law stipulates logistics as general service support and supply, which of course will be a military target of the US enemy or the enemy organizations. In short, the enemy of the US will be the enemy of Japan, and the enemy of the US allies will be Japan’s enemy.
Third, there is a legitimacy issue in terms of the international law. The military actions by the US and its allies against civilians including children and women in Afghanistan, the Middle East, are clearly war crimes. There is no legitimacy according to international law, not at all. There must not be any occasion where the Japanese defense force participates or supports such actions by the US and others. It is certainly a grave matter to put the Japanese defense force at risk but there must not be any chance of the Japanese defense force opening fire by mistake against any unarmed civilians, women or children, and becoming the perpetrators of war crime. The situation in a war zone is very unpredictable. Every war journalist I’ve spoken with tells me that they are put in a situation in which, in order to protect themselves, they must shoot anything that moves. A place that is considered to be safe quickly becomes dangerous.
Our nation must follow the principle of collective security and emphasize United Nations mandates, and we should avoid sending the Self-Defense Force overseas, and participate and support humanitarian missions by the United Nations. We often hear the governmental party demanding the alternative to the war act. But that is a pure sophistry. It merely displaces the topic of discussion. As the Vice President of the Democratic party of Japan, Mr. Kitazawa, has stated at the Plenary Session of the House of Councillors, the alternative to the proposed act is the rejection of the act. Period.
As a fourth point, I would like to discuss our security policy. First of all, in terms of the illegal breach of Japanese sea territory, as it has been, the right of individual self-defense and the Japan-US security treaty would be sufficient. As to dealing with the Chinese fishing boats and etc. around Senkaku, Ogasawara and the Eastern Chinese sea areas, we should increase the capability of the Japanese Coast Guard with the help of the Japanese Self-Defense Force. For the South China Sea, Japan should exert its diplomatic power instead of the military power. In order to ensure the safety of the sea lane in the area, we should cooperate with ASEAN nations within the framework of the APEC. If China violates international law in the area, an economic sanction against it under the guidance of APEC and G7 should be a deterrence. For the Middle East, we will not send the Self-Defense Force. We will concentrate our efforts in participation and support of the United Nations’ humanitarian activities. Islam is not Japan’s enemy. Period. That is our policy, an alternative to the war act.
So I would like to conduct our inquiries with those four points in mind, and since this is our first day, I would like to start with the questions of the grave threat of the impending catastrophe of Japan. We’ve heard that there have been over 100 hours of the session on the matter at the House of Representatives, however, no one really seems to understand what it really is. Even the prime minister himself doesn’t have much understanding, which was the honest reaction of many, as we observed his “easy to understand” explanation on the TV show the other day. We’ve felt his passion to break it down and try to make us swallow it but it only confused us. The content that’s getting notice in terms of making us understand is “Oshiete! Higenotaichou” (“Tell Me Mustache Captain”), you’ve all heard it, I suppose. The original is getting the notice but the parody version is even more popular now. I think it’s really interesting to see both. So the first question derives from a scene of the clip. I would like to ask a question with it. (showing the material) The minority party does everything ourselves… OK, let’s go.
In the clip, Mustache Captain asks Akari, “Did you know that there are countries that aim missiles at Japan?”. Prime Minister Abe, please tell us, are there actually countries that are aiming missiles at Japan?
Ministry of Defense (Gen Nakatani): China, North Korea and Russia have numerous ballistic missiles capable of reaching our nation. However, we do not take that fact alone as an evaluation of the threat. We also take the global situation, statements by the aforementioned countries and their actions into the systematic analysis and evaluation. Having said that, we have recognized North Korea’s ballistic missile capability enhancement as a grave and urgent threat to the security of our nation, and this evaluation is based on the fact that North Korea has kept its development of its nuclear ballistic missiles despite the demand by the international community of self-restraint, moreover, with our knowledge of their three nuclear detonation experiments, we can’t disregard the possibility that they have developed small nuclear weapons and nuclear war heads, and, they have deployed several hundreds ballistic missiles mostly within the range of Japan, and regularly performing firing practices with the ballistic missiles, while indicating that major cities in our nation are being within the range. Those actions and their agitating statements by North Korea have contributed to our conclusion that the North Korean military has been a grave destabilizing factor to the security of the international community.
