United States Attempt to Dictate Japanese Energy Policy Failed

Oct 04 2012 Published by under Japanese energy law

Japan Times has a very interesting article on the recent confusion about the Japanese Cabinet decision to approve the “Revolutionary Energy Strategy”.

It was quite clear to me that this strategy document was approved by the Cabinet. The Prime Minister said so repeatedly, last time at the United Nations.

Now the Japan Times article discloses that “U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman” ordered the Japanese government to refrain from approving the energy strategy document.

That’s not the way things work these days. The occupation ended in 1952.

It would have been extremely unusual for the Japanese to reverse course on a document that was adopted only the week before. Therefore, the attempt of this Deputy Secretary of Energy to dictate Japanese energy policy was bound to fail.

But the Cabinet did add some confusing clauses when approving the strategy document. This is very likely a direct consequence of the failed American attempt at stopping the document altogether.

The new Japan Times article reports on concerns by unnamed government sources in the American government. They want Japan to keep the amount of plutonium it stores at a minimum. Then, the second paragraph of the Japan Times article says:

Washington has aired concerns over the possibility of nuclear proliferation since the government decided last month to continue to reprocess spent nuclear fuel even though it appears inconsistent with the zero nuclear reliance target, the sources said.

That of course only makes sense if the American government realizes that, yes, the strategy document was actually approved by the Japanese Cabinet, as repeatedly stated by the Prime Minister. The Americans don’t get to decide about that. The democratically elected Japanese government does.

It may be time everybody else understands that fact as well.

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