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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 April 11 - 17  > METI head promises JCP to abolish program criticized for causing state interference in school education
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2018 April 11 - 17 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

METI head promises JCP to abolish program criticized for causing state interference in school education

April 11, 2018

The Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry on April 10 promised to bring an end to the ministry’s program supporting energy education model schools at the end of March 2019. He made this promise in his reply to Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Kasai Akira in a Lower House committee meeting.

In the meeting of the House of Representatives Committee on Economy, Trade and Industry, JCP Kasai brought up the fact that officials of the METI Hokkaido bureau had pressured an energy expert not to touch on the negative side of nuclear energy in advance of the expert’s lecture at a public senior high school in Hokkaido’s Niseko Town. The school is designated by the METI energy agency as a “model school” for the promotion of energy education.

Hokkaido University Assistant Professor Yamagata Sadamu, who gave the lecture in question, selected a photo of hydrogen-explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and the data indicating a high-cost structure of nuclear power generation for his lecture materials. Shortly before his lecture, local METI bureaucrats asked Yamagata to exclude the photo and data from the lecture materials.

JCP Kasai pointed out that METI officials’ request was made from the position that the contents of Yamagata’s lecture would hinder the promotion of nuclear energy. In reply, Industry Minister Seko Hiroshige referred to METI officials’ visit to Yamagata and their act of criticizing certain nuclear power-related items, and said, “They acted carelessly. I surely feel my responsibility for their act.”

Criticizing the Hokkaido METI officials, Kasai said that they exerted pressure on Yamagata in line with the government’s pro-nuclear power policy. He demanded that the ministry inspect the 120 “energy education” model schools across Japan to determine if a similar case occurred in the past.

The Industry Minister said that he will probe into the matter to the bottom.

Past related article:
> Gov’t officials urge energy expert not to talk about negative aspects of nuclear power to [ April 7, 2018]
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