Taro Yamamoto: Thank you. We have a procedure before the session to announce the content of the questions and exchange brief dialogues on them. During the preparation this part was going to be a very brief chat but thank you for the detailed explanation.
Next, Mustache Captain asks Akari “What if they shoot the missile at us?” He’s not telling us what he would do, he is asking her. Prime minister Abe, why don’t you let us hear your voice now? What will we do if they really shoot the missile at us?
Prime Minister (Shinzo Abe): When we are subject to a ballistic missile attack, the Self-Defense Force will cooperate with the US military and ballistic missile defense system will counterattack it. More specifically we intend to respond in two stages with our Aegis ship and PAC 3. In that case, even if we recognize the incoming missile, if the missile is not recognized as a military attack against our nation, according to part 3 of Article 82 of the Self-Defense Force Law–the destruction of the incoming ballistic missile–it will be treated accordingly. On the other hand, if it is recognized as a military action against our nation and if it is determined that there is a need to defend our nation, the Self-Defense Force will be on a defense operation mode according to Article 76 of the Self-Defense Force Law. And if we encounter a military attack, depending on the status, the law to protect the people and its related regulations and their plans will guide the use of the warning sirens and evacuation of the population, promptly and accurately.
Taro Yamamoto: Thank you. That was a detailed explanation. For the next one please answer with one word, as we are pressed with the time. Prime Minister Abe, this issue about the ballistic missiles, the issue about the military attack, we hear about them very often, not just in “Tell Me Mustache Captain”, but in the diet deliberations. Do we recognize it as a grave and an urgent threat to our nation? Yes or no, please.
Prime Minister (Shinzo Abe): Yes, obviously, they have several hundred missiles, and they are developing the nuclear capability and improving its functionality, and we consider these facts to consist a threat.
Taro Yamamoto: Thank you.
We have received the same answer to our Parliamentary Question. Indeed it is a threat, it is a grave and urgent threat that was what you said. Now, let me explain a little, just in case, if the audience who are watching TV don’t know about the Parliamentary Question. If we, the elected officials, have questions, we can submit the questions to the government and the answers come back as the cabinet’s official answers. It is a great system. Last December, I used this system to ask a question. What was it? I submitted a question regarding the plan for protecting the people in the case of a military attack with a ballistic missile against Kyushu Electric Power Co., INC. Sendai Nuclear Power Plant. The material you have with you is part 2 of the provided reference. I bet it’s too long and too hard to understand with lots of Chinese characters. Basically, we asked in the Parliamentary Question what they will do if the Sendai Nuclear Plant gets a ballistic missile attack or equivalent.
In it, regarding the nuclear accident due to a military attack including a ballistic missile attack and etc., although the government has stated that Kagoshima prefecture and Satsumasendai City both have the plans in their protection of the population protocols, does the government itself expect a ballistic missile attack against Kyushu Electric Power Co., INC. Sendai Nuclear Power Plant by other nations and etc.? The answer came from Prime Minister Abe, the answer does come with his name on it. He said, regarding the simulations of ballistic missile attacks by other nations and etc., we refrain from naming certain facilities, however, the problem arising from the movement, proliferation and development of the ballistic missiles has been a significant threat to our nation as well as to the international community, especially, North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile development along with their agitating rhetorics of the missile attack toward us have been a significant and urgent threat to the security of our nation. It went on to say that in order to protect the lives of the population and their properties, the government has been regularly conducting many simulations, including the ballistic missile attacks, and trainings, with the cooperation of the related agencies. Prime Minister, is it correct that the government has been conducting various simulations and trainings regularly regarding various situations involving the ballistic missile attacks with the cooperation of the appropriate agencies?
Prime Minister (Shintaro Abe): In order to protect the lives of the population and their properties, our government has been regularly engaging in various simulations to improve our counter capabilities with the related agencies and regional public organizations and we also conduct counter trainings in conjunction with the governmental agencies and regional public organizations in protecting the public. Among them, the joint trainings on protecting the public mainly specialize in urgent situations in countering terrorism, armed groups and military attacks. The systematic trainings are conducted with the police, fire departments, Self-Defense Force and related agencies, we also conduct trainings against terrorism on nuclear plants.
Taro Yamamoto: Thank you. As we expect, there are trainings and simulations against the urgent situations, your answer sheds a light on an aspect of your job. So, let me ask you. Prime Minister, I see that there are many simulations on many situations, how much will the radio active materials be released into the environment in the case of a direct attack on the active Sendai nuclear plant reactor by a ballistic missile of a sort, Prime Minister?
Chairman of Nuclear Regulation Authority (Shunichi Tanaka): Regarding the question, including an airliner collision, we are requiring an operational facility for the major destruction of the nuclear plant, however, we do not require any counter measure against a direct ballistic missile attack. We do not consider such an event as a direct ballistic missile attack to be a sort of event to be countered by a regulation for an installer of a nuclear facility. The release of the nuclear materials therefore, by the ballistic missile attack, is not assumed, however, during the safety assessment of Sendai No.1 and No.2, the prevention of the nuclear reactor container destruction and requirement for a counter measure against the release of the abnormal amount of the nuclear materials outside of the nuclear facility site are required along with a confirmation of their effectiveness against the possibility of severe accidents. According to the test result, release of the Cesium 137, in the case of Sendai No.1 and No.2, would be 5.6 TBq, which is lower than 1/1000 of the release by the Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant accident.
Taro Yamamoto: Well so he says, but that answer was just too long, I bet many of the TV audience had no clue what he just said. In short, you are saying that there is no simulation, you won’t be doing it, that is what you said, Chairman? There are no calculations regarding an event of ballistic missile attack on the nuclear reactor, around the area, or in the case of destruction of the reactor and its results, what would happen to the leaking materials and so on? But what do you all think? Let’s say a ballistic missile hits the facility, and some other missiles, what we are saying here is “would that only result in 1/1000 release of Fukushima?” That wouldn’t be it, would it? So why won’t they calculate the various possibilities thoroughly is what I am saying here, it’s just hideous, isn’t it? And I’ve already asked about this in the Parliamentary Question. And they say that it can’t be answered since it’s a hypothetical question. So when it’s hypothetical, it’s hard to answer, Prime Minister, though I haven’t told you about this. Is it hard to say when you don’t know what would be flying around in the hypothetical story?
Prime Minister (Shinzo Abe): What I would like to say is that the matter of military attacks varies in the method, size, and pattern therefore the resulting damages in reality can vary so it is hard to answer in a simple manner.
Taro Yamamoto: Hard to answer in a simple manner, can’t answer about a hypothetical question. My Parliamentary Question was hypothetical, and the answer I have received with Prime Minister Abe’s signature also said he would like to refrain from answering the question. But let’s think about this. Isn’t the content of the proposed act based on hypothesis or assumption? Country A attacks Country B, the allied country B asks us for help, if the three conditions are met, we can attack country A. Isn’t that a hypothesis? It is a hypothesis. You whine about the hypothesis, but you push forward making stuff up. It is reasonable to hypothesize, assume and go on to a simulation to build something. How convenient it is to keep repeating hypothesises and assumptions, and turn around and say that you can’t hypothesize about the nuclear facility that can be a military target, this, I just can’t help wonder what sort of opportunism this is. The security environment around our nation is changing very fast, you say. The missile might be flying in? China, North Korea, you keep talking about stuff. It reaches us in 10 minutes but there is nothing we can do? That doesn’t sound good, does it? You really want to defend? If one wants to defend the lives of the people, property and their right to pursue happiness, the way to protect the weakest facility, the nuclear facility, must be determined, however, the evacuation plan only considers 1/1000, or 1/100 radiation of Fukushima, what is this?, I can not comprehend this at all.
In the aforementioned Parliamentary Question, I’ve asked how many kilo meter range the evacuation plan and accident prevention plan should cover. But, the question was not answered. Isn’t that odd? When something happens, we must know how far we should evacuate and what method we should choose. Aren’t you going to protect the lives of the population, property and right to pursue happiness? Why wasn’t it answered? Prime Minister, please tell us, if a ballistic missile destroys a plant, how many kilo meter range plan should there be?
Government witness (Oba Seiji): The matter of military attacks varies in the method, size and pattern, therefore the basic policy of protection of the population, which was officially determined by the cabinet, on landing invasion, attacks by a guerrilla force or a special force, ballistic missile attack or bombing by the air, in all four assumed cases, we do not specify the amount of the damages. And, in case of military attack, such as a ballistic missile attack, we do not decide an evacuation plan with specific areas in mind, instead, we grasp the changing situation accurately and the evacuation range and etc. will be determined accordingly.
Taro Yamamoto: I would like to confirm what the cabinet secretary has said, I could hear the later part, but you are saying that there are many patterns so it’s hard to know how the situation turns, so, once we have the situation, we observe the damage and radiation level in order to determine the evacuation zone, is that right? Please answer yes or no.
Government witness (Oba Seiji): As we determine the changing state of the crisis accurately, we decide the range of evacuation, for example, the state of the radiation release or the progress of the ongoing military attack, those things will be considered as accurately as possible in deciding the evacuation area and its range.
Taro Yamamoto: Do you TV viewers all get that? In short, the so-called evacuation plans only exist as a faint sketch. The described narrative, do you understand the meaning of it? If there is a nuclear accident, the one like Fukushima, even if we have another Fukushima, or, the most dangerous, Prime Minister Abe, the missile attack by China or North Korea, as the Abe administration screams about, hits a nuclear facility, and we have a damage, according to the narrative, in short, we’ll have to be radiated first. And then they take the measurement. What kind of nonsense is this? Whose tax money, whose money pumps into this Parliament, Kasumizaseki and Nagata City? Whose lives are we protecting? Why won’t they be serious? A session in this Parliament costs 300 million yen a day and they’ve extended it for 95 days, and they don’t even have any clue about the alleged missile attack’s worst case scenario? I’m just speechless. There is no way that I can believe that the lives of the population, property and right to pursue happiness can be protected. It’s the same as doing nothing.
I’d like to go forward.
Provided material three. It was published last year, May twenty eighth. With the leadership of Chairman Tanaka, it was compiled by the Nuclear regulatory commission to provide the basic data regarding the regional disaster prevention plan and disaster prevention preparation. In short, there had been no standard. Well, if we don’t have any standard, it’ll be hard to make the evacuation plan and so on, so in order to be useful for those instances, the regulatory commission has decided to provide it. Chairman Tanaka, the expert, he has put some efforts. So what sort of number are we looking at here? It’s 1/100 of the Fukushima radiation release. We’ve seen 1/1000 just a while ago, but this one is 1/100, is that right? There is a warning in a caption. It’s a piece of paper called “calculation of radiation measurement during emergency and protection measure effectiveness”. And, under that, there is a warning. What do you think it says? It says, “However, this calculation does not mean that there will not be bigger accidents”. If we calculate with 1/100, we’ll be in a disaster. What was the biggest number among the accidents that have happened in our country? Why would they make it 1/100? So we’ve made the new safety standard, and it means that even if we have an accident, that’ll be 1/100 of Fukushima, it is that optimistic. And if we have a real accident, they’ll just say “beyond imagination”. End of the story. The ongoing accident, Fukushima, it’s a set of three level 7 accidents with three melted down nuclear reactors. They don’t even know how to end it. And despite the graveness of the event, no one gets arrested, and there is no criminal investigation. You understand what it means? Who will be responsible? Do they know what it means? Will they force it? They say it’s the security issue, energy issue, but what is the truth? If something goes wrong, they won’t do anything just like Fukushima. It is beyond absurd. The number like 1/100 can’t lead to any meaningful assessment. The people’s lives can’t be protected.
Prime Minister, please answer, would 1/100 be enough? We didn’t discuss this but I want you to answer this.
Prime Minister (Shinzo Abe): The basic response to a nuclear disaster caused by a military attack, according to the basic policy of the protection of the population, consists of an immediate evacuation of the residents within 5 kilo meters of the nuclear plant and for the residents within thirty kilo meter, indoor evacuation will be instructed.
On the other hand, when military attack causes a large scale radiation release over a five kilo meter range or thirty kilo meter range, obviously, it is imperative that we act according to the situation. Our policy stipulates that when it’s necessary, beyond thirty kilo meter will be treated with the same evacuation measures. Accordingly, the government will specify the evacuation area and evacuation destiny depending on the radiation level, military attack status and so on, and we will instruct the regional government on the evacuation operation. Moreover, the government, through the evacuation efforts of the Self-Defense Force and coast guard, along with the regional government, will do its best in the rescue efforts of the residents.
Taro Yamamoto: Prime Minister Abe, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission does not deal with the ballistic missile attack. I have also asked the cabinet committee, which I belong to, about this. That was what they said. They have not evaluated. Evaluation means determining what must be done in a case of such an accident, right? And they do not intend to do it in the future as well. There are many kinds of missiles and we have no idea which ones are coming so we can’t assume anything and we won’t be doing it. Isn’t this troublesome? This bill, the one that should have been ten bills but pushed into one, and while we talk about encouraging the morning work hours, it’s stealing everyone’s summer break, what are we going to do about it? Let’s face it, we must do the proper evaluation. Who was the director-general of the nuclear emergency response headquarter, nuclear emergency response headquarter? It’s the Prime Minister, isn’t it? That means that the chairman can’t just do it. He might want to do it. Well, maybe not. That means that the Prime Minister must be decisive. Please let them do the simulation. What would you say, Prime Minister? I would like to ask the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister (Shinzo Abe): Regarding this simulation, we have been conducting systematic trainings involving police force, fire department, Self-Defense Force as well as the related agencies focusing on various terrorism, attacks by various terrorist groups as a matter of urgent importance. We are also conducting trainings for the terrorist attacks against nuclear plants, however, regarding the ballistic missile attack against nuclear plants, the matter of military attacks varies in the method, size and pattern therefore the basic policy of protection of the population, which was officially determined by the cabinet, on landing invasion, attacks by a guerrilla force or a special force, ballistic missile attack or bombing by the air, in all four assumed cases, we do not specify amount of the damages.
And, if a nuclear disaster develops due to a ballistic missile attack and so on, as it was described already, we will determine the range of evacuation and etc. accordingly.
Taro Yamamoto: Thank you. You just can’t give us the answer. That makes sense. What is the very basic of the crisis management? We must prepare for the worst. But we are not prepared for the worst case. Rather, we try not to see what we don’t want to see and we close our ears, and somehow we keep doing what we want to do. We do it even though that would endanger the population. It’s clear if we look at the nuclear plants. Who’s security issue is it? Not so sure at all. If it’s really for protecting the lives of the population, and their property, we must have counter measures against the flying missiles and the attack against the nuclear facilities. But we certainly do not have anything like that. Indoor evacuation? You’ll measure the actual radiation? I see, very well. OK, then, I would like to ask the Chairman Tanaka. No one tells me about this. In the case of Sendai nuclear plant, if all the nuclear materials of the 157 fuel rods are released, and, 64 rods in the storage, 1128 rods in the spent fuel pool, all of them, are released into the atmosphere, how many Bqs are we talking about in Cesium 137 standard, that was what I asked both the Nuclear Regulatory Agency and Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, but no one could answer my question.
I would like to ask the expert, Chairman Tanaka, please make it short. How much bq of Ceceum 137 can one rod in the Sendai nuclear plant release? If you know or not. Please continue if you do but if not please stop there. Thank you.
Chairman of Nuclear Regulation Authority (Shunichi Tanaka): The nuclear materials in a collection of rods change according to the burnup ratio and cooling duration. Obviously, we do have the number for the exact content, however, we do not expect all of the materials will be released into the atmosphere. As I have already stated.
Taro Yamamoto: Thank you. Can’t be calculated… But it seems possible, if you really do calculate it. So, I would like to ask. It is so clear that restarting of the Sendai nuclear plant is completely impossible. The government fears ballistic missile attacks against the plant. If it hits the plant, there is nothing we can do. You are restarting the plant, even with the half-hearted, messed-up evacuation plan? Not just that, we now know that the risk of the earthquake in the area is increasing and the fault line is spreading as well. The volcanological society is pointing out odd activities of the volcanoes as well. There is no way we can restart the plant. How do you prevent the missile attack? Are you restarting it anyway? It can’t be done. Period. Please answer, Prime Minister.
Prime Minister (Shinzo Abe): As we have explained, our governmental position, our policy is that, if the plants meet the safety standard of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is exceptionally strict even among the world standards, the ones that passed the assessment will be restarted.
Taro Yamamoto: I would like to end this deliberation with Prime Minister Abe passing the buck to the Regulatory Commission. Thank you.